This article explains how to find tourist attractions along your road trip route by doing research and planning ahead. There are also tips and advice on how to find spontaneous things to do on a road trip after you’ve already started your adventure!
We’ve included advice on how to search efficiently within Google, the best online booking sites, and leveraging social media.
When you plan a road trip you usually get the most out of your adventure, but don’t forget to leave room for some spontaneity! Follow our steps to find the best attractions for your next road trip adventure.
Plan your approximate route
As we discuss in our guide to planning a road trip, sorting out the rough route you will take is crucial to give you some boundaries to work with. You should have a clear picture of where you are going and how long you’d like to spend on the road. When you know exactly where you are going, and how much time you would like to spend getting there/visiting there, then you can follow our tips below.
Search for activities online
I like to use GetYourGuide or Viator to search for things to do in the area I’m visiting. It provides a list of suggested activities as well as points of interest. GoCity provides passes to save on the best attractions, tours, and activities in your chosen city. WeGoTrip offers awesome self-guided tours.
Use Google and social media to find tourist attractions
Google and social media outlets such as Instagram are your new best friends. Start searching for things to do in some of the big cities you pass through or find places to park/sleep in the big nature reserves along your route.
Once Google gives you a possible tourist attraction, check it out on social media! See what people are saying and posting about it. I find searching Instagram to be a great way to find hiking destinations and places of outstanding natural beauty nearby.
Here’s a list of things you can type into the Google search bar for your route:
- Museums near…
- Nature Reserves near…
- Weird Attractions near…
- Historical Attractions near…
- Interesting places to stay the night near…
- Family destinations near…
Don’t forget to look up the costs of entry and parking so you can see how different attractions fit into your road trip budget. You can also use Google Travel or the Roadtrippers App to help guide your searches.
Break out the map
Whether it be digital or paper, get the old map out and start tracing all the different routes you can take to your final destination. You want to have a few options in case of construction, road closures, or the route you planned doesn’t turn out like you thought it would.
Now that you know the areas you will be passing through, you can narrow down your search for roadside entertainment even further.
Know your budget
Once you know where you are headed, you can calculate how much money you’ll need to spend on gas and accommodation at the minimum. There are always affordable options, so don’t get discouraged. Now that you know what kind of money you have left for roadside attractions, you can get to the fun part!
Need some help setting your budget? Look no further than our post on How to Create a Road Trip Budget.
Make a list
Make a list, in order that it appears on your route, of all the places you’d like to stop. Make sure to use the correct names and addresses for ease of locating while on the road. It is a good idea to do this for each of your possible routes so you can have a better picture of which route you like best. You may even be able to chop and change depending on your timeline and budget.
Leave some room for spontaneity
Some people like to have a set itinerary for each day of travel, and that’s fine! For road trips, we do recommend leaving a little room for spontaneity and adventure. You never know who you are going to meet or what might get recommended to you out on the road, so leave room for surprises!
You also want to leave room for less exciting surprises. A flat tire, bad weather, an extra rest stop if that sketchy diner dinner wants to make a reappearance. Check out How to Stay Safe on a Road Trip for more advice.
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