Top 5 Road Trip Car Games

I believe it was the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, or maybe it was Clark W. Griswold who once said, “Getting there is half the fun, you know thaaaaat.”


The stops between definitely help break up the monotony of road trip driving, but there are better ways to stay entertained than looking at weird roadside attractions. I’m sure you’ve spent time making great playlists to either keep your energy up or to show off your singing skills. But even music can get boring, so what else is there? How about the five best road trip car games you can play? Check em out.

Mad Libs

Mad Libs, in my opinion, are way underrated. Because the best thing about this game is that you can play a good clean version if you’re on a family trip, or you can play a less PG version if you’re just on a road trip with your best friends. Either way, Mad Libs are an easy way to get your mind off the dullness of watching cornfields as you drive by them. If everyone is creative enough and willing to participate, the goofiness can keep you laughing until the next rest stop. You can even prepare by writing your own stories or find free activities online.

  • If you have a decent number of people, you can play a somewhat related game called “exquisite corpse” (sorry, involves writing so the driver can only listen!). In this game, the first player writes a sentence and hands it to the next person who then writes another sentence that is either related to the one before, or not. After that, you fold the paper so that only the previous sentence is showing and keep going around until you run out of paper or the story naturally ends. Then you read aloud and laugh out loud. Try it!

Slug Bug (aka Punch Buggy)

This game is maybe not so much for families. Although, how can you stop two dueling brothers in a battle for sibling domination in the backseat? There’s only so many times a mom or dad can yell, “I’ll turn this car around right now!”

Side note: My dad tried to get my brother and me to stop playing by waving his mini umbrella at us while driving. All he did was rip a hole in the sky-blue fabric of his Plymouth Reliant.

Anyhow, slug bug rules are simple. The first person that sees a Volkswagen Beetle and calls it gets to “slug” the opposing player in the arm. After that, any sub-rules are at the discretion of the participants. Some insist on a swift hit within five seconds or you forfeit the slugging. Some might need a ref to ascertain who said it first. Unnecessary or unwarranted slugs might end the game early, or start a new game where faces are now the target. Don’t lose control of a fun game of observation and attention to detail. It might be best to avoid driving by Volkswagen dealerships since it’ll be an all-out slug-bug-fest. Oh, and sorry drivers, you can’t participate in this one. Safety should be your number one goal. Plus, you don’t get hit, so you’re always a winner.

License Plate Game

Be prepared because this game should last the entirety of the trip. The goal is to find as many of the 50 states as possible (and maybe even some Canadian provinces, too). This can be a team effort, or it can be competitive where the person who spots it first gets credit. Also within the license plate game, since you’re looking, you can also make up fun games about what the license plates mean. For instance, if it says EAC-2472, then someone can make up a meaning like, “Eat Awesome Chocolate 24 hours a day 7 days a week for 2 lifetimes.” Sorry, it appears I’m terrible at this game. Let’s play another…

Would You Rather

With at least two players or teams and taking turns, someone asks, “Would you rather…?” and provides two situations to choose from. They can be funny and wacky, philosophical, or just straightforward and serious. If you and I were playing now, I’d ask you would you rather have a car that could fly or a set of tires that never wear down? I don’t know about you, but I love driving, but that’s just me. What do you say?

Who’s the Wiz?

Admittedly, this game is completely made up. My friends and I used to drive from Cleveland to Chicago a lot and we always played this game. It’s even better with a longer trip since I once made that 5-hour trip to Chicago on one tank of gas and zero stops. So here’s how it works: each person in the car starts off with the same beverage as soon as the car starts rolling. You all have to finish the drink in under five minutes. Then, you can have as little or as much to drink as you like (or dare). But the first person that asks for a bathroom stop has to pay for the snacks for the rest of the riders. I remember things getting very competitive in those rides to the point of shouting just to have the strength to hold it in. Even using strategies like opening windows in the middle of winter to take your mind off your bladder. Yeah, it’s a little bit of a masochistic game, but it’s all in good fun. But keep an eye out for cheaters with empty water bottles!

So those are RightTurn’s top road trip games. Let us know what you like to play on your road trips. Tell us in the comments section, and don’t forget to check out our road trip destinations series as well!