101 Quick Road Trip Snacks for Kids for Your Next Adventure

Road Trip Snacks for Kids
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As a parent, I know how much road trip snacks can make or break a family vacation. I’ve experienced first-hand the wails of “I’m hunnngry” and “Are we there yet?” from my kids when we didn’t pack enough snacks. But over time, I’ve learned the importance of coming prepared with a variety of road trip snacks for kids that can keep the whole family happy and satisfied (and quiet) throughout the trip.

That’s why I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to road trip snacks for kids – so you can learn from my mistakes and be prepared for your road trip with kids from the start. Whether you’re traveling with toddlers or teenagers, I’ve got you covered with various kid snacks for road trips that are both tasty and healthy. From non-perishable snacks to sweet and salty treats, these are the tried-and-true family road trip snacks I always rely on for our long car trips.

I’ve also included some tips and tricks for keeping your kid’s snacks for a road trip organized and accessible, as well as some general advice for surviving a road trip with kids. So sit back, relax, and let me help you make your next family road trip successful with my road trip snack ideas for toddlers and kids.

How to Organize Your Family Road Trip Snacks

road trip snacks carseat

Before you even start to think about the food, we should talk about organization. While it’s smart to have a packing list for a family road trip, organizing kids’ snacks on a road trip is essential for a few reasons.

I’ve learned this the hard way over the years – the first time we did a road trip to Whistler, I gave my toddler a bunch of food and was shocked when I later saw that drinks were spilled and crumbs were everywhere. I am now an expert at road trip car organization, so I’m here to share my tips with you.

You’ll also want to stay organized each day for long trips, such as a Seattle to San Francisco road trip. I’m such a clean freak that I usually do a huge trash run several times a day on big drives like this just to make sure that it doesn’t accumulate.

I’ve since learned how kids are, so here are a few reasons to organize before your trip:

  • It can help prevent any potential mess and chaos in the car. Having a designated area for snacks allows kids to easily access them without digging through bags and causing crumbs and wrappers to scatter all over the car.
  • Organizing makes it easier to keep track of how many snacks are left and when it’s time to restock. This is a big one – now that I have two (very hungry) boys, we run out of food fast. By having a specific space for snacks, I can quickly see when our toddler road trip snacks are running low and avoid the dreaded moment when one of my kids realizes there are no more snacks left. 
  • Organizing road trip snacks for kids can help ensure that they are getting a balanced and nutritious diet while on the road. By planning out a variety of healthy snacks ahead of time, you can make sure your kids are getting the energy and nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy throughout the trip. Believe me – there have been many times on a road trip where my kids suddenly get a crazy amount of energy, and I have to think just how many fruit snacks they had in the last hour (usually too many!).

Helpful Items to Organize Your Car

Organize Family Road Trip Snacks

Here are some tips to help you organize your road trip snacks for kids:

  • Use a snack bin – Pack all of your snacks into a large bin and keep it within reach in the backseat. This way, your kids can easily reach in and grab what they want without constantly asking you for help.
  • Use a hanging organizer – Hang a fabric organizer on the back of the front seat to store snacks, drinks, and other small items. I just bought these this year after seeing them in my mother-in-law’s car, and it makes each of my kids excited to have their own special organizer while keeping a mess off the floor.
  • Use a cooler – Pack all of your perishable snacks, such as string cheese, yogurt, and fruit, in a cooler to keep them fresh and cool. This is also a smart way to separate snacks that need to be kept cool from those that don’t, so you don’t accidentally leave out something that needs to be refrigerated only to find it the next day (we’ve all done it).
  • Use individual containers – Pack snacks in individual containers, such as small Tupperware or resealable bags, to make it easier for kids to grab what they want and to prevent spills and messes.
  • Use a snack tray – Invest in a snack tray that fits between the seats to keep snacks and drinks within reach. I also love Bento boxes – they’re sturdy, latch securely, and my kids get excited when I pull them out for trips.

Make sure to reserve your rental car ahead of time! I love using Discover Cars for my trips.

How to Create Less Mess With Kids Road Trip Snacks

Half the battle with doing a road trip with kids is keeping the car decently clean. While there are plenty of tips on how to organize your car, here are some of my best tips to keep your vehicle mess-free with kids.

Use spill-proof cups

spill proof cup

Pack drinks in spill-proof cups with lids and straws to prevent spills and messes in the car. This is especially important for younger kids who are prone to spills. My youngest one always wants to imitate my oldest, but it can be difficult when he isn’t as graceful with his motor skills, so these cups have been a lifesaver.

Pack wet wipes

Bring plenty of wet wipes to clean up spills and messes quickly and easily, especially for toddler snacks for road trips. Keep a pack in the glove compartment or within reach in the backseat for easy access. I use these religiously for messes or sticky hands.

I’ve been using Roadtrippers for years to help me plan out my trips and find fun stops along the way. Use my code “BTR5QTP” for $5 off when you sign up!

Use a garbage bag

Keep a small garbage bag in the car to collect wrappers, snack bags, and other food for road trips with kids. This is a great way to keep the car clean and prevent trash from accumulating on the floor.

I personally hate having a dirty car even when I’m home, so I’ll dump out all the trash every time we stop at a gas station to keep it clean. When we did our Seattle to Crater Lake drive last year, this came in handy.

Bring a portable vacuum

vacuum road trip tip

This might sound like overkill, but it’s a game-changer. Pack a small, handheld vacuum to quickly clean up crumbs and other debris in the car. This is especially helpful for longer road trips where messes can accumulate quickly with all the road trip snacks for kids they get into.

You’ll also be glad you have this if you’re traveling cross-country with a dog who sheds!

Pack snacks strategically

In an effort to pack the best road trip snacks for kids, you’ll want food that is less likely to cause messes, such as granola bars, trail mix, and fruit snacks. Avoid snacks that are sticky or crumbly, such as chips or muffins (possibly the worst kid snack for a road trip mess-wise), that can easily make a mess.

Only bring water

I’ve made the mistake of giving my kids cute little juice boxes, only to have them spill it minutes later. Instead of having a sticky car at the beginning of a road trip, just bring water and save the juices for a special treat when you stop somewhere.

If you’re going somewhere dry, like a Joshua Tree road trip, make sure to bring extra for everyone.

Non-Perishable Road Trip Snacks for Kids

Non-Perishable Road Trip Snacks for Kids

While it’s good to have healthy road trip snacks for kids, non-perishable foods are quick and easy. These snacks don’t require refrigeration or special storage, which means they can be easily packed and taken on the go.

Having two young kids, Goldfish crackers are essential not only for trips but daily car trips. I keep them in a snack trap container for less of a mess.

Here are some of my other favorite non-perishable road trip food for kids:

  1. Granola bars
  2. Trail mix
  3. Fruit snacks
  4. Beef jerky
  5. Rice cakes
  6. Popcorn
  7. Pretzels
  8. Goldfish crackers
  9. Peanut butter crackers
  10. Rice crispy treats
  11. Nutella snack packs
  12. Dried fruit
  13. Fruit pouches
  14. Fig bars
  15. Graham crackers
  16. Cheese crackers
  17. Cereal bars
  18. Veggie straws
  19. Pita chips
  20. Seaweed snacks

Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers

toddler road trip snacks

Road trips with toddlers can be challenging, especially when it comes to snack time. Toddlers can be picky eaters, and they may not be able to handle certain foods that are a choking hazard or too hard to chew. My kids love to eat the same snacks over and over, as much as I try to vary them.

In addition to having a variety of toddler snacks for a road trip, it’s important to pack them in a way that’s easy for them to access. Small containers or bags are a great way to portion out snacks and make them more manageable for little hands. This was useful on our Seattle to Glacier National Park road trip so I didn’t have to constantly turn around to give the kids more food.

You can also pack a few favorite toys or books to help keep them entertained during the trip. With the right snacks and entertainment, your road trip with toddlers can be a fun and enjoyable experience for everyone (really!).

Another tip for toddler road trip snacks is to bring food that takes them a while to eat, such as animal crackers, Cheerios, or Goldfish. My youngest always has these with him, and they can entertain him for up to 15 minutes sometimes when he’s eating them one by one and looking out the window (and any parent knows 15 minutes of silence in the car is golden). You’ll also love having family road trip trivia on hand to entertain their minds!

Also, keep in mind that there’s an age range with toddlers, so a very young one won’t be able to eat certain car snacks for kids, such as popcorn or raisins, due to the choking hazard, while an older one will be fine with it. Use your own judgment based on your child’s age and abilities.

Here are some of my favorite toddler road trip snacks:

  1. String cheese
  2. Apple slices
  3. Rice rollers
  4. Cheerios
  5. Yogurt pouches
  6. Rice cakes
  7. Dried fruit
  8. Sliced cucumbers
  9. Peanut butter sandwiches
  10. Animal crackers
  11. Blueberries
  12. Squeezable fruit pouches
  13. Raisins
  14. Goldfish crackers
  15. Cheese crackers
  16. Graham crackers
  17. Pretzels
  18. Popcorn
  19. Veggie straws
  20. Banana slices

Get your free road trip packing list here!

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Sweet Road Trip Snacks for Kids

sweet road trip snacks

Sweet road trip snacks can make a long car ride much more enjoyable for kids. While you want to be careful not to overdo it with sugar, a sweet treat can be a fun and special part of a road trip. We always let our kids pick out one treat at the grocery store or gas station (like on our Los Angeles to Yosemite road trip), so they have something to look forward to

These snacks provide a bit of sweetness without being overly sugary, making them a good choice if you want to keep your kids’ sugar intake in check (nobody needs an over-sugared child stuck in a car on a trip).

Here are some of my favorite kid road trip snacks that are sweet:

  1. Fruit snacks
  2. Gummy bears
  3. Mini candy bars
  4. M&Ms
  5. Skittles
  6. Chocolate-covered pretzels
  7. Rice crispy treats
  8. Cinnamon applesauce pouches
  9. Yogurt-covered raisins
  10. Graham crackers
  11. Mini muffins
  12. Chocolate-covered almonds
  13. Trail mix with chocolate chips and dried fruit
  14. Granola bars
  15. Jello cups
  16. Peanut butter cups
  17. Twizzlers
  18. Animal crackers with frosting dip
  19. Chocolate chip cookies
  20. Fruit and yogurt parfaits

Salty Road Trip Snacks for Kids

Salty Road Trip Snacks

While I’m more of a sweets person, the rest of my family prefers salty, so we always make sure to have plenty of kids’ road trip snacks with a little salt in them. Just make sure to have their water bottles filled up, as they’ll likely get thirsty after eating these.

Here are some of my favorite salty snacks for kids on a road trip:

  1. Pretzels
  2. Goldfish crackers
  3. Cheese crackers
  4. Salt and vinegar chips
  5. Popcorn
  6. Beef jerky
  7. Chex mix
  8. Rice cakes
  9. Veggie straws
  10. Pita chips
  11. Trail mix with nuts and seeds
  12. Roasted chickpeas
  13. Snack mix with pretzels and cheese crackers
  14. Fritos
  15. Salted nuts (peanuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
  16. Cheese puffs
  17. Sunflower seeds
  18. Seaweed snacks
  19. Baked potato chips
  20. Ritz crackers

Taking a little one with? You’ll want to know crucial tips for road trips with babies.

Healthy Snacks for Kids on a Road Trip

healthy road trip snacks

Sweet and salty snacks are fun, but you’ll also want to have some healthy foods for your kids as well. Eating just junk food with no protein can quickly zap their energy, so you won’t be able to go explore all the fun places you have planned for your trip (like places on your LA to Grand Canyon road trip!).

Here are some great healthy road trip snacks for toddlers and older kids alike:

  1. Fresh fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, berries, etc.)
  2. Dried fruit (apricots, raisins, mango, etc.)
  3. Baby carrots
  4. Sliced cucumbers
  5. Celery sticks with hummus or peanut butter
  6. Hard-boiled eggs
  7. Yogurt cups
  8. Cheese sticks or cubes
  9. Rice cakes with almond butter
  10. Low-sugar granola bars
  11. Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  12. Roasted chickpeas
  13. Pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  14. Edamame
  15. Rice rollers
  16. Low-sodium beef or turkey sticks
  17. Fruit bars
  18. Fruit and veggie pouches
  19. Low-sugar applesauce cups
  20. Whole-grain crackers with cheese
  21. Smoothie packs or squeezable yogurt tubes

Having the right kids’ road trip snacks can make a world of difference on your trip. From non-perishable options to sweet and salty treats, there are plenty of snack choices to keep everyone happy and satisfied throughout your journey. Plus, organizing snacks ahead of time can help minimize mess and save time on the road. My hope is these suggestions for road trip snacks for kids will provide for a smoother, more enjoyable road trip for your whole family!

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