A Santa Fe Road Trip with Kids

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It’s been far too long since our family has had a vacation. We take the opportunity to explore Colorado but as far as a vacation where we get a hotel and stick around for a few days? It’s been a few years and we were beyond due. On Red’s last day of school, we picked him up and left Colorado for a drive down to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have been to several states in the southwest, but this was my first trip to New Mexico so I was excited.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

The drive took a little over six hours so it was dinner time when we pulled into Santa Fe. We unpacked the car, settled into our hotel room, then went out for dinner. Before I say anything else about this trip, let me tell you that the food in Santa Fe is amazing! We enjoyed every meal and if I lived in Santa Fe I would probably be as big as a house.

On our first full day in New Mexico, we took a drive down to Albuquerque to visit the Rio Grande Zoo and purchased the combo pass so we could also visit the aquarium and botanical gardens. Given the size of these three places, it took a whole day to see all three of them and I think there were some exhibits that we missed. I would highly recommend a visit if you find yourself in the area, with or without the kids.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

For the rest of our trip, we stayed in Santa Fe and explored this amazingly beautiful city. The thing that surprised me the most is that yes, just about everything really is made of adobe. The other surprise is that it is smaller than either of us imagined. It had an artsy small town feel, unlike every other capital city that I’ve ever been to.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

The colors and the architecture were absolutely breathtaking. The terra cottas, turquoises, purples, and reds were almost a sensory overload. With these colors, it was almost impossible to take a bad photo.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

While in town we couldn’t resist following some of the historic Route 66 while trying to help Dub find Radiator Springs. It wasn’t as easy to find as this sign suggests, though. As cool looking as it is, we got a little confused by this sign. In reality, we had to head out of Santa Fe and follow the Turquoise Trail for a while before we met up with Route 66 further out. Once we figured out where we were going it was a beautiful drive. One pro tip though, don’t drink too much on the ride. There aren’t many if any bathrooms to be found. I learned that the hard way.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

This trip was just what we all needed and it came off without a hitch. I think our move out to Colorado helped us to prepare for traveling with kids and we used those tips once again.

My Top 10 Tips for Taking a Road Trip with Kids:

  1. Make sure your children are properly restrained in their safety seat (if needed)
  2. Be sure to have at least one charged cell phone
  3. Pack a cooler with plenty of snacks and drinks (we brought water, juice boxes, fruit, veggies, individual containers of yogurt, applesauce, and hummus, crackers, jerky, and trail mix)
  4. Pack sandwiches for longer trips
  5. Bring books, music, travel games, and coloring books
  6. Play car games like the license plate game or A My Name Is…
  7. Pack as light as possible
  8. Keep essential items easily accessible
  9. Make several stops to eat and stretch

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

10. Most importantly, be sure that your car is in tip-top shape before leaving. We topped off all of our fluids, changed our windshield wipers, had the tires rotated, and stopped at the Walmart Auto Center for an oil change. Our car was just shy of 75,000 miles so we chose the Pennzoil High Mileage oil change which is on rollback for $35.88 from the regular price of $39.88. If you would prefer the Platinum oil change that is also on rollback for $45.88 from the regular price of $49.88. Prices available from June 10th to September 9th.

Road trip with kids: our trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico #FueltheLove #ad #cbias

Pennzoil also offers a free warranty that covers 15 engine parts that may fail due to engine wear or which experience abnormal wear due to friction. (For more information, check out the Pennzoil Warranty Site.)

Feel free to visit Pennzoil on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Do you have any fun family trips planned this summer? I would love to hear about it!

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  1. These are awesome tips for traveling with kids. It looks like you had a fantastic time indeed on our family vacation. We have no plans this year but I am hoping we can go somewhere. My baby just graduated from high school and is going to college this fall. Thanks for sharing.

  2. awww looks like y’all had a blast of your trip! Traveling with kiddos isn’t as hard as people make it out to be! With enough entertainment and snacks, you’re good to go!

    1. I’ve also found this to be true. Especially when they’re a little older and you don’t have to bring a lot of gear along.

  3. Wow! New Mexico looks gorgeous! I’m a southerner transplanted up into upstate New York, so we’ve been enjoying all of the roadtrips that New England has to offer. In fact, we’re heading to Vermont a couple of times coming up, and I know an oil change will be in order. Thanks for sharing the rollback! #client

  4. What a fun trip to take the whole family on! I have always wanted to take a road trip down the iconic Routs 66. Your photos are really amazing! I felt I was there with you!

  5. I love the beautiful photos you took! It looks like you and the entire family had a great time. I hope to be able to take a road trip around the country sometime!

  6. The colors really are gorgeous! I know a road trip with kids can be a little rough but it can be done with everyone remaining sane!

  7. I love your photos! So incredible and I felt like I was on the trip with you! I love road trips for this reason – so much to see. Glad you enjoyed!

  8. First, your photos are so vibrant and beautiful. I would love to take a roadtrip through New Mexico. It has been a few years since we made it a stop on our summer road trip routes. You have inspired me.

  9. I think that I have been to Santa February before. We used to go camping in Colorado during the summer when I was growing up. I miss those days. It looks like your family had a wonderful time. Thank you for sharing your trip.

  10. New Mexico is such a fun place to visit. There’s a of diversity there in terms of what to see and do. Last time I was there, I got to to Carlsbad Caverns, so much fun!

  11. We love to go on road trips and thankfully, our son is not a whiner. He either sleeps, eat or just look around during the trip. New Mexico is really pretty. Hope we get to visit someday!

  12. This looks like a fun trip! I love all of the tips for what to bring when traveling with kids, I will check this list before leaving for our next road trip.

  13. Wow looks like an amazing trip! I haven’t ever been to Santa Fe but have always thought it would be a great place to visit one day! Your photos are fabulous! Looks like so much fun.

  14. I’ve driven down to Las Cruces, New Mexico twice already this year and plan to return in August. There are some really cool places in New Mexico… though, I tell you, it’s a 19 hour drive for me…lol

    1. We will definitely be going back to explore more of NM. We want to visit Carlsbad and my husband wants to check out Roswell as well as some other places. We may have to add Las Cruces to the list as well.

  15. That is such a cool area. My kids would get pretty bored on car trips without activites. I’m a fan of the license plate game.

  16. It looks like you had a really fun trip!! I have never been to NM before but your fab pics are making me want to go!!

  17. What an amazing trip you guys had! The colors are so vibrant and the architecture is gorgeous.

  18. these are all really great tips for taking a family road trip! Definitely make sure your vehicle is in good shape, nothing worse than a break down in the middle of some unknown place!

  19. What a great place to visit! I’ve never been to Sante Fe, but the colors (and photos) are amazing. When I’m traveling with the grandkids, I take lots of stops, too.

  20. Oh my gosh! I love all your pictures from this road trip! I’m the queen of packing enough snacks. I cannot stand being hungry and in the middle of nowhere haha.

  21. Plan on getting together with a bunch of friends and traveling to Pine Lake for father’s day. It will be alot of fun with the zip lines, and other things to do. I am bringing my camera this time.

  22. We just did an 8 hour road trip from boston to DC and we made lots of stops along the way. Even if we didn’t have to use a bathroom, we stretched our legs.

  23. What a beautiful town! I love the colours and the adobe buildings. I’d love to take the kids there to see it one of these years!

  24. Road trips are fun, but you’re right: it does take a lot of good planning and snacks 🙂 Your trip looks very fun! I hate it when you can’t find a bathroom lol!

    1. Luckily we came upon a golf course just in time. I used my 4yo as an excuse, “he really has to use the bathroom” LOL

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