Road Trip Theme Ideas for Your Next RV Adventure

Creating a theme for your RV road trip elevates the fun

If you’ve ever thought road trips were just about long drives and random stops, think again! The open road offers an incredible canvas for themed adventures that cater to every imaginable interest.

Choosing a road trip destination

Many times, the biggest decision that we make when planning a new RV trip is WHERE TO GO. A lot of thought goes into the destinations and on more than a few occasions we have planned out a THEMED road trip. Road trip themes are plentiful and going on a trip that focuses on one main topic is a LOT of fun (The planning process can be ALMOST as enjoyable as the actual trip).

You can put a lot of care and thought into the details of a themed road trip and you can choose themes to match just about any interest or hobby.

Whether you’re a foodie on the hunt for the best diners, a history buff tracing historical trails, or simply someone looking for the road less traveled, themed road trips are your ticket to a more personalized adventure.

The following themes represent the wide variety of interests and inspirations showing how diverse themes can cater to different passions, hobbies, and curiosities. I also include related links to help you start planning.

Perhaps my list will give you some inspiration?

Foodie road trip on the Kolache Trail in central Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Plan Road Trips Early

The best tip that I have for planning a successful road trip: plan EARLY. By early, I mean AT LEAST 4-6 months ahead.

Popular attractions, campgrounds and RV parks, and other locations fill up quickly. It is best to book the highly sought-after events and locales as soon as possible.

Road trip themes

I had a fun time putting together the (rather) extensive list below. There are a lot of different themes and each one can be broken down and personalized based on individual preference. Most would work well as family road trips, couples trips, friend’s trips, or even solo trips.

The themes are listed in no particular order below:

  • Foodie Road Trip
  • Famous Authors Road Trip
  • Roadside Attractions Road Trip
  • National Parks Road Trip
  • Music Themed Road Trip
  • Movie or TV Show Themed Road Trip
  • Wine Country Road Trip
  • Bourbon Country Road Trip
  • Historical Road Trip
  • Scenic Byways Road Trip
  • Coastal Highway Road Trip
  • Amish Country Road Trip
  • Wildlife and Nature Road Trip
  • Photography Road Trip
  • Adventure Activities Road Trip
  • Sports Road Trip
  • Wildflowers Road Trip
  • Birdwatching Road Trip
  • Exploring the Arts Road Trip
  • Space Themed Road Trip
  • Science and Tech Themed Road Trip
  • Genealogy Road Trip
Blue Bell Ice Cream tour in Brenham, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Foodie Road Trip

Plan a road trip that’s ALL ABOUT FOOD! You can choose the specific concentration for your trip, but here are some suggestions:

  • Eat at iconic restaurants featured in your favorite TV shows or movies.
  • Visit factories that make your favorite foods (especially if they offer tours, for example Blue Bell Ice Cream.
  • Visit orchards during fall pick-your-own season.
  • Check out some popular food trucks! Head to social media and find amazing trucks that have big followings. Put together an itinerary that will take you to several of these trucks. Another option for food trucks is to find a food truck festival.
  • Focus on a geographical location known for certain foods or dishes and see how many different varieties you can try. Examples include: pizza in Chicago, lobster in Maine, crab in Maryland, BBQ and kolaches in Texas, green chile burger in New Mexico, and boudin and crawfish in Louisiana.
  • Go on a road trip and focus on trying specific foods the whole time: pizza, BBQ, seafood, chocolate, ice cream, donuts, sandwiches, burgers, or wings.

Famous Authors Road Trip

Is there a famous author or a book that really moved you as a kid or adult? Plan a road trip around that author’s life or important milestones.

If the book is set in a particular town (real life town, obviously), visit the town.

World’s Largest Roadrunner in Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roadside Attractions Road Trip

Roadside attractions are silly, kitschy stops that you can check out as you drive from point A to point B. They are places that are fun to see but you won’t spend an entire day there. There are so many cool roadside attractions across the country. A few examples include:

Gather inspiration for these and other roadside attraction with these resources: 

Arches National Park in Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

National Parks Road Trip

Planning a National Parks Road Trip can be an exciting adventure! With over 60 national parks and countless other National Park Service (NPS) sites in the United States, there are numerous routes and itineraries to explore.

Consider the distance and time you have available as well as your interests and preferences. You can focus on a specific region such as the West Coast, East Coast, or the Southwest, or create a loop that covers multiple regions.

Research the national parks you want to visit and plan your itinerary accordingly. Make sure to allow enough time for each park considering factors like driving distances, park hours, and activities you want to do.

Maybe you’ll plan a trip to Utah’s Mighty Five or expand it to a Grand Circle Tour. Or explore Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains in leaf-peeping season.

No matter which parks you choose, there are incredible vistas and wildlife just waiting for you to take them in. National Parks make great family vacations. The kids love participating in the Junior Ranger programs which offer the youngest travelers an array of activities and the opportunity to earn a ranger badge or pin upon program completion.

Note: National Parks are at the top of the list for destinations that require some pre-planning and booking. A number of parks require advanced reservations and timed entry during the peak travel season.

I have a lot of NPS content on the blog. Check these posts to learn more:

Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Music Themed Road Trips

Whether you love rock ‘n roll, country music, or the sounds of smooth jazz, there are some wonderful options for music themed trips in the US!

Head to Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee and hear incredible country tunes at just about every bar plus visit the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium, and Grand Ole Opry. Top off the trip with a tour of Graceland, home of Elvis Presley.

If jazz is your thing, immerse yourself in its roots down in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Love rock ‘n roll? Make a stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Movie or TV Themed Road Trip

You can find filming locations for most movie and TV film productions with a little bit of research (simple internet search). Sometimes a whole town is used to film various scenes in the show or movie.

Choose a fave flick or two and head to the town where it was filmed.

By the way, I have a series of posts on movie and film locations:

Okanagan Wine Country © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Wine Country Road Trip

This road trip is PERFECT for couples or friend groups. Gather up your fellow wine connoisseurs and head out on a road trip to wine country. Your best bet is to visit an area known for its wineries so that you can visit multiple locations during your trip.

Here are some helpful resources:

Buffalo Trace Distillery bourbon tour © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bourbon Country Road Trip

Explore the rich tradition of America’s Official Native Spirit on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail featuring a number of signature distilleries nestled among beautiful Bluegrass Region scenery.

In 1999, the Kentucky Distillers’ Association formed the Kentucky Bourbon Trail to give visitors a firsthand look at the art and science of crafting Bourbon and to educate them about the rich history and proud tradition of Kentucky’s signature spirit.

If you need ideas, check out these blog posts:

Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Pennsylvania © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Historical Road Trip

Choose a time period or event in the long past that really interests you and build a road trip around it. There are so many different ideas for things to visit on a historically themed road trip. Choose the historic sites that interest you the most and use that as your starting point.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Early American History
  • Revolutionary War Battlefields
  • Civil War Battlefields
  • Pioneer Life and Travel
  • Native American History

Specific ideas and locations include:

  • Ghost towns
  • Museums
  • Historic parks and sites
  • Presidential libraries
  • Pioneer trails like Lewis & Clark and the Oregon Trail
  • Route 66

Here are some articles to help:

Utah Scenic Byway 12, an All-American Road © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Scenic Byways Road Trip

In This Land is Your Land, Woody Guthrie sang the words, “As I went walking that ribbon of highway / I saw above me that endless skyway.” If Guthrie was singing about some of the most beautiful ribbons of highway in the U. S., there’s a good chance he was talking about one of the country’s scenic byways.

Cutting through prairies, grasslands, mountains, forests, and deserts, many of the scenic byways are not only modes of transport but destinations in themselves. While highways are wide traffic-filled roads connecting major cities, byways tend to be narrower, secondary roads in more rural areas.

The National Scenic Byways Program began in 1991 to promote roads of special aesthetic or cultural significance in one of six topics: archaeological, cultural, natural, historic, recreational, or scenic. Those that meet two or more criteria are designated “All-American Roads.”

I’ve written numerous articles on scenic byways and All-American Roads. Here are a few to help you plan a Scenic Byways Road Trip:

Worth Pondering…

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol

These Travel Quotes Will Inspire You to Hit the Road

Looking for inspiration to hit the road? I have put together 65 of the best road trip quotes to inspire you to get in your RV and drive!

Expanding your horizons! A desire to explore the unknown! Connection! Adventure! These are the tenets that unite travelers in that shared experience so many of us know and love.

Maybe you’re the kind of traveler who likes to throw away the map and get lost or perhaps you’re the type that prefers to have an itinerary with a carefully curated list of things to see and do. In any case, dreaming up future trips is half the fun, and allowing your imagination to run wild with fantasies of backcountry drives or long walks through cobblestone streets is always a joy.

Whether RV travel has been a regular part of your life or you’re just now itching to explore, there is no shortage of inspiration to help fuel that wanderlust. Here are 65 quotes about travel to inspire your next road trip.

Alabama Gulf Coast © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Adventure is worthwhile.

―Aesop (620-564 BC)

To travel is to live.

—Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)

Travel in the younger sort is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.

—Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine, it’s lethal.

— Paulo Coelho

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.

—Lao Tzu (6th century BC)

We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.

—Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

I was here, I saw this, and it mattered to me.

—Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.

—Ray Bradbury

My favorite thing is to go where I’ve never been.

—Diane Arbus

Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.

—Lawrence Block

Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space.

Born To Be Free, words and music by Mars Bonfire

Joshua Tree National Park, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.

—Terry Pratchett

To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.

—Charles Horton Cooley

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.

—Anatole France (1844-1924)

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

—Andre Gide

Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to control it.
—John Steinbeck (1902-1968)

Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body.
—Anthony Bourdain

Sometimes you have to travel a long way to find what is near.
—Paulo Coelho

When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.

—D.H. Lawrence (1885-1930)

Kennedy Space Center, Merritt Island, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast—you miss the sense of where you’re going and why.

—Eddie Cantor

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

—Lewis Carrol (1832-1898)

For the born traveler, travelling is a besetting vice. Like other vices, it is imperious, demanding its victim’s time, money, energy and the sacrifice of comfort.

—Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.

—Emma Chase

Life is like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long
Come on. Give me give me give me give me yeah

—recorded by Tom Cochrane from his second studio album, Mad Mad World (1991)

Savannah, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The journey not the arrival matters.

—T. S. Eliot (1888-1965)

The road goes on forever the party never ends…

—Joe Ely, musician

Experience, travel—these are as education in themselves.

—Euripides (480-406 BC)

However one reaches the parks, the main thing is to slow down and absorb the natural wonders at leisure.

—Michael Frome

Now more than ever do I realize that I shall never be content with a sedentary life,
and that I shall always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.

—Isabelle Eberhardt

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.

—Pat Conroy

Once a year go somewhere you have never been before.

—Dalai Lama

Georgetown, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries.

—René Descartes (1596-1650)

Two roads diverged in a wood, and

I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

—Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken (1873-1963)

The minute I step foot in the motorhome, I feel at ease. I don’t have anything else to think about except taking care of my family.

—Actress Jennie Garth

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.

—Ursala K. Guin

Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.

—Peter Hoeg

Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels.

— Nikos Kazantzakis

“Where are we going, man?”

“I don’t know, but we gotta go.”

—Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1922-1969)

The open road is a beckoning, a strangeness, a place where a man can lose himself.

—William Least Heat Moon

St. Martinsville, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

My travels led me to where I am today. Sometimes these steps have felt painful, difficult, but led me to greater happiness and opportunities.

—Diana Ross

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.

I travel for travel’s sake.

The great affair is to move.

—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

The Road goes ever on and on

Down from the door where it began

Now far ahead the Road has gone,

And I must follow, if I can,

Pursuing it with eager feet,

Until it joins some larger way

Where many paths and errands meet

And whither then, I cannot say.

—J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973)

Your road is everything that a road ought to be…

And yet you will not stay in it half a mile, for the reason that little, seductive, mysterious roads are always branching out from it on either hand, and as these curve sharply also and hide what is beyond, you cannot resist the temptation to desert your own chosen road and explore them.

—Mark Twain (1835-1910)

One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.
—Edith Wharton (1862-1937)

Mount Washington Cog Railway, New Hampshire © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown trail before me leading wherever I choose.

—Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

—Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.

—Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher (4 BC-AD 65)

The journey is my home.

—Muriel Rukeyser (1913-1980)

Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.

—Freya Stark (1893-1993)

Journeys, like artists, are born and not made. A thousand differing circumstances contribute to them, few of them willed or determined by the will—whatever we may think.

—Lawrence Durrell (1912-1990)

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

—Dr. Seuss (1904-1991)

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

On the road again, goin’ places that I’ve never been, seein’ things that I may never see again, and I can’t wait to get on the road again.

—Willie Nelson, On The Road Again

Why I travel: to learn and grow, to challenge myself, stretch my limits and foster an appreciation of both the world at large and the chair waiting in front of the woodstove back home.

—Tim Patterson

The time to prepare for your next expedition is when you have just returned from a successful trip.

—Robert Peary (1856-1920)

The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life.
—Agnes Repplier (1855-1950)

When you travel you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak….You begin to be more accessible to others, because they may be able to help you in difficult situations.

—Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage

Arches National Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Roads were made for journeys, not destinations.

—Confucius (551-479 BC)

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.

—Scott Cameron

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

—Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

Life’s an open road.

—Bryan Adams, Open Road

Stuff your eyes with wonder…live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

—Ray Bradbury (1920-2012)

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

—Martin Buber (1878-1965)

Canyons of Senora © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.

—Tim Cahill

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.
—Henry Miller (1891-1980)

Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

—Miriam Beard (1876-1958)