Why The Scenic Route Might Be A Better Option When Road Tripping With A Baby

Since there's a lot to know before taking a trip on the road, some planning is necessary for any road trip, let alone one that involves a baby. Want a test of endurance? Try road tripping with a baby! You pray your baby will sleep and cross your fingers, toes, and any other available body part. And then, you head out onto the freeway, taking the fastest route from A to B. The quicker you get there, the better, right?

Babies might beg to differ. Have you ever pushed your baby's stroller over a bump over and over again in a sleep-deprived haze, trying to get them to fall asleep? Or taken your baby for a drive in the desperate hope they'll nap? If you have, you're probably aware of the power of undulating surfaces and gentle jolts and curves when trying to get a baby to nod off.

This is why taking the scenic route (check out this list of America's most scenic road trips) rather than the freeway might be the best choice when road tripping with a baby. A meandering country road with its potholes and uneven surfaces can work like a lullaby. And, as any parent knows, a sleeping baby can make any journey 10 times more peaceful.

More stops, more memories

Keeping your baby safe on a road trip means having them strapped into a car seat for hours on end as you make your way to your destination. Sitting in one position for that long isn't comfortable or fun for anyone, babies included. So, frequent stops are necessary for getting a breath of fresh air, changing diapers, feeding, and stretching tiny legs. Healthychildren.org even recommends taking a break every two to three hours when traveling with a baby.

And, while most parents plan rest stops, babies don't tend to stick to the schedule (like, ever). On the freeway, you can drive for miles without coming to a rest area (you should plan to come across a rest area every 30 minutes, which is an eternity if your baby needs you). And, when you do find a place to stop, the fumes and noise from cars and trucks rushing by don't make it the most pleasant place to tend to a baby.

If you take the scenic route, instead of generic rest stops, you'll wind through charming small towns and picturesque countryside. There'll be coffee shops and playgrounds where little ones can let loose, and tiny ones can enjoy watching them. Or you'll come across picturesque lakeshores, expanses of green fields, and shady forested areas that make great places to pull over. Sure, baby won't remember, but you will.

Less stress, more distractions

By this, we mean less stress for you, the driver, and more distractions for a baby or small children. Driving on the interstate can be stressful; you need to keep up your speed, have your eyes on the road or your mirrors at all times, and watch out for other drivers screeching past at 80 miles per hour. But, away from major roadways, the stress is reduced as you get to slow down.

For babies and toddlers, the view from the window on backroads is a much better distraction than on the interstate. You pass farms with animals, fields of crops, and towns and villages, all of which your baby can actually see because you're not hurtling along.

Many parent bloggers agree with taking the scenic route. Our Sweet Adventures loves stopping at small towns or incorporating hikes into their journeys with small children. Travelynn Family loves exploring tiny villages and lesser-known places on a road trip. They say these places often become the highlight of their trips. And AwayGoWe, whose kids love a bumpy road, also says their children enjoy watching the world go by. Letting go of the idea of a fast arrival and turning a road trip into a marathon, not a sprint, has benefits for both babies and parents to enjoy.