Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips

Are you looking for the best audiobooks for family road trips? We put together a list of the best audiobooks for the whole family – from young kids to tweens. We’ve kept the grown-ups in mind, too! The recommended audiobooks all have engaging stories and excellent narrators that we know you’ll enjoy as much as the kids!

Three angled book covers. The center book has a blue background and a black and white abstract face with the title Wonder written above one eye.

If you’re traveling with teens or a group of adults, we recommend switching to our list of the best audiobooks for road trips that’s geared toward older audiences!

Tips for Picking the Best Audiobook for Your Family Road Trip

We know that some kids are more sensitive or more easily frightened than others. And we know that each family has its own comfort level regarding subject matter. In addition to providing a brief synopsis for each book, we’ve also called out things we think will help you make a good choice when selecting the best audio books for your family road trip.

Once you’ve narrowed down our list to the titles you think your family would most enjoy, Common Sense Media is a great resource to help you further vet your choices. You can search three titles a month for free on Common Sense Media. The results will provide specific details regarding language, violence, positive role models, and more. Many of the books on our list have been adapted into movies, so when searching for a title on Common Sense Media, be sure to choose the book format for the most accurate information.

To help you select the perfect length book for your drive, we’ve listed the recorded length under the narrator. The times are accurate if the book is played at 1x speed. However, when starting each book, we recommend testing different listening speeds to find the right balance for everyone. Often, books sound more natural when played at 1.25 speed, which reduces listening time. Or, if anyone in the car has trouble processing audio, it might help to slow down the narration at first.

Tips for Downloading Family Road Trip Audiobooks

If you’re new to audiobooks, there are lots of ways to listen. We’ve written about the pros and cons of an Amazon Audible subscription and answered lots of audiobook FAQs here. Another option for purchasing audiobooks is, which supports independent bookstores.

Libraries are also an excellent resource for free audiobooks, and most libraries use the Libby app. If you’re not familiar with downloading audiobooks from the library, the librarian at your local branch can walk you through it!

If you are planning to use the library for your road trip listening, we recommend searching the availability a couple of weeks in advance in case there is a waitlist. However, many of the titles on our list are older, which should minimize wait times.

The Best Audiobooks for Kids & Families to Enjoy Together on Roadtrips

In order to help you pick out a great book to listen to on the road, we’ve organized our list of the best family audiobooks with those appropriate for the youngest listeners at the top, followed by books we recommend for older kids and tweens.

Book Summary

This audiobook collection includes all three titles in the beloved Ralph S. Mouse series, making it perfect for family road trips.

In the first book, Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965), a young mouse named Ralph, who lives in the Mountain View Inn, makes friends with the young boy staying in room 215. When the boy allows Ralph to ride his toy motorcycle, their adventures together are just beginning!

In the second book and third books, Ralph S. Mouse (1970) and Runaway Ralph (1982), the adventures continue as Ralph attends school and summer camp.

The Book Girls Say…

These were the first chapter books that Angela read aloud to her boys when they were just 3 and 4 years old. The stories held their attention and left the whole family smiling.

Another excellent Beverly Cleary audiobook is Henry Huggins, narrated by Neil Patrick Harris.

Book Summary

Ten-year-old India Opal recently moved to a new town with her father. One summer afternoon, she goes to the local Winn-Dixie supermarket and she comes home with a dog, whom she also dubs Winn-Dixie.

Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to make friends in her new hometown. Again, because of Winn-Dixie, she finally has the courage to ask her dad about her mom who left when she was three. Because of Winn-Dixie (we think this might be where the title came from!), Opal gets to know all sorts of interesting people and spends the summer collecting stories.

This book is considered a modern classic that has continued to gain popularity since its publication in 2000.

The Book Girls Say…

During the pandemic, the assistant principal at Angela’s sons’ school did a daily read-aloud of this book on Zoom. All of the kids loved it – from kindergarteners through 5th graders.

Kate DiCamillo is a favorite author of Angela’s sons. The books in the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series are shorter (around an hour each), but if you downloaded the whole series from your local library, they’d make for great road trip listening as well.

Book Summary

Nory has been practicing and practicing for her magic school entrance exam. But every time she tries to turn herself into a kitten (the task she must perform for admittance), she winds up a dritten – a dragon/kitten.

She doesn’t get into the school she’s been dreaming of, but in the Upside-Down magic class at Dunwiddle Magic School, she discovers she’s not the only kid whose magic is a little wonky and unpredictable.

The Book Girls Say…

If you are looking for funny audiobooks for family road trips, look no further! With this 6-book audio collection, you won’t run out of books to listen to, even on a longer trip!

Angela’s family watched the Disney movie after reading the first two books. The book and the movie are only very loosely related. Even if your kids have seen the movie, the books will be a completely new experience.

Book Summary

Matilda is a brilliant and sweet young girl, but her parents just see her as a bother. At just five years old, she’s read most of the books in the library, and she’s a whiz at double-digit multiplication.

When Matilda is finally old enough to attend school, she’s excited about a whole new experience. Her teacher, Miss Honey, is everything she hoped for. Unfortunately, the school is run by Headmistress Miss Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who hates kids, and she especially has it in for Matilda.

When Miss Trunchbull goes too far, Matilda discovers that she has a remarkable power that she can use to fight back.

The Book Girls Say…

There are so many wonderful Roald Dahl books to choose from, but we highly recommend you put Matlida at the top of your family road trip audiobook list because Kate Winslet is such a wonderful narrator.

Heads Up: This book includes some name-calling between adults and from adults to kids, including insults like “stupid” and “useless bunch of midgets.”

Other excellent books by Roald Dahl include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; The BFG; and Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Book Summary

The five Vanderbeeker siblings, ranging in age from 6 to 13, have lived in the same Harlem brownstone on 141st Street for their whole lives. When they learn that their landlord is not going to renew their lease, the kids are determined they can change his mind – but they’ll have to come up with a plan quickly because they are set to move out in just 11 days.

This is a great slice-of-life story that’s perfect for kids who want to hear stories about other kids, without any elements of fantasy. Parents will appreciate that it includes some wonderfully wholesome messages.

The Book Girls Say…

When Angela listened to this charming audiobook with her boys, they enjoyed it so much that they immediately started book 2 in the series. For a longer road trip, download a few of the books in this 7 book series.

Your family may also enjoy The Penderwick series and the All-of-a-Kind Family series, both of which have very similar vibes.

Book Summary

Parents know him as Doogie Howser or the legendary Barney Stinson, but did you also know that Neil Patrick Harris has served as President of the Academy of Magical Arts? He’s put all of his magical knowledge to good use in writing this delightful middle-grade book.

Carter is a runaway who thought magic was only useful for tricking and stealing. But when he arrives in a small New England town, he meets an illusionist who uses magic only to make people happy. Carter befriends the illusionist’s daughter and her crew of young magicians. But when a crooked circus comes to town, Carter and his new friends must stop B.B. Bosso’s Circus from running a major scam.

The Book Girls Say…

From hilarious dialogue to pratfalls and slapstick, this book is full of laugh-out-loud fun for the whole family! It includes fun codes and secret messages, as well as explanations of some simple magic tricks (along with reminders of the importance of patience and practice).

All of that, plus narration by NPH himself! The four books in this series are sure to become favorite family audiobooks!

Book Summary

This is a robot nature adventure story, which is a very unique concept, but one the whole family will love!

A robot named Roz opens her eyes for the first time and discovers that she’s alone on a remote island. Roz doesn’t know anything about how she was created or why she’s on the island, but she does know that she needs to survive. She gets off to a rough start after a huge storm and a bear attack, but Roz slowly befriends the animals on the island and adapts to the island.

The island finally starts to feel like home to Roz, until one day, her past comes back to haunt her.

The Book Girls Say…

This audiobook was recommended by Angela’s friend, who listened to it with her 3, 5, 7, and 9-year-olds, all of whom were captivated by the story. Parents will appreciate the themes of friendship, motherhood, teamwork, empathy, and overcoming adversity.

If you enjoy this book, you can continue on with the two other books in the trilogy.

Book Summary

This book is a fantastic backstory to Peter Pan with a cast of characters that you’ll know and love, as well as new ones to discover. In this swashbuckling adventure, Peter and Molly overcome bands of pirates and thieves. As such, the book does include lots of fighting, some weapons, and the children are often in peril. The sailors and pirates alike drink throughout the book – indulging in grog and rum.

This book has action and humor (including some that will make parents laugh while going over kids’ heads. The well-developed storyline will keep parents engaged while listening with the kids.

The Book Girls Say…

Reviewers say that this book stands on its own, so even if your kiddos aren’t yet familiar with Peter Pan, they’ll still enjoy this story.

Some families will recognize the voice of Jim Dale, who also narrates the Harry Potter series.

Book Summary

When Claudia decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She invites her younger brother, Jamie, to join her because he’s the one with the cash.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of a statue that the museum purchased for a bargain price that may be the work of Michelangelo. If it’s true, then the statue is worth millions. They are determined to find out!

The Book Girls Say…

This 1968 Newbery Medal winner was a favorite of Melissa’s when she was young. She’s never outgrown her desire to live in the Met!

Book Summary

This is the first book in the Land of Stories series about twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

In these fractured fairy tales, the twins encounter witches, wolves, goblins, trolls, and more.

The Book Girls Say…

When Angela’s son brought this book home, she read the first chapter to see what exactly he was so excited about. She was immediately hooked and recommended that they listen together as a family because she didn’t want to miss out!

Parents may recognize the voice of author and narrator Chris Colfer from his portrayal of Kurt Hummel on the television series, “Glee.”

Book Summary

Ten-year-old Auggie has a facial deformity that previously prevented him from attending a traditional school. In his own words, “I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.” Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view as he starts 5th grade, but soon switches to also include his classmates. While there are also chapters told from the perspective of his teenage sister, her boyfriend, and others, Auggie remains the focus of the story throughout. The multiple perspectives create a beautiful portrait of Auggie’s community as they struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

The Book Girls Say…

In a time when the world could use more kindness, listening to this book that inspired the Choose Kind movement is a wonderful family experience and it can lead to some wonderful conversations. Of all the audiobooks that Angela has listened to with her sons – this one ranks #1 as everyone’s favorite!

If you’re listening on a road trip, we highly recommend also downloading the three follow-up stories that have been collected into a book called Auggie & Me. Once you finish Wonder, you won’t want to leave Auggie’s world, and you definitely want to hear Julian’s story!

Book Summary

Mia Tang is keeping a lot of secrets. She lives in a motel rather than a big house. And her parents are immigrants. If the motel owner finds that out, he won’t let them continue to stay in the empty rooms for free. And finally, Mia dreams of being a writer even though English isn’t her first language.

The Book Girls Say…

In addition to being a wonderful story of determination and hope, this book provides history and context for a number of social justice issues in an age-appropriate manner.

Winner of the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature, this is the first book in a five-book series.

Book Summary

Nate Foster dreams of staring in a Broadway show, but he’d even settle for just seeing a Broadway show. Unfortunately, no one in his hometown of Jankburg, PA, (except for his best friend Libby) appreciates a good show tune.

When Nate and Libby learn about an open casting call for ET: The Musical, they know this is Nate’s chance! With Libby’s help, Nate hops the bus to NYC with hopes of making his dreams come true.

The Book Girls Say…

According to Lin-Manel Miranda, “The Nate series is a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid.” Angela has a theater kid of her own (as well as a theater husband), so this is going straight to the top of their list to listen to on their next road trip!

There are two additional titles in the Nate series, including Five, Six, Seven, Nate and Nate Expectations.

Book Summary

There’s trouble at the new FunJungle zoo. The hippo went belly up, and even though the zoo’s top brass claims he died of natural causes, twelve-year-old Teddy believes it was hippo homicide. But who did it? Maybe the zoo’s owner who only cares about money or the animal-hating head of operations?

This book is the first of eight in the FunJungle middle-grade mystery series, which is perfect for kids around ages 8 and up.

The Book Girls Say…

Kids will learn lots of great animal info from the books in this mystery series. Keep in mind, however, that the descriptions can be a bit graphic at times – from animal autopsies and organs to their pooping habits and smells. There’s also some insulting language used in Belly Up, although reviewers say there is less in future books in the series.

Book Summary

Ben Ripley may only be in middle school, but he already knows that his dream job is to join the CIA. Unfortunately for him, his personality doesn’t exactly scream “secret agent”. In fact Ben is so awkward, he can barely get to school and back without a mishap.

Because of his innate nerdiness, Ben is not surprised when he is recruited for a magnet school with a focus on science – but he’s entirely shocked to discover that the school is actually a front for a junior CIA academy. Could the CIA really want him? Actually, no. There’s been a case of mistaken identity – but that doesn’t stop Ben from trying to morph into a supercool undercover agent, the kind that always gets the girl.

The Book Girls Say…

This is the first book in the Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs, the same author as Belly Up and the FunJungle series. We debated on putting two series by the same author on the list, but we know that the animal mysteries and CIA spy stories may appeal to different kids, so we decided to include them both.

Book Summary

Inspired by the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, this novel is told from the point of view of Ivan himself.

Ivan spent 27 years behind the glass walls of his enclosure in a shopping mall and has grown accustomed to humans watching him. He hardly ever thinks about his life in the jungle. Instead, Ivan occupies himself with television, painting, and his friends Stella (an elderly elephant) and Bob (a stray dog). But when he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from the wild, he is forced to see their home, and his art, through new eyes. 

The Book Girls Say…

If you’ll be on the road for more than a few hours, we recommend also downloading the sequels, The One and Only Bob and The One and Only Ruby.

Book Summary

When an ad appears in the newspaper that says: “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” dozens of children show up to take a series of mysterious and confusing tests. Only the four brightest and most unique children will succeed. Their challenge: to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened.

The Book Girls Say…

Angela’s family has been listening to this book from her library, and everyone is hooked!

It’s on the long side for a middle-grade novel, making it perfect for a longer family road trip. Your kids will likely want to pause the story often to talk about what they think is really going on and what they predict will happen next.

Book Summary

The Chronicles of Narnia book series is one of the most iconic fiction series in history, but many readers have it on their “maybe one day I’ll get to it” list. A long trip with stops in between is the perfect time to tackle this series.

Published over six years in the 1950s, The Chronicles of Narnia is a vivid fantasy tale that weaves in themes like bravery, friendship, and redemption. Whether it’s the protagonist Pevensie siblings encountering the White Witch or reaching the depths of the Silver Sea, there’s a definitive reason this series is still popular after 70 years – it’s filled with adventure, timeless lessons, and settings that will fire up your imagination.

The Book Girls Say…

There is some debate about the best order in which to read (or listen to) the book in The Chronicles of Narnia series. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was written first, with several sequels and then a prequel written later. After the death of C.S. Lewis, most publishers began numbering the books in chronological order. However, most fans agree that the books are best enjoyed in the order in which they were originally published – beginning with The Lion. Of course, if you’re planning a longer road trip, you may want to download the full collection, which has a recorded length of 33 hours and 45 minutes.

With the iconic nature of this series, acting heavyweights like Kenneth Branagh, Lynn Redgrave, and Patrick Stewart were used as skillful narrators that bring Narnia to life.

Book Summary

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson can’t seem to stay out of trouble no matter how hard he tries. He’s about to be kicked out of boarding school again when his life gets even more complicated.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the 21st century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

The Lightning Thief is the first of five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.

The Book Girls Say…

This fantasy series is perfect for fans of Harry Potter and those who love Greek mythology!

If you are trying to get your kids to read more, a family road trip is the perfect time to get them hooked on this popular series. Listen to the first book as a family, and then let them continue reading the series on their own.

Book Summary

In this 1979 Newbery Medal-winning book, 16 strangers are invited to a reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. They soon discover that someone will walk away with the eccentric millionaire’s vast fortunes. But first, they must compete in the Westing Game, a tricky and dangerous game involving blizzards, burglaries, and even bombings!

The Book Girls Say…

Angela loved this book as a child and can’t wait to listen to the audiobook with her boys!

Book Summary

Sara is a hacker who recently broke into the New York City foster care system to expose her foster parents as cheats and lawbreakers. She expected to be hailed as a hero, but instead, Sara finds herself facing years in a juvenile detention facility and banned from using computers for the same stretch of time.

Enter Mother, a British spy who not only gets Sara released from jail but also offers her a chance to make a home for herself within a secret MI5 agency.

Operating out of a base in Scotland, the City Spies are five kids from various parts of the world. When they’re not attending the local boarding school, they’re honing their unique skills, such as sleight of hand, breaking and entering, observation, and explosives. All of these allow them to go places in the world of espionage where adults can’t.

The Book Girls Say…

Because of the nature of this middle-grade spy novel, it does include scenes of tweens and teens doing scary things. like climbing up the sides of tall buildings and going through the bone-encrusted catacombs of Paris, as well as some light violence.

There are currently five books in the City Spies series. The first takes the young spies to Paris, then in books 2 and 3, they travel to San Francisco, Beijing, Cairo, and Manhattan. These books are perfect for fans of Stuart Gibbs!

Book Summary

Harry Potter was orphaned as a baby and sent to live with his abusive aunt and uncle. On his eleventh birthday, he receives an invitation to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and learns for the first time that he possesses magical powers and that his parents did not die in a car accident, but were in fact powerful wizards who were murdered. At Hogwarts, Harry befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Throughout each book, Harry and his best friends learn about their magic and overcome dangerous obstacles at every turn. The main story arc of the series involves Harry struggling to defeat Lord Voldemort – the powerful dark wizard who seeks to take over the wizarding world.

The Book Girls Say…

The Harry Potter books make excellent family read-alouds and road trip listens, but we don’t recommend binging the entire Harry Potter series one right after another with younger children.

Each book has some elements that might be frightening to some children, depending on how sensitive they are, but the first three are generally enjoyable for most kids. Angela read the first three with her boys when they were 6 and 8.

The final four books, however, become darker and more complex. This is one of the reasons that teens and adults love them, but they might be a bit too intense for kids under age 10.

Book Summary

Born on the unluckiest day of the year, Morrigan Crow is cursed. Everyone blames her for the local misfortunes – from hailstorms to heart attacks. Worst of all, the curse says that she will die at midnight on her 11th birthday. But as she awaits her fate, a strange man named Jupiter North appears on horseback and whisks Morrigan away to safety in a magical city called Nevermoor.

Morrigan soon learns that Jupiter has chosen her to compete for a place in the Nevermoor’s most prestigious organization: The Wundrous Society. In order to join, she’ll have to compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other extraordinarily talented children. If Morrigan doesn’t win, then she won’t be able to stay in Nevermoor, and she’ll be forced to return to her fate.

The Book Girls Say…

This series is perfect for fan of Harry Potter. It has a fresh take on magic and a face-paced plot that will keep tweens and adults alike engaged. If your family enjoys this first book, you can continue on with three more in the Nevermoor series.

Keep Exploring With Your Kids Through the Pages of Books

Reading together as a family is such a wonderful way to bond, to foster curiosity, and of course, to raise strong readers! Our Read Around the World Reading Challenge for Kids is designed to whisk your family from the Amazon rainforests to the savannas of Africa, and from the Great Wall of China to the outback of Australia.

Kids and parents alike will love exploring the world through the page of books! Download a printable coloring map for kids to track their armchair travels. Then check out our recommended book lists for each continent, which are broken down by reading level.

Even More Audiobook Recommendations

We hope you enjoyed our list of the best audio books for family road trips! Want more audiobook recommendations for adult listeners? Check out these resources:

  • Best Audiobooks for Road Trips – Including titles that are great for couples and families with older teens.
  • Best Kindle Unlimited Audiobooks – These audiobooks are all available free with a Kindle Unlimited membership. Wondering if Kindle Unlimited is worth it? We explain how it works and review the pros and cons in this post.
  • Best Audiobook Memoirs – Most of these are read/narrated by the author. This personal touch makes them even more enjoyable to listen to than to read on paper.


Comments on: Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips

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


  1. V. Dargain says:

    I just had to add THE WIMPY KID books to this list since nobody has mentioned how funny listening to Greg Heffley’s diary of himself and his family can be . If you’ve seen any of The Diary of A Wimpy Kid movies you can recall certain events from the movies are you listen .

  2. Hi ladies, I have another title you can add to the families list another time…
    My boys ( and us) laughed a lot at :
    Sir Farts -A-Lot hunts the Booger. A medieval knight of under determinate age, ( older gent) is off on a final quest for the dangerous monster ” The Booger”.
    As boys will be, farts are funny !

  3. Stephanie Moore says:

    I love your family audiobook choices. I did want to point out that both The Mysterious Benedict Society and Peter and the Star Catchers are SERIES, and are wonderful all the way through!

    I also highly recommend E. L. Konigsburg’s “The View from Saturday” though I’m not sure it’s available as an audiobook.