Are We There Yet?

As I write this post, I’m sitting in a vacation home on Cape Cod. I can see, hear and smell the ocean through the open windows. It’s been an amazing week, and as much as I love my life in Iowa City, I’m sad our trip is winding down.

One of the things that make our family vacations so special is that we almost always drive. I know it may not sound appealing to load up a van with five kids and haul them across the country, but in addition to being cost-effective (seven coach tickets to anywhere is a small fortune) driving can be an enriching adventure for the entire family. And while sometimes flying is necessary due to time constraints, the open road allows you to actually see and experience this great country of ours as opposed to jetting over it.

Here’s how road-tripping can turn the journey into an exciting part of your vacation instead of just a means to an end:


On this trip alone, our kids have ventured through seven different states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut.) and we’ve passed though the capital of four of those states. We’ve seen Lake Eerie and marveled at the beautiful, hilly landscape rolling by.

At the start of our trip, we would often encourage the kids to put away their devices and look out the window. They’ve now become seasoned sightseers, asking questions about various cities, states and landmarks. Their questions have spurred interesting family discussions about the history and geography of our country.


Driving also allows us the flexibility to stop and start as we please, taking in various landmarks along the way. On our way to Cape Cod we stopped at Niagara Falls and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, and on the way home we’re planning a visit to Gettysburg.

Hotel Pools

Seriously, what is it with kids and hotel pools? We can plan the most amazing trip, but our kids’ favorite part will always be the four foot deep concrete bowl of water at the Hampton Inn off the interstate. Our kids have been especially “lucky” on this trip, as they were able to experience FOUR different hotel pools. One of the last places we stayed even had an outdoor pool, which really blew their minds!


Both the kids and grown-ups in our family are going to have amazing memories from this trip.

Niagara Falls was stunning.

Niagara Falls

My son got to see the jersey of his hero Jackie Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame.


I blinked back tears when I finally saw the Green Monster of Fenway Park live and in person.


We splashed and played in the ocean, and took a windy boat ride on Nantucket Sound.

Ocean  Nantucket

And as much as we loved our actual visit to Cape Cod, our memories of the open road will be just as special.  We’ll never forget the cacophony of bickering, laughter, and constant whining of “When will we get there?” and “I need to PEEEEE!” from the back of our van.

On most days, our family is running in a hundred different directions. It’s gotten hard to for the seven of us to stop and actually spend time together, to really talk and laugh with each other. The hours spent on the open road this vacation has allowed us to reconnect and recharge.

What are some of your favorite road trip memories? How do you make the most of your time on the open road?









Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


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