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12 must-have audiobooks for your next family road trip

They'll be too wrapped up in the story to ask "when will we be there?"

audiobooks for a family road trip Credit: Getty Images / lmgorthand

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If you have a family road trip coming up, add a few audiobooks to your arsenal of entertainment options before you hit the road. Audiobooks are a great way to pass the time on a road trip, camping adventure, or even a rainy weekend at home — and they can be educational as well as entertaining. Audiobooks bring books to life and inspire engaging conversations and memorable family moments, and you'll even get two free titles if you sign-up for Audible.

If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with everything from the classics you enjoyed as a child to contemporary tales of epic fantasy. You’re certain to find a book or two that everyone will enjoy on your next family getaway!

1. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Paddington Bear Audio Book
Credit: HarperAudio

The bear from the darkest Peru with a penchant for orange marmalade has been delighting young readers since 1958 and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with the recent films Paddington (2014) and Paddington 2 (2017). English actor and comedian Stephen Fry narrates Paddington’s adventures in proper British style, making this a must-read for road trips to Grandma’s house and rainy days at home.
Length: 2 hours and 39 minutes
Recommended for: kids 4–9

Get A Bear Called Paddington from Amazon for $12.99

2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland audiobook
Credit: Audible

Golden Globe-winning actress Scarlett Johansson beautifully narrates this beloved classic about a young girl swept away to a magical world filled with strange and wonderful characters. Join Alice, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit on their adventures in Wonderland — and don’t be surprised if your little ones ask to hear it again and again.
Length: 2 hours and 44 minutes
Recommended for: kids 7 and up

Get Alice's Adventures in Wonderland from Amazon for $8.71

3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe audiobook
Credit: HarperAudio

The first installment of The Chronicles of Narnia comes to life in this audiobook narrated by English actor Michael York. This is a terrific tale for the whole family, whether your kids have had a chance to read the series or not. Even little ones will be captivated by York’s animated voice as he interprets Lewis’s clever, suspenseful prose. Once you’ve experienced The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe, you’ll want to continue with the other books in Lewis’s enchanting series. Each audiobook features a different narrator, including Lynn Redgrave, Kenneth Branagh, and Patrick Stewart.
Length: 4 hours and 21 minutes
Recommended for: kids 7 and up

Get The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from Amazon for $18.99

4. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda Audiobook
Credit: Listening Library

This Audie Award-winning audiobook is pure fun for everyone in the family. Matilda is an exceptionally bright young girl, but her parents think she’s a nuisance and the school’s headmistress hates her. What’s a young genius to do?! The wry and witty voice of Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet will have listeners cheering and laughing from beginning to end.
Length: 4 hours and 18 minutes
Recommended for: kids 6–11

Get Matilda from Amazon for $17.95

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

A Wrinkle in Time Audiobook
Credit: Listening Library

A Wrinkle in Time won the 1963 Newbery Medal and has been thrilling young readers ever since. Blending science fiction and fantasy, the story is an imaginative adventure about family, friendship and the mysteries of the universe. Narrated by Emmy and Tony Award-nominated actress Hope Davis, with an introduction by Ava DuVernay, who directed the 2018 film adaptation, this audio version is a wonderful way to introduce kids to L’Engle’s incredible fantasy world.
Length: 6 hours and 27 minutes
Recommended for: kids 7 and up

Get A Wrinkle in Time from Amazon for $17.50

6. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz audiobook
Credit: Audible Studios

Baum’s Wizard of Oz is an American classic that has been entertaining children for over 100 years. Here, Academy Award-winning actress Anne Hathaway brings Dorothy and her friends to vivid life with a variety of creative voices. Hathaway is a delight to listen to and was nominated for an Audie Award for this narration.
Length: 3 hours and 49 minutes
Recommended for: kids 7 and up

Get The Wonderful Wizard of Oz from Amazon for $12.99

7. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

The Hobbit Audiobook
Credit: Recorded Books

Tolkein’s classic tale of hobbits, dwarves and otherwordly creatures is a delight for listeners of all ages. The adventures being when hobbit Bilbo Baggins takes up with the wandering wizard Gandalf and his band of dwarves. Narrator Rob Inglis weaves a magical spell with his masterful interpretation of Tolkein’s enchanting characters and creatures.
Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
Recommended for: kids 8 and up

Get The Hobbit from Amazon for $23.95

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone audiobook
Credit: Pottermore Publishing

This modern classic is a must-listen for a long road trip or a holiday break when the weather keeps everyone inside. Narrated by Grammy Award-winning English actor Jim Dale, the first installment in the Harry Potter franchise is as delightful to listen to as it is to read. Dale narrates all of the books in the series and does a lovely job of interpreting Rowling’s characters.
Length: 8 hours and 33 minutes
Recommended for: kids 8 and up

Get Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from Amazon for $29.99

9. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events audiobook
Credit: HarperAudio

The droll humor of Snicket’s darkly comedic tale is beautifully interpreted by “distinguished and disturbed” Emmy Award-winning narrator Tim Curry. The Bad Beginning is the first book in The Series of Unfortunate Events and this adaption sits somewhere between an audiobook and theatrical production, with a cast of readers and imaginative sound effects that will delight kids of all ages, even the most cynical tween.
Length: 2 hours and 29 minutes
Recommended for: kids 8 and up

Get A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning from Amazon for $13.99

10. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightening Thief audiobook
Credit: Listening Library

First in the five-book Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief is not only perfect for family listening, it might just instill a love of mythology in your kids. Riordan’s engaging fantasy centers on twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, who discovers that the gods and goddesses of his Greek mythology book are alive in the 21st century. Narrator Jesse Bernstein has a youthful voice that makes him a believable young Percy.
Length: 10 hours and 2 minutes
Recommended for: kids 8 and up

Get The Lightning Thief from Amazon for $23.99

11. How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon audiobook
Credit: Hatchette Audio

Everyone in your family will love this tale of Vikings and dragons! Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III must catch and train a dragon in order to pass his Viking clan’s initiation test. Doctor Who fans will love listening to Scottish actor David Tennant narrate this imaginative and hilarious tale, while younger listeners will be captivated by Hiccup’s adventures — and the dragons, of course!
Length: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Recommended for: kids 7 and up

Get How to Train Your Dragon from Amazon for $16.99

12. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games audiobook
Credit: Amazon

Perfect for tweens and young teens, The Hunger Games is the first book in Suzanne Collins’ New York Times bestselling dystopian trilogy. Survival is the name of the game when sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen takes her sister’s place in the Capitol’s annual Hunger Games — but Katniss doesn’t intend to play by the rules. Narrated by Emmy Award-winning actress Tatiana Maslany, listeners are quickly drawn into this fast-paced tale of love, loyalty, and survival.
Length: 10 hours and 35 minutes
Recommended for: kids 10 and up

Get The Hunger Games from Amazon for $19.59

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