Wendy and her family are big road-trip fans and have become experts on sussing out the stops that elevate any old long drive into a memorable adventure. Here are three things they suggest always stopping for on a road trip.
Don’t miss Wendy’s full list of 15 ingenious road-trip hacks over on TripAdvisor.
Quirky attractions advertised on billboards
State fairs and world’s largest anything are the sorts of attractions you’d expect to find advertised on the highway (and those are worth stopping for as well), but keep your eyes peeled for unexpected or goofy-sounding sites too. Wendy’s kids spotted a sign for OstrichLand USA in California and are still talking about feeding the oversized birds.
Full parking lots in the middle of nowhere
If you’re driving on a lonely road and suddenly encounter a lot packed with cars, investigate! The locals are probably onto something you’d have had a hard time finding out about as a drive-through tourist: say a pancake breakfast, outdoor concert, firemen’s carnival, or wildlife spotting. Wendy’s clan saw a packed rest stop on California’s Highway 1, and when they got out to see what all the hoopla was, they found a herd of elephant seals playing on the beach.
Small-town picnic spots
Not only is it an adventure to browse unfamiliar supermarkets for regional foods and brands, but a grocery-store stop is also a smart way to save money on lunch. Pick up food for a picnic, then look for a town square, park, or scenic spot where you can refuel while you people-watch or meet other local families. Wendy always packs a soccer ball so her boys can run off energy or start pick-up games with other kids they meet. See the rest of her road trip packing essentials here.
For more road trip intel, see Wendy’s series at TripAdvisor: How to Plan the Ultimate Road Trip Itinerary, Packing List: Essential Gear for a Road Trip, How to Make Family Road Trips Fun and Stress-Free; and 15 Simple Hacks to Make Any Road Trip Better.