best audiobooks for road trips

32 Best Audiobooks For Road Trips (With Family Classics)

A road trip always sounds like the best adventure and then driving fatigue sets in.  That’s where audiobooks come in! We’ve gone ahead and compiled this list of the Best Audiobooks for Road Trips so you can easily figure out what to listen to on your next long car journey.  Whether you are traveling alone, or looking for the best audiobooks for family road trips, we’ve outlined this selection of titles to help keep you engaged and entertained on the long car trips ahead. 

There is a big selection of options and you can use the categories below to navigate to different sections of the post. We have listed a wide range of the best audiobooks for long car rides including Crime classics, thrillers, fiction and non-fiction.

Audible by Amazon is the perfect audiobook library; sign up for a free 30-day trial before you head out on your road trip and download some of these recommended titles.

Best Horror-Thriller Audiobooks

Horror is the perfect audiobook genre to help you stay awake while driving late on a road trip.  I like something that falls on the lower end of the fear scale, like Jaws.  Scary enough to keep you awake, but not so terrifying you are afraid to pull over at the next gas station (not a lot of killer sharks roaming the highways).

Here is our best horror audiobooks for the long car ride in order from “a little adrenaline hit” to “drive with your tire iron in the passenger’s seat”.

Jaws by Peter Benchley, read by Erik Steele

Jaws Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 9hrs and 39 mins

Perfect for: A coastal road trip (Pacific Coast Highway anyone?) 

It’s 4th of July weekend in a tourist destination city, Amity, but something isn’t right when mangled bodies start washing up onshore. The mayor is insisting the beaches stay open, how much harm can one little shark do? Finally hear the classic that inspired the movie franchise; you’ll be surprised by how well the suspension comes across without the giant animatronic shark.

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, read by Paul Ansdell

The Woman in Black Audiobook Cover

Run time: 4 hrs and 33 mins

Perfect for: those who love a slow burn to ride out the road trip with.

Arthur Kipps, a junior solicitor at a London law firm, is sent to settle the mysterious estate of the reclusive Alice Drablow. Forced to stay on the property until the papers are settled, Kipps is faced with rising fear, why are the townspeople so resistant to talking about the late Mrs. Drablow, what is this mist slowly surrounding the house? Feel your heart rate rise as the suspense builds in this classic thriller.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, Translated by Yuji Oniki, read by Mark Dacascos

Battle Royale Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 19 hrs and 29 mins

Perfect for: a long road trip that needs a little added adrenaline.

Before the Hunger Games, there was Battle Royale.  In a dystopian and fictitious Japan, a 9th-grade class is selected from the nation and taken to an undisclosed location to fight to the death.  With a 3 day limit, and collars that will explode if you don’t fight, the stakes are high and the action never slows down.  Thought-provoking, chilling, and absolutely engrossing, this one will keep you awake and desperate to hear the next chapter.

IT by Stephen King, read by Steven Weber

It Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 44 hrs and 55 mins

Perfect for:  Bonding over shared terror on a road trip with friends.

 A group of 7 friends is haunted by an evil entity that takes the shape of whatever it’s victims fear most. This horror will have everyone in the back seat huddled together and the driver white-knuckling the steering wheel.  Not for the faint of heart, but definitely one to liven up the journey.

Need a come-down after our best horror audiobooks for a road trip? Then check out our Best Road Trip Songs and get your heart beating to a more regular beat.

Best True Crime Audiobooks

True crime keeps us engaged on a road trip because it forces the listener to consider “if this event happened…then could it happen to me?”  Get your mind moving, blood pumping and have the whole car talking, did he do it?  How could this have happened?  What happens next?

Waiting to be Heard by Amanda Knox, read by Amanda Knox

Waiting to be Heard Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 12 hrs and 31 mins

Perfect for: those who love a story about justice finally coming to light. 

This is the memoir of Amanda Knox, a young American woman who was falsely accused of murder and sentenced to 4 years in a foreign prison.  Filled with suspense, disappointment, shock, and vindication.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, read by Scott Brick

The Devil in the White City Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 14 hrs and 58 mins

Perfect for:  people who love a little history with their mystery, ideal for an Illinois-based road trip. 

Tells the story of famous serial killer Dr. Henry H. Holmes, a man who literally built his own hotel of death complete with gas chamber and crematorium, alongside the story of Chicago’s World Fair, an incredible feat of human engineering and tenacity.

The Stranger Beside Me by Anne Rule, read by Lorelie King

The Stranger Beside Me Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 18 hrs and 29 mins

Perfect for: serial killer thrill-seekers. 

Anne Rule gives a gripping account of the biggest serial killer case of her career…and then finds out the killer is none other than her close, charismatic friend Ted Bundy.

The Five: The untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold read by Louise Brealey

The Five Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 10 hrs and 19 mins

Perfect for: those who love to hear the other side of the story. 

Everyone knows who Jack the Ripper is, but collected history and memory has virtually ignored the stories of the women he murdered.  A new perspective on a very old story that challenges not only how we look at old crimes, but present-day perpetrators and victims.

Best SciFi – Fantasy Audiobooks

Science Fiction and Fantasy are beautiful audiobook genres to get your imagination running as you are eating up the miles on a long road trip.  Use these titles to go on a mini-excursion right there in the car.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Will Patton

The Raven Boys Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 11 hrs and 8 mins

Perfect for: a road trip that passes through lush forests and nature reserves, bonus points if you’re on the east coast. 

Tells the story of 5 friends: Gansey, a senator’s son who is desperate to find meaning in his mysterious second chance at life; Ronan, his angry best friend with a magical secret to keep; Adam, the boy from the trailer park determined to change his fate his own way; Noah, with a mysterious past; and Blue, a psychics daughter with no psychic powers of her own. 

First of 4 books, full series run time: 45 hrs and 47 mins.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman, read by a full cast

American Gods Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 19 hrs and 39 mins

Perfect for: someone looking to have a crazy road trip adventure with lots of wild stops. 

After a 3 year stint in the prison, Shadow is happy to finally be headed home to his wife only to find that she and his best friend died in a tragic…and somewhat unusual car accident.  Shadow, aimless and depressed, takes a job with the mysterious Wednesday and finds himself smack in the middle of a war with the Gods of old.  Hilarious, sexy, outrageous, a great listen to keep things interesting.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James, read by Dion Graham

Black Leopard Red Wolf Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 24 hrs and 2 mins 

Perfect for: anyone who loved Game of Thrones and is out for an epic road trip. 

When Tracker, a rouge hunter who knows how to find his target, is hired to find a missing child, he finds himself suddenly caught up in a mismatched band wandering from one ancient city to the next.  Overflowing with African history and mythology, it’s a saga that can’t be missed.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, read by Scott Brick

Jurassic Park Audiobook Cover

Run Time: 15 hrs and 10 mins

Perfect for: anyone who loves dinosaurs and Jeff Goldblum.  Just kidding! 

Dr. Hammond finds a way to bring Dinosaurs back from extinction and creates the most unlikely zoo.  What could possibly go wrong?  Whether you’ve seen every Jurassic Park movie or just have a vague awareness of the franchise, this book is incredibly packed full of suspense, action, and just enough realism to make you say…what if.   

Best Family Audiobooks

Audiobooks are a great way to keep the whole family entertained and engaged on a long road trip with kids without relying on screens or summoning up the energy for another round of “I Spy with my little eye something…”.  Use this list of best audiobooks for family road trips to get you started.

Need more advice on how to plan the perfect family road trip?  We’ve got you covered with our Road Trip with Kids post.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Audiobook Cover

Run Time:8 hrs and 18 mins

Perfect for:  A family with kids of all ages. 

Harry Potter, orphaned as a child, lives under the stairs with his grouchy Aunt and Uncle and spoiled cousin, Dudley, but on his 11th birthday Harry gets an invitation to attend Hogwarts school of Witch Craft and Wizardry.  Harry discovers a world where anything is possible, friendship is unbreakable, and he is anything but normal.

Going to be a long family road trip?  Download all 7 books with a total run time of 118 hrs and 57 mins

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, read by Scarlett Johansson

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Audiobook Cover

Run time: 2 hrs and 44 mins

Perfect for: a short family road trip with lots of laughs.

Kids and parents alike will love listening to the lovely Scarlett Johansson as she recounts the adventures of Alice, a precocious little girl who just can’t hold back her curiosity when a white rabbit in a waistcoat goes running by. Each chapter reads as a mini adventure and can be a great way to break up the journey and get kids interested in the classics.

Holes by Louis Sachar, read by Kerry Beyer

Holes Cover

Run Time: 4 hrs and 30 mins

Perfect for: a family road trip through the desert.

Stanley Yelnants comes from a cursed family, so he isn’t surprised when a small misunderstanding lands him at Camp Green Lake, a correctional facility that makes troubled boys dig holes to build character. What does surprise him is the friends he makes and the secret he discovers behind a camp named after a lake that doesn’t exist. Why are they digging these holes? Just what are they looking for? Funny, sweet, and a beautiful adventure for the whole family.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, read by Rob Inglis

The Hobbit Cover

Run time: 11 hrs and 5 mins

Perfect for: a family who loves adventure and a little fantasy.

Join Bilbo Baggins as he goes on the adventure of a lifetime with dwarves, wizards, giant spiders, and the magical rings that started it all.

Best Classic Audiobooks

A long road trip is a perfect time to start checking books off your reading bucket list.  Whether you just can’t seem to find the time to read, or (like my husband) reading sends you to sleep no matter how interesting the book, use your road trip to finally finish a few classic books.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, read by Rosamunde Pike

Pride and Prejudice Cover

Run Time: 11 hrs and 53 min

Perfect for: a road trip that needs a little romance.

 This classic enemies-to-lovers romance is a must-hear.  Elizabeth Bennet is a spirited girl with quick wits and a mind of her own.  When she meets the stand-offish and seemingly stuck-up Mr. Darcy, they immediately rub each other the wrong way.  There’s more than animosity underneath the tension and you won’t be able to turn it off to see…will they or won’t they?

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, read by Ralph Cosham

The Jungle Book Cover

Run Time: 11 hrs and 8 mins

Perfect For: if you are taking a shorter road trip, or you have a shorter attention span, The Jungle Book is the perfect audiobook for you. 

Follow Mowgli, the man-cub raised by wolves, on his adventures in the jungle.  Each chapter runs as its own short story and each is as endearing, adventurous, and entertaining as the last.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker, read by Alice Walker

The Color Purple Cover

Run time: 7 hrs and 58 mins

Perfect for: those who find motivation in a story of strength in hardship.

The bond of two sisters is put to the test as they face racism, abuse, and seemingly insurmountable odds. Alice Walker was the first Black woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and is a must-hear.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, read by Jake Gyllenhaal

The Great Gatsby Cover

Run Time: 4 hrs and 49 mins

Perfect for: a city road trip.

Set in the roaring twenties, Nick Carroway is a writer looking for his next big story when he keeps hearing one name, Gatsby. Gatsby is a mysterious millionaire who lives just across the lake from Nick in a mansion where the party never ends. As Nick and Gatsby cross paths and develop a close friendship, the secrets begin to come out. Who exactly is…the Great Gatsby?

Best Comedy Audiobooks                

A little bit of comedy goes a long way when you’ve been in the car for hours and it dawns on you…you aren’t even halfway there yet.  Use these comedy audiobooks to bring life back into your road trip and get everyone in the car reliving the excitement of those first few miles on the road.

Good Omens By: Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett, read by Martin Jarvis

Good Omens Cover

Run Time: 12 hrs and 32 mins

Perfect for: that long stretch of road that has absolutely nothing going on. 

The end of the world is officially coming but one angel and one demon aren’t as excited to execute the Big Guy’s Divine Plan as they’re expected to be.  Gaiman and Pratchett are the perfect duo to get you out of your driving slump and into some serious laughs.

Roughing it by Mark Twain, read by Grover Garden

Roughing It Cover

Run Time: 15 hrs and 46 min

Perfect for: a friends road trip through the mid-west. 

Twain’s sarcasm and whit are impossible not to love as he recounts his experience of traveling in the western parts of the USA. 

Youth in Revolt by C.D. Payne, read by Richard Powers

Youth in Revolt Cover

Run Time: 8 hrs and 21 mins

Perfect for: a first road trip in your first car that first day of summer. 

Nick Twisp is hands down the best, and most hilarious, representation of an American teenager.  Nick enthusiastically journals his way through his parents’ divorce, his attempts to lose his virginity, and generally navigate life in high school.  When Nick realizes he just isn’t quite getting this teenage thing, he enlists the help of his alter ego, François Dillinger, who knows just how to raise hell, talk to the ladies, and make a man a fugitive from the cops. 

Can’t get enough of Nick and François? Get the entire Youth in Revolt Series with a run time of 25 hrs and 17 mins.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, read by Stephen Fry

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy Cover

Run Time: 5 hrs and 51 mins

Perfect for: anyone who loves to laugh at the nonsense that is the human experience.

The bad news is, Earth is set to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace expressway, the good news is, young Arthur Dent is whisked away by his friend Ford Perfect, who turns out to be an alien posing as an out-of-work actor. Together the two go on a hilarious adventure through space with the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as their guide.

We’ve got more than Comedy Audiobooks to entertain you on your road trip, check out how to Entertain Yourself on a Long Car Ride for more ideas.

Best Fiction Audiobooks

Fiction is a staple for audiobooks on a road trip, you need a little unreality to get you through the long road ahead. A road trip doesn’t just have to be about the places you are driving to, but also the things that happen right in the car. These titles will take you out of your own life and put you down in the middle of some incredible experiences.

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré, read by Adjoa Andoh

The Girl with the Louding Voice Cover

Run Time: 12 hrs and 6 mins

Perfect for: Those who love to find hope in the darkness.

Adunni is a strong and thoughtful girl growing up in a small village in Nigeria. When she’s married off to an older man, she runs away to the big city of Lagos and finds herself a housemaid in a wealthy businesswoman’s home. Adunni’s insightful observations, strong heart, and desire to do right by herself and others are endearing and inspiring.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, read by Jim Colby

Fight Club Cover

Run Time: 5 hrs and 34 mins

Perfect for: a high-octane road trip with the guys.

Get the energy up and the laughs going as you follow our unnamed Narrator, a bored-out-of-his-mind office drone who finds himself unexpectedly the best friend of the anarchist Tyler Durden. Mind-bending, exciting, and all too possible, a great pick to get everyone pumped up.

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, read by Simon Prebble

Jonathan Strange and Mr.Norrell Cover

Run Time: 32 hrs and 29 mins

Perfect for: Those on a long road trip who want an absorbing mystery.

Wealthy and reclusive Mr. Norrell, with his extensive private library, is renowned for being the Best Magician in the world. Then Jonathan Strange arrives on the scene, full of charisma and flash, everything that Mr. Norrell isn’t. The two becoming absorbed in their attempts to one-up each other that they risk losing everything that they love. An epic adventure of magic, lies, and sabotage that will keep you going mile after mile.

Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, read by Noah Galvin

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Cover

Run Time: 6 hrs and 23 min

Perfect for: a solo road trip filled with introspection and self-discovery.

Charlie is an observant, funny, but incredibly shy young man just trying to navigate high school after the sudden suicide of his best friend. As he finds his place in a group of misfit friends, he finds himself and the freedom that comes from sharing the unspeakable.

Best Non-Fiction Audiobooks

Not everyone wants to escape reality. If you are one of those people who want to spend their road trip becoming more informed about current events, brushing up on the latest memoir, or just generally learn new things, then check out these non-fiction audiobooks that are certain to leave every one in the car with expanded minds.

Becoming by Michelle Obama, read by Michelle Obama

Becoming Cover

Run Time: 19 hrs and 3 mins

Perfect For: that moment on a road trip when the horizon fills your windshield and you feel like the world is infinite possibilities.

Michelle Obama was one of America’s most beloved First Ladies, as well as the first African American woman to hold the title. A fierce advocate for women and girls, a voice for inclusion and healthier living, a mother of two girls, and a strong woman in her own right. Hear Michelle’s story in her own words, and voice, in this powerful audiobook.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, read by Jon Ronson

The Psychopath Test Cover

Run Time: 7hrs and 33 mins

Perfect for: anyone who has ever been certain that all CEO’s must be a little psychopathic.

Ron Jonson, renowned journalist and author of “The Men Who Stare at Goats”, dares to ask the question…what if people aren’t behaving rationally…what if we’re all just a little bit crazy? Hilarious, informative, and shocking, it’s a great audiobook for any road trip

African Samurai by Thomas Lockley and Geoffrey Girard, read by Gary Furlong

African Samurai Cover

Run Time: 10 hrs and 8 mins

Perfect for: the history enthusiast out on a road trip.

Tells the true story of Yasuke, history’s first foreign-born samurai. Yasuke, an indentured mercenary, arrives in Japan in the 16th century and quickly becomes a respected and feared figure connected to one of the most powerful families in Japan. Two years after his sudden arrival on the pages of history, he just as suddenly disappears.

Atomic Habits by James Clear, read by James Clear

Atomic Habits Cover

Run Time: 5 hrs and 35 mins

Perfect for: productivity on a road trip.

James Clear wants to show people how to change their habits by changing the system they live by. If you want to use your road trip to further your goals and practice a little self-improvement, then this audiobook is a must.

Enjoyed our Best Audiobooks for a Road Trip? Then you won’t want to miss our Best Road Trip Podcasts!