12 Best Family Audiobooks For Your Next Road Trip

Find the best parent-approved audiobooks for family road trips!

Headphones for listening to audiobooks on a long drive with kids.
Via Pexels

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As parents to four kids, their ages ranging from 2 to 11, my husband Daniel and I have been on many long car rides with our littles. 

Family road trips are super fun, but sometimes the long hours in the car can feel a bit boring.

Especially when you have young kids in the car who aren’t used to sitting for long periods of time!

Our family has put many miles on our van with family vacations over the years. Just last year, we drove all the way from Washington State to Georgia with our four kids. 

Well, that wasn’t exactly a vacation, but it was a long road trip! 

These books from our list of the Best Family Audiobooks have come to the rescue every time we’ve taken our littles on a long drive!

They make the time fly by and are a great way to keep the entire family entertained. We utilize Kindles, car games, and I love a good podcast. But, we often like to listen to good books while in the car.

One of my pet peeves is driving through a new area of the country and looking back to see my kids glued to a screen. They need to look around and experience the scenery!

I am picky about what we listen to when traveling- I want it to be appropriate for the whole family, easy to listen to (meaning, the narrator has to be good!), and captivating! 

We’ve had to abandon a few audiobooks because of annoying voice actors (I could name a few!) or boring/average story lines. If my kids are listing to an audiobook in our van, chances are I’m listening too, so I want to be entertained

In this post, I’m sharing a list of the best family audiobooks for a road trip that are approved by ALL our kids AND my husband and me. 

From the classic story of a pig named Wilbur to the magical world of Harry Potter, we’ve listened to all listed below, some more than once! 

How To Listen

There are a variety of ways to listen to books!

When planning for a road trip, I like to have at least two to three options downloaded on my phone, as well as a few books on hard copy CDs. 

I don’t always want a device tied up, so having the CDs that you can use in the car’s system is a great option.

You can download any of the following suggestions on Audible by either purchasing the books or signing up for a monthly subscription. 

We’ve had the monthly subscription for a few years, because my husband and I are both avid audiobook listeners. He loves science fiction, I love a good autobiography!

Audible offers a free trial that gives you a chance to try it out with no commitment!

It’s been worth it for us, but if it isn’t something you think you’d use much, you may want to look for free audiobooks on the Libby App. 

I’ve had some luck with this free library app, but often find that the books I want either aren’t available (I have one book where I’m 25th on the hold list, so I’m not holding my breath on that one!) or I have to return the book before I’ve finished.

You can also check your local library to see what they have available to check out.

Personally, I’m always worried I’ll lose the borrowed CDs under the pile of wrappers and goldfish crackers that always accumulates on road trips thanks to our little kids, but I do like to use them for when we’re at home. 

However you choose to enjoy listening, here are our best family audiobook recommendations!

A Place To Hang the Moon By Kate Albus

Narrated by Polly Lee

Time: 8h 5m

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
Via Audible

A Place To Hang The Moon takes place during World War 2. Three orphaned siblings are evacuated to the countryside and hope to find a permanent home with one of the families they meet. They find comfort in the local library and the friendly librarian.

William, Edmund and Anna are sweet children and their closeness as siblings and courage despite their circumstances is really heart warming.

This is one of the few books on this list that I had never read or listened to before downloading it for a family trip. We really enjoyed it!

We happened to be studying World War 2 in our homeschool curriculum, so it went along well with the subject.

Its a story with well-developed characters and historical context. And a plus is that the narrator has an easy-to-listen to voice!

The Harry Potter Books by J.K Rowling

Narrated by Jim Daly

For especially long trips, I like to download series. This gives us a lot of listening time, and I don’t have to think about what to play next. This series is VERY long if you download all 7 books!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Book 1

Time: 8h 18m

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Via Audible

Ok, I have a confession. I have listened to these books, the whole series, over 30 times. 

I used to put them going when I would clean my little apartment during college- and that was a long time ago! 

Enjoy this old photo of my husband and I freezing our bums off at Harry Potter World right after it opened. I told you, I’ve been a fan for a reeeeeeally long time.

Now, I’ve read the books multiple times as well, but I enjoy the audio version best. It’s probably because they’re read by the best narrator of all time, Jim Dale. 

Man, I love me some Jim Dale. His Professor McGonagall is hands down the best voice acting I’ve ever heard. 

And, no matter how many times I listen, I still find myself laughing out loud to every clever insult or funny quip. 

“There’s no need to call me Professor, sir.” If you know, you know. 

But, if you don’t already know, Harry Potter is a young boy who grows up with his awful uncle and aunt and his spoiled cousin Dudley. He finds out he is a wizard on his 11th birthday, and thus begins a series of great adventures!

Written by JK Rowling, there are 7 books total, each one wonderfully crafted. Our older children especially love listening to these books. The first book is The Sorcerer’s Stone- you’ll want to start there. 

Peter and the Star Catchers, Book 1, Written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Narrated by Jim Dale

Time: 8h 40m

Peter and the Starcatchers, a Prequel to Peter Pan. Read by Jim Dale
Via Audible

Speaking of Jim Dale, another wonderful series is Peter and the Star Catchers, also read by the great Jim Dale. 

The first book in this series is the only one available on audiobook at this time, but I’ve included it because if your kids enjoy the first one, I highly suggest having them read the rest of the series! You can find the second book, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, here

This book tells the story of a young Peter Pan, prior to his meeting Wendy and her brothers. 

Peter is a young orphan boy who finds adventure on the high seas when he is shipped off to a foreign land. On the journey there, he meets the mysterious Molly, and encounters “Black Stache!”

It’s a wonderful adventure story that will capture the attention of the whole family.

Chronicles of Narnia, Books 1-7, by CS Lewis

Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Alex Jennings, Michael York, Lynn Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Northam, and Patrick Stewart

Time: 33h 45m

Chronicles of Narnia cover from Audible
Via Audible

This is one series that we own on CD, so it’s been perfect for those times that I don’t want to use my phone for the listening device. 

This is a great buy, considering you get all 7 books for 1 credit, or for just over $32 on Audible! That’s almost 34 hours of listening. 

This series takes place during World War 2 when four siblings are sent to the English countryside to stay with their uncle. Through a mysterious wardrobe, they enter a magical world filled with interesting characters and epic adventures. 

From the cute and funny beavers, to the scary White Witch, and the brave and mighty Aslan- it’s an enchanting tale from start to finish. 

Redwall, Book 1 by Brian Jaques

Narrated by Brian Jacques and Full Cast

Time: 10h 41m

Redwall by Brian Jacques audible audiobook
Via Audible

I remember my brothers loving the Redwall series when we were younger, but I never read them myself. 

So, as an adult I’ve loved listening to them with my kids! The author himself narrates the novel, with a full cast of characters to voice the other parts. 

This tale takes you on an adventure filled with courageous mice, squirrels, badgers, and other woodland creators.

It’s both action packed and heartwarming!

There are 22 books in the Redwall series. My kids and I are working our way through the series. The first book is simply called Redwall.

Magic Tree House Collection, Books 1-8 by Mary Pope Osborne

Narrated by Mary Pope Osborne

Time: 6h 1m

Magic Tree House audiobook Unabridged
Via Audible

Audible has some great bargains on collections, which allows you to listen to several books by the same author using just one credit. Or, you can purchase the audiobook CDs as a set. 

The Magic Tree House books are such a fun collection of adventures that follow siblings Jack and Annie. 

They discover a magical tree house filled with books that can transport them to different times and places. There is time travel, and folklore and mythology.

This collection did a great job of captivating our littles, and are great stories for kids of all ages! 

The Ramona Quimby Audio Collection by Beverly Clearly

Narrated by Stockard Channing

Time: 18h 56m

Beezus and Ramona
Beverly Cleary
Via Audible

One of our daughter’s favorite recent listens is the entire series of Ramona and Beezus. I think she relates to the older sister, Beezus! 

The entire collection is one credit on Audible, so it’s a great bargain for so many hours of fun. 

Also, the narrator has the perfect voices for each character that really captures their personalities!

Kids of all ages will enjoy hilariously incorrigible Ramona, and her exasperated older sister Beezus. 

The collection includes Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and Her Father, Ramona and Her Mother, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona Forever, and Ramona’s World.

Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, The Flopsy Bunnies, and many more!)

Narrated by Gary Bond, Michael Hordern, Rosemary Leach, and Janet Maw

5h 51m

Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales
Via Audible

For a short and sweet listen, we love anything by Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit is our favorite! These are perfect for a shorter drive at a little over 5 hours. 

Like the Ramona and Beezus collection, Audible has the Complete Tales for one credit on the app.

The English actors who narrate have wonderfully soothing voices and the cute tales are perfect for younger kids.

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

Narrated by Andy Serkis

Time: 10h 25m

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien audio
Via Audible

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

Oh, how we love this one! In this classic novel, the main character, Bilbo Baggins, reluctantly embarks on a great adventure with his new friends. 

The Hobbit is my oldest son’s favorite movie (well, three movies!) When he was 7, he purchased a paperback copy of the book, and tried valiantly to read it. 

However, it was above his reading level, and so he didn’t get too far. 

I suggested the audiobook version, and we all enjoyed listening to it in the car on a trip to the beach.

This version is narrated by Andy Serkis, who plays Gollum/Smeagol in the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies. Don’t worry, he doesn’t narrate the whole thing in his Gollum voice. 😉

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Narrated by Douglas Hodge

Time: 3h 18m

For shorter trips where you want to be able to start and finish the book before you’re back home, there are several great options.

Roald Dahl Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Via Audible

We listened to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on our way back from Florida last spring. It works well to keep the attention of younger littles. 

My husband and I continued listening long after our children had fallen asleep, as the other children encountered tragedy among the candy and chocolates; I found it to be quite gripping! 

There are several other Roald Dahl audiobooks available on Audible as well. I generally find his novels to be a little too dark for young children, but this one we all enjoyed. 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

Narrated by Meryl Streep and Full Cast

Time: 4h 2m

E.B.White Charlotte's Web audiobook
Via Audible

Going in a different direction is the well loved Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White. This is our youngest daughter’s favorite!

This is perhaps our most listened to audiobook for our family. We own it on CD so it works well to pop in whenever we need a distraction.

At just over 4 hours, it’s perfect to start and finish on a shorter road trip.

Charlotte’s Web is a classic story of friendship and loyalty.  The story revolves around a young pig named Wilbur and a clever and kind spider named Charlotte. 

It’s a wholesome message that gets me every time, and no matter how often we listen to it, I find myself fighting back tears at the end!

There are a couple different versions, but our favorite is read by Meryl Streep and other actors. The different voices make for a fun listen!

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Narratted by Esther Benson

Time: 2h 39m

Pippi Longstocking audible cover
Via Audible

Last on our list of the best family audiobooks is Pippi Longstocking. This was my favorite book growing up!

We downloaded this one on a short drive to the mountains. At just over 2.5 hours long, it was the perfect time to be able to finish it before arriving at our destination. 

Pippi is an unconventional young girl who has superhuman strength and lives alone except for a horse and a monkey. 

She moves into a new house and befriends two children who live next door. She provides them with plenty of entertainment!

My kids loved listening to Pippi’s amazing strength and the horse she let live in her kitchen!

FAQs

Are all these books appropriate for all ages?

Yes! We are very careful with what we let our littles read/watch/and listen to. You won’t find bad words or inappropriate content here.

Will I enjoy these books as an adult?

I’ve picked these particular options specifically because my husband and I enjoyed them as well. When I’m stuck in a vehicle for a long period of time with something playing over the sound system, I want to be able to enjoy it too!

To Sum up…

Its a fact that audiobooks were a lifesaver when we moved across the country- I don’t know what I would have done without them!  

So, whether you’re setting out on a cross-country adventure or taking a short jaunt to a local tourist spot, I highly recommend picking up or downloading on of the best family audiobooks from our list for you and your kids to enjoy.

How many of these have you read or listened to? What are your favorites? Tell me in the comments!

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