I'm from LA and now live in the Bay Area -- we've been driving down since the kids were very young. Our biggest tradition is that we leave at 4am, and I do all the driving! Otherwise, I get carsick. The kids go in the car in PJs and with a blanket and they all (inc. DH) sleep while I drive. It's tiring for me, but I love leaving so early, missing traffic, and getting to So.Cal. early! We don't watch movies or anything, since my kids also get carsick. I drive until the rest of the family wakes up (usually around 8am) and needs breakfast or a bathroom break. Recently, I've been packing some breakfast (cut-up fruit, etc.) so we only stop for bathroom and gas. Our other big tradition is that we always listen to audiobooks once everyone is awake -- we get them from the library and always enjoy them. It really helps pass the time. We usually go every year, but we didn't go last year so our last road trip was Nov. 2011. This year we are going in April and July, but we are flying (for the first time!) in April, because we only have 2 nights and it would be too much driving for me (and not enough time in the parks). That will be a big change as I am used to having a car and also used to being able to pack lots of food -- a full cooler and lots of non-perishable snacks. We won't have room since we will be flying. Another big change is that kids will be 11 and 14 -- our first year they both have to have adult tickets. Ouch!