From majestic national landmarks to competitive geography trivia, these thrilling board games are perfect for indulging the wanderlust you’re likely feeling after spending a year at home. So, pack your bags and head out for adventure with one (or all) of these travel-themed board games.
Update, 5/12/22: Checked that links and copy are updated.
Here's What We Looked for to Find These Games
Travel via Train: Ticket to Ride
Buy National Landmarks: Monopoly: National Parks Edition
Test Your Global Knowledge: Passport to Culture
Do-or-Die Adventure Missions: Forbidden Island
Question Your Geography: Guess in 10---Cities Around the World
Nostalgic Global Gumshoes: Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Competitive Exploration: Trekking the National Parks
Travel is, among other things, about exploration and education, and those are exactly the traits we sought out in these games. While playing these games, the players (both kids and adults alike) are meant to feel like you are traveling from destination to destination, exploring new vistas and perhaps even collecting a few souvenirs along the way. And as you’re exploring, you might even learn a new thing or two along the way. What more could you hope for from your travels?
Ticket to Ride does an excellent job capturing the essence of riding on a train. And because you’re racing against the 2-5 other players to collect train car cards and claim railways across the United States, it’s sure to be an exciting ride. Points are divvied out based on claimed railway length, the longest continuous railway, and whether or not a player can connect at least two distant cities.
Players can choose to use their cards to disrupt the train routes of their opponents or as scoring points, or they can try to strike a balance between mission rewards and causing failures. With its straightforward scoring and simple rules, Ticket to Ride is both a good challenge for adults and a fun game for kids ages 8 and up, and it takes about an hour to play.
Ticket to Ride
Collect cards and claim railways to win this fun railroad-themed board game.
You probably already know how to play Monopoly, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with Monopoly: National Parks Edition. As you circle the board, you can buy up properties just like you would in the original version, but this version swaps out Park Place and Atlantic Avenue for the likes of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite.
Instead of the original player tokens, you get six new custom tokens, like a tent, camera, ranger hat, bison, hiking boot, and canoe. Property cards are also renamed as Historic Site Cards, while everything else stays the same. The game is for 2-4 players and (as you’ve probably experienced), can take well over an hour to play. This fun themed version of Monopoly is educational for the whole family, plus a portion of the proceeds goes to the National Park Foundation.
Monopoly: National Parks Edition
Work your way around the board to collect properties (and rent!) in this adventure-themed version of Monopoly!
If you feel confident that you’d win any Jeopardy! geography category questions, you should probably check out Passport to Culture. In the game, you’ll traverse the globe with other players while testing your knowledge of world cultures. Questions range from customs and traditions to greetings and gestures, and if you get a question right, you’ll earn a stamp in your passport.
And once you’ve finished that game, check out Passport to Culture—Travel Edition for 1,000 new questions centered around every country in the world. Passport to Culture is for 2-6 players ages 10 and up, with 636 questions and 48 cultural scenarios. Its sequel is for 2-5 players ages 8 and up and supports team play.
Passport to Culture
Collect passport stamps for knowing the answer to world geography questions.
In Forbidden Island, you’ll assemble a team of adventurers (from options like pilot, engineer, and explorer) and rush to gather four ancient relics and escape from the island. The catch? The island is alive and will try to kill you in order to protect those relics. You’ll need to move efficiently to gather the relics and make it back to your helicopter in order to win.
Tiles are laid out in a row-and-column pattern, and you’ll move orthogonally. On each turn, you’ll have three actions and can choose any number of the following tasks: You can continue moving, you can shore up tiles that the island is trying to sink (which could break your path), or you can play one of the cards you’ve collected to move closer to victory. Also, each character has a unique ability that can help your crew—like swimming across open water or moving to any tile on the board at any time—so choose carefully.
When, or should we say if you beat this challenging game, definitely check out the game’s equally thrilling sequels, Forbidden Desert and Forbidden Sky. They offer similar gameplay but have their own unique scenarios and setbacks. All three games are for 2-5 players ages 10 and up, and typically take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to play through.
Work together to gather island relics before the island swallows you up!
Do you know the capital of Azerbaijan? What country is the Acropolis located in? If your geography knowledge is on point, gather up some friends and show them how awesome you are with Guess in 10—Cities Around the World. The name of the game is to be the first player to win seven Game Cards.
In the game, you’ll team up and ask up to 10 questions to guess the city on the Game Card. You can also take advantage of Clue Cards and Bonus Questions to help you get to seven first. Guess in 10 is for 2-6 players ages 6 and up. There are other travel-themed versions of this game, like Countries of the World, States of America, and Legendary Landmarks if those seem more up your alley.
Guess in 10---Cities Around the World
Ask questions to correctly guess and win a Game Card. First to seven wins!
If you’re a 90s kid, you’ll appreciate this one: the Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? board game is based on the popular kids’ show. And just like in the show, Carmen is trying to steal precious artifacts around the world and you get to play gumshoe to figure out where she is and catch her before she gets away.
The game is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up, and you’ll work your way through the game’s twists and turns using deduction, strategy, and skill. It’ll be up to you to recover treasures—like the Statue of Liberty’s Torch or The Grand Canyon—and eliminate Loot, Location, and Henchman Cards. You can also take notes in the included journals. As soon as you think you have the right Loot and Location Cards, yell “I have a warrant!” and if you have both of those and Carmen’s location, declare “I have a warrant for Carmen’s arrest!” First one to get all three wins.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
Use deduction and strategy to track down and catch Carmen before she gets away with the stolen relics!
Created by John and Terry Binkele, lifelong enthusiasts with a goal to visit all major National Parks in the United States, Trekking the National Parks is a great choice for National Park enthusiasts and kids alike. The game also won several awards, including both the Mensa and Parent’s Choice Award, and offers fun and educational gameplay for 2-5 players aged 10 and up.
In the game, players will compete in a cross-country race to (you guessed it) visit every National Park and collect all the points. You’ll need to gather colorful trek cards to move and claim more valuable cards, and if you’re the first player to visit a park, you’ll collect that park’s colorful stone (which awards bonus points at the end).
Trekking the National Parks
Be the first player to visit every National Park in the United States!