6 tricks to make the most of an unplanned shop stop on your family roadtrip

6 tricks to make the most of an unplanned shop stop on your family roadtrip

Being out of your home for a few days in a row when it wasn’t a preplanned ‘vacation’ can be super stressful – and expensive! If you have kids, it can be even harder when you feel like your brood has really worn out your welcome at the local coffee shop.

We recently had an unexpected three day shop visit and tried to make the most of it. Here’s how I found (inexpensive) things to do:

  • Find a cool local coffeeshop. I’ve found that most small town coffee shops are in business because they want to be a space for building community. They have wifi. They often have a kids’ shelf of toys and books. The barista is often the owner who can tell you some of the great places to check out. If you’re in Center Point, OR please go visit Gustavo at Center Point Perk and tell him we said hello!
  • Google this. “[city/destination] activities with kids” or “family fun in [city]” or “cheap things to do in [city]”. Make a list of all the things and take notes of their admission prices. If you’re like me, you might be able to pay for some entrance fees, but not all!
  • Check out locally made stores or factories. We did a windshield factory and shop tour and then we did a luxury RV factory tour across the street. We hit a local chocolatier that was next to a local cheese maker (that was next to a wine place that was offering free tastings that I might have stopped at if Joe was with us!)
  • Search for “playgrounds” on Google maps. Pick one and go. They usually have water fountains and toilets available.
  • Head to the local library. Seriously, libraries are the best. Beyond books and computers, they typically have a game or hands-on materials collection that keep my kids busy for hours. We’ve happened on random story times, tinker times, STEM activity times, and more.
  • Go to McDonalds. It’s not my first stop, but I was feeling defeated and behind on work and it was lunch time and oh my goodness, I looked up and saw a billboard for McDonalds advertising a new indoor playground. Hallelujah. Air conditioning, free wifi, coffee, lunch, and this particular MickeyDs had a three story brand new playground. After the previous morning at the coffee shop where I was sure we were going to break one of the antique decorations and the afternoon at the library where it was totally stimulating but also relatively quiet, small movement play, my kids were totally ready to climb and jump and slide and play with other kids. And I got a front row air-conditioned seat with free wifi. It was awesome.

Back to Top