Four books from the 'Wings of Fire' series.

The 22 Best Audiobooks for Long Family Road Trips

Spring break is here and summer is near! That means it’s time to plan your next family road trip adventure. Would you like a great tip on how to make drive time more enjoyable? The answer, of course, is to pack some great audiobooks. We’re to help you. This list of the best audiobooks for family road trips is full of incredible novels, short stories, fairy tales, and mysteries, among many others. You are sure to find a new favorite book for everyone in the family.

We started listening to audio versions of stories when my daughter was very young. I bought some cute picture books that came with CDs. She listened to them every day at home and I started bringing the CDs in the car. Always having a good story that sparked her imagination is a big reason she continues to read daily through elementary school.

Needless to say, audiobooks are a staple in our family. We listen to stories while baking, doing household chores, drawing, molding clay art, and on long road trips. Actually, on any road trip. We even turn one on when we run a quick errand to the grocery store.

Listening to a good audiobook is a fantastic way to take a break from video games. Unplug all the individual devices and get the whole family involved in a wonderful story. Try it and you’ll see how storytelling effectively fends off boredom. The time passes more quickly (and quietly). Moreover, a suspenseful plot or the actions of a main character can lead to amazing discussions between family members.

Summary of Audiobook FAQs

Let’s start by answering a few common questions.

What are the Benefits of Audiobooks?

The most obvious benefit is that audiobooks help pass the time during a long road trip. It’s also a nice way to catch up on classic literature as well as new popular best sellers. A great narrator can hold the attention of kids for hours. Just listening to a story can help develop a stronger vocabulary, imagination, and interest in reading.

Moreover, sharing a story helps bring the entire family together on a common interest. Having a shared topic of conversation is a great way to bond and create lasting memories. Personally, I love hearing questions that young kids ask as they listen to a story develop. You may really enjoy the time together discussing the actions of the characters and talking about what might happen next.

The whole point of packing the car for a family road trip is to spend time together. Listening to a great story is a wonderful way to share the adventure. Don’t you agree it’s better than a parent browsing social media in the front while each kid plays a different video game in the back?

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Where is the Best Place to Get Audiobooks?

Audible Membership

You have a few different options for where to get an audiobook. Many of us turn to Amazon for our everyday purchases. Amazon runs Audible, one of the first companies to focus on publishing audiobooks. You can try a free 30-day trial membership to determine if the service offers enough of the types of books you want.

Local Library

Another option is to check with your local library. We have a membership to the Palm Beach County system in Florida. They use Cloud Library. The quantity and selection of books that are available is quite impressive.

The simple process is similar to checking out a hard copy. When we borrow an audiobook, we download it on the app and have access to it offline. So we simply connect the device to the car audio (or our RV or home speaker) and listen to our chosen book.

After three weeks, the book is automatically returned to make it available for the next borrower. Alternatively, we can renew the book if nobody has placed it on their waitlist.

Can You Listen to Audiobooks for Free?

The short answer to this often-asked question is: yes! Most of the audiobooks we listen to are from our local library. We borrow the audio book under our library account, download it to our device, and connect it to the car stereo system by Bluetooth.

If you’re searching for a free service, the library is your best option. You can try the free trial at Audible, but the trial is only valid for a limited time. After the trial expires, you will need to subscribe to a membership plan or purchase the audiobooks separately.

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Selection of the Top Audiobooks for Family Road Trips

Ok, let’s get to the list! I broke out our top picks and placed them into four main categories. While many of these titles could easily fit into multiple segments, placing them in a specific category helps our readers gain a basic understanding of the appropriate audience for a book.

Accordingly, our complete list of the best audiobooks for road trips is segmented into the following four categories:

  • Audiobooks for elementary-school aged kids;
  • Audiobooks for teens and young adults; and
  • Audiobooks for the whole family

Audiobooks for Kids

The following list includes incredible road trip audiobooks that will delight kids in elementary to middle school.

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell

Author: Chris Colfer

Listening Length: 8 hours, 59 minutes

Alex and Conner Bailey are on the brink of a life-altering experience. In this thrilling journey that blends our contemporary world with the captivating realm of fairy tales, the story of twin siblings, Alex and Conner, unfolds. Through the mystical abilities of a treasured book of tales, they venture away from their reality and land in an enchanted place where they meet legendary fairy tale characters. Navigating their way back home, however, proves to be more challenging as they encounter witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls along the way.

The Wishing Spell is the first book in Chris Colfer’s New York Times best-selling book series, which is perfect for 8 to 11 year olds.

The Bad Beginning

Author: Lemony Snicket

Listening Length: 2 hours, 29 minutes

This is book #1 in the 13-book series A Series of Unfortunate Events. Lemony Snicket, a great storyteller, delights his audience of young readers with hilarious tales of the three Baudelair children. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are charming and intelligent. They’re also formidably unlucky.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Author: E.L. Konigsburg

Listening Length: 3 hours, 45 minutes

Claudia is a planner. And, she’s a bit of a schemer. In an effort to teach her parents a lesson, she and her younger brother ran away from home and hid in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A unique statue captured the interests of Claudia and Jamie and set their path toward a mystery they had to solve before returning home.

This is a teacher’s choice book, often used in elementary literacy classes around the country. My daughter and her class read it in fourth grade. It’s also a winner of the Newbury Medal for distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Charlotte’s Web

Author: E. B. White

Listening Length: 3 hours, 34 minutes

First published in 1952, Charlotte’s Web is a classic cherished by kids of all ages. For decades, this enduring tale of Wilbur the pig and the intelligent spider, Charlotte who not only becomes the pig’s best friend, she rescues him time and again.

This timeless story is a perfect audiobook, narrated by E.B. White himself.

The Roald Dahl Audio Collection

Author: Roald Dahl

Listening Length: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Many of you are already familiar with this well-known author and his works of literary art. This collection includes five books, narrated by the author himself.

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the acclaimed story of Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory
  2. James and the Giant Peach
  3. Fantastic Mr. Fox
  4. The Enormous Crocodile
  5. The Magic Finger

The Tale of Despereaux

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Listening Length: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Written by critically-acclaimed author Kate DiCamillo (who also penned The Magician’s Elephant, The Tiger Rising, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane), this is the story of a mouse who loves music, stories, and a princess. Along with the other intriguing characters, a rat and a young girl, Despereaux Tilling embarks on a captivating journey that will capture the attention of your young kids.


Author: Andrew Clements

Listening Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes

This audio book, at just over 90 minutes in listening time, is another title you will often find near or at the top of a teachers’ choice list. The story is about the main character Nick who always seems to have a new great idea. Who would have guessed his innocent curiosity about the origin of words would have an impact across the nation. If your kids like a humorous wit, this one is worth checking out.

Warriors: Into the Wild

Author: Erin Hunter

Listening Length: 7 hours, 29 minutes

This is the first book of a series that launched into subsequent sequels and prequels that further launched author Erin Hunter onto The New York Times Best Sellers list.

My daughter has read almost all of the nearly 100 books in The Warrior Cats universe. After reading a print copy, she downloads the audio version to listen to the story while drawing and in the car. Six of her fifth grade classmates are now reading about the wild cat clans fighting for territory and survival in the forest.

That’s real life evidence that older elementary school kids are fascinated by the storyline and the reason Warrior Cats earned a spot on our list of the best audiobooks for kids. Borrow this one from your local library or download it from Audible and you’ll be well-prepared for your next long drive.

The Dragonet Prophecy: Wings of Fire

Author: Tui T. Sutherland

Listening Length: 8 hours, 32 minutes

Dragons in the land of Pyrrhia have been in conflict for more than two decades. There is a glimmer of hope as an organization, the Talons of Peace, have secretly safeguarded and raised five baby dragonets who, according to prophecy, hold the key to reunite Pyrrhia. However, not all of the dragonets embrace their destiny. I have witnessed many young readers (primarily 4th grade and higher) captivated by the tales of the Wings of Fire, a 15-book series.

Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon

Author: Ruth Stiles Gannett

Listening Length: 2 hours, 24 minutes

Centered around an underlying theme of bravery and courage, kids enjoy the adventures of young Elmer who rescues an overworked baby dragon on Wild Island. The collection of three audio books available at Audible includes My Father’s Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland.

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Cover and back of book titled Wings of Fire

Audiobooks for Teens and Young Adults

Here is a list of incredible audiobooks that teens and young adults will love.

To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Listening Length: 12 hours, 17 minutes

This Pulitzer prize-winning novel hones in on a tale of injustice and heroism. Set in the deep south, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most well-known and revered books of all time. This story of a lawyer who risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a crime is told from the perspective of the lawyer’s young daughter. The audiobook is narrated by Sissy Spacek.

The Odyssey

Author: Homer

Listening Length: 13 hours, 32 minutes

One of the first great adventure stories in Western literature, the Audible translation of The Odyssey is translated by Emily Wilson and read by Claire Danes. It’s an epic story of the 10-year journey of Odysseus after the Trojan War.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Author: Mark Twain

Listening Length: 10 hours, 10 minutes

This timeless novel is the tale of Huck Finn, an uneducated teenager who fakes his own death in an attempt to flee the wrath of his abusive father. During his journey, he meets Jim, an escaped slave, and together they set off on a raft down the Mississippi River. The writings of Twain can make you feel like you’re on the raft drifting down the Mississippi rather than driving along the interstate.

It’s tough to mention Huck Finn without giving a respectful nod to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (nearly 8 hours of listening time). Many times on our road trip adventures when I catch a glimpse of a white fence, I think of Tom Sawyer. It’s worth downloading both stories if you have longer trip planned.

Count of Monte Cristo

Author: Alexandre Dumas

Listening Length: 52 hours, 41 minutes

The Count of Monte Cristo depicts the story of a young sailor, Edmund Dantes (the main character), who is betrayed and faces unjust imprisonment on the day before his wedding. During his time in prison he discovers a valuable treasure on the island.

Given the length of the listening time of this audiobook, the story may last throughout your entire road trip, any rainy days at your destination, and through the remaining days of summer vacation.

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

Author: J. R. R. Tolkien

Listening Length: 19 hours, 7 minutes

Acclaimed as one of the most popular and inspired works in English literature, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a true masterpiece. Get ready for an enchanting and thrilling adventure as members of the Fellowship of the Ring embark on a dangerous journey in their quest for ultimate power. What unfolds is an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. This extraordinary audio production of Tolkien’s best books brings magical hobbits, elves, and wizards to life.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy includes the following audiobooks:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Six of the books from the Warriors series written by Erin Hunter

Audiobooks for the Whole Family

Here is our list of the best audiobooks for family road trips. These books were selected for the wider breadth of content that is sure to satisfy both kids and adults alike.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams

Listening Length: 5 hours, 11 minutes

This famed humor science fiction novel takes us on a journey through space with main character Arthur Dent and his friend Ford Prefect. It’s a zany, comedic book that captures the attention of youngsters and entertains adults and is a perfect supplement to any great road trip adventure. Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC in the 1970s, this story is filled with thought-provoking quotes and British humor.

Another great option by the same author, Douglas Adams, is Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Winner of an Audie award, it’s a humorous whodunnit romance novel with a lot of interconnected twists.

The Chronicles of Narnia

Author: C.S. Lewis

Listening Length: 33 hours, 45 minutes (complete audio collection)

Readers of all ages have enjoyed these timeless books for more than six decades. Enjoy this fiction collection as you enter the vivid magical realm and encounter the mystical creatures of Narnia. If you download the complete audio collection, you will have enough entertainment for long family road trips across the country!

The box set includes all 7 titles, including (1) The Chronicles of Narnia – The Magician’s Nephew, (2) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, (3) The Horse and His Boy, (4) Prince Caspian, (5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, (6) The Silver Chair, and (7) The Last Battle.

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Author: Rick Riordan

Listening Length: 10 hours, 2 minutes

The Lightning Thief is the first book of a six-book series. It introduces the listener to 12 year old Percy Jackson. During a field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to look at ancient Greek and Roman artifacts, Percy finds himself in an unbelievable quest to find and return Zeus’s lightning bolt.

While the Olympian series includes six books, Rick Riordan continues to entertain readers with the sequels Heroes of the Olympus: The Demigod Diaries and Trials of Apollo. If you and your family enjoy The Lightning Thief, you will be able to enjoy many miles on the road listening to audiobooks throughout your entire summer vacation.

Treasure Island

Author: Robert Louis Stevenson

Listening Length: 6 hours, 42 minutes

Set sail with Jim Hawkins and his friends aboard the ship Hispaniola. For anyone interested in a classic tale and for everyone who loves a good pirate adventure. The story takes listeners on a journey of perilous situations and daring adventures at sea on a quest to find lost treasure.

Where the Red Fern Grows

Author: Wilson Rawls

Listening Length: 6 hours, 56 minutes

Young Billy wants nothing more than to have a dog of his own. For months he works and saves every penny to fulfill his dream. At last he brings home Old Dan and Little Ann. Together, they become the best hunting team in the region. This captivating and emotionally uplifting story is filled with adventure, courage, and true friendship.

A Wrinkle in Time

Author: Madeleine L’Engle

Listening Length: 6 hours, 27 minutes

This science fiction and fantasy classic delights readers and listeners with a tale of discovery  and great adventures through time. Meg Murray, her little brother, and a friend face off against evil as they travel through space searching for Meg’s father who had previously disappeared while studying time travel.

Winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal, A Wrinkle in Time is now a major motion picture. It’s the first book in the Time Quintet series, which includes a second book A Wind in the Door, as well as the sequels A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.

My Side of the Mountain

Author: Jean Craighead George

Listening Length: 4 hours, 36 minutes

Sam Gribley is unhappy. He’s so dissatisfied with living in New York City that he decides to escape his urban lifestyle for the wilderness. He packs a penknife, flint and steel, and $40, then sets off on a solo adventure to the Catskill Mountains. Throughout his year in the wild, Sam encounters real danger, discovers his inner courage, and reveals the importance of independence.

The story may not appeal to a car full of young children, but once your kids reach 9 or 10 years of age, this is one of the best family audiobooks for your next camping trip.

I hope you enjoyed the ideas on this list. Do you enjoy listening to a good audiobook while traveling? Please let us know if there’s a book you enjoy that should be included here. I’m sure our readers would appreciate your recommendations.

Safe travels!

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