It’s no secret, I spend hours in the car. When you take as many road trips as me, it can be a little tiresome to constantly be changing out the radio stations or finding yourself listening to the same songs over and over again.
Podcasts can be fun, but you never know what’s going to come over the airwaves. That is why I love audiobooks to listen to in the car.
When you are traveling with the family, it can be a little challenging to find the correct book, that won’t corrupt your little one’s ears. At the same time, it has to be entertaining to listen to while driving.
And as much as I love a Stephen King book on a summer road trip, I’d like everyone to sleep at night.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of the Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips.
These books are perfect for young children and older ones too. The next long road trip you take, make sure you bring a great audiobook to keep the trip fun!
Best Audiobooks for Road Trips with the family
The Chronicles Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
Listening Length: 33 hours and 45 minutes
With the reboot of the Chronicles of Narnia, more people are getting familiar with the stories. Did you know the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is actually the second story?
I found the first book, the Magicians Nephew to be more entertaining. For those looking to get lost in another world, I recommend starting up the series.
Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Listening Lenght: 8 hours 15 minutes
You can’t have an Audiobooks of Families list without including the Harry Potter series. These are great audiobooks.
The series has some of the best storytelling and performances you’ll come across. Make sure to start with the Sorcerer’s Stone for your first family vacation.
You’ll love all the voices in the book. The narrator Jim Dale won awards for his voice acting work and held the record for creating 146-character voices in a single book.
The first time I listen to the books, I was blown away. It’s when I learned that sometimes you need to read the books because the movies left so much out.
The Giver Series by Lois Lowry
Longest Listening Length: 8 hours and 11 minutes
Most of you have read the Giver in school. For many, it was the first look at a dystopian world. But did you know this was a series? This blew me away too. There are four books in total, each intertwining.
The Story starts with a young boy learning that he holds all the world’s memories. By the time you get to the last book, you’ll find out what’s beyond the world of the Giver before it comes full circle.
These four stories are short, making them a great series of books to listen to on shorter car rides. This is one of my favorite audiobooks. I highly recommend reading through them all.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Listening Length: 3 hours and 18 minutes
Roald Dahl is an excellent children’s writer. It is hard to go wrong with his work. This is one ofhte best audioboks to lisent to if you have younger kids.
The book is similar to the recent Tim Burton adaptation of the movie with Johnny Dep.
The book is a little over 3hrs.
The BFG by Roald Dahl
Listening Lenght: 4 hours and 25 minutes
The BFG is one of my favorites as both a kid and an adult. The story comes to life in the audiobook of a Big Friendly Giant that is just a little misunderstood and he tries to make children’s dreams a little better.
This Roald Dahl is only 4hr 30 minutes.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Listening Length: 4 hours and 30 minutes
Quick read and an excellent book. Ever feel like the world is out to get you? Unfortunately for Stanley Yelnats, that is exactly the case.
He gets sent to a juvenile detention center that is forcing young boys to dig holes in hopes to find a buried treasure.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Listening Length: 6 hours and 27 minutes
This is a fun tale for the whole family. It all starts off when a stranger appears at their door claiming to have blown off course. He traveled through time.
They come to find out that their father has been meddling in time travel too and disappeared. The kids goes on a quest to find him. It involves a bit of time travel, science fantasy and so much more.
Pipi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Listening Length: 2 hours and 39 minutes
Every little kid’s dream is to be living alone in a house and go on adventures. And somehow Pipi Longstocking seems to do it all.
Pipi Longstocking is a young girl with a whimsical look at the world. And with the two kids that live next door turn everything into an adventure. This was one of my favorites growing up.
The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall
Listening Length: 6 hours and 43 minutes
This series of books follows the Penderwick Sisters. One summer they find out that they are going to stay at the beautiful Arundel estate.
They meet up with the son of the owner, Jeffry Tifton, and become perfect companions for their adventures exploring gardens, treasure-filled attics and everything summer has to offer. The story doesn’t end there as there are 4 additional books in the series.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Listening Length: 10 hours and 39 minutes
The Golden Compass is another great series to make the list. It takes its listeners into a world where humans have animal familiars and a parallel universe are in reach.
He builds a whole new world filled with Gobblers and armored bears’ rule.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Listening Length: 2 hours and 32 minutes
Everyone’s favorite 80s movie that once predicted that ‘in the future, everyone will be wearing masks’. I recently learned that this was a book first, and instantly fell in love. At just two hours long, it’s great for short road trips.
It is a fun tale of love, adventure, sword fighting, revenge, and rodents of unusual size. You gotta read this one!
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Listening Length: 6 hours and 26 minutes
This coming-of-age story is what defined what we currently think of a pirate, peg-legged in all. The story tells the adventures of Jim Hawkins on his search for the buried treasure of the evil pirate, Captain Flint.
Listening Length: 10 hours and 2 minutes
The Percy Jackson stories are filled with fun and adventure that everyone can get into. The first book stars a 12 year old Percy Jackson as he’s about to be kicked out of boarding school. He can’t seem to stay out of trouble.
To make matters worse, mythical creatures start coming to life all around him. To make matters worse, Zeus’s Lightning bolt has gone missing and Percy is the prime suspect.
This is a fun book, especially with the greek gods and mythical fun antics. Make sure to download the second book to for your next long road trips.
The Wizard of Oz Series by L. Frank Baum
Listening Lenght: 3 hours and 49 minutes
Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they get swept away into the magical land of Oz.
So much happens after Dorothy comes back to Kansas, it’s hard to think why the movie stopped there. You gotta listen to the audiobook version of this modern classic.
The classic tale is a great listen to as Dorothy’s adventures go beyond what is a scene in the movie. Trust me when I say you gotta get started on this one.
Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Barry
Listening Length: 8 hours and 40 minutes
Did you ever wonder what happened before Peter Pan met Wendy? The Peter and the Star Catchers series is a faced paced story of adventure on the high seas, in the magical world of Neverland.
Peter meets Molly and has to overcome a band of pirates and their thieves to keep their fantasy land safe.
The Bartimeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
Listening Length: 13 hours and 30 minutes
A 12 year old magician’s apprentice, learning the art. Until he gets publicly humiliated by his teacher and starts teaching himself spells way beyond his years.
He summons a five-thousand-year-old djinni to help him learn more and get revenge. He ends up getting caught up in magical espionage, murder, and rebellion.
Inkling by Kenneth Oppel
Listening Length: 6 hours and 7 minutes
When a sketchbook inkblot comes to life, things are bound to get complicated. First, it starts absorbing a couple of chapters out of your math book, but then it starts to draw stories for you.
As a middle school student, Ethan finds out as he tries to navigate life at a very interesting time.
Ms. Rapscotts Girls by Elise Primavera
Listening Length: 3 hours and 40 minutes
The Whimsical tale about Great Rapscott School for the Daughters of Busy Parents. The headmistress takes her motto from Amelia Earhart: Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
This book is reminiscing of the adventures Mary Poppins takes kids on as they soar through the sky and start getting lost on purpose, just for the adventure.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
Listening Length: 2 hours and 22 minutes
Everyone thinks the Pott family is crazy for buying a clunker of an old car. But then the car tells them what her name is, and that she can fly and swim. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a car on a mission to stop a criminal gang in its tracks and she is taking the Potts with her!
This is a fun classic story. And if you get the audible version, its narrated by everyone’s favorite Doctor, David Tennant. English actors are so much more fun to listen too!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Listening Length: 2 hours and 26 minutes
Is your school a little too normal? Then maybe you need to spend some time at Wayside School. You’ll meet Bebe, the fastest draw in art class; John, who only reads upside down; and Sammy, the new kid—he’s a real rat.
This story was one of my favorites as a kid and your kids will love listening as well.
Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Listening Length: 15 hours and 20 minutes (All three)
This classic story has been reimagined multiple times on the big screen, but do you know the real story? Journey into the world of Doctor Doolittle, an eccentric naturalist that can speak with animals.
Each story brings a new adventure as Doctor Doolittle travels the world in search of new people and fabled creatures. The whole family will love listening to these audiobooks on the next road trip.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Listening Length: 2 hours and 29 minutes
Do you ever think it can’t get worse than this? Unfortunately, for the Baudelaire orphans, these resourceful kids can’t catch a break as each new thing comes up! This book, while meant to be dark and gloomy has a lot of funny elements to it.
It’s also not scary. Tim Curry and a team of talented voice actors bring this audiobook to life.
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Listening Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last 15 years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.
Together these dynamic pair begin a journey through space. This fun tale has been made into a few movies over the years as it captures the imagination of fans for decades now.
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi
Listening Length: 2 hours and 7 minutes
13-year-old Mallory and 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon–who with their mother move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate only to quickly find themselves sucked into a dark and fascinating world of faeries.
The first book is where it all began as these kids go on adventure after adventure within the new world they found. This one is easy to fall into. It’s also one of the only books I can’t find on Audible, but you can buy the CD set or get them from libraries.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Listening Length: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Made popular by the full length movie, How to Train your Dragon is chronicle the adventures and misadventures as Hiccup tried to pass the Viking initiation test by capturing a Dragon.
He comes to find out that dragons aren’t all bad but has to change the village’s mind about them. The story is prefect and has many to follow after it but is a classic story your kids will love. This book is also narrated by David Tennant!
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
Listening Length: 8 hours and 20 minutes
As one of the earliest science fiction novels, Jules Verne depicts and the amazing subterranean world as, led by the crazy Otto Lidenbrock.
As they journey down to the planet’s core and they find it holds various bizarre obstacles: giant mushrooms and insects, a herd of mastodons, prehistoric humans, a treacherous pit of magma, and more.
This classic is one that everyone needs to read. Bonus, the Audible version is narrated by Tim Curry. This great book is just what you need for the open road.
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Listening Length: 2 hours and 7 minutes
Imagine being shipwrecked on an island with only your family. For some that might be a nightmare, but the Robinson family has not only survived but thrived making one of the most elaborate tree houses you’ll ever see.
This adventure story is a family road trip classic.
Escape from Mr Lemoncellos’ Library by Chris Grabenstein
Listening Length: 6 hours and 19 minutes
A huge fan of games and puzzles, Kyle Keeley is excited to find out that his hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most creative game maker in the world is building the towns library.
Kyle is lucky enough to be one of the first 12 kids to win an overnight trip to the library. But when morning comes, the doors are still locked.
The kids must solve every clue and secret puzzle to find the escape route. This book is a cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum. The entire family will fall in love with it.
Are the kids listening to audiobooks?
Audiobooks are great on a long drive or a road trip. On a single road trip, we managed to listen to two Harry Potter Books and the Giver. The whole time we thought weren’t even sure if our kids would listen!
They were so engrossed in their activities, but when the Giver ended, my daughter pipes up and asks if we can watch the movie afterward.
Just because your kids may not be as interested in the book as you think, doesn’t mean they aren’t listening.
Depending on your kid’s age, consider choosing shorter story to listen too. Sometimes having a smaller one will keep both their and your attention spans.
Where to find the best Audiobooks?
Before going out and buying a bunch of audiobooks for the family, get to know your local library. Most libraries offer free audiobooks you can stream from apps like RB Digital, Libby, or CloudLibrary. Select your local library and put in your card number.
Whatever is available is yours to stream for about 3 weeks. The selection can be hit and miss. My biggest recommendation is to download a few books before your trip starts so you don’t eat through your data.
Also, consider expanding your number of libraries to search from. My local library partners with neighboring counties. Once you get signed up with their card, you can double or triple the number of books.
Borrow Physical Audiobooks for the Library
I’m not sure what my library was thinking when I walked out the door with a dozen audiobooks one day. I ended up loading them all onto my iPod. I know old school right?
But this way I could have a great reader loaded with digital audiobooks.
If you don’t have an iPod or smartphone, you can also put the files onto a USB drive.
Most cars have the option to play audio files that way. I preferred my iPod because it has an audiobook setting and bookmarks everything.
Audible has a great deal, giving you your first two books free during the free trial. After that books are purchased based on the credit package you purchase. It ends up costing about $15 a book on average.
You can purchase books based on a monthly or yearly subscription. With Audible, the books you purchase are yours to keep. You’ll never have to return them.
Bring a few of the best audiobooks for the family on road trips
Classics like Harry Potter that show the magic of true friendship are always fan favorites, but sometimes you need to break yourself out of the world. Or you might get bored. That’s why you should always bring a few audiobooks for family road trips.
On my last winter cross-country road trip to Galveston TX, I gathered up about 10 different books to take along with me. It was nice to have a little variety. And if you get a chance, take a few you haven’t read before at home. This way there is a reason to get to the end of the book. Sorry Harry, but I already know how your story ends.
Audiobooks have the power to turn ordinary travel time into cherished family memories. With captivating narrations and captivating stories, these audiobooks will keep everyone entertained and engaged throughout the journey. So, gather your loved ones, hit the road, and let the magic of audiobooks accompany you on your next family road trip!