The 4 Best Summer Family Road Trip Ideas

Road trips, in and of themselves, are a time to make memories and see the sights along the way. When you keep in mind that the final destination often plays second fiddle to the experiences had on the journey, a road trip is a great way to vacation solo, as a couple, or with a family in tow. A fishing road trip, with planned stops en route to a remarkable water-ing hole, elevates the best road trip routes in the US, thanks to the fish you’ll catch, clean, and eat, and the stories you’ll come home with. Here are four of the best fishing road trip ideas and destinations, with suggestions for stops along the way!

1. Lake Champlain, VT

Whether you drive up north through the Catskills or west from Boston and Maine, you will find some of the best bass fishing in the country in the exquisite Lake Champlain. There’s not only bass, this part of New England offers anglers of all experience levels excellent fishing for yellow and white perch, bluegill sunfish, panfish, and northern pike. Additionally, the attractions and amenities, such as the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, Ben & Jerry’s Factory, and Shelburne Farms, located in and around Burlington, Vermont, make for fine summer family vacations and family road trip ideas.

2. Nashville, TN

Music City is one of the best summertime destinations in America for great honkey tonk tunes almost ‘round the clock, a rich tapestry of music history, from Elvis to Taylor Swift, professional sports in the largest soccer specific stadium in the country, fine dining, private animal encounters at the terrific zoo, and so much more. It’s also a great point on any of the best fishing road trips in the Midwest. As you plan your fishing road trip this summer, consider nearby Cumberland River and Percy Priest Lake. As far as the best road trip routes in the U.S., plan a drive along and through Nashville’s Big Back Yard, a natural watershed region stretching from The Shoals, Alabama (one of the most culturally significant places in the world for music) to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee, a charming village full of art galleries, farm-to-table cuisine, restored 1800s cottages, live music and picturesque rolling countryside.

3. Frederickburg, TX

You might not immediately think of Texas as a fishing destination, but when it comes to the best fishing road trip ideas, it’s hard to beat Fredericksburg in the Texas Hill Country. Shonto Rach is just 35 miles south of the German-influenced and utterly charming small town. There you will find unguided half and full day access, as well as impressive guided fish-ing experiences, on over 4 miles of Guadalupe River head waters and 10 dammed lakes with abundant and diverse fish such as largemouth bass, rainbow trout, perch and catfish. Each lake and stream is its own ecosystem, providing world class fishing for families just getting started and experienced anglers looking for the perfect weekend fishing trip. Fly fishing clinics, rental rods and fly rods are available too. Plan your family road trip to Fredericksburg from Dallas, Austin or San Antonio, to enjoy the Pioneer Museum and the stellar, Smithsonian quality National Museum of the Pacific War, Fischer & Wieser's Das Peach Haus, and the pecans, produce, and wine from this special region of the American south.

4. Columbia River, OR/WA

Not only is this area one of the natural and visually most stunning in America, it’s also one of the best family road trip ideas because of the many breathtaking waterfalls! As you plan your fishing road trip out west, consider heading to the Columbia River for the largest run of king salmon in the continental U.S., as well as abundant walleye and bass, and more! Along the way, pop into the beautiful and oddly curious Maryhill Museum, stay at the luxurious off-the-beaten-path Klickitat Treehouse, and why not explore the book, music, and coffee shop culture of Portland, OR too before or after your great Pacific NW fishing road trip.

Looking for more family road trip ideas? Check out the 5 ingredients you’ll need for an epic family RV road trip this summer!


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Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar, and his writing has appeared on various websites for more than two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com