So you won’t hear “Are we there yet?”
A recent poll found that 73% of Americans prefer road tripping over flying. From flight delays and cramped seating to the current risks associated with Coronavirus, it’s easy to see why a classic American road trip is the way to go these days. Now more than ever, travelers are as interested in the journey as the destination and the scenic views that come with it. Not to mention, it’s nice to have the freedom to pull over for a pit stop whenever needed. Adventure Road is a perfect place to start when mapping out a summer road trip for the family.
Here are a few tips to consider as you begin saving your favorite Destinations.
Keep them busy
While we love watching the landscape change as we travel through different parts of the state, our little ones likely require alternate forms of entertainment. If electronics like tablets are part of your arsenal, they’d be hard pressed to road trip without their favorite movies and songs to listen to. Just don’t forget to bring the charger and download shows and games ahead of time. Time in the car can also be a perfect time to practice reading or engaging in a stimulating activity. Before you hit the road, pack a couple small bags they get to open every hour or once you’ve reached a designated stop on the itinerary. These little milestones are something they’ll look forward to and will keep them motivated as you travel. This could be small toys, coloring books, brain teasers, stickers or window markers. We bet you’ll both welcome new varieties of entertainment as you move down the road. Check out STASH, The Black Scintilla and Plenty Mercantile’s collection of books, puzzles and toys to enjoy once you’ve run out of episodes of Paw Patrol.
Good, old-fashioned car games
What kid doesn’t like a game of I Spy? The Alphabet Game and State License Plate Game are two more that involve kiddos of all ages on the road trip and could even be an opportunity to learn more about the towns and attractions you’re experiencing. As you plan your road trip, use info from the Destination pages you’ll be passing through to prepare a rousing game of 20 Questions or a Scavenger Hunt list, kind of like a kid-friendly version of the Adventure you created! Adventure Road is full of recognizable landmarks, many right off the interstate (i.e., Wheeler Ferris Wheel, RIVERSPORT at the OKC Boathouse, Stockyards City, windmills in the Arbuckle Mountains, WinStar World Casino, etc.).
Snacks, snacks, snacks
Having portioned-out servings of healthy snacks like whole grain crackers, cereals, trail mix, sliced fresh fruits and squeezable fruit/veggie pouches are perfect for idle hands and hungry tummies. Protein bars, hard-boiled eggs, pre-made sandwiches and string cheese are also great for an on-the-go lunch or impromptu picnic. Have them pick out a special “vacation treat” before hitting the road that they can look forward to having on the trip. Getting to enjoy something out-of-the-norm is part of the road trip experience that creates memories, and it’s a useful good-behavior bargaining tool. One of ours from childhood is picking up those mini, hotel buffet-style boxes of Apple Jacks, Lucky Charms and Cap’n Crunch before annual family reunions at Lake Texoma. Every kid’s taste is different. Let us know what treats yours pick out down below!
Don’t be afraid of pit stops
Never underestimate the power of stretching your legs. There’s probably at least one person in the car holding tight to the itinerary (no judgment if it’s you!), but keep in mind a little fresh air can do wonders for road trip longevity. Adventure Road has many Chickasaw Travel Stops sprinkled throughout to provide clean restrooms, refreshments and perhaps a few forgotten essentials like sunscreen or phone chargers. Places like the Chickasaw Nation Welcome Center, off Exit 55 in Davis, are a perfect place to let your kids run around, enjoy the play area or even snap a few pictures of attractions you won’t find in your hometown. Don’t forget to check in when you visit!
Alternatives to fast food
We completely understand the draw of a convenient fast food stop, but you have other options if you feel so inclined. You can still get a taste of the unique towns you visit with a quick search. If you’re traveling on a weekend, there’s likely a farmer’s market going on in the morning that would give you access to fresh, delicious produce and baked goods. Like Scissortail Park’s on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For a more nutritious lunch or dinner, seek out grocery stores with deli counters or local food trucks to sample. Not to mention, many of our partner restaurants are offering curbside pick-up for online and call-ahead orders. Elemental Coffee, shown above, is one with great grab-and-go options that fit a variety of dietary needs. These meals are still quick and affordable, not to mention a change of pace from the fast food menus you know well enough. If you happen upon a tasty new find, let us know! We always welcome new suggestions.
Stay cool and go with the flow
If time allows, why not take a break to cool off and enjoy a water-friendly attraction you haven’t visited before? Maybe it’s taking a dip in the natural pools of Little Niagara in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, just outside of downtown Sulphur. Or maybe you haven’t yet seen the new Scissortail Park and its Sprayground, open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Both are fantastic (and free) options. For more ideas check out our Water Adventure or 5 Ways to Beat the Heat blog.
What are some other ways your little ones keep busy while on a road trip? Let us know in the comments below!