1. Categories. One person picks a category (ex: Britney Spear’s songs, NFL teams, flavors of La Croix) and everyone takes turns naming something in that category until someone (the loser) is stumped.
2. Alphabet. Take turns going through the alphabet. Each player must find the next letter either on something in the car (like the stereo screen) or license plates, or road signs.
3. Guess the song. Turn the radio on or put your Spotify/CD player on shuffle. Whoever can shout out the name of the song first, wins. (Be sure to cover you your radio screen if it says the song names as they play).
4. Truth or Car-Contained Dare. A game of truth or dare where all the dares must be something that can be accomplished (safely) in the car.
5. Deep Questions. Find a long list of good questions to get to know someone and work your way through them. You’ll learn a lot about everyone in the car.
6. Going on a Picnic. This is a story memory game where someone says “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring….” and then lists an item. The next person begins I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to bring….” and must list the first person’s item before adding their own item. The list grows and grows and the first person to not be able to correctly list all the items is the loser (or out, if you have enough people to play in elimination rounds).
7. I Spy. The road trip classic. One person says “I spy with my little eye…. something” and then vaguely describes something they see, like “I spy something red”. The other players take turn asking yes or no questions until they can guess what the item is.
8. Story. One person says a word that begins a story. Take turns adding one word onto the story and see where it ends up!
9. The License Plate Game. Interpret the letters in each license plate you pass. For instance, REG could stand for “Ron eats garbage” and CSB could be “Claire smells bad”.
10. Would You Rather. Play an epic game of Would You Rather. Try to stump the other person with the weirdest or most difficult questions you can come up with (or find online).
11. 6 Degrees of Separation. Pick two people in the world and try to connect them in 6 people or less.
12. Scavenger Hunt. Before you leave prepare a list of common things you’d see along the road: cows, a mileage sign, a motorcycle, a barn, a police car, an RV, etc. You can personalize it if you know the route well. Each person tries to check off as many of the scavenger hunt items as they spot.
13. The License Plate Game. Try to find a license plate from every state. Or, try to find a license plate that begins with each letter of the alphabet. Or, see who can spot a license plate from the farthest away place — whoever calls it first gets the credit!
14. Rhyme. One person picks a word and everyone has to go around saying a word that rhymes with it. The first person to be stumped or to repeat a word loses.
15. Rule. Everyone in the car gets to make one nonsense rule, like “every time we go under a bridge everyone needs to bark like a dog” or “whenever I put my hat on everyone has to touch the roof of the car”. Every time a rule is enforced everyone but the last person to catch on gains a point. Whoever has the least points when you get to your destination loses.
16. Celebrity. One person plays the character of a famous person and answers questions as if they were that person. Whoever guesses correctly first wins.
17. Name That Song. One person says a popular song lyric in a completely deadpan voice and the other passengers must guess the song. It’s surprisingly difficult to guess something recognizable without the accompanying music.
18. Best Drive I Ever Had. Each time you get in the car, after you get onto a main road whoever is the first person to remember to say “BEST DRIVE I EVER HAD” wins. This is trickier than it seems and turns each car ride into something a little more exciting.
19. The Quiet Game. Everyone sees how long they can be quiet, whoever speaks the first loses. (This is an especially fun game to play with kids when you need a little downtime).
20. The Movie Game. One person says the name of an actor and the next person must name a movie that actor has been in. The next player must name another actor who starred in that same movie. The next player must say another movie that actor was in, and so on.
21. Punch Buggy. Every time you see a Volkswagon Beetle, the first person to see it gets to punch someone else in the arm.
22. People Watching. Find a vehicle that you can watch for a few minutes traveling on the road near you. Make up a story about the people in the car. What are their names? What do they do for employment? What kind of pets do they have? The sillier and more detailed the story, the better.
23. Never Have I Ever. Everyone holds up 5 fingers and takes turns naming something they haven’t done (“Never have I ever mowed a lawn”, “Never have I ever been to Wyoming”). Whoever folds all their fingers first loses.
24. Kiss Marry Kill. Take turns listing three people living, dead, or fictional. Everyone has to pick who they would choose to kiss, marry, and kill. Try to stump everyone else in the car.
25. Superlatives. Take turns coming up with real and imagined high school superlatives like “Most likely to succeed” “Most likely to fall in love with a rock star” “Most likely to grow up and become a dolphin trainer” and everyone in the car must point to the person who the title fits most closely.
26. Opportunity Corner. Every time there’s a tight turn where you feel your body shifting a little bit shout “Opportunity Corner!” and use it as an excuse to quickly snuggle with the person next to you.
27. Rock Paper Scissors. The perfect car game because no supplies are needed. Up the stakes by placing bets on the winners or keeping score throughout a Rock Paper Scissor tournament.
28. The Compliment Game. Go through the alphabet and use each letter to say a compliment about someone else in the car. For example, “A is for Rachel’s asymmetrical haircut” “B is for how beautiful Laura is”.
29. Spelling Bee. Have someone play the judge and look up hard to spell words on their phone. The players need to spell the words to win or lose.
30. Harry Potter Spelling Bee. For a fun twist, play Spelling Bee using words from a TV show or book or movie series everyone in the car enjoys. It can be a Game of Thrones spelling bee, a Lord of the Rings spelling bee, or a Grey’s Anatomy medical terms spelling bee.
32. Car Bingo. Come up with a list of vehicle types that everyone will be searching for. The first person to cross every car off their list wins!