Last-Minute Road Trips because It’s Still Summer

Cheap Activities

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Looking to add some last-minute travel to your calendar before the summer sun sets? A road trip is a perfect way to explore a new spot without too much-advanced planning needed. Whether you have only a day to explore or a long weekend, our road trip ideas are here to get you started making memories that will last a lifetime!

photo: Kate Loweth

Take the play outside at one of our nation’s great parks. Learn about the natural world, do car camping and hike the day away. Take your pick from our list of 19 faves or set your sights on an under-the-radar national park near you. We picked one in every state (even D.C.)! Got a 4th grader in your crew? Bring them along, and you'll get free admission with the Every Kid in a Park program!


photo: Exploratorium

A brand-new museum is a perfect excuse to set out on a road trip. The country is full of totally epic kids' museums (that even adults will love) and over-the-top science centers that will get you staring into space. When the weather gets hot, it's a great idea to head to a totally-indoor museum to keep your cool (in more ways than one). Got a museum membership of your own? Check to see if it offers any reciprocal discounts with other museums and save a bunch!

Pack up the kids and the snacks and hit the road! There are all sorts of wacky and unique roadside attractions all over the U.S. Pick one out to make it your destination or drive until you see that giant rooster and hit the brakes. Your kids and your Instagram feed will thank you. 

Camping can be a cheap way to see a new area of the country and a fun way for families to bond without the distraction of devices and deadlines. These totally unique campsites will take the fun to another level with beaches and water parks as the backdrop. Sleeping on the ground not your thing? Rent an RV for some upgraded relaxation. Before you go, check out our tips on how to ease yourself into camping to make the most of your time in nature. 

photo: iStock

From sculptures to skeletons, you can find places across the country that pint-sized paleontologists will go crazy for. You can excavate in a national park, roam around forests with life-like statues or explore the halls of a museum for a history lesson that will take the kids waaay back. While there are hundreds of sites to choose from, we’ll get you started with 14 of our favorites


Bump your road trip up to the next level by making your destination a total mystery to the kids. This mom explains how her family has planned mystery trips for years. Whether you give hints along the way or keep the kids totally in the dark until you get there, the excitement of the journey will make your road trip all the more fun for everyone. 

—Kate Loweth, Amber Guetebier & Allison Sutcliffe


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A Mom’s Guide to a Mother-Daughter Road Trips

Feature photo: Christin Hume on Unsplash