Texas Travel

Road Trip Games for Your Next Journey Across Texas

By Peter Simek 11.24.21

Long drives through even the most beautiful scenery can grow tedious after a while — especially for the younger set. Try out some of these great road trip car games the next time you inevitably start to hear, “Are we there yet?”

The Name Game

The secret of a good road trip car game is simplicity, and this one couldn’t be simpler. Start by naming a well-known person or character. The next player must come up with a name of a well-known individual whose first name starts with the first letter of the previous individual’s last name.

For example, if the driver says, “Brad Pitt,” the person in the passenger’s seat may say, “Paul Rudd,” and the next could say “RuPaul.” (In the RuPaul example, mononyms serve as both the first and last name, and the order reverses, with “R” as the letter, as in the examples below.)

Anytime someone picks a person whose first and last name begin with the same letter, the order is reversed. For example, if someone says “Lindsay Lohan,” the previous player goes again and may say “Leon Bridges.” To raise the stakes, set a time limit on coming up with a new name. Anyone who takes too much time is out, and the last player standing wins.

While You Were Sleeping

This is a game of opportunity. Once one of your passengers has fallen asleep, the game is on!

While they’re sleeping, the awake passengers make up a story to tell the sleeping passenger when they wake up. It could be about something that “happened” while they were sleeping (like that they missed a mountain lion crossing the road) or about anything (like did you ever hear about when Bigfoot was actually discovered?). When the sleeping passenger wakes up, the goal of the game is to convince them to believe the story. But there are stakes!

Anyone who breaks character while telling the story loses a point. Anyone who goes off script (making up things that weren’t agreed upon), another player can challenge them by asking, “Are you sure?” The person who went off script is silenced and loses two points.

If the storytellers can convince the sleeping passenger that the story is true, then each storyteller wins three points. If the sleeping passenger sniffs out the ruse, they steal all the other players’ points.

This game works especially well on really long rides when many passengers are likely to doze off from time to time.

Cows on My Side

Turn the monotonous landscape into a gameboard by giving passengers points for being the first to spot farm animals. If they see a cow, that’s one point. If they see a herd of 50 cows, that’s 50 points. You can also assign different animals different points: For example, horses are worth three points, sheep are worth 10, and deer are worth 50. The person with the most points at the end of the drive wins. But there’s a twist: The first person to spot a cemetery “buries” all the other players’ animals — and their points along with them.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

This game works best with a little pre-trip preparation. Create a list of things you might see along the road: types of trees, models of cars, common road signs, wildlife or livestock, names of destinations, flags, etc. The first passenger to check off every item on their list is the winner! (This game also works great when organized like bingo.)

The Alphabet Game

Similar to a scavenger hunt, the alphabet game is about looking for words on signs, bumper stickers, and other things outside of the car. The order is, of course, alphabetical, working your way from A to Z. (For instance, someone may see the mileage to Alpine and then the turn off for Buc-ee’s.) You can play this competitively, with each player keeping track of their own list of 26 words (no repeats!) until they reach Z, or as a team.

When the gang is burned out on road trip car games and there are still miles to go, switch on the stereo to play our ultimate Texas playlist.

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