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Two Va. routes make list of best family road trips in U.S.

Virginia Beach to Chincoteague was tops in Old Dominion, according to new ranking

The US offers an array of road trip routes that are globally renowned for their expansive skies, breathtaking natural landscapes, and opportunities to meet new people.

While many of these journeys captivate adults, they might not always cater to the interests and energy levels of younger travelers, who may have limited attention spans and less interest in lengthy drives focused on geography or history.

However, the country is packed with shorter, child-friendly road trips (and shorter day trips) ideal for young explorers. For example, Florida offers family-friendly adventures with attractions like the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Orlando’s theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

Gunther Mitsubishi carried out a survey of 3,000 families, asking them to identify the ultimate family-friendly road trips they aspire to experience this summer. And two in Virginia made the grade:

#52 Virginia Beach to Chincoteague
Traveling from Virginia Beach to the Eastern Shore offers a mix of marine and outdoor activities. Begin in Virginia Beach with a visit to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, First Landing State Park, or the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Then head to the Eastern Shore with activities like visiting the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, exploring Cape Charles, or enjoying the beaches and outdoor activities. Finally, stop at Chincoteague Island to explore the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and see the famous wild ponies. 

#105 Richmond to Williamsburg
A family trip from Richmond to Williamsburg combines historical and educational attractions. Start in Richmond with a visit to the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, or Maymont Park. The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is also great for families. On the way to Williamsburg, stop at Historic Jamestown to explore the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. Conclude in Williamsburg with activities like visiting Colonial Williamsburg, exploring the Jamestown Settlement, or enjoying the rides and attractions at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Nationally, the top 5 were as follows:

The top 5 were as follows:

#1. Flagstaff to Grand Canyon: Arizona
Coming in first place, the route from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon offers a variety of attractions. Start with the Lowell Observatory or the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Older kids will love the zip lining at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. On the way to the Grand Canyon, stop in Williams to enjoy a scenic ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. Conclude the trip at the Grand Canyon National Park, where families can enjoy breathtaking views, easy hiking trails, and ranger-led programs.

#2. Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park: Colorado
Taking the second spot, the trip from Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park is filled with exciting stops. Start with the Garden of the Gods or Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. En route to the Great Sand Dunes, stop at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park for stunning views and thrilling rides. Finish the trip at the park, where kids can play on the massive sand dunes and splash in Medano Creek.

#3. Hilo to Kailua-Kona: Hawaii
In third position, the route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona offers a mix of natural beauty and historical sites. Start in Hilo with visits to the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens or the Lyman Museum and Mission House. Don’t miss the nearby Rainbow Falls, a stunning natural attraction. Continue to Kailua-Kona, detouring to visit Volcanoes National Park with its dramatic landscapes and educational exhibits. End the journey in Kailua-Kona with visits to the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, or snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay.

#4. Boston to Cape Cod: Massachusetts
Fourth on the list is a family trip from Boston to Cape Cod offering historical and coastal attractions. Start in Boston with a visit to the Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, or the Museum of Science. A walk along the Freedom Trail is also great for exploring the city's history. On the way to Cape Cod, stop in Plymouth to see Plymouth Rock or visit Plimoth Patuxet Museums for a living history experience. Conclude on Cape Cod with beaches, the Cape Cod National Seashore, or a whale-watching tour. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is also a great stop for kids.

#5. Buffalo to Niagara Falls: New York
Rounding out the top five, a trip from Buffalo to Niagara Falls combines cultural and natural attractions. Start in Buffalo with a visit to the Buffalo Zoo, the Buffalo Museum of Science, or the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is also a great stop. Before heading to Niagara Falls, detour to Lockport to take a tour of the Erie Canal locks and enjoy a boat ride through the Lockport Cave. Conclude at Niagara Falls with a ride on the Maid of the Mist, exploring the Cave of the Winds, and visiting the Niagara Falls State Park.

"The diversity of America’s landscapes and attractions makes it an ideal destination for family road trips. From educational sites to thrilling adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, ensuring memorable experiences for families across the country," says ay Joe Gunther IV of Gunther Mitsubishi.

Infographic showing the top 130 road trip routes, as voted by 3,000 families