Road Trips with Adults, Kids and Retired Parents

Road Trips with Adults, Kids and Retired Parents

Taking a journey by car when the kids are adults and the parents are retired is a magical experience

Vacation days are precious for Americans. Choosing not to use them at all is a travesty, but you want to ensure you’re maximizing that time off.

Young adults often either skip vacation time to climb the ladder or instead escape on grand adventures around the world. But the most precious memories aren’t found through Instagram filters at the Seven Wonders, they’re made on long car rides filled with snacks, songs and stories.

We’re all familiar with the family road trip refrain: Are we there yet? But there’s something hilarious about that whine coming from the mouth of a 67-year-old. Yes, it’s true, everyone can tire of a long car ride … even retired adults.

All ages can enjoy exploring the desert landscapes at Tucson’s Tanque Verde Guest Ranch.

All ages can enjoy exploring the desert landscapes at Tucson’s Tanque Verde Guest Ranch. Photo courtesy of Laurie Mink

But taking a road trip with your family is an American tradition. We thrive on extensive landscapes and arriving at destinations on our own timeframe. It’s something in the lifeblood of all Americans, harkening back to unfamiliar journeys and the promise of the horizon.

However, family road trips aren’t just for those with young kids. Of course, it’s ideal to show the young ones more of their own country and to explore national parks to teach invaluable lessons in conservation. Yet there’s something that goes even deeper when you take a family road trip as adult kids and parents of retirement age.

Roles can be reversed and costs shared; destinations can be determined together and activities can be as simple as sitting around talking over a cold beer and a campfire.

There’s no need to keep kids entertained during this type of trip. You can relax and unwind, spending precious time just being together. And that’s the truly incredible part of these types of trips: the destination actually doesn’t matter at all.

Being in a car together for hours on end, playing music and singing along through the decades, or just chatting away and commenting on the scenery can be a wonderful experience.

North Carolina’s Outer Banks offers pristine beaches, historic sites and a wealth of fun outdoor activities. Photo courtesy of Nancy Schretter

North Carolina’s Outer Banks offers pristine beaches, historic sites and a wealth of fun outdoor activities.

These undisturbed hours together in a confined space are precious because they are so rare.

How often do you sit together now without phones in hand? Who doesn’t answer an email or post to Instagram while having a conversation with family?

These are aspects of our daily life that we seem unable to change. But a long car ride forces us back to simplicity. There’s no WiFi here. There are only so many times you can refresh Instagram during an eight-hour journey.

The distractions finally fade and the reality of family life shows itself again: We share unbreakable bonds and deserve to share unforgettable moments together.

When was the last time you actually sat together for hours, simply relishing in each other’s conversation and unique characteristics? With adult children, these memories are much different than the years of bickering and throwing toys in the backseat. Instead, these road trips are filled with sharing memories and delving deeper into each other’s lives.

Perhaps it’s the understanding that time and ability are limited as parents age. Or perhaps it’s the option of shared responsibility and leveling the playing field that is so appealing.

Whatever it is, taking a journey by car as a family when the kids are adults and the parents are retired is a magical experience.

Put those retired parents in the backseat so the kids can drive and navigate … it makes for an adventure none of you will soon forget.


Amanda Walkins

Amanda Walkins

Amanda Walkins is a digital content strategist and freelance travel writer. Originally from the Boston area, she has lived in 6 other countries and loves creating connections in communities around the world. She shares insights into her expat life and adventures overseas on www.amandawalkins.com.