One of my favorite childhood memories was getting into the car and driving with my family…destination unknown. My Dad would ask if we should go North, South, East, or West. Sometimes we ended up hours away from home. Sometimes we never left our city’s limits. We ended up stumbling across places such as pop-up carnivals with rides and games, delicious out-of-the-way diners, and miniature golf courses we didn’t know existed. Half of the fun was the thrill of the hunt. If your weekends have become boring and routine, consider piling the fam into the family car for a day of exploring and fun.
Choose a direction
The first step is to choose a direction. Let the kids choose, or flip a coin to decide. Under no circumstance should anyone dictate a route that has a predetermined outcome as that defeats the purpose of the adventure.
Now that you have chosen a direction, the next step is to simply start driving. Once your kids are in unfamiliar territory, let them have a say as to where the car should go. For instance, in five miles you will take the first available left turn, or in twenty minutes you will stop at the first restaurant that you have never seen or patronized before.
Stop when and where you want
There are no rules. Stop when and wherever you want. This could mean that you make a quick stop a few miles from your home to pick up some snacks before venturing out into the great unknown. It can also mean that you decide as a family to stop at a local movie theater and bag the mini road trip. It’s up to you.
If weather permits, take advantage by stopping somewhere to explore outside. Loads of public parks are free and have an abundance of walking trails, playgrounds, and swimming areas. It is a good idea to pack a few items for a day in a park even if you don’t have plans to stop at one. There will be nothing worse than the kids choosing to stop at a park that has a place to swim, but not having swimsuits. You can even have your child pack their own bag of possible items they may think they will need for the day. kiddietotes has loads of kid-sized bags that are perfect for a day trip.
Go home when you're ready, not when the kids are ready
Although the kids will likely want to continue the day trip into the next day, all good things must come to an end. Be sure to put a firm time on when to take the bus back to the barn to ensure you aren’t returning home in the middle of the night. If you can take an alternate route home consider doing so. You might come across a few places that will make excellent planned destinations in the future.
The purpose of heading out with no destination in mind is to give your child a sense of adventure and discovery. Remind them that Christopher Columbus did the exact same thing, and ended up finding America.