Julie and I adore road trips. We try to take them every couple months, whether it's a day trip or a few nights. Believe it or not, instead of a here-to-there destination road trip, consider making the traveling portion themed.
Once you know the route you want to take, look at the towns along the way. Do some Google Earth'ing to get a sense of the layout of the land. Do some searches for each town's name and the theme you want to pursue.
Here's some themes we think would be ideal -
Cemeteries - look for all the town cemeteries along the way.
Urbex - look on Google Earth and in photo searches for abandoned places in the towns you are going through.
Ghosts - find haunted restaurants, infamous ghost locations, ghost walks, ghost hotels.
UFOs - look on the MUFON site to see if there have been sightings anywhere along your route. Stop at those points and give yourself some sky watching time.
Fishing - check out the rivers and lakes for places to stop and fish along the way.
Antiquing - stop in each town to check the antique shops.
Teens - recall your youth by putting on a concert tee, some jeans, and a good mix of music from your youthful era blasting with the windows rolled down. Stop for burgers and shakes. Cruise up and down the main street a few times. Ignore the clock.
Fall colors - It goes without saying, everyone wants to cruise for the colors, but sometimes life gets in the way and before you know it, the season is over. Some folks plot long trips from the north heading south, chasing the leaves along the way as they change over weeks.
Oddities - Sites like Atlas Obscura and Weird US offer lots of high strangeness for areas, from urban legends and monsters seen, to airplane graveyards and houses made of straw. Start looking them up and see if there are some strange things to photograph along the way.
Wineries and Breweries - Look up the towns you're going through and the word "winery" or "vineyard" or "brewery." Just be ready to visit and buy and take home or have a designated driver.
Bigfoot - If you're heading through the forests, go onto the BFRO site online and see if there have been sightings in any of the towns you're heading through. Get out of the car and enjoy some time among the trees, awaiting a sound or a sighting.
Diners, Drive-ins and Dives - Look up those towns and check out their restaurants. Many mapping apps show you with a fork and knife where the eateries are along the route. Look for the most small-town diner you can find and give it a try.
Wanderlust - This is one of our favorites. Find your roadways to get from point A to point B, but along the way, if one of you sights an interesting feature in the distance or roadway, take it. Don't be afraid to do U-Turns and go back for a photo op. Wander around. With GPS tracking and phone map apps, you can't really get lost, but try and get lost wondering what's up around the next turn....
Get your car serviced first. Bring lots of water. Be sure to be able to charge your phone anywhere.
We carry this fantastic solar charger. We keep them in our purses for whenever we're out and about and on road trips we leave them on the dashboard to charge while driving and then take it out in the field on hikes where we can use it up and recharge in the sunlight. Works super good!!!