The best audiobooks for family road trips will keep every single member of the family happy on the drive. These children’s books are still fun for the adults to listen to and are perfect for connecting with kids on vacation.
We’ve been listening to audiobooks on our family road trips since my girls were still tiny enough to be strapped into car seats.
My husband and youngest daughter LOVE to listen to audiobooks all year round but my older daughter and I are more casual listeners.
Whenever we go on a family road trip, I always have a family-friendly audiobook loaded on my phone.
Sometimes we like to listen to music but we always have an audiobook to fall back on just in case!
Why Listening to an Audiobook is the Best Choice
My girls get car sick fairly easy so the classic parent fall back of plugging them into a tablet with headphones and a movie was never an option for us.
I’m actually not upset by this because:
It means that I don’t have to hear them begging for tablet time for hours on end. They don’t even want it while we’re in the car.
I feel that it is important to LOOK OUT THE WINDOW. That’s what travel is about–the journey! I think kids’ imaginations are activated from the boredom of staring out a window. I want them to see the changing countryside. I want them to see road side signs. I want them to get excited about seeing cows and horses in the pastures. I want them to look at where we are going.
Listening to an audiobook frees kids’ eyes up to enjoy the changing scenery out the window.
How to Pick the BEST Audiobook for a Family Road Trip
Dozens of vacations and family drives under our belt, I know what makes the best audiobooks for family road trips.
What makes them perfect for road trips comes down to these 3 things:
1. Must Be Good for ALL Ages
Consider the ages you’ll have in the car and pick your title appropriately. You’ll need a different book for little kids vs. tweens vs. teens.
However, if you only consider audiobooks for the kids, you’re forgetting one of the most important people in the car — the driver!
Be sure to pick a book that the driver will also find interesting because nothing is worse than being bored and risking falling asleep at the wheel!!
2. Action-Packed or Intriguing
You’ll be spending hours in the car and you’ll be able to listen to the audiobook for very long stretches at a time.
To help keep everyone from getting bored on the drive and to help make sure they all pay attention to the audiobook, try to pick a story that has one of these things:
An entertaining narrator that captivates
A suspenseful plotline
An action-packed story
A super funny book that gets everyone laughing
A thought-provoking classic you’ve always been interested in
3. Proven Popularity
There are new children’s audiobooks coming out every day. If your family is used to listening to audiobooks, you’re likely want something fresh.
However, if you’re introducing your family to the experience of listening to audiobooks on a drive, you’ll want a proven winner that has lots of super-high 5-star reviews.
The books on this list are widely popular for good reason and are a safe bet for your family trip.
Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips
Taking the kids on a family vacation? Be sure to pack one of the best audiobooks for family road trips to keep everyone in the car entertained on the drive. These family-friendly books are perfect for both kids and adults to hold attention as you listen.
Like a car alarm, bagpipe music, or a doorbell ringing in the middle of the night, hearing this all-new audio edition of The Bad Beginning will only upset you.
This unique multi-voice recording brings the first book in Lemony Snicket's alarming A Series of Unfortunate Events to such terrible life that no one should really have to experience it.
Unless you have an ear for such ghastly details as a tragic fire, a nefarious villain, itchy clothing, and cold porridge for breakfast, all narrated in chilly detail by the distinguished, and disturbed, Tim Curry with a team of talented readers, you would be better off listening to something else.
"Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?" Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. Only four children—two boys and two girls—succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and inventive children could complete.
To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. But what they'll find in the hidden underground tunnels of the school is more than your average school supplies. So, if you're gifted, creative, or happen to know Morse Code, they could probably use your help.
Stanley Yelnats isn't so surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to a juvenile detention center. After all, his family has been ridden with bad luck ever since a one-legged gypsy put a curse on his great-great grandfather. He is told that the hard labor he must perform, digging five-foot holes in the dried up soil where Green Lake once sat, is meant to build character.
But it soon becomes clear to Stanley that the warden is really using the boys to search for something very valuable. The story of the hidden treasure, along with the warden, Stanley's friend Zero, and the curse on the Yelnats family are all part of a compelling puzzle that has taken generations to unravel.
Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this virtuosic, genre-defying tour de force from storytelling maestro Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Lost and alone in the forbidden Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each becomes interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives, binding them by an invisible thread of destiny. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. How their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she's just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a menacing, kid-hating headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It'll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!
Here is Roald Dahl's original novel of a little girl with extraordinary powers. This much-loved story has recently been made into a wonderful new musical, adapted by Dennis Kelly with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.
This is the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in darkness but covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl with a simple, impossible wish. These characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and ultimately, into each other's lives.
A young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon must unlock the dangerous magic buried deep inside her in this epic coming-of-age fairy tale from the highly acclaimed author of The Witch's Boy.
Every year the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.
Like every other hobbit, Bilbo Baggins likes nothing better than a quiet evening in his snug hole in the ground, dining on a sumptuous dinner in front of a fire. But when a wandering wizard captivates him with tales of the unknown, Bilbo becomes restless.
Soon he joins the wizard’s band of homeless dwarves in search of giant spiders, savage wolves, and other dangers. Bilbo quickly tires of the quest for adventure and longs for the security of his familiar home. But before he can return to his life of comfort, he must face the greatest threat of all - a treasure-troving dragon named Smaug.
Four adventurous siblings - Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie - step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change...and a great sacrifice.
With all of the pluck and charm of its eponymous young hero, Rachel McAdams (The Notebook, Spotlight, Midnight in Paris) delivers a spectacular reading of Montgomery's beloved bildungsroman. In moments both funny and bittersweet, McAdams' voice is imbued with the spark that has made Anne a much-loved symbol of individualism and cheer for over a century. In this story of "kindred spirits", McAdams' touching and heartfelt narration proves she is just that - bonded on a deep level to this shimmering classic.
Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter 'H'.
Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin!
In an evocative and fast-paced adventure on the high seas and on a faraway island, an orphan boy named Peter and his mysterious new friend, Molly, overcome bands of pirates and thieves in their quest to keep a fantastical secret safe and save the world from evil.
This riveting adventure takes listeners on a journey from a harsh orphanage in old England to a treacherous sea in a decrepit old tub. Aboard the Never Land is a trunk that holds a magical substance with the power to change the fate of the world - just a sprinkle and wounds heal; just a dusting and people can fly. Towering seas and a violent storm are the backdrop for battles at sea. Bone-crushing waves eventually land our characters on Mollusk Island - where the action really heats up.
For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...
Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.
Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, the New York Times-bestselling Underland Chronicles unfold the fate of the Underland and the great warrior, Gregor. Suzanne Collins is also the author of the bestselling Hunger Games trilogy.
When Gregor falls through a grate in the laundry room of his apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland, where spiders, rats, and cockroaches coexist uneasily with humans. This world is on the brink of war, and Gregor's arrival is no accident. A prophecy foretells that Gregor has a role to play in the Underland's uncertain future. Gregor wants no part of it, until he realizes it's the only way to solve the mystery of his father's disappearance. Reluctantly, Gregor embarks on a dangerous adventure that will change both him and the Underland forever.
Heather and Picket are extraordinary rabbits with ordinary lives until calamitous events overtake them, spilling them into a cauldron of misadventures. They discover that their own story is bound up in the tumult threatening to overwhelm the wider world.
Kings fall, and kingdoms totter. Tyrants ascend, and terrors threaten. Betrayal beckons, and loyalty is a broken road with peril around every bend.
Where will Heather and Picket land? How will they make their stand?
When her best friend and neighbor, Margaret, comes to her with a problem, Clementine goes to many lengths to help her friend. This sets off a rollicking adventure-filled week that finds Clementine getting into and out of further trouble, while learning valuable life lessons.
More Audiobooks for Road Trips
Looking for more great audiobooks for your road trip? Here are a few lists the teens or grown-ups in the car might like: