7 Great Road Trips for Home-School Families
If you’re a homeschooling family, you know that the world is your kids’ classroom. These seven great road trips offer you a chance to learn and explore, while also having some family fun.
San Diego to Los Angeles: Lions, Tigers and Animal Lessons
With the promise of sunny weather most days of the year and a chance to visit beaches up and down the coast, this Southern California itinerary is perfect for families. While you’re enjoying that sunshine, you can immerse your kids in the study of animals at some of the nation’s top zoos.
Virtual Classroom: The San Diego Zoo offers two of the best locations in the world to get up close with all kinds of animals. See the Giant Panda at the more traditional zoo in Balboa Park, and then on your way to L.A. stop at the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo Safari Park, to take a jeep safari tour and feed giraffes. The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach has 19 different habitats to explore.
Baltimore to Williamsburg: American History 101
From the Revolutionary War to the War of 1812 to the Civil War, this drive from Baltimore, Maryland, to Williamsburg, Virginia, offers a chance to visit many eras of American history.
Virtual Classroom: Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine in Baltimore is the site of the bombardment that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner.” Stop in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and see four Civil War battle sites. Virtually the entire city of Williamsburg is a living history museum, offering a chance to immerse your kids in American 18th-century life.
Milwaukee to Madison: Ecology Primer
Wisconsin is home to more than 15,000 lakes, so it’s not surprising that Milwaukee and Madison give families a chance to walk or bike along the shorelines, as well as opportunities to learn about the ecology of the region.
Virtual Classroom: The Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee has nature trails and a climbing wall. Discovery World on the shores of Lake Michigan offers loads of hands-on science exhibits and a huge scale model of all five Great Lakes. In Madison, the University of Wisconsin Arboretum also has hiking and biking trails and 11 gardens representing different plant communities of southern Wisconsin.
Dallas to San Antonio: Focus on the Lone Star State
Texans are proud of their rich history, and this road trip gives families a chance to learn all about it in detail while enjoying some fantastic Tex-Mex food along the way.
Virtual Classroom: See what life was like for ordinary Texans in the late 19th century at Dallas Heritage Village, where Victorian homes and commercial buildings from across North Texas have been assembled and preserved. Get the comprehensive story of Texas at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, and then hit the road to see The Alamo live and in-person once you arrive in San Antonio.
Boston to Portland, Maine: Views of Great Art
These two coastal New England cities both offer the chance to do some art exploration with your kids — a great back-up plan in the (likely) event of some New England rain.
Virtual Classroom: The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a large collection spanning the ancient world to the present and offers Art Connections Cards to help you and your children explore together. Be sure to look at some of the MFA’s many Winslow Homer paintings, because the Portland Museum of Art offers tours of his house and the views of the sea that he made famous for kids ages seven and up.
Seattle to Portland, Oregon: By Air and Sea
What’s better to learn about on a road trip than transportation? These two Pacific Northwest cities give families the ability to get up close and personal with everything from boats to planes.
Virtual Classroom: The Museum of Flight has planes from the entire history of aviation including a Concorde and the original Air Force One. Or take a working locks tour, and you’ll not only see the city by boat, but will learn about how the locks function in a working harbor. In Portland, visit the Oregon Maritime Museum, which is located inside a docked steamboat, and take a cruise on the last operating stern wheel steam tug in the United States.
Orlando to Fort Myers: Nature Up Close
We all know Orlando, Florida, for its wealth of famous theme parks.But once you’ve had your share of rides and entertainment, a road trip from Central to Gulf Coast Florida offers a chance to explore a nature lover’s paradise.
Virtual Classroom: Take a boat tour of the swamps near Kissimmee — you might just see an alligator. Kayak one of the water trails in Fort Myers, and encounter manatees up close. Or visit the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which has a hands-on education center and tram tours offering a chance to see thousands of migrating boards.