Planning a Road Trip With Kids {Eight States, 30 Days, One Family}

Summer is time for the family road trip! Follow Kids Activities Blog and Julie Blair and her family as they travel 8 states in 30 days for the ultimate road trip story ¦

Road Trip Across The Country With Kids

I wish I could honestly tell you that the decision to take a 30-day cross-country road trip with my three children was born of my free-wheeling sense of adventure. that I love planning a road trip with kids.

road trip with the kids activities blog

Our Road Trip Story

Or that I possess a special kind of joie de vivre rarely seen in suburban mothers.

Nope.

That's not really me.

After all, I am the mom who aims to park in the same spot at Target every shopping trip so that I won't lose my car.

I often make the same three meals for my family weekly (spaghetti, tacos, spaghetti tacos).

And my children will tell you I ™m a stickler about bedtime: 8 p.m. for 4-year-old Charlotte and 9 p.m. for Elizabeth and William, 10-year-old twins.

So here's the truth: It was the thought of dust that motivated me to become a member of AAA.

On June 17, our contractor and her parade of experts arrived with jackhammers to remodel a good chunk of our home's first floor.

There were workers knocking out walls, maneuvering industrial sanders and tiling with cancer-causing sealants so pungent, the neighbors will likely soon call public safety experts.

I could cope with the mess if it weren't for the weather.
You see, we live in Dallas. And I ™m a Northerner by birth.
This means that when the temperature climbs to 104 degrees, I actually feel as though my skin is bubbling.

Also, my eyeballs begin to bleed.

Thus, I can't very well escape outdoors while my home is being remodeled.

And dust masks don't do justice to my face shape.

Just move out,  urged my gal pal Kristen, who gracefully lived through various gut jobs but remembers the mess in Technicolor.

(In truth Kristen is a good Midwesterner who kindly told me to suck it up. Be a grown-up, she said. But I like to remember the part where I wore her down after several Gin and Tonics. It was then that she told me to just move out ¦ )

All this said, there is nowhere to go.

Six realtors I spoke with confirmed that Dallas is experiencing one of the tightest real estate markets in history.

I could find zero homes to rent.

And only one apartment complex had a 3-bedroom unit–for $4,000.

Well, I thought, for that price tag I could take a nice vacation.

Later that evening while on Facebook, it occurred to me that we have family and many good friends spread throughout the U.S.

In fact, I could construct a dot-to-dot route all the way from Dallas to Holland, Mich., where we book an annual getaway at a little cottage near the beach.

If said family and friends were willing, we could kill 30 days with them then land at the beach. This would give Lucie the Contractor eight full weeks to renovate.

And so a route began to take shape.

We're driving West before heading East, which William ” a contestant in his school's spring geography bee ”pointed out is sort of silly ”until he considered that Great Aunt Josie is fabulously fun and lives in Albuquerque.

Next, we ™ll zip up to Santa Fe and Taos (Art! Indians!) before trying out Denver for a longer stay.

The Mile-High City will offer a break from heat and from backseats.

(Did I mention that Charlotte is intolerant of car rides lasting more than 45 minutes? No? Well, the irony is not lost on me.)

Then, we ™d tackle Nebraska. Omaha has an amazing zoo and we ™ll finally get to Lincoln, home of my beloved Georgetown University roommate who has long been crowing about their corn-fed sports scene.

Iowa would give us a good excuse to delve into the history of the Mississippi River; Milwaukee and Madison offer a look at America's lush lakes/piney woods.

We ™ll follow-up with a taste of urban living in Chicago, where we ™ll house sit for my sorority sister.

Finally, we ™ll make the slog around lake (Eww, belching smoke stakes ¦) to my gorgeous home state of Michigan.

See, this whole boondoggle is making sense, yes?

But there's more.

Along our route, we ™ll develop our sense of place by reading relevant kiddie literature; we ™ll eat at local farmers ™ markets in order to sample food grown from the land on which we traveled.

Why, we ™ll be homeschooling on wheels!

And as a journalist, it will be natural for me to chronicle the whole trip via a blog.

My twins will add a segment too: From the Backseat. 

And little Charlotte is quite the photographer.

I won't even have to drive the whole trip by myself: My husband Jim could parachute into a couple of cities thanks to free airline miles.

Our manny Joel ”yes, our nanny is a dude ”will meet us for a lonely leg or two across the Upper Midwest's corn fields.

Suddenly, Jim and I were jazz hands-cabbage patch-grocery cart excited.

Not everyone shares our enthusiasm.

My mother ”and a variety of her grandmotherly girlfriends ”report that we have, in essence, lost our minds.

Why not hole up at the Gaylord Texan ”they have two pools and air conditioning,  Meema asked, referring to a glamorous local resort.

But here's what I know: You can't create family lore if room service is available.

When it comes down to it, the most memorable lives are crafted by those who took chances, tried something new, got into some mischief.

So, for the next month, we ™ll do just that.

We invite you to explore the American Southwest and Midwest with us vicariously.

We aim to update the blog daily, telling you about the places we ™ve been, the people we ™ve met, the fights the kids have gotten into…

We won't even ask you to kick in gas money.

In return, we ask you to send us your travel tips ”and some prayers.

Buckle your seatbelts: We're off to build 30 days of lore.

Road Trip With Kids

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