They say you only have 18 summers with your children before they become young adults. We all want to make the most of those summers. What kinds of RV trips can we take that will leave a lasting impression? Check out these bucket list trips with kids for some inspiration.
Kerri Cox, from Travels with Birdy, is here to share ideas for eight trips to take before your kids turn 18. As her growing teenage sons get closer to–and surpass–this milestone year, she knows the time with them is precious. School activities, jobs, and friends have been interfering with their ability to travel as a family.
Though they started RVing when the boys were already tweens, Kerri’s family has managed to squeeze in many of these bucket list trips. She wants to inspire you to do the same. She originally shared this list on the Jayco Journal, and we are glad to share this list with you.
Hear more about these bucket list trips with kids by clicking play on the media player above or by looking for The RV Atlas wherever you find your favorite podcasts.
The Celebrate-Your-Home Trip
No matter what state you are in, this might be the summer to adventure within your state (for obvious reasons), but even without those pandemic concerns, you should never overlook the places to explore close to home. Get out to your state parks, look for those historic sights, and don’t overlook the tourist traps you generally might have avoided. Give your kids a good appreciation for their roots.
The National Parks Trip
There is something about planning the epic American road trip to visit our national parks. Whether it be Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite or some of the smaller, lesser-known sites, our national parks have been preserved for a reason. Get out to explore the beauty and the history. Even if you can’t take this kind of trip this summer, you can definitely start dreaming and planning.
The Theme Park Trip
Some families LOVE theme parks and do Disney as often as they can, while others avoid them. Kerri admits that her husband was definitely NOT a theme park kind of guy, but Disney won him over on a visit they took when their boys were younger. Even if adults don’t get caught up in the magic, the kids most assuredly will, and that makes a mega theme park trip worthwhile.
The History Trip
Kids spent a portion of their elementary years learning about our nation’s history. Take advantage of this, and bring history alive by taking them on a history-inspired trip. Head to the Oregon Trail to see the actual ruts left in the ground by the pioneer caravans. Go to Washington D.C. to see the inner workings of our government. Check out a living history park for hands-on opportunities. Just make sure the experience matches their age level and interests.
The Geography Trip
Like history, your kids are learning all about geography. Take them out to see the wide variety of geography in our nation. It’s fun to get away from your home region to maybe explore mountains, beaches, or deserts. Kerri had grown up in the Midwest and visited mountains for the first time as an adult, an experience that truly wowed her. She likes taking her boys to see and experience places that aren’t like home.
The Cultural Trip
Even though America is one nation, there are places that have their own unique cultures. Think about places like the American Southwest, New Orleans, Charleston, and Cape Cod–distinct places offering distinct cultural experiences. The food, music, traditions truly come alive. Again, this is a wonderful opportunity for kids to experience something different from home.
The Big City Trip
If your family does not live in a city, taking a trip to one can be a fun, eye-opening experience. Enjoy the food, learn how to navigate public transportation, and see all of the recognizable sites. Camping doesn’t have to be rustic. Many cities have campgrounds nearby that can serve as great basecamps for exploration, even if the campgrounds themselves aren’t particularly scenic. Check out our post about urban camping for some inspiration.
The Do-Nothing Trip
No matter how long your bucket list is, make sure to plan trips with no itineraries attached. Kerri said her family often gets caught up in sightseeing sometimes, so it is nice to have trips where there are no busy to-do lists. Refresh your souls and your spirits with some quality family time. You can do this in your own backyard, your own home town, or really, anywhere. Pull out the boardgames, the bikes, and the balls–or don’t even to do that.
The “Let-Them-Plan-It” Trip
So, we were inspired by Kerri’s list but had a trip idea of our own. We’ve always wanted to turn the trip planning over to the boys. Drop the KOA catalog on the table..pull out the Good Sam Guide…just put the inspiration out there, and let them plan. We haven’t done this yet, but it’s on our bucket list. A big bonus to this is that it helps the reluctant travelers get engaged in the journey.
We want to thank Kerri for sharing these bucket list trips with kids with us. You can follow Kerri’s RV adventures over on her Instagram feed or her website Travels with Birdy. Look for her work on Trailer Life, the Good Sam Blog, Togo RV, and more.
See You at the Campground,
Jeremy + Stephanie