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We recently went on a lengthy road trip from Georgia to New Jersey with our three year old and one year old. This was quite an adventure for us but we were ready for the challenge! Months before the road trip, I started scouring Pinterest for tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler and a preschooler including the best restaurants for kids.

I asked our parents if they had any advice and I asked a few of my close friends who were more frequent travelers. I was as prepared as I could have been. One of the best pieces of advice that I received was what the best restaurants for kids were and why. Here are a few of the suggestions we got and a few that I added to the list of my own.

Before your road trip, get your kids excited about traveling with these 8 children’s books about travel.

5 Best Restaurants For Kids While Roadtrippin’

One of the best pieces of advice that I received before our road trip was what the best restaurants for kids were and why and here's what I learned!

Cracker Barrell

My world traveling friend with two kiddos about the same age as mine, suggested Cracker Barrell. Of course! We always stopped at Cracker Barrell at least once on each childhood road trip. She explained that the country store had been so entertaining for her kiddos and allowed them a fun change of scenery. The bathrooms are large, always clean and baby friendly. And to top it off, who doesn’t love pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner?!


Despite our (mostly) vegetarian diet, Chik-fil-A became one of our favorite meal destinations and we may have stopped at every single one along the East coast. We found the Chik-fil-A staff to be exceptionally helpful, kind and accommodating for parents with young children. A few of my favorite perks that Chik-fil-A offers are adhesive placemats for their tables so that children can eat off of a clean surface, moist towelettes and delicious butter mints. I would be lying if I said I didn’t snag a few extras of each at several of our stops.

5 Best Restaurants For Kids While Roadtrippin' Click To Tweet

In addition to the treats, the facilities are always clean and they almost always have indoor playgrounds! My husband and I would stop for fair trade coffee and an egg sandwich and talk while our kids played safely within view on the other side of the glass. These moments provided a much needed escape from the Frozen soundtrack that played on repeat for the majority of our trip.


IHOP was a third favorite of ours. Boy do they serve you a feast! First of all, the IHOP menu is accommodating for all diet types and includes a “healthy eating” section for health nuts like my hubby. The first thing they’ve got right is their coloring pages and crayons that are provided for each kiddo. These coloring sheets and a few books we totaled along, saved us from several meltdowns while we were waiting for our food. IHOP bathrooms and seating rooms are generally clean and tidy (especially if you choose a newly built IHOP) easing my worries during our newly potty trained bathroom adventures.

5 Best Restaurants For Kids While Roadtrippin'

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is my fourth pick for best restaurants to stop at on family road trips. First, our experiences were guaranteed to be much better when we stopped at newly built Taco Bell’s is in well known cities. Secondly, My husband and I love Mexican food (even the cheap kind), my daughter loves beans, and the foods are soft enough to eat for my son so it’s a win win win. If you’re concerned about dietary restrictions, don’t fret. They will make any entree vegetarian or vegan upon request. We enjoyed Taco Bell as a quick eat-in-the-car meal. It was easy to help my little’s eat the small bean burritos and my husband could drive and eat with equal ease.


Starbucks because, well, Starbucks. In my opinion, this “restaurant” is a must for every parent’s road traveling restaurant list. We stopped countless times at Starbucks for much needed pick me ups. I don’t know that my husband would have made it through without Pikes Place or the daily dark roast!

Add your favorite road trip restaurants in the comments and tell us why they’re your go-to! Happy travels brave parents!

Alise Durkota
Alise Durkota
Alise is a mother of two who loves the slow, small town life. She is a teacher turned stay at home mom who loves cooking, her husband, going on long neighborhood walks, just about any baked good (with coffee) and playing with her children. She has a passion for all things childhood development, teaching, and learning.