Family-Friendly Road Trip Games: Apps to Keep Kids Happy in the Car

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family road trip games for iPad and iPhone

As summer rolls into high gear, more and more of us are going to be hitting the road for summer trips with our families. One of the challenges with these long road trips is keeping the kids occupied and happy. There are the old standby car activities and games, of course, but if you’ve got an iPhone or an iPad then you also have the option of downloading a more modern way to keep the kids busy and entertained.

We've gathered a collection of classic road trip games that have been updated for the iOS generation and optimized for the iPad and iPhone. The best thing about many of these fun road trip apps for kids is that the games are designed to get people talking, so they’re also a great way to help the family grow closer together. After all, isn’t that what taking a family vacation is all about? 

Classic Road Trip Games for iPad and iPhone

License Plate Game HD (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
3.5
License Plate Game HD
Developer: Matthew Lilius
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

The license plate game has been played by children on every highway and byway in the United States. Now, this ubiquitous road trip game is getting organized. Move beyond keeping track of the states on a scrap of paper with the License Plate Game app (available for iPhone or in HD for iPad) which lets your kids easily keep track of each state license plate they see. In addition, the iPad version of the app has direct links to Wikipedia articles for each state, so the game becomes an educational experience for the kids as well. As a bonus, this app isn't limited to a single trip. You can also use this app to play an ongoing license plate game to keep your kids occupied while doing your errands around town or as a summer-long competition — assuming you don't get too many out-of-state visitors.

Road-Trip-Bingo HD (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
not yet rated
Road-Trip-Bingo HD
Developer: Bright Bunny
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store

Another fun travel app for kids is Road-Trip-Bingo. Once you start the game, your kids get a bingo-style card with 25 different items to find. The items range from different types of cars and signs, to horses and cows and trees that you might see along the road while traveling. The items are common enough that your kids won’t get frustrated trying to find anything too rare.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
4
Road Trip Scavenger Hunt
Developer: Shanti Miller
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

The popular road trip game iSpy is made even better with an app like Road Trip Scavenger Hunt ($0.99). The app is loaded with many different things to look out for, and the first person to spot the designated item gets a point. Up to six people can play, and it’s a great way for parents and kids to play the same game on equal footing. In addition, because the app has such an extensive list of things to look for, you can avoid the sometimes frustrating part of playing the old-fashioned way; namely, trying to come up with the next thing to look for.

A to Z - The Road Trip Game (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
5
A to Z - The Road Trip Game
Developer: Randa Zalman
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store

A-Z The Road Trip Game offers three variations of the road trip favorite The Alphabet Game. The app tracks scores for multiple players as well as a history of who won on which trip — a neat bonus for looking back and verifying the Alphabet Champion from the Summer of 2011 in ten years.

Road Trip Mini Games Apps

For especially long road trips, siblings who can't agree or kids with eclectic tastes who like to play lots of different games, you'll want to invest in an app with multiple road trip games. There are several apps that include a variety of mini games such as Road Trip Fun or Family Car Games. Each of these apps is loaded with easy to follow instructions for dozens of different games, so even fidgety five-year-olds won’t have time to get bored.

Road Trip Fun (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
1
Road Trip Fun
Developer: Scott Falbo
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

Road Trip Fun doesn't actually have any games to play in the car. Instead, this app is a guidebook with rules to the most popular road games so families and friends can play anytime, anywhere — whether or not there is an Internet connection or even a cell tower near by. Can't remember the rules for Slug Bug? Tired of playing iSpy? Road Trip Fun has ideas and tips for enough classic road trip games to keep your family occupied from California to New York and back again.

Family Car Games (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
3
Family Car Games
Developer: Todd Greenwood
Price: $1.99 Download on the App Store

Road Trip Books and Guides for iOS Devices

Whether you want to let the kids help plan which roadside attraction to see next or you're tired of hearing "Are we there yet?", nothing is better for inspiring fascination with the open road like a good travel guide. Download a few guidebooks for your trip that cover the states you'll be traveling through or your final destination and you'll soon find the kids engrossed with travel trivia and interesting information. They'll get an education and you'll get a few miles peace and quiet.

Roadside America (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
4.5
Roadside America
Developer: This Exit LLC
Price: $2.99 Download on the App Store

With a Roadside Amercia, you'll never have to worry about driving by the world's largest rubber band ball or missing the Tiger Truck Stop. Find nearby oddities, share your adventures through Facebook and Twitter or submit your own road trip pics to RoadsideAmerica.com.

Best Road Trip Ever! (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
3.5
Best Road Trip Ever!
Developer: Ludwig Design Inc.
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

The Best Road Trip Ever! lists offbeat attractions, memorable sights and places to eat from sea to shining to sea. The app features photos and videos from the PBS television show Rare Visions and Roadside Revelations with hand-picked locations designed to make taking the back roads much more interesting. The video clips probably won't work too well (if at all) from the open road, so be forewarned. However, if you want something more than you typical list of fast food restaurants and chain attractions this is a great app to explore.

What games do you consider must-download when planning a road trip for your family? Do your kids have any favorite car games for the iPad or iPhone?

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