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Explore the list of best audiobooks to listen on your 2023 road trips.
Are you in search of books to listen to on a road trip? Finding the best audiobook for long car rides can be a daunting task. But I promise you that by the end of this post, you will have found a list of fun and exciting audiobooks for your next big adventure.
I love listening to audiobooks wherever I go. Whether on long car rides, or short trips to the store or even planning a road trip itinerary, I listen to lighthearted audiobooks.
So whether you’re doing a three-week scenic cross country road trip or a few days solo city trip, listen to these best audiobooks for road trips, including Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.
Because road trips are the best things to do while listening to a good book!
How to Choose The Audiobooks to Listen on a Long Car Drive?
Consider these factors before selecting the audiobooks for your trip with family and friends. I know this is not a fun task, but you will thank me later!
- Who are you with: Take into account the people you’re with. If you’re on a romantic get away with your partner, The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren is a great audiobook. But if you’re with a large group with friends and family, choose a book that everyone will enjoy. A book like The House in the Cerulean Sea would be a fun story to listen to.
- Consider the duration of the trip: So if you know that you’re going on a weeks long road journey get a long fantasy audiobook series like The Wheel of Time for the road trip. I have included the audio length of each audiobook from the list, so make sure to check them out.
- Audiobook genre: If you prefer a particular genre of book to listen to, make sure to choose the right book. This list actually includes main genres such as non fiction, YA romance, thriller and fantasy.
- Narrator : This is probably the most important factor to consider before selecting the audiobooks for a car trip. If you’re not sure about well-known audiobook narrators, read this post-> Best Audiobook Narrators You Won’t Stop Listening To.
- Audiobook platform: Scribd and Audible are my favorite audiobook platforms. But I’ve also heard good things about Libro.fm !
- Best way to listen to the book: The easiest way to listen to an audiobook on a long trip is the car’s bluetooth. All you need to do is connect your phone with the speakers. But I have found an helpful article that seems to give you more options to listen to audiobook in the car, so read here -> 5 Ways for you to listen to audiobooks in the car
So now, you’re all set! Let’s find out what these best road trip audiobooks that I have been talking about….
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Narrator: Amor Towles
Listening Length: 16 hours and 39 minutes
Let’s kick off the list of best audiobooks for road trips with this one. The propulsive novel set in 1950s America is the most sought-after audiobook for all the right reasons. This fast-paced story of camaraderie and adventure follows three teenage boys on a cross-country journey. Their distinct background and morals set them on a collision course. So it goes without saying that The Lincoln Highway is the best book to listen to while you are on a cross-country adventure by yourself.
So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Narrator: Michael Crouch
Listening Length: 9 hours and 11 minutes
This is the story of the most unlikely friendship between road trip companions.
After losing his job Lewis Madigan is forced to accept the job of caretaker for his neighbour. Chester, the neighbour, who is battling cancer, is insufferable and homophobic. And the final task Chester is about to give to the young Lewis is about to change everything. If you’re looking for a good book to listen to while on a long journey that feels like a warm hug, So Long, Chester Wheeler is the book for you.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Listening Length: 15 hours and 40 minutes
Next in the list we have a sci-fi audiobook set in a dystopian future! Ready Player One is a gorgeously fascinating and superbly entertaining story that takes place in the year 2044.
It’s set in the time where humans spend a considerable amount of time playing the video game Oasis. The game Oasis lost its creator years ago and left it without an heir. But before his death, the creator had left clever easter eggs in the game to find a new heir.
This is one such audiobook that will make you get out of the house in no time.
So if you’re planning your next big adventure road trip, add Ready Player One in the list of audiobooks for car rides. Not only is it a fun and easy audiobook to listen to, that you can enjoy with your friends, it will also put you in an adventure spirit in no time!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Listening Length: 7 hours and 43 minutes
I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman’s books and his audiobook narrations. So I had to include one of his finest works to include among the best audiobooks to listen to on a road trip.
The Graveyard Book is an unusual story of a boy named Nobody Owens. He is raised in a graveyard by two ghosts! Neil Gaiman has drafted a wistful and slightly creepy coming-of-age story and I would highly recommend listening to this young adult fantasy audiobook during a scenic family road trip. I definitely think both tweens and adults can equally enjoy Neil Gaiman’s terrific narration.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Narrator: John Lee
Listening Length: 40 hours and 56 minutes
Pillars of the Earth is what you have to listen to if you have to take many empty and boring roads during your road trip as Ken Follett’s historical fiction is about more than 40 hours long.
This historical fiction book is set in England, in the 12th century and tells the story of the people of Kingsbridge and their struggle to build the greatest Gothic cathedral. This historical masterpiece is a great audiobook that guarantees a spellbinding listening experience.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Narrator: Full cast
Listening Length: 19 hours and 39 minutes
Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is a highly imaginative tale of a recently released prisoner, Shadow. One of the reasons to include American Gods in the list of great audiobooks for road trips is that an adventure road trip takes place within the story. Believe it or not, the book has actually influenced readers to take the route the main character takes through the Midwest. You should check this American God road trip itinerary. If you’re planning to follow the route, listening to Neil Gaiman’s full cast audiobook will make your trip a memorable one.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Narrator: Tina Fey
Listening Length: 5 hours and 32 minutes
Tina Fey’s humorous memoir includes stories of her childhood in Pennsylvania and her comedy career in Chicago. The memoir audiobook read by the author is an absolute gem. There are many witty, funny and insightful moments that will make you laugh out loud during the entire road trip.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Narrator: Trevor Noah
Listening Length: 8 hours and 44 minutes
Trevor Noah is a familiar name among talk show enthusiasts. In his memoir Born a Crime, Noah shares his childhood days growing up as a mixed child during apartheid. While this coming-of-age story discusses rather serious subjects, I have to say this is one of the funniest audiobooks I have ever listened to! His witty anecdotes will crack you up in no time. So, if you’re in search of fun audiobooks for your upcoming road trip, make sure to put Born a Crime on the tape!
Find more recommendations in nonfiction audiobooks for road trips.
Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Narrator: Ray Porter
Listening Length: 16 hours and 10 minutes
Sci-fi audiobooks aren’t my favorite way to enjoy long drives, however I wish I was on a solo road trip when I listened to Project Hail Mary. The story of how a junior-high school science teacher suddenly becomes a part of a suicide mission to save Earth, is unputdownable. Project Hail Mary is a space adventure that you have to listen to during a solo road trip. This book will make you think, laugh and cry. Also I am so happy that the book has won the 2022 Audie Award, because Ray Porter’s narration is absolutely brilliant!!
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
Narrator: Joan Walker
Listening Length: 11 hours and 02 minutes
Fredrik Backman’s books will take you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. You will find yourself in a range of emotions during the entire book. This is a story of a little girl who embarks on the greatest adventure of a lifetime to fulfill her late grandmother’s last wish. If you ask me, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry is an exciting audiobook that is perfect to listen to during a multigenerational road trip. This slow-paced, deeply moving story should be very entertaining on the big family vacation.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Narrator: Daniel Henning
Listening Length: 12 hours and 12 minutes
As far as I am concerned, feel-good fantasies are the best audiobooks for road trips. Listening to sweet, cozy and magical elements makes the long distance drive bearable for sure. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a wholesome fantasy that follows the journey of case worker Linus Baker, who is in charge of investigating a special orphanage on the island of Marsyas. Listening to this fun contemporary book is the best way to enjoy a long RV road trip with family.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Narrator: Kate Winslet
Listening Length: 4 hours and 18 minutes
Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda needs no introduction. There are so many reasons to listen to this adorable story.
But most importantly Matilda will be a great audiobook for family road trips. Your kids can enjoy the incredible story of a little girl who taught herself to read at such a young age. To top it all, this whimsical audiobook is narrated by Kate Winslet! And perhaps your whole family can also watch the Netflix adaptation of Matilda the Musical after listening to the audiobook! Wow! Now that would be one epic family trip!
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Narrator: Cynthia Farrell, Deacon Lee
Listening Length: 9 hours and 07 minutes
If you’re planning a romantic road trip this summer, you have to listen to The Unhoneymooners. The book narrates the story of Olive who is obliged to take a honeymoon together with her nemesis, Nathan. Listening to the enemies-to lovers audiobook for the entire drive with your partner will make you blush throughout the trip! And I wouldn’t be surprised if listening to this rom-com book has forced you to drive along the coast and enjoy the scenic beach with your significant other.
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
Narrator: Rob McQuay
Listening Length: 9 hours and 44 minutes
If you’re itching to listen to an adventure audiobook that will hook you from the start, get this book. Bill Bryson’s travel memoir depicts the adventures of a lifetime. Bryson captivates you with his breathtaking narration of The Appalachian Trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. A Walk in the Woods is an insightful, enriching and hilarious audiobook.
Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult
Narrator: Rob McQuay
Listening Length: 9 hours and 44 minutes
If you have to take a really long cross country road trip, Jodi Picoult’s immersive book would be great to listen to. The book tells the story of an African-American nurse who is charged with a serious crime by a white supremacist couple. Just like any other Jodi Picoult book, Small Great Things is an emotional and thought provoking audiobook narrated by an ensemble cast!
Going Rogue by Janet Evanovich
Narrator: Lorelei King
Listening Length: 8 hours and 8 minutes
If you’re planning a road trip with the besties, Going Rogue is the perfect lighthearted and funny audiobook to listen to. The 29th book in the Stephanie Plum series has many silly and comical moments to enjoy with your pals.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Narrator: Jack Hawkins, Louise Brealey
Listening Length: 8 hours and 51 minutes
The Silent Patient is one such suspense road trip audiobook that will stick with you for a long time. The book recounts the life of Alicia who remains silent years after murdering her husband. The Silent Patient is a terrific book to listen to for a long drive alone.
World War Z by Max Brooks
Narrator: David Nathan, Michael Pan
Listening Length: 14 hours and 03 minutes
In the list of books to listen to on a car trip, next comes a zombie apocalyptic horror novel. I have to say that this audiobook is definitely not for the faint of heart. The 12 hour long full-cast audiobook depicts the tale of survivors who survived the zombie war. The book is engaging and entertaining as it’s in the form of a radio play. Unsurprisingly World War Z has won the Audie Award Winner in 2006!
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert
Narrator: Ione Butler
Listening Length: 10 hours and 51 minutes
I feel that if you’re on a long journey listening to an unpredictable laugh-out-loud love story can definitely lift up the mood. Especially if you’re someone like me who loves stories about sassy, smart and sexy heroines. British chick lit author Talia Hibbert is known for her charming rom-coms featuring imperfect characters. Act Your Age, Eve Brown is an opposite-attract rom-com that follows Eve Brown, who is adamant to prove to everyone that she is a successful, self-sufficient adult. It’s an absolutely delightful audiobook to listen to while road tripping with your besties!
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Narrator: Richard Matthews
Listening Length: 18 hours and 13 minutes
Yes, another Bill Bryson audiobook that will Leave you speechless. I can guarantee that you’re going to mark this book as one of the best non fiction audiobooks for road trips. As the title suggests, A Short History of Nearly Everything is a 18 hour long book that explains everything you have ever learned about the world we live in. From gravity, space and time, you’re sure to tackle some of the mysteries of the universe.
Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Narrator: Stephen Fry
Listening Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
Douglas Adams’ masterpiece needs no introduction! Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is one of the best space and travel books ever written. The story about Arthur Dent and his adventure in space with an alien friend is an unreasonably funny book that you will ever listen to. Have I mentioned the audiobook narrator? It’s STEPHEN FRY!! I mean I don’t think I will ever get tired of listening to the best voice actors on the planet. His dynamic and engaging voice is perfect to narrate any book. If you’re a fan of Stephen Fry’s audiobook, I have a whole post dedicated to the list of audiobooks narrated by Stephen Fry!
The Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan
Narrator: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer( first book)
Listening Length: 29 hours and 57 minutes (( first book)
Surviving long car journey isn’t always easy, but with fantasy audiobooks, lengthy road trips is less challenging. So if you’re going to be on the road for weeks, save The Wheel of Time Series for the trip. This epic fantasy series is one of the best audiobooks to listen to if you’re a fan of mythology and religion themed books. The internationally bestselling series about a man’s battle over evil is richly detailed and mesmerizing.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Narrator: Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Cassandra Campbell and Octavia Spencer
Listening Length: 18 hours and 06 minutes
Eighteen hours will fly by when you listen to this emotionally compelling audiobook. The story of three extraordinary women and their courage to start a movement of their own changes the course of a community forever. The Help has influenced the lives of -mothers, daughters and caregivers, the women around the world! And the impeccable voice cast of the book, Jenna Lamia, Bahni Turpin, Cassandra Campbell and Octavia Spencer have done a marvelous job of narrating the story of privileged southern women and their black help.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon
Narrator: Jeff Woodman
Listening Length: 6 hours and 02 minutes
I love this audiobook. It’s not the usual style of books I listen to, but the story of a frustrated autistic teenager and his views about trust and safety, was much more entertaining than I thought. It’s almost like understanding what’s going on in the brain of a young boy who sees the world in a different way. The book is beautiful, sad and Irresistibly comical. Jeff Woodman’s powerful narration will help you survive any boring road trip.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
Narrator: Humphrey Bower
Listening Length: 43 hours and 53 minutes
If you’re on a road trip all by yourself, listening to Shantaram can be life-changing. First of all, it’s a ridiculously long audiobook, about forty-eight hours!! And the story is based on the author’s real life experience in escaping prison in Australia and living on the streets of Bombay. From Five-star hotels, slums and prison to bollywood films and spiritual awakening, this is one heck of an audiobook!
America for Beginners by Leah Franqui
Narrator: Soneela Nankani
Listening Length: 11 hours and 17 minutes
Listening to this book urged me to go for a solo, cross country trip. The bittersweet tale of a Bengali widow’s solo trip to America in search of her estranged son, is tender, humorous and moving. Franqui clearly has a natural talent for creating flawed, multidimensional characters. America for Beginners is an uplifting story of cross-cultural alliances that is perfect to keep you engaged on a long drive. After finishing the audio version of the book, the narrator, Soneela Nankani became one of my favorite voice actors in no time.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Listening Length: 14 hours and 23 minutes
This modern science-fiction audiobook has gotten numerous accolades for all the right reasons. Protagonist Rosemary Harper decides to get away from her troubled past and joins the crew of a small spaceship. She isn’t hugely excited to be a part of a group of multi-species crew. But as she begins to spend time with each crew member, she discovers the true meaning of family. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet is definitely a binge-worthy audiobook for a car trip with your relatives and friends.
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
Narrator: Charles Frazier
Listening Length: 14 hours and 26 minutes
This winter themed book is a moving story of an American civil war soldier and his tumultuous journey back to the Cold Mountain. There is a lot of pain, suffering and agony in the book. Which means this falls into that type of audiobook that will stick with you for a very long time. Another fascinating part is that the author himself narrates the book, making the book much more evocative and compelling to listen to.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Narrator: Julia Whelan
Listening Length: 15 hours and 02 minutes
I am addicted to Kristin Hannah’s books. Listening to her stories evoke so many emotions in me. I chose The Four Winds to include among audiobooks for adult road trips because it’s the stirring story of survival, hardship and love. The main character Elsa is compelled to embark on a journey to the West to escape the Dust Bowl and create a better future for her family. If these are not enough to convince you to listen to the book on the car ride, the next one will. The book is narrated by none other than Julia Whealan, one of the best female narrators ever!! You if love her narration like I do, I have made a list of best narrated audiobooks by Julia Whelan.
The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Listening Length: 12 hours and 08 minutes
If you think it’s always a great idea to listen to mystery books while on a road trip, you are going to have to save this audiobook for your next journey. Set on a beautiful island in Nantucket, The perfect couple is a cleverly plotted whodunit that will have you hooked from the first chapter. The story, setting and the weather surely make the book a sizzling summer road trip book.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Listening Length: 9 hours and 57 minutes
When retired Harold Fry receives an unexpected letter from Queenie, he decides to take a big step forward, quite literally. He chooses to do a 600-mile walk from Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed. As he thinks it’s the only way to save the life of his former colleague and friend. This book is huge! It’s just under ten hours, but there are a lot of characters and their emotions involved, so you might want to slow it down a bit. The academy award winning actor Jim Broadbent’s voice is beyond perfect, he perfectly captures the timid, unassuming attributes of Harold Fry.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Listening Length: 5 hours and 33 minutes
This speculative young adult fantasy audiobook takes place in an utopian city. We follow a teen trans girl named Jam who accidentally releases a creature named Pet. The nuanced tale of monsters, angels and other creatures is effortlessly narrated. I encourage you to listen to the book with your kids to educate them about abusers and emphasize the need of exposing crime.
Billy Summers by Stephen King
Narrator: Paul Sparks
Listening Length: 16 hours and 57 minutes
Stephen King’s novels have always been on my reading list. But then horror novels give me the creeps. So when I saw he has a new thriller book, I jumped right in and listened to the entire 16 hour long audiobook within a day or two. It’s the story of Billy Summers, a former marine sniper and a hitman who is the best in the business. But he targets ONLY the bad boys. Now he is assigned to his very last job but it’s a job like no other… The book is captivating, engaging and filled with unexpected twists. I assure you, taking a pause from the audiobook can be hard. So if you have a really, really long car ride, save this book for that!
The Narrowboat Summer by Anne Youngson
Narrator: Helen Lloyd
Listening Length: 10 hours and 19 minutes
Next in the list is a hilarious and uplifting book to listen to while exploring a beautiful landscape or national park. The Narrowboat Summer follows three women who are on a journey to find a new path in their lives. As they travel together on a narrowboat through the canals of England, they must decide the course of their own lives. This is one such story that makes you celebrate the differences and turn obstacles into an adventure of a lifetime.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Amanda Leigh Cobb
Listening Length: 25 hours and 09 minutes
At this point, you know listening to audiobooks on road trips is a cool part of road trip untiil you reach the destination. Also let me tell you that an enthralling fantasy audiobook makes the listening experience even better. I am always amazed at the power of richly detailed plots and imaginative characters of fantasy literature. So I have chosen the best audiobook that offers a great time- A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas The dramatized adaptation of the mythical adventure is performed by a stellar cast of twenty three audiobook narrators!
So there you have these best audiobooks for long drives.
These books are highly entertaining and engaging, so you will NEVER tired of lengthy drives!
Pack your bags, take your audiobook and start the adventure of a lifetime ASAP