The Best Road Trip Novels: 75+ Diverse Audiobooks for Family Road Trips

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you click my link but does not change your price. See my affiliate policy here.

One of my favorite parts of our 60,000+ miles worth of road trips is listening to fun family audiobooks together. There’s something so delightful about all enjoying the same story and cementing in those memories as we drive through miles of road. While I love quiet books to peruse, nonfiction to learn about the places we drive, and history, there’s something so fun about great road trip novels. It’s especially fun listening to family road trip audiobooks that connect to a place we’re driving through or visiting!

Below, I’m sharing 50+ fantastic road trip audiobooks for families that connect to a bunch of different places all around the US. All of these would also make excellent family chapter book read alouds for a road trip if you don’t want to listen to them on audio (I’ve also included links to purchase the physical book if you prefer). I hope they help you create some sweet family memories together as you drive around the country, too!

Where To Find Family Audiobooks for a Road Trip: The Best Road Trip Novels

We usually use the Libby app to download them through our library, but also use the following audiobook services:

We also LOVE using our Yoto player. It’s especially great for our younger kiddos because it’s so young-child-friendly. One of our road trip must haves for toddlers and young kids! They love being able to control exactly what they’re listening to with the cards. Seriously such a lifesaver on family road trips. This also allows my 4 year old, for instance, to listen to a different book than what the older kids are listening to in the car. (More about the Yoto player here.) These are the soft, comfy headphones we love for our younger kiddos – they stay on and don’t get uncomfortable even if they fall asleep.

Family Audiobooks for Road Trips: Road Trip Audiobooks and Read Alouds for Younger Children 

Books Based in the Northeast

  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George: This American classic details a boy who escapes his New York City apartment crowded with siblings to his grandfather’s abandoned farm in the Catskill Mountains. Lots of courage and adventure and survival. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: A great one if you’re visiting the Northeast United States, this classic tale starts off in Massachusetts and follows the lives of 4 sisters. With a background of the American Civil War, it’s historical fiction that has stood the test of time. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • Year of the Dog by Grace Lin: A great story about finding yourself in childhood, including dealing with disappointment, making friends, and confronting racism. Though it doesn’t revolve around a specific place (but does take place in the Northeast), it’s an engaging and relatable story for young school-age children. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • Camp Lewa Girls Are We – Identical twins go off to camp in Maine and learn to explore their own interests while still relying on one another.
  • Homer Price – while it’s not super specific to Maine, this tale of small-town America from the Main children’s book genius Robert McClosky (author of Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal) is sure to keep the whole family laughing
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond – This middle grade novel about a girl moving in with her Puritan relatives was a favorite when I was growing up!

Books Based in New York City

  • From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: I loved this book as a child, and still do now. The descriptions of New York City and the Met Museum are filled with adventure and excitement. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden: This is another classic that evokes strong images of the city and will have you itching for some music on the street corner. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord; Marc Simont: A young girl moves from China to New York, and struggles as she doesn’t know any English. But she does learn to love baseball, which is perfect since Jackie Robinson is everyone’s current favorite. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • All-of-a-Kind Family: The five sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie live in New York City at the turn of the century and have all kinds of fun adventures mixed in with some mischief. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • Harriet the Spy: Everyone’s favorite New York girl spy!

Books Based in the Southeast

  • More to the Story by Hena Khan: When you’ve finished Little Women, be sure to check out this modern take with American Muslim sisters in Atlanta. Romance and family love stay true to form! Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis: When the Watson family sets out on a trip south to visit Grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, they don’t realize that they’re heading toward one of the darkest moments in America’s history. The Watsons’ journey reminds us that even in the hardest times, laughter and family can help us get through anything. Purchase the book on Amazon | Bookshop | Target | Walmart

Books Based in the Midwest

Books Based in the Southwest

  • Magic on the Map: Let’s Mooove! by Courtney Sheinmel and Bianca Turetsky: Twins Finn and Molly Parker think when they discover a camper in their driveway that transports them to a cattle ranch in Colorado. Then the camper disappears, leaving Finn and Molly to wonder . . . how are we going to get home? This books is the first in a series that travels to different states, so be sure to check for books to any other states you may be visiting!
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling: Two disabled children navigate the challenges of middle school, disability, and friendship—all while solving a mystery in an Arizona theme park.
  • Stargirl – A beautiful coming-of-age story that touches on the beauty and the challenges of being not just new, but also different.

Books Based in the Northwest/Alaska

  • Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson: A homesteading book that takes place in Montana. Hattie is only 16, but has been left a whole farm and must prove that she’s capable of caring for it.
  • The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill: Ten-year-old Frederika doesn’t have much faith that the new teacher in their remote Alaskan town will last very long. But Miss Agnes is different. Follow along the lessons Fred learns – both in school and out.
  • Julie of the Wolves: A girl ventures into the Alaskan Tundra and after being raised in Eskimo ways, learns more about herself than ever before as she ventures further from her wilderness.
  • A Wolf Called Romeo: The true story of a wolf who returns repeatedly to the community of Juneau, and the friend he develops with a human.
  • My Friend Flicka: The story of a boy and his filly who teaches him about courage, perseverance, and, of course, friendship.
  • A Whale of the Wild: A beautiful story about the animal bonds in an orca family, as well as themes of climate change and environmentalism.
  • The One and Only Ivan: A true story inspired by the Washington gorilla Ivan, this book explores the morality of zoos and animal captivity, as well as friendship and hope between species.

Books Based in California

  • By the Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleishman: Especially perfect for California travels, this book features a 12-year old boy who journeys to California (in a ship around the Cape Horn) during the Gold Rush. It’s filled with adventure as he and his aunt’s butler find their way as stowaways on the ship and then around the land itself.
  • Just Harriet by Elana K. Arnold: Young Harriet sets out to solve a mystery while visiting her grandmother on the California coast.
  • A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar: A farm-working girl with big dreams meets activist Dolores Huerta and joins the 1965 protest for workers’ rights in this tender-hearted novel.
  • A Wolf Called Wander – Based on the true story of a wolf’s incredible 1,000 mile journey to find a new home, this book explores what family, courage, and resourcefulness really mean.
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle: A perennial classic of a careless mouse befriending a boy in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • The Takeout: 12 year old Mila works to fit in, while also saving her family’s Filipino Indian fusion food truck.

Books Based In Canada

  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: There’s something so soothing, funny, and fun about this series. Spirited Anne is delightful in her escapades. And though it doesn’t take place in the US, the descriptions of Prince Edward Island are perfect for listening to while on a long car ride.
  • Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton; Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton: This true story is about an 8 year old Inuit girl who wants to learn to read. To do so, she must leave home and attend a residential school in the high Arctic. While it doesn’t take place in the US, it’s a beautiful tale that evokes a strong sense of place.

Family Audiobooks for Road Trips: Road Trip Audiobooks for Older Elementary and Middle Schoolers: Middle Grade and Young Adult Road Trip Audiobooks

Books about the U.S. (Non-specific Place)

  • The Vanderbeekers on the Road by Karina Yan Glaser: A surprise road trip for the Vanderbeeker family turns rocky when the younger siblings try to keep their family from ever facing change. Exploring themes of leaving home, embracing change, and the lessons to be learned from going to new places, this book is perfect for a road trip!
  • Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech: A 13 year old girl is on a road trip from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents and uses storytelling to uncover her own longing for her missing mother.

Books Based in the Northeast

Books Based in the New York City

  • The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street: The Vanderbeekers are shocked to find their landlord is planning to not renew the lease on the brownstone they’ve called home for ages. Of course, they’re not letting it go without a fight!
  • Operation Sisterhood: Bo & her mom have moved in with her mom’s boyfriend and his kids into their Harlem house. It’s a very full home and Bo is learning to adjust!
  • Sofia Acosta Makes A Scene: A Cuban American daughter of dancers in the suburbs of New York learns that some people don’t want immigrants in their community. She comes to rely on the power of family and knowing what it means to really belong.
  • My Life As An Ice Cream Sandwich: Ebony-Grace comes to spend a few weeks with her father in Harlem, which at first seems scary and overwhelming. Still, she comes to find lots to love and connections to her love for sci-fi.

Books Based in the Southeast

  • The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: A young boy grows up on a farm in Florida with his parents, who lost 6 children before him. He desperately wants a pet, and eventually adopts an orphaned fawn. A story of love and struggle.
  • 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis: Three brothers are sent by their parents from Cuba to Miami in search of safety and a better life. But the new city has its own challenges that they must navigate.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: A long-time classic, this novel has deep and vivid descriptions of the American South. Especially with the vernacular, it’s great as a read aloud or as a road trip audiobook, and is an excellent road trip book for kids.
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor: This book about racism during Jim Crow Mississippi starts to push young readers to consider effects and impact, especially as it’s told from the perspective of a child. An important work in middle grade literature.
  • Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes: A coming-of-age story of a young girl who moves to the Southern bayou. She finds magic in her surroundings and in her family’s history, and so will you.
  • Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina: A young Latina girl struggles to fit into her new life at an elite private school. The book presents discussions on family life, school bullying, and more. While it doesn’t revolve around a specific place (though it takes place Florida), the school setting make it great for family listening and discussions.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows: A coming-of-age-story of a boy and his dogs in the Ozark Mountains. Get your tissues ready for this one!

Books Based in the Midwest

  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis: With elements of racism, the Depression, segregation, jazz music, and racist violence, this is definitely a book for older children. However, it’s so well written and explores really important themes.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: A beautiful classic, this is the coming-of-age story of a young Latina girl in Chicago.
  • The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Heidi W. Durrow: A newly orphaned biracial girl goes to live with her Black grandmother and struggles to find her place.
  • Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool: A young girl jumps off a train in rural Kansas to learn more about her father’s life. She discovers a hidden box of mementos that takes her on a journey to meet new people and make discoveries along the way.
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga: When things in her Syrian hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. A story about losing and finding home in America.
  • The Terrible Two: Not super specific to the place, but prankster Miles Murphy moves to a sleepy town in Wyoming famous for its abundance of cows. It’s too bad there’s already another prankster in this small town, so Miles really needs to step up his game. Tweens (and adults) will be rolling with laughter at the pranks and hijinks throughout!
  • Prairie Lotus: Set in Dakota territory, Hanna struggles to fit in with family, school, and dealing with being excluded due to her race.

Books Based in the Southwest

  • Two Roads by Joseph Bruchac: A boy discovers his Native American heritage in this Depression-era tale of identity and friendship at a government boarding school for Native Americans in Oklahoma called the Challagi School.
  • Wishing Upon the Same Stars by Jacquetta Nammar Feldman: This powerful and poignant coming-of-age middle grade debut novel follows an Arab American girl named Yasmeen as she moves to San Antonio with her family and navigates finding friendship—and herself. 

Books Based in the West

  • Out of Range by Heidi Lang: A tale of three warring sisters who find themselves lost in the Idaho wilderness and must learn to trust each other if they want to survive.
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan: This beautifully scripted story of a young girl escaping Mexico with her mother and relatives to the United States is a must read for older elementary and middle school children. Some themes might be a bit intense for younger kids, but the message is important and poignant.
  • When You Trap A Tiger: Lily and her family move from California to Washington to help care for her sick grandmother. She look for friendship and also connects with her culture to try to help her halmoni.

Books Based in the California

  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang: A young Chinese immigrant girl lives in a motel with her parents, and needs to hide the fact that they’re allowing other immigrants stay for free.
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts: 12-year-old Moose has just moved with his family to Alcatraz Island. He just wants to live a normal life, but living on a prison island makes that complicated!
  • One Crazy Summer: Three sisters go to Oakland for a summer to be with their mother, who left them when they were tiny. The girls start to learn about their mother’s life, as well as her involvement with the Black Panthers.
  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung: A shy daughter of parents who own a Korean restaurant finds she loves her time at a comedy camp; too bad everyone thinks she’s someone else.

Books Based in the Northwest/Alaska

  • The Impossible Rescue – The true story of an incredible overland rescue over 1,500 miles of frozen Alaskan terrain in the middle of winter.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *