8 Essential Tips to Make Your Summer Road Trip a Blast

"Are we there yet?" Your family road trip doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are 8 great ways to keep your kids happy and your sanity intact.

Cheryl Butler
8-minute read
Episode #531

Finally! Summer has arrived and the chaotic, overscheduled lives we lead during the school year have come to a close. It's time to kick off our shoes and enjoy that easy, summer living that we dream of when we're up to our eyebrows in school-lunch peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It's time to plan a summer road trip!

Road trips are a great way to keep the troops entertained for ten weeks without the expense of a 5-star vacation. This summer, take advantage of some awesome, family-friendly excursions when you plan a ridiculously fun road trip for your gang. Mighty Mommy's got essential tips that can make this summer an unforgettable one when you pack up the family truckster and hit the road for a mini adventure. 

As you prepare for a memorable trip with your kids, keep the following essentials in mind. You’ll have a journey that your family will remember for years to come.

#1 - Embrace a positive summer road trip attitude.

When school lets out and your kids hunker down for their 10-week summer vacation, the first thing all parents and caregivers need to adjust is their attitude.  I experienced many a summer break with a gaggle of kids under the age of ten. As the last day of school approached, my anxieties tripled because I simply didn’t have the right mindset to embrace a carefree, fun-in-the sun kind of summer.

Rather than looking forward to lying low and enjoying unscheduled time with my kids, I got completely hung up on trying to keep them occupied 24/7 throughout the summer. Because of that, I veered away from my usual go-with-the-flow attitude and totally overthought those weeks that the kids were out of school.

One of the best tips I can offer parents this summer is to let go of pre-conceived notions that you have to be your children’s cruise director. Instead, jump in and feel great that you have the opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids without an agenda.

Years ago, my pediatrician offered this great advice—don’t set yourself up to feel you “have to.” Instead, embrace the notion that you “get to.” By tweaking these two words, you can bring on a much more positive mindset.

Don’t set yourself up to feel you have to. Instead, embrace the notion that you get to.

So as summer unfolds realize that you get to spend quality time with your kids while they’re still young and living under your roof. You get to watch them grow and enjoy building sandcastles at the beach, hanging out in the backyard, or even spilling sticky lemonade on the kitchen floor. You “get to” wash a few extra loads of laundry as a result of your children having fun at the pool or beach. You “get” the chance to be the best parent ever this vacation. With this in mind, you'll lay the foundation for a more relaxed and playful summer break—both on and off the road! 

See also: 5 Simple Mindfulness Habits for Better Parenting


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.