road trip scavenger hunt

Road Trip Scavenger Hunts for Kids!

A road trip with kids can be a hit-or-miss experience. Fortunately, there are ways to keep things from going south. Road trip scavenger hunts are an excellent place to start! With a bit of planning, these activities can help you keep the kids engaged and entertained the whole time.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Ideas

Kids love scavenger hunts. Parents often use them to keep the kids occupied for hours. If you’re gearing up for a long car ride with the kids, you’ll be happy to hear that the magic works on the road as well.

Planning a pitstop at the mall? Bring the scavenger hunt fun indoors. Check out our list of ideas for a mall scavenger hunt now!

The best part about road trip scavenger hunts is that you can customize them for every age group, from toddlers, preteens to teens! If you have younger kids who cannot read yet, include photos in the list to make it easier for them to understand. 

On the other hand, teenagers enjoy a challenge, so making their list a little more challenging can help keep them busy during the drive.

Young Kids and Toddlers

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Ideas

For younger kids, you can create a list of things that starts with each letter of the alphabet. You can also design an alphabet game where the kids have to find an item that begins with each letter of the alphabet, similar to the ever-so-popular I Spy game. This is a fun variation of the travel scavenger hunt game and a great way for young children to learn new words while traveling.

Older Kids

You can make the road trip scavenger hunt more challenging for kids aged seven and above by removing pictures or even doing a fun word jumble. You can also make the lists a bit longer for this age group to keep them occupied.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt List
Source: Everyday Shortcuts

Tweens and Teens

Kids from this age group are tough to entertain since they are often glued to phones, iPads, or whatever other electronic devices they may have at their disposal. The key here is to incorporate these gadgets into the scavenger hunt.

Make the game more challenging for them by asking them to take photos of items on the list. In the end, the one with the most photos wins!
Photo Scavenger Hunt List
Source: Wondermom WANNABE

As fun as these road trip games are, they can also get competitive, especially if you have kids in the same age group. To avoid any arguments in the car, it’s important to explain the rules of the game clearly before you begin.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt Rules

The rules are relatively simple. You have a list of items printed out for the scavenger hunt. The game begins only after everyone has had the chance to go over the scavenger hunt printable.

Stuck inside all day? Pass the time with an indoor scavenger hunt. Read our latest article to find out how to get started.

Only one person gets to claim a particular item. For example, one car’s green license plate cannot be used by multiple players. The player who spots it first gets to claim it.

Also, items found during stops do not count, and every item found must be verified by one or more people in the car to avoid cheating. Whoever spots the most items wins.

Other Variations of Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

You can create different scavenger hunts for different trips. The options are endless when it comes to planning a scavenger hunt for your family road trip!

License Plate Scavenger Hunt

An exciting variation of a conventional scavenger hunt game for travel is the License Plate Scavenger Hunt. You can print out the list of all 50 states and even add Canada as a bonus item. This game is great for kids of all age groups.

With older kids, this can be a competitive game where the person who finds the most states wins. You can play this game as a family for younger kids and look for the license plates together.

This is a great way to teach children teamwork while having some fun as a family. Who knows, the kids might even end up memorizing the names of all 50 states on this trip!

License Plate Hunt List
Source: Mom Dot

Vehicle Scavenger Hunt

Types of Vehicles

The vehicle scavenger hunt game is a fun spin on the conventional hunt. In this version, the kids have to spot different types of vehicles on the road. This one works great for young children and toddlers.

You can ask them to color the picture of each car on the list after they spot it on the road.
Vehicle Scavenger Hunt List
Source: Outdoor Activities for Your Transportation Theme – The Salty Mamas

Names of Vehicles

You can also customize this version for older boys and girls. Prepare a list of cars from different brands. The one who finds the most cars of each brand wins.

Spot the car scavenger hunt list
Source: Unitline Blogspot

Road Signs Scavenger Hunt

If you are trying to teach your kids about road signs, use this car game as an opportunity to do it.

Print out a sheet of all road signs with pictures and names. You can make it even more competitive by asking the kids to count how many times they see a particular sign. This scavenger hunt will likely result in an in-depth discussion about how these signs and traffic rules work.

Road Sign Scavenger Hunt Printable List
Source: Mrs Kathy King

The Benefits of a Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Sure, putting together a scavenger hunt for when on the road is one way to keep the kids occupied, but it’s also a great way to engage in some quality family time. Plus, the kids might learn a thing or two along the way.

Road trip scavenger hunts also encourage children to pay attention to their surroundings and improve their observation skills. In that way, it’s not only an excellent way to kill time but also an opportunity to learn.

The best part is that these games are incredibly easy to organize. They’re light, easy, and won’t take up too much room in the car! All you need is a few free printable templates and some pencils or colored pencils, and you’re good to go!


Thanks for checking out our list of road trip scavenger hunt ideas! We hope you discovered a few new ways to entertain your children on a long car trip. Be sure to visit our blog for more ways to have fun as a family. Happy hunting from the road!

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