Planning a Family Road Trip

How do you plan a road trip? I'm sharing my strategy.

Planning a Family Road Trip

Hi friends.  Happy you’re here today!  I am so excited to share with you that I am busy planning our family summer vacation.  That’s right, it’s almost the middle of July and I am just now getting on this.  I guess you can say we aren’t so good at planning in advance. We are now planning a trip to northern California and part of Oregon.  Want to follow along in the planning process?  I could sure use your help.  In exchange, I will share with you my strategy for planning our trip.

Honestly, it’s not always easy working around the schedules of your kids.  I had to work around one taking a college class in summer school, one joining the Navy, and one heavy into football conditioning.  Anyway, we finally found dates that work and have booked our airfare.  Are any of you guilty of planning last-minute vacations?  We knew we would take one this summer;  we always do.  The when and where is what we didn’t know.

We threw around several ideas, but only one was a place we could make work at this late date.  So, we decided to fly to San Francisco and then do an old-fashioned road-trip north up to Oregon to see Crater Lake.  As of now I have my dates, I know how long we will be traveling and I know some of our top places to visit.  My next order of business is to map out a rough plan of which places we will visit on which day.


Have you ever undertaken this task?  What’s your plan of attack?  Here’s how I do it.  First, I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.  So, I do nothing.  I freeze in a state of uncertainty.  This lasts a good 24 hours.  Then the Pinterest hunt begins so that I can start gathering information and advice.

Typically the Pinterest phase fills me with plenty of places to see and stay, but I still have no real idea of how to lay it all out.  Now, is when I call in the big guns.  I take a trip to my local bookstore. Old-fashioned, right?  I buy an actual travel book that I can use to lay out our itinerary and make a list of places to see.  Here’s the one I am using for this trip.

Planning a family road trip requires some effort. Here's how I do it.


I also found some good resources at here, here, and here.  In case you need this info as well, I pinned a few other travel things here.  Feel free to follow the board.

With a little “research” I’ve determined that our plan will be to  tour San Francisco on day 1 and then drive north on Hwy 5 (I think) and overnight along the way.  Our ultimate destination heading north is Crater Lake in Oregon.  From there we will head to the Oregon coast and Hwy 1.  We will travel south heading back toward San Francisco and make stops to see the Red Woods, the lost coast, and other sites.  It’s like a big loop. Our last day before flying home will be spent in San Francisco again.  Now, I just need to fill each day with a location.

Here’s what I’d love to hear from you…where must we stop?  What are the great places to stay?  Are there any places I should avoid?  Tourist traps?  There’s so much to see and do in that area.  I know there is no way to see it all in one week.  I can already tell we will have to take multiple trips to get it all in.  Leave me a comment below with any advice or tips you have for our great American road trip.

Until next time~



  1. San Francisco is wow I was there in late 2016 and we had a road trip but with a jeep and seriously it was a mind blowing experience 🙂

    1. Author

      Oh my goodness, that’s great to hear. I am super excited about this trip. Thanks for telling me.

  2. Hi, you should join our community of globetrotting parents. It is a very active Facebook group called Club Bebe Voyage and we are more than 5000 parents who share tips on family friendly hotels, travel destinations, gear & co.

    Loved reading your article. I have never visited the Westcoast of the US, but it is high on my agenda.

    1. Author

      Thanks Jules. I will definitely check out the FB group. Sounds great. Thanks so much for visiting today. Stay tuned because I will definitely post after our trip.

  3. We traveled Highway 101 along the Oregon coast last summer and it.was.awesome! We loved our stay in Seaside, beach living is where it’s at! We had fun in the evenings digging a hole at the beach, building a fire, making s’mores, and watching the sunset! Cannon Beach was another highlight of our trip! Your family will enjoy it for sure!

    1. Author

      Thanks Jen. I appreciate the pointers. Sounds like we’re doing the same road trip. I will check out those little beach towns you mentioned. So glad you stopped by today.

  4. In a way, planning the trip is half the fun! Also — putting time and effort into good planning helps to ensure that the trip will be enjoyable and not problematic. Thank you for linking up at The Blogger’s Pit Stop Link Party. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

  5. Vacations can be so overwhelming! We usually visit the same place pretty often (Jackson Hole, WY) so planning is much easier!! Good luck planning and HAVE FUN! Can’t wait to read about it! Thanks for sharing at Mama Blog Monday! Hope to see you back! 🙂

  6. If you want to go to Alcatraz make reservations ahead of time as it does sell out. Muir Woods is delightful and very popular. Honestly there are so many great things to do. You will have a joyous time no matter what you choose.

    1. Author

      Thanks Elise. I know we will. You’re right. There’s so much to see and do. It will be great no matter what. Stay tuned because I’ll share details soon.

  7. I have gone to the Oregon coast twice and its breathtaking. Its is a tourist trap but I really enjoyed the Sea Lion Caves, I went both times. Otherwise the beaches are wonderful. If its the right time of year its not impossible to have one all to yourself.

    I am sure your family will have an amazing vacation. I hope you post about it when you get back.

  8. That sounds like a great road trip! I’ve been to California, but never further north on the West Coast. It seems like a beautiful area. 🙂

    1. Author

      Yes, I think it will be. We are really excited to see a new part(for us) of the country. Thanks so much for visiting.

  9. That sounds incredible. We haven’t had a holiday for the last few years but i am praying next year will be the time! #twinklytuesday

    1. Author

      Well, I sure hope it will be. I’ll be sure to let you know after we get back. Thanks for stopping by today.

  10. Planning and imagining is half the fun. The California coast is filled with so many wonderful things. Have fun!

    1. Author

      We will. You’re right, there’s so much to see and do. I’ll make sure to let you know what we do.

  11. Just had a bit of a road trip with our two small kids. It was fun! I have never been to the rest coast of the US despite having family there but it all looks fab. Enjoy! #fortheloveofBLOG

  12. We’ve never visited the west coast USA but I would love to go someday. I’ll look out for a post once you’ve done it with your locations x

  13. This sounds like a brilliant trip, and I know how overwhelming it can feel planning a holiday, especially when you have many people to please. Have a great holiday, and thanks for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    1. Author

      Thanks so much. We were just thinking this trip has a little something for everyone. Make sure to come back. I’ll be updating after we return.

  14. My husband and I are planning a West Coast trip for next year. We live in Texas and plan to fly to San Francisco and drive along the coast to Seattle. It will be a 9 – 10 day trip. We will fly home from Seattle. I would love to hear any suggestions or pointers you have for us! I just pinned several of your trip pins. I hope you had a fantastic trip!

    1. Author

      Jodie, I was just working on another trip post. Keep watching, they’ll be coming soon. I’m going to share what we did, the route, and pics. We had a wonderful trip and that part of the country is stunning. You will have a great time. Add your name to my email list so that you don’t miss any of the trip posts. 🙂 So glad you stopped by today.

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