Little Kids: 3-6 • Big Kids: 7-9 • Tweens: 10-12

Best Kids’ Movies for Road Trips

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Looking for some movie recommendations for your upcoming family road trip? These are some of our favorite family road trip movies.

Monsters, Inc.

Animated, But Clever Movies
Our family won’t stand for silly cartoon characters. If it’s animated, it still needs to have a believable plot, and humor at higher levels. The Disney Pixar films are usually a perfect fit for family road trip movies, particularly “Finding Nemo,” “Monsters Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” “Toy Story” (1 through 3) and “WALL-E.”

For family road trip movies, we have found common ground on some of the other Disney movies too, like “Bolt,” “Chicken Little,” “The Emperor’s New Groove,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “Meet the Robinsons,” “Mulan,” and “Treasure Planet.” Other non-Disney animated movies the kids enjoy are “Curious George,” “Gnomeo and Juliet,” the “Ice Age” series, “Madagascar” (1 through 3), and “Robots.”

Spy Kids movie.

Live Action, Featuring Kids
It’s always a bonus if the kids in the family road trip movies have super powers, or if they get into a lot of mischief. We like: “Annie,” “Beezus and Ramona,” “Cheaper by the Dozen” (I and II), “Home Alone” (1 through 4), “Hotel for Dogs,” “How to Eat Fried Worms,” and “Stuart Little.”

On the older end of the spectrum, “The Cheetah Girls,” “Lemonade Mouth,” and “High School Musical” (1 through 3) have some appeal. A special “shout-out” to the “Spy Kids” series, one through four, for convincing both my kids to be spies for Halloween.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Fantastical Tales
What kid wouldn’t love to host an alien, own a car with its own personality, or drink from a chocolate river? Imaginative live action movies like these let them live vicariously through others’ adventures: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Dr. Doolittle” (I, II, and III), “E.T.,” “Herbie Fully Loaded,” “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium,” “Night at the Museum” (I and II), “Princess Bride,” and “Race to Witch Mountain.”

Any of The Muppets movies fit in this category too, because, as much as we admire Miss Piggy’s gusto, she’s just a felt puppet at the end of the day.

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12 Tips for Mastering the Road Trip

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