Prep and Pack

75 Must Have Road Trip Snacks

best road trip snacks for kids
Hitting the road on the Great American Road Trip then you need some snacks. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Just like Lewis and Clark or Ma and Pa Ingalls, many load up  each summer and explore America. Ford and Edison did it. Jack Kerouac did it. It’s part of our culture. Hitting the open road just soothes our yearnings for discovery on the Great American Road Trip. Though to do it well that you need the best road trip snacks for kids.

Road trip snacks might be as important as a spare tire and a paper map . My kids are old enough to have road trip snack opinions  so I take them shopping. That’s when it gets fun. I say yes to most things since it’s a treat just for our road trip.

best road trip snacks for kids
Pack the SUV and don’t forget to pack the snack bag. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Table of Contents

Best Road Trip Snacks for Kids

I could tell you I pack the most nutritious  items that I can find. But Mom needs a break too. I want to be the Fun Mom for our road trip. So I pack all the fun snacks, just for vacation. We’ll go back on the good-for-you wagon when we get home. Promise.

The Classic Road Trip Snacks

  • Pringles
  • Cheez-Its
  • Beef Jerky
  • Pretzels
  • Cracker Jacks
  • Moon pies
  • Twizzlers
  • Corn nuts
  • Slurpees (Remember free 7/11 is Free Slurpee Day)

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Best Bars for Road Trips

Bars are a must. Stash a few in console compartment, just in case.

  • Protein bars
  • Granola bars
  • Cereal bars
  • Fig Newtons

Fruit Snacks for Road Trips

Kids love fruit but most fresh fruit doesn’t travel well. It really needs a cooler or to be eaten on the first day.

  • A banana or two. Not too many because they bruise.
  • Mandarin oranges or Cuties
  • Apples
  • Fresh Cherries
  • Grapes
  • Fruit leather
  • Freeze-dried fruit– Apples and pears seem to be the winners here.
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Dried cherries or apricots
  • Bagged fruit snacks

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Road Tripping Protein

Sometimes I’m in the middle of a desert and I can’t find a place to eat.

  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Yogurt. Don’t forget the spoons or get the tubes.
  • Breakfast in a Pouch, a combination of nuts and fruit in a single-serve pouch
  • Flavored almonds, sweet or salty
  • Hummus
  • Nut butters, peanut, almond or cashew
  • Pre-made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches


A good source of protein and travels well if individually wrapped. Put cheese in a cooler during the summer.

  • String cheese
  • Babybel
  • Laughing Cow
  • Individually packaged pieces of cheddar or Colby.

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Just for Fun Sweet Treats

  • Cookies, a couple of varieties.
  • Rice Crispy Treats
  • Graham crackers
  • Gummy anything
  • Animal crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Trail Mix
  • Muddy Buddies Mix

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Salty Snacks

I stay away from any snacks that will cover my SUV in cheesy fingerprints. Sorry kids I will never buy a barrel of cheese puffs.

  • Cracker sandwiches. I get the variety pack to keep everyone happy.
  • Gold Fish
  • Pretzels
  • Popped popcorn
  • Chex Mix
  • Bagel chips
  • Potato chips
  • Pita chips

Road Trip Snack Bag Must Haves

  • Paper towels
  • Wet wipes
  • Disposable silverware
  • Ziploc bags, quarts and gallon size
  • Clothes pins or Chip Clips
  • Refillable water bottles

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Snacks for Mom

I do the majority of the driving on our road trips so I have my own snacks in the front seat since my kids will eat everything within their reach.

  • Sweet and salty nuts
  • Good crackers
  • Edamame
  • Bean Chips, like the SnapPeas Crisps
  • Good Cheese
  • Bottled cold coffee drinks
  • Canned sparkling water
  • Gum
  • Sweet tarts or other really tart candy

I also pack treats that wake up my mouth so I can stay alert. After a few hours on the road I like to chew gum. I have a roll of Sweet Tarts or other candy that’s really tart. I alternate unsweet ice tea or iced coffee and sparkling water.

What About Dad?

Dads want a break from the daily obligations of parenting too. So let him eat junk, just for the trip.

  • Pork Rinds
  • Bugles
  • Pistachios, just give him something for the shells
  • Sunflower seeds, same
  • Gas station hotdog
  • Slim Jim
  • Hot Fries
  • Hostess Cupcakes
  • Twinkies
  • Fried Pies
  • Antacid
best road trip snacks for kids
Grab a reusable bag and pack it full of your favorites. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Tips for Road Trip Snacking

First off, I make it easy and fun. I forget about the cute containers I saw on Pinterest. Let’s get real, what am I supposed to do with all those containers on the second day of our trip?

I skip the plastic containers and especially the glass Mason jars. I buy individual serving sizes so I grab all the trash from the back seat when I stop for gas. Don’t think I’m the only one with messy kids.

Then I load everything up in one of my reusable shopping bags. Since it’s soft-sided, I can stash the bag in another place if needed.

Since it’s vacation my kids get what they want, except for chocolate, a giant barrel of cheez balls and Capri Suns. The chocolate and the cheez balls for obvious messy reasons.

Let me tell you a story from the summer of 2010, a Capri Sun gunfight broke out in the backseat of my Toyota 4 Runner. I didn’t know that my boys could turn drink pouches into sticky sweet weapons. They did and they had a great time. Now Capri Suns are permanently banned from my SUV.

The snack bag is another passenger and has its own spot in the the back seat .My oldest is in charge of the snack bag in route. As the driver I need to stay focused on driving. That and I don’t have time for any snack squabbles that break out.

I really have two snack bags. One with the kids and one hidden in the back of the SUV. I use as it as back stock. If if give all the snacks to my kids at once, they would eat everything like a pack of puppies.

Got the Ultimate List of Road Trips Snacks. Got something for everyone, including the road tripping purists. What to Pack for a Road Trip | Must Have Snacks for Road Trips #RoadTrip

Got the Ultimate List of Road Trips Snacks. Got something for everyone, including the road tripping purists. #RoadTrip #SnackList What to Pack for a Road Trip | Must Have Snacks for Road Trips


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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