Attractions & Entertainment Product Reviews Travel

California Travel: Entertaining Kids on the Road with the Nintendo 3DS XL



Kids traveling with Nintendo 3DS XL
On our most recent family vacation, we traveled down the California coast and saw and did so many neat things. Although we had lovely views out our car window, and we had amazing activities planned for our stops, that doesn’t mean the entire car ride was going to be peachy keen. I know my children well, and I know that I have to have a plan of attack when facing a road trip.

My children sure love their electronics and I do monitor the amount of time they spend in front of a screen, but I believe they do develop some excellent hand-eye coordination, and even problem solving skills. While planning for our California vacation I just knew that Nintendo had to be on our list of must-have items. We already had a Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS, but we had yet to try the newest handheld system: the Nintendo 3DS XL. I have 4 kids so it only made sense to add another system to our collection, so there wouldn’t be constant bickering and fighting over each handheld. Besides, my boys are especially always talking about the newest hot games to hit the market. They love some of the coolest 3DS games and were eager to give them a try on a bigger screen.

nintendo 3ds xl
Let me just tell you that I think Nintendo is awesome! We started our road trip toward Carmel-by-the-Sea, and because I didn’t plan our trip super far in advance, we began our adventure low on supplies. Lucky for us, When we arrived at our first hotel (Hofsas House), we had a package waiting for us. Inside was a red Nintendo 3DS XL (the twins’ favorite color) and one of the hottest 3DS games out right now, Animal Crossing: New Leaf. My boys were OVER the moon and would have just sat in the hotel playing all weekend if I had let them. There was a beach at our fingertips and tons of cool activities and sights to see, so the system had to wait until it was time to hit the road again, for our next destination. I believe it is important to keep game playing in moderation so the kids don’t miss out on the world that is around us. There is a time and place for everything!

Kids traveling with Nintendo 3DS XL
When it was time to hit the road again, Brielle managed to snag the 3DS XL before any of the boys could grab it. That one has to be fast or the boys will eat her alive sometimes! She loved familiarizing herself with some of the features: a large screen with beautiful images, a tightly hinged lid, a spot to hold the stylus, and just overall fun!

The Nintendo 3DS XL in black and red, can be purchased on Amazon for $206.99. I’m sure that nearly any child would be happy if one of these made it under the Christmas tree this year. Take it from the twins in their video review…..

animal crossing new leaf

As I said before, Animal Crossing: New Leaf is one of the hottest video games out right now. It can be purchased for $30.31 on Amazon, and is great for a variety of ages.

From the manufacturer:

  • Create your own happy place – As the mayor, you get to make the big decisions that shape your town. Add new features, decide which facilities get built, change shop hours and more to let you experience Animal Crossing however you like.
  • New discoveries await every day – Time passes in Animal Crossing just like it does in the real world, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. No two days are the same, with things happening at all hours and events happening throughout the year.
  • Freedom to live life at your own speed – Is your passion fishing? Fashion? Fossil digging? Gardening? YOU can decide where you spend your time, whether it?s on your own or interacting with the animal townsfolk.
  • Decorate your house inside and out – Choose from furniture new and old, carpets, wallpaper, and enhanced design tools to customize your house inside. Choose from new house layouts and remodel your home’s exterior as well. Change the outside wall, the fence, your mailbox, and more to change the look of your house completely. Living in a castle is not just a dream in Animal Crossing.

Now we don’t hit the road without our Nintendo 3DS XL because it’s the hottest system we currently own. Well, that’s what I gather because my boys are always fighting over who gets to play it! I have learned to set a timer for each of their turns and it seems to work quite well. Of course, homework, reading, and some physical activity usually precedes some good ol’ fun downtime with the DS!

About the author

Emily Buys


  • I have heard great things about the Animal Crossing Game. My older son had all the portable Nintendo systems. This is probably the only one we don’t have. I thought about buying one but then I would have to buy two because the younger ones would just fight over it. It looks awesome! Maybe I’ll save up for Christmas. Thanks for sharing.

  • My son is autistic & he loves playing games on the 3DS as the games we buy are at his level & he can play for a while.

  • Great idea and my kids would love to be able to play with one of these while on a “boring car ride” lol.

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