Ready for a great family road trip or a long distance flight? No matter where the road takes you, if the trip is longer than an hour you will, probably, hear lots of complaining if you travel with kids. So what do you do to entertain your family and keep your sanity? I always have some great family trip movies on hand.
What are the best family road trip movies? In my mind those are the movies that actually tell a story about a road trip, a family vacation or may be just a memorable trip that keeps your kids happy for about 1,5 – 2 hours. Those are the movies that are great to watch with the entire family even off the road and have some laughs together.
Below is my list of 20 best family trip movies that we love. This article may include affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I use this money to support the blog and bring more interesting and helpful information to my readers.
Best family trip movies for younger kids
To me the story of “Cars” is the ultimate family road trip movie because it takes place along the iconic Route 66 that goes from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. The movie depicts many landmarks of the Mother Road, as Route 66 often being referred to. “Cars” is a story of adventures of one fancy racing car stuck in a small town along Route 66, which he hates at first, that is before he makes friends and falls in love with the place. This movie s great for a Southwest family road trip.
2. Finding Nemo / Finding Dory
“Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory” are both great family trip type movies, but out of the two I prefer Finding Dory for a family road trip because it shows the real California landmark that we love – Monterey Bay Aquarium located in the town of Monterey along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway. “Finding Dory” is a story of a funny and forgetful tropical fish from the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef that gets captured by humans and the plight of her true friends to find her. This is a perfect movie for a Pacific Coast Highway family road trip.
“Up” has got to be one of my most favorite movies of all times, not just family trip movies. And, of course, this story is about a trip, a travel dream that finally turns into reality. Two unlikely companions: an old gentlemen and a boy scout, travel to South America in a house pulled up by balloons. It is a heartwarming story that our whole family loves.
4. Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
The title of this movie already hints that is an “incredible” family trip movie. It is incredible in many respects: from the great scenery to unending adventures to the fact that it is a story of a furry family journey – two dogs and a cat, trying to reunite with their human family. This movie is perfect for a family road trip in Sierra Nevada mountains since this is where the main characters travel.
The next few movies on this list of best family trip movies take you on fun adventures in various exotic locations around the world. Adventures cannot get more outlandish and exotic as the ones taking place in “Madagascar” movies. When 4 friends from New York’s Central Park Zoo (a zebra, a lion, a hippo and a giraffe) unexpectedly find themselves in Africa it makes for a very unpredictable trip scenario.
The dreams of travel to South America in general and Brazil specifically come true in the Rio movies. Fun, unique, with some unexpected twists, these movies follow the lives and love stories of two humans and two parrots. Add some cool upbeat Latin music and you get an great movie for any family trip. The second movie in the series is more focused on the “family” aspect.
Who doesn’t like a family trip to Hawaii? I mean, seriously! You just cannot go wrong with this movie. Granted, the trip that a certain Hawaiian princess and a demi-God (who knew that there was such a thing?) take together to save the Hawaiian Islands is not on the road but on (in, under) the Pacific Ocean but this makes this whole family travel movie so much more exciting.
8. Hotel Transylvania 3
Vampires and other monsters have families too and they need a vacation from time to time, like the rest of us. And when they need a vacation they decide to take a family trip together. If you are a fan of Hotel Transylvania characters then you will love their crazy adventures on a cruise ship with all their kids, relatives and friends. Even though it is the third installment in the series it has not lost its one of a kind humor and quirky charm which makes it a hilarious family travel movie.
9. Alvin and the Chipmunks Chipwrecked
This is another cruise ship based movie. Well, it starts on the cruise ship but then, due to some mishaps, the chipmunks crew finds itself on a (seemingly) deserted island. May be in our eyes the chipmunks’ music band is not technically a “family” but I have a feeling they might disagree with you. In any case it is funny family trip movie that will definitely keep your little ones glued to the screen.
10. The Croods
The journey that the Croods make in this movie is the most hilarious of them all. Three generations of the Croods family are forced to take a trip together into the unknown to safe themselves from some wild cataclysms that were happening on the planet thousands of years ago. If you think traveling with a bunch of kids is a recipe for a hilarious disaster, add an opinionated grandma to the mix and some very wild pets and you got yourself a perfect family trip movie.
11. Ice Age: Continental Drift
This movie definitely has two main components to firmly put it on the list of my favorite family road trip movies: families and an incredible trip. May be not a conventional family, and not a conventional trip but what makes this movie one of the best family road trip movies is the fact that it sheds light on all the calamities of traveling as a family: from dealing with teenagers seeking independence to keeping a vigilant eye on elderly relatives who may also get into trouble from time to time.
Best family trip movies for older kids and teens
“RV” is my most favorite family travel movie featuring Chicago to Colorado road trip. If the title of it is not enough of a giveaway, it a quintessential family road trip movie with all the laughs and troubles and unexpected surprises of a good old family vacation. Robin Williams shines, as usual, in the title role and the supporting cast is splendid as well. It makes me want to rent an RV and travel across the country.
13. National Lampoon’s Vacation
You either love or hate the National Lampoon’s. There is no middle ground. Our family belongs to their fan club and so we don’t spend a vacation when we don’t watch one of the National Lampoons’ vacation adventures, be it in the U.S. or in Europe. The original movie “National Lampoon’s Vacation” is the perfect family road trip movie that takes you on a journey from Chicago to California with lots of curiosities and calamities in between.
14. Mr. Bean’s Holiday
If you like peculiar British humor and Mr. Bean in particular then you will enjoy this fun family travel movie. Mr. Bean does not have a family but in a manner only known to Mr. Bean, he manages to turn a solo train trip to Cannes, France into a hitchhiking/road trip with a child, who is not even HIS. Let’s put it this way: you can safely call Mr. Bean Britain’s National Lampoon.
15. The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors is an excellent family trip movie because it not only has the regular “family + trip” formula, it has camping and obnoxious in-laws added into the mix. A big dysfunctional family at the heart of the movie and some wild outdoors misfortunes guarantee you lots of laughs. This is a perfect movie for a family road trip in Wisconsin because this is where all the action takes place.
16. Cheaper by the Dozen 2
If you think taking a vacation with 2, 3, 4 kids is hard – try 12! This is yet another great family trip movie taking place in Wisconsin. There is not much of a road trip per say in this movie as the family spends most of their vacation in a house on a lake but there is LOTs of interpersonal relationship issues since there are fourteen different personalities in this family and the parents need to balance everybody’s wants and needs. Oh, and did I mention that there is also a healthy competition with another big family going on here?
17. Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties
Cat lovers – you are in for a great treat! Dog lovers – you will definitely have a laugh too. This movie is about traveling with your pet abroad and not just A pet, a smirky, cynical but very smart TALKING cat (Garfield) and trusting, loving but NOT TALKING dog (Odie). The action takes place in the UK and who would have thought that there is Garfield’s “identical twin” on the British Isles? It is one of the best comedic family travel movies that I have seen and hence, it earned its place on my list of best family trip movies.
18. Around the World in 80 Days
“Around the World in 80 Days” showcases a perfect adventure for your family road trip movie list. It is based on a classic novel by Jules Verne. If you can read the book as well – do it, it is so much more than the movie. But the movie in itself is a very good travel companion. There is no classic “family” aspect to it per say, but definitely LOTS of travel, surprises, humor and martial arts by incomparable Jackie Chan.
Best family trip movies for holiday travel
19. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
In my mind there is no better movie for a family trip during Christmas time than Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. It is a holiday staple, there is just no Christmas without it. Parents all around the world can relate to the conundrum of holiday travel. Though not all of us would lose a child in transit, most of us are very close to losing our heads during this time of year. This is a hilarious Christmas movie classic comedy that you would want to watch every year.
And if you are looking for a fantastic Christmas vacation itinerary – I have a bunch on my blog.