Exploring the Beauty of Nature During a Family Road Trip

family road trip explore nature

Nature is one of the best things about Earth.

It’s beautiful to look at, exciting to engage with, and interesting to learn about. Nature also has a way of bringing people together, particularly families.

Setting out on a nature adventure with your family can lead to closer relationships with each other and yourself.

Making nature the core of a family road trip can also result in hands-on environmental education and nurture your family’s physical and mental health.

Before we dive into tips for ensuring your children enjoy your nature-driven family road trip, let’s explore the above benefits of experiencing nature through a family road trip in more detail.

Deepen Individual and Family Bonds

sisters cycling park

One of the most significant benefits of going on a road trip to experience nature is the opportunity to deepen individual and family bonds.

As you explore and connect with nature, you also talk and interact with your children and spouse.

These conversations and interactions allow you all to discover new things about each other and create a stronger bond.

In addition, your children may pair up and explore.

Maybe you and your partner have some time alone as your kids sleep while you’re on the road. Perhaps each of you takes a child and sets off on an adventure.

Any of these scenarios allow you to deepen individual bonds too.

An Up-close and Personal Environmental Lesson

What better way to learn about the environment than to immerse yourself in it?

Exploring the beauty of nature during a family road trip offers the chance for up-close and personal environmental lessons.

Whether you’re naming the mountains you see on the way, picking plants and flowers to take home, jumping into the creeks and lakes, or taking pictures of the animals you see while hiking, you and your children can learn a lot about the environment just by being in it.

Nurture Physical and Mental Health

family hiking forest

The physical and mental health benefits of engaging in nature are noteworthy.

Regarding physical health, nature walks, hikes, swimming, biking, and other outdoor activities are great exercises.

You can strengthen your muscles, joints, and bones, get the vitamin D you need, and work on heart health as a family.

Nature is excellent for mental health too.

A BMC public health study revealed that “Among youth, many felt that spending time in nature positively impacted their mental health.” 51% said it calmed them, while 22% said it relieved stress or anxiety.

In analyzing these statistics, we can conclude that nature may be the key to keeping your and your children’s mental and emotional wellness intact.

Get More Attuned With Yourself

One thing about road trips and nature, there’s a lot of time and opportunity for self-reflection.

For example, you’re thinking while gazing out the window on the road. Or you step away from your family for a moment to just embrace the weather and scenery.

Getting more attuned with oneself isn’t just for the adults on the trip.

Your children are processing their emotions, feelings, and thoughts too.

So, when they’re ahead of the rest of the family on your hike or in the backseat with their headphones on, allow them to enjoy those moments alone.

How To Make Your Trip Enjoyable for Your Children

Often, the hard part about going on a family road trip is getting your children excited about it and keeping them engaged the entire trip.

This can get even more tricky with a nature-driven trip, as the lack of technology and “fun” things to do aren’t as appealing to kids.

However, with these tips, you can make your road trip and exploring nature an enjoyable experience for your children.

Let Your Children Help With Planning

If you want your kids to enjoy your trip, let them be a part of planning it.

If they have a hand in choosing your route, destinations, and activities along the way, they’ll be more excited about your trip and immersing themselves in nature.

So, sit down with your children and map out the details of your trip.

For example, ask them:

  • Where do they want to go?
  • Do they want to see reptiles, fish, or other animals?
  • What kind of nature-related activities do they want to do?
  • Do they enjoy hiking, biking, or swimming?
  • What kind of plants, trees, and flowers interest them?
  • How long of a road trip do they want to go on?

While they may not have concrete answers due to inexperience, it can at least get the ball rolling and deepen your bond before you even hit the road.

Choose Destinations Rooted in Nature

When choosing destinations on your road trip, it’s essential to ensure they are rooted in nature.

In other words, choose places that make it so you can’t help but be in nature.

That way, your children won’t have a chance to be distracted by technology, shopping, or amusement parks.

You could take a route that has some of the most noteworthy national parks along the way.

For example, Titus Valley Rd. in Death Valley, California, leads to Dante’s View or Badwater Basin, with ghost towns, mountain passes, and slot canyons on the drive.

Or, you could take Scenic Rim Drive in Crater Lake, Oregon, to visit Crater Lake National Park, experiencing forts, forests, and wildlife habitats along the way.

Wherever you decide to stop on your road trip, ensure nothing is around but nature.

Bring Your Pets

family kids with dog playing

Your pets are a secret weapon in getting your kids to enjoy the beauty of nature and road-tripping.

Your kids love them, you love them, and your pets can be the buffer you need on a long drive.

In addition, most pets love an opportunity to run around in nature, inspiring your kids to do the same.

Moreover, they’re a part of the family, so they deserve to experience your road trip too.

Travel with your pets if it’s feasible. Make sure they’re physically able to endure a road trip and the nature exploration you plan on doing. You’ll also want to make sure:

  • Your nature destinations are pet-friendly;
  • The hotels or places you plan to stay are pet-friendly;
  • Your pet is up-to-date on their shots;
  • That you have your pet’s medication and food;
  • That you pack their toys, bedding, and any other essentials.

Encourage Exploration

Sometimes, all the things you can do in nature aren’t obvious, especially to children.

They need a little push to get out there and just explore. So, give it to them.

While you’re on the road, hype up all that will be available to do once you get to your destination.

Feel free to make spontaneous stops and further explore what you’re children point out while you’re driving.

And when you get to your state park, camping ground, farm, or other nature destination, encourage them to roam freely.


minivan camping

Ultimately, exploring the beauty of nature during a family road trip is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your children, and your spouse.

Family bonds and self-relationships get stronger.

You learn more about the environment, and your holistic health benefits too.

Use the tips above to ensure your nature-driven road trip is exciting for your children and a memorable experience for the whole family.

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