We’ll be heading out on vacation to the East Coast soon, which means we’ll have a 13-hour drive to tackle. If you’re wondering why we’d subject ourselves to such a long trip, well, my parents moved to the beach when we moved to Memphis…so we have a permanent vacation spot now AND both of our families live close by so when we go home, we also get to catch up with family we don’t see often.
I’m also really excited because this is the second year in a row where the girls and I get to stay for an extended trip, which means we get lots of beach days and fun spending time with Nana + Pop. But first, the road trip there. Not gonna lie – it seems daunting. However, we did it the whole drive in one day back in March and all went smoothly. There are just several things you need to have on hand for kids and the most important is, of course, road-trip snacks.
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While I prefer to keep our snacks healthy (check out this post for some great grown-up snack ideas!), I also pick my battles when it comes to entertaining young kids for a 13+ hour drive. That means they might eat more and slightly little less healthy food than usual, but if they’re happy, we’re all happy and that’s important when you’re stuck in the car together for so long! I wanted to share some of my favorite road-trip snacks for kids in case you need some inspiration.
My Favorite Road-Trip Snacks for Kids
- Pre-Cut Strawberries
- Orange Slices
- Animal Crackers
- Plantain Chips
- Carrots + Hummus
- String Cheese
- Trail Mix (Recipe here)
- Applesauce Pouches
- Yogurt Pouches
- Kid’s Clif Bars
- Yogurt Melts (for babies and young toddlers)
- Graham Crackers
- Turkey Deli Meat
- Healthy Mini Muffins (we like to make Avocado Banana Muffins)
- Apple Slices
- Bean + Cheese Quesadillas
- Dried Fruit
- Boiled Eggs
- Tortilla Chips
Obviously some of these ideas for road-trip snacks are a little more messy than others, so it really depends on your child’s age and how much you can trust them to hold onto certain foods. We stick with dry options mostly (avoiding things like hummus) since my girls are a little young!
How I Pack Road-Trip Snacks
I found our method from our Spring road trip worked nicely, so we’ll be doing it again. Here are a few helpful pointers for making snacking easy in the car:
- Prep things like sandwiches ahead of time. I made ours just before we went to bed the night before and wrapped the sandwich in a paper towel before putting it in a bag to help avoid sogginess.
- Use lunchboxes instead of a cooler. If you are short on space and don’t have room for an actual cooler, grab you or your kids’ lunch bags, add an ice pack and put the things that need to be kept cold inside. We did this with the girls’ yogurt, fruit, string cheese and our turkey sandwiches.
- Put snack foods in clear Ziploc bags and label them. I used gallon bags because I wanted to have enough snacks for the drive there and back home, but you could also use sandwich bags. I used a Sharpie to write what was in the bag.
- Keep cleaning essentials handy. Inevitably, there will be messes! I put a whole roll of paper towels in the car within reach to use when needed. I also like to keep a pack of baby wipes nearby (which is necessary for diaper changes anyways).
- Pack your snacks and drinks behind the driver seat. We put a case of bottled water directly behind the driver side seat so I (the front-seat passenger) could easily reach back and grab one for any of us at any time. I also packed up our snacks in a reusable shopping bag that I could access while we were on the road. Trust me, you’ll want to be able to grab anything your kids could want easily to avoid whining. Ask me how I know. 🙂
- Bring the kids’ snack and water cups. If you don’t have these snack cups for your young kids, you need to get them ASAP! Especially for a road trip to avoid unnecessary spills. Also, we like these leakproof cups for water and they’re super easy to refill while we’re on the road.
If you’re heading out on a road trip soon, I hope you’ll find these road-trip snack ideas helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have any other fun tips or packing hacks for long drives!