A road trip is a great way to explore must-see destinations with your kids while stopping to sightsee along the way. Add a classic car or van to the mix, and you’ve got the vacation that dreams are made of.
But the best thing about this type of travel is that it’s flexible and affordable. You can adjust your route and schedule at your whim. Nothing’s stopping you from staying a few days longer at your new favorite location to calm a niggly toddler or move on quickly when your teen starts complaining about being bored!
Since you aren’t splurging on flights, you have more freedom to explore travel- and budget-wise. Not to mention, it’s a great opportunity to bond with your kids!
I’ve discovered many amazing locations across the US, but some have truly stood out along the way. That’s why I’ve listed 10 of my must-visit destinations (in no particular order) for a classic car road trip.
Grab your keys and get your classic car or van out of the garage. It’s time to hit the road for a family vacation you’ll never forget.
Grand Canyon National Park
Keen to visit a national park on your road trip? The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona should be at the top of your list. You will feel like you’re at the top of the world when you visit this timeless natural wonder, marveling at the beautiful rock formations from the canyon’s rims or floor. This landmark is truly memorable for its natural beauty, but you’re also spoiled for choice with a ton of family-friendly activities. This includes river rafting, helicopter tours, mule rides, and mountain bike trails.
If you want to hit as many national parks as possible, we recommend starting at Angel’s Landing in Zion. Head out to Arches National Park next, and stop to explore the Fairyland Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon before you reach your grand destination.
If you’re traveling with kids and looking for a destination that’ll keep them endlessly entertained, Central Florida—also known as the Theme Park Capital of the world—is the place to go.
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We’ve been to DisneyWorld many times, so this is a must-see attraction for people of all ages. Your kids will tire themselves out with endless rides and attractions. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a good drink, a culinary experience, and even a spa treatment.
The roads are also much smoother than those off the beaten track, so this is ideal if your classic car doesn’t cope well with rougher terrain.
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New Orleans, Louisiana
Looking for some cultural enrichment on your next road trip? Head to the vibrant city of New Orleans, which is famous for its art, culture, music and amazing food.
Explore the French Quarter, take a steamboat cruise on the Mississippi River, and indulge in Cajun and Creole cuisine. It goes without saying that you’ve got to experience the lively street performers and famous jazz. This city has more to offer than Mardi Gras, so make the most of your sightseeing while you’re here! Stay at Bourbon Orleans.
Mount Rushmore is a must-see historical site that’s impressive and educational. This colossal sculpture features the faces of four iconic US presidents, so it holds a special place in American history and culture. This mountainside carving is truly impressive. Its size and significance are nothing short of a marvel, and the evening lighting ceremony makes it all the more worth the trip.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
A road trip isn’t for the faint-hearted, especially if you’re traveling with kids. After countless early mornings and long driving shifts, you deserve some downtime in a peaceful location. Cape Cod is just that; you can lounge on beautiful beaches, pass the days whale watching, and explore charming coastal towns.
Cape Cod will give you the quintessential New England experience, and if you’re a seafood lover, the food alone is worth the trip.
Glacier National Park, Montana
Who wouldn’t want to visit the ‘Crown of the Continent’? The breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park is not to be missed, and the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road will be one of the most memorable drives you’ll ever make in your classic car.
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When you get to your destination, you can enjoy stunning waterfalls, kayaking along picturesque lakes, boat tours, and wildlife sightings—these include mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and, if you’re lucky, the elusive grizzly bear.
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We all love a beachy vacation in the summer sunbut the colder months can be just as fun, especially around the holidays. Aspen is a charming winter wonderland nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Don’t let the cold stop you from having an adventure; Aspen is known for its perfect skiing and snowboarding conditions. If that’s not your thing, you can go ice skating, snowmobiling, and even catch a sleigh ride.
This town has a magical atmosphere during the festive season when it’s beautifully decorated with lights and ornaments. Get into the holiday spirit by going to holiday parades, tree-lighting ceremonies and special events.
Lake Michigan is the perfect outdoorsy destination. If you’re feeling adventurous, camping along the shoreline is a great way to take in this area’s natural beauty, especially if you have an RV or classic camper van.
Lake Michigan is nothing short of paradise, with beaches, scenic trails and rugged cliffs. You can swim, kayak, paddleboard, and take a boat out on the lake’s calm waters or simply lay back on the beach and take in the view. There are also great hiking and biking trails in the surrounding areas.
While you’re in the Great Lakes region, you can take a trip to Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. These make up the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world, so a tour of the region makes for a great road trip route.
Niagara Falls is an iconic road trip destination on the US-Canada border, and its spectacular views attract millions of visitors each year. Witnessing the power and beauty of the fall in person is an unmissable experience!
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Thrill-seekers can try zip lining, helicopter tours over the falls, and even jet boat rides that plunge directly into the rapids. For a more relaxing experience, you can enjoy tastings in the wine country and walking along the vineyards.
California is a great choice for classic car road trips. As the third-largest state in the US, there’s much to explore while breezing along under the famous California sunshine, especially if you have a convertible!
As you journey to San Fran, take in the stunning coastal views while cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway. This destination offers the perfect beach getaway, and while you’re there, visit bucket-list attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge and Big Sur. You can also enjoy the city’s thriving cultural and arts scene.
A road trip in a classic car is a great adventure for the whole family. It’s a vacation you and your kids will never forget, especially if you pick some of the destinations on this list!
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Get Travel Insurance
Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that can go wrong on any trip. Be prepared for the worst with travel insurance. We use Travelex.
I use Skyscanner to find flights. I use it so much, I wrote an entire guide to finding cheap flights with Skyscanner! Momondo is also a great site for finding cheap flights.
Book a Place to Stay
I recommend using Expedia.com or Hotels.com for most hotel bookings. I prefer to book directly with Marriott when I stay there because of their excellent military discount.
If you prefer staying in a vacation rental instead, I recommend VRBO.
Choose Activities and Tours
To find great activities in any area I use Get Your Guide and Viator. If we are visiting a city with lots of popular attractions I always check CityPass and GoCard to see if they have discount cards available.
When I want to book a full-on multi-day tour I use TourRadar. They’ve got fantastic weekly deals.
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