The Ultimate Family Road Trip Guide

Say “no” to planes and trains and “yes” to the automobile for your 2023 family vacations with our Ultimate Family Road Trip Guide, sponsored by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers. Check back here all year long for new content every month — from road trip destination guides, road trip survival tips, road trip planning help and more.


Win Four Tickets to Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings GameThe Last Home Game!
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With the fall weather finally here, there’s nothing we love more than colorful leaves, big sweaters and watching a Lions game. Get ready for a family day that’s sure to be a touchdown!

We’ve partnered with Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers to give one lucky family the ultimate football experience — four tickets to a Detroit Lions game! Your kids will love to be in on the action for the final home game of the season during the week of Jan. 7, 2024. We also created a family guide to help make it a great game day for everyone.

All geared up for the kickoff? Fill out the below form before Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, to enter to win.

Top Family Road Trip Destinations

What’s better than a new 2023 Ford SUV? Packing it up for a weekend getaway or family road trip! There are so many places to go — near and far, so it can be hard to choose, but we’re here to help. We’ve got some suggestions for the best places for family fun and recreation here in southeast Michigan and beyond.

Plan an epic summer outdoor destination trip to explore cool caves, trains, treehouses and more, or check out our list of 10 classic summer day trip destinations that are only a short drive away. Got a dinosaur lover? We’ve got the perfect guide to dinosaur destinations in the midwest. Or, plan a trip to one of the best museums in America. We asked our friends at local gems the Detroit Institute of Arts and The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation for their picks for museums worth a visit outside of the Mitten State.

Their eight great museum picks, from The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. to the nearby Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, offer a win-win of being both fun AND educational family destinations.

Looking for a longer trip to a dandy town not too far from Detroit? Type Lake Geneva, Wisconsin or good ol’ Traverse City into your 2022 Ford Expedition Navigation System for a Midwest road trip the whole family will love. And, of course, no matter the season, Chicago is always a great family destination.

Get suggestions for 15 more Midwest destinations who are committed to COVID-19 safety for their visitors. Feeling ready to relax into a slower pace on an old-world getaway? Maybe head to nearby Shipshewana, Indiana (must try the pretzels).

Your 2023 Ford SUV will make short work of the drive to Traverse City, Michigan and always be ready to take your family comfortably from one adventure to the next in this family-friendly destination. Even your teen will love a family road trip to Put-in-Bay, Ohio, where they can enjoy food and fun — even zipping around in a golf cart — on this compact island.

The World of Winter festival in Grand Rapids, Michigan allows families to take advantage of the chilly Midwest weather. Once the sun is out, this city offers plenty of fun walkable activities, like sculpture gardens, nature centers and beaches.

While May is the time to visit Holland, Michigan for its iconic Tulip Festival, this nearby destination is wonderful any time of the year — and just far enough away to enjoy settling in to the comfort of your 2023 Ford SUV.

Summer makes for a picture-perfect vacation in New Buffalo, Michigan, where beach, food, activities and amenities are all within easy reach. Or head to nearby Cleveland, Ohio for unique museums, professional sports and a gorgeous national park. Drive straight to Cincinnati, Ohio for a world-class zoo, amusement park, and, of course, chili! Or, visit Columbus, Ohio, for a walkable downtown and a must-see science and industry museum.

Close-to-home Lansing offers so many fun (and educational!) sites and experiences for kids, teens and adults. Indianapolis, Indiana offers something for every member of the family, from fun experiences to historic stays and Grand Haven is always welcoming with its beautiful beaches and a fun trolley, too.

For an international adventure, load up your Ford SUV and head to Toronto, Ontario, for some spectacular views and unique multicultural experiences. Or, closer to home — but just as international — visit Pinery Provincial Park in Ontario for the best views, camping and nature along Lake Huron.

Looking for a larger-than-life experience? Head west in your Ford SUV to Casey, Illinois for plenty of photo opportunities with a gigantic rocking chair, bookworm, mousetrap…plus something extra special for Harry Potter fans!

For the ultimate family winter or summer vacay, enjoy the many features of your 2023 Ford SUV on the drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Closer to home and oh-so-festive is Frankenmuth.

Or, thrill the entire fam with a trip south to enjoy gorgeous scenic views and funky urban delights of Asheville, North Carolina. Maybe the family-friendly, outdoorsy vibe of Chattanooga Tennessee will please? Pile into your 2023 Ford SUV and GO!


Family Road Trip Guide: Santa Claus, Indiana

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers.

Family Road Trip Guide: Glenmont, Ohio

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers.

Family Road Trip Guide: Fair Oaks, Indiana

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers

Family Road Trip Guide: Sandusky, Ohio

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers.

Family Road Trip Guide: The Jersey Shore, New Jersey

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers  

Family Road Trip Guide: Charlevoix, Michigan

Visit for beautiful beaches, waterfront dining, frolicking at farms and mushroom house hunting.

Family Road Trip Guide: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers.

Family Road Trip Guide: Mammoth Cave National Park


Road Trip Planning Tips

With road trips, getting there should be at least half the fun. But it isn’t always. Not with kids who are asking “are we there yet?” or who want to stop every hour for a bio-break. If you plan ahead, though, you can ensure that your family not only survives the longest road trip, but delights in it. Get tips for planning pit stops for fun or efficiency or planning a road trip with a child with special needs. Wondering what apps could help guide the way? Get our list of some of the top navigation app options.

Don’t forget to be mindful of some road trip safety guidelines too. After all, the quickest way to ruin any road trip is a breakdown or an accident. Get tips — like taking your car to a Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers service department — to ensure you stay on course and get to your destination on time.

Get some road trip snack recipes that are a heck of a lot healthier than drive-thru and gas station junk and ward off whining. And decide on some weird roadside attractions in Michigan to build in some fun along the way. Take advantage of the family together time and have a jam session with our picks for the ultimate family road trip playlists or kick off some conversation starters while you’ve got your kids’ attention.

Maybe for your family, every day is a road trip of sorts. We share why one mom considers her Ford Escape Titanium a “perfect daily driver” for her busy days running errands — and just how her toddler enjoys a scenic view. Comfort and space are just what this Wayne County mom wanted and her Ford Edge fits the bill perfectly. Find out why she’ll never buy anything but a Ford vehicle. Play some classic road trip games or crank up some fun road trip tunes on your Ford’s primo Bang & Olufsen sound system.

Be prepared with some fun to pass the time and make some memories and your road trip won’t just be about where you’re headed but the time your family spent together getting there.


Road Trip Conversation Starters

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers

Best Navigation Apps to Use on Your Next Drive

Here are the details on the top navigation apps for both iPhone and Android users to download before they hit the road.

Planning Road Trip Pit Stops

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers

Family Road Trip Playlist for Every Destination

Hitting the road soon? It’s time to compile the perfect playlist for the long drive. Whether you’re planning to spend time in nature, splash...

Road Trip Tips for Kids with Special Needs

Two southeast Michigan moms share their advice for going on a road trip with a child who has special needs.

Oakland County Mom’s Ford Escape Titanium Is the Perfect Daily Driver

Brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers

Looking for fun closer to home? Try one of our Ford Fun Days itineraries!

These days, it takes a lot to compete with screens for your kids’ attention and excitement. And sometimes your idea well just runs dry. Instead of Googling the same tired “best of” list, try out one of our itineraries curated with you in mind. The activities are short and manageable enough to tackle in an afternoon but still jampacked with fun — and sometimes even a sneaky lesson or two.

Looking for a new set of wheels for your Ultimate Family Road Trip this year?

Check out Ford’s fleet of Ultimate Family Road Trip SUVs – Explorer, Escape, Edge and Expedition. With features like Tri-Zone Climate Control, Cargo Management System, your family will be cool and comfortable for road trips near and far this summer.