Top 12 Destinations for Geeky Family Road Trips

roswell 2Thinking about taking the whole family on the geekiest road trip known to mankind? Then check out these must-see destinations for geeks of Science, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Comic Books!

You know the feeling: sitting on the couch or around the fireplace as a family, watching old Firefly and Star Trek episodes or reading your favorite comics… it just isn’t enough anymore.

You have to get out of the house, out of the city, and hit the road!

Everybody in your perfectly geeky clan is itching for a vacation. But where do you go? The usual Disneyland destination doesn’t seem quite right this time around–you guys crave something more. Something better. Something…

GEEKIER.

Not to worry, my fellow cross-country travelers! I have a list of some perfect destinations for geeky road trips. Whether you’re in the mood for scientific discovery, fantastical findings, science fiction-fueled fun or comic book-inspired wonderment, I’ve got the perfect places.

They say it’s more about the journey than the destination. And I think they’re right. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have an amazingly, fantastically, incredibly, wonderfully, totally and in all other ways spectacular geeky finish line!

The Best Family Road Trip Destinations for Geeky Families

Science Geek Road Trips

Kennedy Space Center

KennedyFor geeks who dig space, that final frontier, there is no better place to travel to than the Kennedy Space Center.

At this interstellar wonderland in sunny Florida, you’ll get to experience a space-flight simulation with the Space Shuttle Atlantis, get your app-addiction covered with the Angry Birds Space Encounter, have lunch with an actual astronaut and go through the Astronaut Training Experience to see if your geeky family is up to the task of exploring the stars.

INFO:

  • Address — 6225 Vectorspace Blvd, Titusville, FL 32780
  • Phone — (321) 867-5000
  • Hours — Monday-Sunday 9am-5pm

Very Large Array

vlaAbout 50 miles outside of Socorro, New Mexico, there stands an enormously impressive y-shaped array of 27 antennae, making up one of the country’s most famous and well-used astronomical radio observatories.

Featured in the movie Contact, the Very Large Array (or VLA) is a big draw to space geeks the world over. You can visit the VLA any day of the week, from early morning until dusk, but if you want a guided tour, you’ll have to plan on being there on the first Saturday of the month, from 11am-3pm.

INFO:

  • Address — Socorro, NM, 87825
  • Phone — (575) 835-7000
  • Hours — 8:30am to Dusk, Daily

Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum

air and spaceThe Smithsonian Institute is the be-all-end-all of American museums. You could spend a solid week visiting each of the organization’s sites and never see it all. It’s huge and it’s amazing.

One of my all-time favorite parts of the Smithsonian is the National Air and Space Museum. This supremely awesome site features an Apollo 11 collection, the Baron Hilton Pioneers of Flight Gallery, full-scale models of early airplanes, lunar exploration vehicles and an exhibit that tracks the space race and rivalry between the Soviet Union and the United States.

INFO:

  • Address — 600 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20560
  • Phone — (202) 633-2214
  • Hours — Monday-Sunday 10am-5:30pm

Fantasy Geek Road Trips

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

harry potterI know, I know, there’s nothing terribly special and unique about taking the family to Universal Studios Florida. But you know what? THIS is amazing.

I visited the Wizarding World of Harry Potter a year ago and I had an absolute blast. If you take the whole geeky family here, you’re bound to create some lifelong memories.

Among the myriad awesome spectacles of the theme park are Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Honeydukes candy shop, great food at the Three Broomsticks, two wicked roller coasters (Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge), a really cool interactive ride called Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and the Hogwarts Express (which is a great photo opportunity).

If your family is made up of Harry Potter fans, then you must visit this magical, wonderful world.

INFO:

  • Address — 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
  • Phone — (954) 558-1784
  • Hours — Monday-Sunday 9am-7pm

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

dungeonsThere are no theme parks in Lake Geneva. In fact, there isn’t much of anything at all. It’s definitely a beautiful location, but even that isn’t the reason I’ve put it on the list.

It’s here because of one man: Gary Gygax.

If you don’t know, Gygax was the co-creator of the world’s first ultra-popular role-playing game: Dungeons and Dragons. It is because of him that we’ve spent hours upon hours upon hours upon days throwing the die and hoping our hero-party can outwit the evil machinations of the Dungeon Master.

Honestly, there’s not much to do here, but if your family is a real clan of RPGers, then this is a pilgrimage you’ll definitely want to make.

My suggestion? Bring a blanket, a picnic lunch and your favorite D&D quest and enjoy the beauty of the land while you kill some goblins.

Homestead of The Goonies

goonies(Photo Courtesy Love-and-Adventure)

What geek doesn’t love The Goonies? … Uh huh, I’m waiting. … What, no one? How utterly unsurprising.

The 80’s flick starring young Samwise Gamgee, one half of the infamous Coreys, and a young Josh Brolin, is one of the all-time best kids’ adventure movies in existence.

And it was filmed, on location, in Astoria, Oregon.

So if you find yourself with your family in the great Pacific Northwest, you better make sure to plan a side-trip to Mikey and Brand’s house. Cause it’s still there.

INFO:

  • House Address — 368 38th St, Astoria, OR

Sci-Fi Geek Road Trips

Roswell, New Mexico

roswellDoes your little geek love aliens and UFOs? Well, of course they do!

Then Roswell, New Mexico has got to be on your radar for your fantastic voyage of geeky goodness. This town has totally embraced the UFO culture, with businesses everywhere claiming that “Aliens are Welcome!”

There are museums, restaurants, and fantastically fun alien-themed festivals in Roswell. If you’re not there, well, you might not be square, but you’ll definitely be missing out.

Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame

empLocated within the Experience Music Project in Seattle, WA, the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame is a wonderfully geeky destination. I went there a few years ago when they had a Battlestar Galactica exhibit up and I was geek-squealing through the entire tour.

They have changing exhibits all the time, but also a permanent collection featuring a Dr. Who Dalek, a Star Trek command chair and even Neo’s coat from The Matrix movies.

It makes for an unbelievably good time. And if you also happen to be a music geek, then that’s just double the fun!

INFO:

  • Address — 325 5th Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
  • Phone — (206) 770-2700
  • Hours — Monday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk

kirkSpeaking of Star Trek, did you know that the fictional Captain Kirk was given a real-life birthplace? He was! And it’s in Riverside, Iowa.

Here, you’ll find the awesome plaque pictured above, as well as a scale-model U.S.S. Riverside and a summer town party called Trek Fest.

If you guys are honest-to-goodness Trekkers, you’ll want to to get yourselves over here at warp speed.

INFO:

  • Address — 361 E 1st St, Riverside, Iowa
  • Phone — (319) 930-8735
  • Hours — Thursday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 1pm-4pm

Comic Book Geek Road Trips

San Diego Comic Con International

sdccDo I even need to mention the San Diego Comic Con on this list? Isn’t it a given?

This is the Holy Grail destination for geeks around the world. Every summer, over a long weekend, hundreds of thousands of folks make their way to San Diego to walk through or participate in the International Comic Con.

There are panels with the stars and creators of upcoming or favorite movies and TV shows, there are booths where you can get autographs from the same folks, there are screenings of new shows and flicks, and there are hundreds of booths for artists, writers, sellers, and museum-piece displayers.

It. Is. Amazing.

I was lucky enough to get there in 2009, and I’ve been dreaming about going back ever since. So how about it? Let’s caravan to San Diego! (Assuming we can get tickets, of course, which typically sell out in mere seconds…)

INFO:

  • Address — 111 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101

Superman Square, Metropolis

superman(Photo courtesy New York Times)

Did you know that there’s a real Metropolis in the U.S.? There is! And it’s located in good old Illinois.

It’s not a big city, despite it’s name, but it does feature a ton of awesome sights for Superman fanatics, including the statue in Superman Square pictured above and the Super Museum.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Wait, yes it is a plane. With you and your family nestled safely inside, on your way to see the real-world home of the Man of Steel!

INFO:

  • Address — Superman Square, Metropolis, IL
  • Phone — (618) 524-5025

Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

superhero supplyIf you’re doing your best to raise your little geek into a superhero, then you need to make your way to the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

At this unbelievably cool shop, you can find capes, secret identity paraphernalia, superhero gadgets and gizmos and even stuff for your very own lair.

A superhero needs an outfitter and there’s just no better outfitter than the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.

INFO:

  • Address — 375 5th Ave, New York, NY 11215
  • Phone — (718) 499-9884

So, what do you think? Ready to hit the road and let your geeky colors fly? Me, too! So let’s go already!

What are your favorite geeky destinations for road trips? Anything I missed? Come on, let’s put together the all-time definitive list!

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About Peter Diseth

Geek-tician and Sci-Fi-nancier, Peter has been honing his research for Geeks Raising Geeks for better than three decades. He makes a living creating web content for individuals and businesses, both local and international. He's also a veteran actor of stage and screen, and doing this makes "making a living" worthwhile. Peter is also the sole creator of NewsAttire.com (a satirical news blog in the vein of The Onion) and a once-contributor to WhatCulture.

Peter lives in New Mexico with the three loves of his life: his wife Kate, his kitty Kitty, and his vast library of well-loved and well-worn genre fiction.

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Comments

  1. Just being picky, but the photo of the Air and Space Museum is from the Udvar-Hazy Center (the newer outpost of the SI Air and Space Museum) located at 14390 Air and Space Museum Parkway Chantilly, Virginia 20151 –out by Dulles Airport. It is also free to visit, but is either $10 or $15/vehicle for parking.

    • Perry Rosenbloom says:

      Thanks, Deena! Appreciate the clarification.

      • I was going to point out the same thing. One of the nice things about the Smithsonian is that you can go to a whole bunch of museums in one trip to DC (the American Indian one is fascianting, and so is American History). However, as said above, to see the shuttle, you have to drive a bit more. The museum at the Mall does have a lunar module and a ton of planes and rockets.

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