There’s something enchanting about family road trips: exploring new places, adventuring to new towns, and making memories with those you love. While it sounds like a peaceful, exciting time, anyone who’s ridden in a car for hours on end knows those rolling hills and new roads can get monotonous and even boring. And if you’re traveling with children? Well, let’s just say you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of things to help keep them occupied.
Audiobooks are perfect for road trips, creating a shared experience among family members and providing entertainment for when those miles get arduous. We’ve rounded up 20 of the best audiobooks that are appropriate and fun for the whole family to listen to.
Whether your family loves sharing a good laugh or adventuring to new lands together, these audiobooks cover different genres and themes. We’ve chosen titles that might inspire conversation, and will definitely have your family connecting over their stories. Read on to find the 20 best audiobooks for family road trips!
The Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Told from the point of view of Red, a beautiful tree that stands proudly in the middle of a town, this touching story will have your family talking.
When a new family moves into town and a hateful word is etched on Red’s bark, the tree knows it must do something. But how? Applegate’s gentle and moving story will resonate with every member of your family.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Narrator Kate Winslet breathes new life into this classic story by Roald Dahl. Matilda Wormwood is a voracious reader who is unusually bright for her age. Neglected by her parents and treated poorly by Miss Trunchbull, her school’s headmistress, Matilda finds comfort and friendship in her teacher, Miss Honey.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Another novel by Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan is a beautiful story of friendship. Ivan is a gorilla who lives in a mall. Resigned to his future, Ivan meets a new baby elephant, who is brought to the mall and who sparks life inside of him once again.
A story your entire family will enjoy, The One and Only Ivan is the first in a trilogy and is a perfect choice for a long car ride!
A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
Bat thinks about the world differently than most people and has a hard time making friends. When his veterinarian mom brings home a baby skunk from work one day, he clicks with the animal right away. Can Bat prove to his mom that he’s capable of caring for the skunk?
A beautiful story that celebrates finding friendship, this book will appeal to all members of your family. Be sure to have the next books in the series ready to go after finishing the first!
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
When the landlord of their home decides that he’s not going to renew the Vanderbeekers’ lease, the family is shocked and devastated. The five brothers and sisters that live there will do anything to make sure their family stays put.
A fun family read with a zany cast of characters, this is the first in a series that will hook your family.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
For a family that loves a little mystery, pick up this one. Kyle’s new town library has been designed by a famous game designer named Luigi Lemoncello. Will Kyle be able to solve the puzzles and find the clues that will help him escape the library before he’s locked inside?
A fun, zany ride of a story, this is the first in a series that will grab your family’s attention.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
When the ship robot Roz is on is wrecked, her box washes up onto an island. Stranded with no other robots in sight, Roz must convince the island’s animals that she is friendly and safe, before danger arrives on the island.
A heartwarming story about friendship, this audiobook is a spectacular blend of story, sound effects, and perfect narration. This will surely be a hit with your entire family.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This classic novel is a perfect story to enchant members of your family on a long car ride. When Wilbur, a runt piglet, befriends a cast of characters on Fern’s family farm, they work together to save the tiny animal. Charlotte creates spectacular webs to describe Wilbur, with the hopes of saving the pig.
Read by Meryl Streep, this audiobook is a gorgeous experience for family members to enjoy together and will become a core memory for your family.
Restart by Gordon Korman
After Chase falls off his roof, he loses his memory. When he returns to school and notices that some kids are afraid of him, he learns that he was the school’s biggest bully. Is it too late to start over and redefine himself?
Narrated by a full cast of characters, your family will love this book. With lots of room for discussion about bullying and friendships, this is the perfect story to help approach some tough topics with middle-grade readers.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
Award winner Kathi Appelt serves up a fun fantasy with The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. When two raccoon brothers join the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts, they must team up to save the swamp from being turned into a theme park.
Fun for all ages, this novel will enchant your family as the miles roll on.
Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Laugh along as fourth grader Peter puts up with his toddler brother, Fudge and his wild antics. As Fudge causes scenes and seems to get all the attention from their parents, Peter deals with jealousy as hilarity ensues.
Readers will fall in love with Judy Blume’s iconic characters and will crave the next installments in this series.
Jack: The (Fairly) True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk by Liesl Shurtliff
When giants invade his neighbor’s garden, Jack and his sister go on an adventure into the giants’ kingdom. Up against the king of giants, the two will do anything to recapture something that belongs to them.
Families will love this fun retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk and will be eager to dive into Shurtliff’s other fractured fairy tales: Grump, Rump, and Red.
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
When Aventurine is tricked into drinking magical hot chocolate, she is transformed into a human. With a newfound love of chocolate, she sets out to make a new life for herself as a human.
A sweet story that’s perfect for the whole family, this is the first installment of a series that your family will fall in love with.
Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
When Louie’s uncle arrives with a sick, baby donkey, Louie knows he can save him. Despite others’ doubt and Louie’s back-track record when it comes to pets, the two form a beautiful bond.
If you’re searching for read-alikes to Charlotte’s Web that the whole family can enjoy, this is the perfect choice for your next road trip.
Hello, Universe by Erin Kelly Entrada
This award-winning book is the story of four kids whose lives fatefully entwine today. When a prank lands Virgil at the bottom of a ditch, three kids race to find him and save him.
With two narrators performing the audiobook reading, this is a fantastic listen and will prompt discussions about bullying among your family members.
Stuntboy in the Meantime by Jason Reynolds
Award-winning author Jason Reynolds is beloved by readers for making them feel seen. Stuntboy in the Meantime features young Portico Reeves, whose alter-ego is a superhero determined to deal with his bully and who will stop his parents from arguing.
With social-emotional themes wrapped into a fun story featuring an imaginative protagonist, listeners will love the audiobook version of this graphic novel.
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes
For fans of Judy Blume’s A Fourth Grade Nothing and Ramona, Henkes’s story of a second grader with bad luck is a perfect listen. After a fall at the end of summer vacation leaves a bump on his head, Billy is nervous heading into the school year. As the year moves along, he thrives!
A lovable protagonist and relatable situations will make this book a perfect choice for families with young children.
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Kate DiCamillo can do no wrong. When a squirrel named Ulysses is sucked into a vacuum cleaner, he ends up not only being saved by Flora but also possessing the superpowers of flying and typing. As the squirrel begins to type poems, the two form a friendship that reshapes their hearts.
This wild ride of a book promises to have your family giggling throughout, making for a fun experience you can share together.
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Andrew Clements’s books are a delight to read and Frindle is among his best. When Nick decides to make up a word for a pen and starts calling it a Frindle, his scheme starts to work….a little too well.
Perfect for discussions about the power of words and how quickly information and trends are passed along, this powerful story is a perfect family listen.
The Beast and the Bethany by Jack Meggitt-Phillip
Ebenezer Tweezer has been keeping his youth for the past 511 years by feeding the monster in his closet whatever it wants. The newest demand? A child. Obeying the monster, Ebenezer adopts Bethany, who, as their friendship grows, he realizes is actually pretty great.
A hilarious novel in the style of Roald Dahl, this ridiculous story will keep your family chuckling as the miles pass by. This is the first in the series, so be sure to download all of the books to keep your family entertained!
Where can I find audiobooks?
There are lots of ways to find and listen to audiobooks. Your public library or child’s school most likely has audiobooks that you can borrow. Audible is also a leading platform that offers a large selection of titles to purchase and listen to.
How can I listen to audiobooks?
In the not-so-distant past audiobooks were played from CDs or audiocassette tapes. These days though, audiobooks are streamed from websites or are downloadable. You can listen to audiobooks from any device by visiting websites or downloading the audiofile.
What types of readers will enjoy audiobooks?
Any reader will enjoy audiobooks! They are perfect for traveling in the car, multitasking, or relaxing! Children who are learning to read or are reluctant readers may benefit from listening to audiobooks as they read along with the text.
What narrators of audiobooks should I listen to?
Jim Dale is known for narrating the Harry Potter books and Kate Winslet’s performance of Matilda has garnered rave reviews. For a unique listening experience, try out one of their audiobooks!
Do audiobooks count as reading the book?
While the act of reading may flex different muscles than listening to the audiobook version, listening to the audiobook is just as exciting as reading it. So yes, listening to an audiobook counts as reading the book!
What are the bestselling audiobooks of all time?
1. “Harry Potter” (Series) (1997-2007) by J.K. Rowling
2. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2005) by Stieg Larsson
3. “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2006) by Stieg Larsson
4. “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” (2007) by Stieg Larsson
5. “The Da Vinci Code” (2003) by Dan Brown
6. “Angels & Demons” (2000) by Dan Brown
7. “Inferno” (2013) by Dan Brown
8. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” (2016) by Mark Manson
9. “Becoming” (2018) by Michelle Obama
10. “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind” (2011) by Yuval Noah Harari
11. “The Power of Now” (1997) by Eckhart Tolle
12. “Where the Crawdads Sing” (2018) by Delia Owens
13. “A Man Called Ove” (2012) by Fredrik Backman
14. “The Nightingale” (2015) by Kristin Hannah
15. “A Game of Thrones” (1996) by George R.R. Martin
16. “A Clash of Kings” (1998) by George R.R. Martin
17. “A Storm of Swords” (2000) by George R.R. Martin
18. “A Feast for Crows” (2005) by George R.R. Martin
19. “A Dance with Dragons” (2011) by George R.R. Martin
20. “Educated” (2018) by Tara Westover
21. “The Four Agreements” (1997) by Don Miguel Ruiz
22. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (1989) by Stephen R. Covey
23. “The Alchemist” (1988) by Paulo Coelho
24. “Atomic Habits” (2018) by James Clear
25. “The Silent Patient” (2019) by Alex Michaelides