I love the day trip because you can do it with little planning, explore local spots and it is a great way to spice up a boring weekend. The kids don't seem to mind since the trip is usually less than a few hours, and they get to eat out and play in strange and wonderful playgrounds. We are also lucky enough to live on Vancouver Island, a road trip paradise (we are one of the 10 best islands after all).
For my family, the day trip to Parksville is a tradition. At least once every summer we drive to Parksville for no reason other than to visit Community Park and come back that same day. But can day trips be great road trips?
Comparing our most recent trip against the Macleans checklist reveals we had a pretty good road trip. We drove through parts of Nanaimo we had never been (new road), tried Ole Mexicanos Cafe in Parksville (new food), travelled in light and dark, drove the seaside route (alternate inefficient routes), and my husband always drives just a little too fast. We even had some of the elements that make for a great road trip. The most important part is that it was shared with the whole family. And of course we had the adversity - a baby that would not stop crying through the whole Malahat drive in the dark and pouring rain. Oh sweet adversity. I can't wait for next year.