Pack your bags and start your road trip the right way by chasing the sunrise.
You’ve got your bags packed, the snacks are loaded into the car, the cooler full of tasty beverages is within reach, and you’ve pre-loaded the map to your destination, including interesting rest stops along the way — what more could you need for the perfect summer road trip?
Load up some good driving music and some nature-themed podcasts and audiobooks to help the drive fly by.
Playlists to Keep You Driving Along
Pair the beautiful winding roads of Olympic National Park with your favorite songs.
While we all have our favorite types of music, road trips require a specific musical tone. You want to set the mood and a chill pace because road trips are a marathon, not a sprint. These playlists will get you in the driving mood.
Expert tip: download these playlists before you go so you have music even in rural areas where streaming data may be difficult to come by.
Classic Road Trip Songs
This classic rock road trip playlist is upbeat enough to keep you awake without driving you crazy with heavy rock and roll vibes. It includes songs such as Fortunate Son, Magic Carpet Ride, and Back in Black. Get ready to jam out.
All Things Considered Road Trip Playlist
When All Things Considered put out the call for the best driving music, their listeners delivered. This playlist includes hits such as We Didn’t Start the Fire, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), Uptown Funk, and Truckin’.
Road Trip Sing-Along Songs
If you’re feeling sleepy as the miles go on and on and on, turn up this playlist and sing along. You can belt it out with singers such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish, and The Beatles.
Best Audiobooks for Your Next Road Trip
Good road trip entertainment strikes a balance with variety. You want some educational content, something funny, and something to rock out to if you start to feel sleepy. These books provide a nice balance of interest, education, and nature.
Expert tip: you might be able to borrow and download these books for free from your local library.
Let My People Go Surfing
Written by the founder of Patagonia, Let My People Go Surfing covers everything from business to how to run a people-centric, eco-friendly company. Be sure to get the 10th-anniversary edition for the most up-to-date version.
To Speak for the Trees
To Speak for the Trees gets seriously nerdy about trees. It provides a scientifically-based, holistic view on how to heal the environment and shares how we are interconnected with the natural world around us. Written by botanist and biochemist Diana Beresford-Kroeger, this story provides a hopeful and informative view of nature and healing. We’re all connected to the forest.
The Nature of Nature
In The Nature of Nature, ecologist Enric Sala makes the case that ecological preservation is not only how we save the world, but it’s economically wise as well. Sala, director of National Geographic’s Pristine Seas project, tells his story about his transition from academia to activism and how we all must work together to save nature.
Best Nature-Themed Podcasts for Your Road Trip
Make sure to stop and appreciate the nature around you with all the new information you are learning with these podcasts!
If you’re interested in something shorter than an audiobook, consider downloading some podcast episodes for your road trip. These nature-themed podcasts will get you in the right frame of mind for visiting national parks and being a steward of this place we call Earth.
Jane Goodall: Hopecast
In this podcast, Jane Goodall talks with thinkers and leaders in policy, business, and NGOs about how to make the world a better place. Each episode will break down systems and ideas to inspire individuals with ways they can work to make this world better.
Breaking Green Ceilings
Breaking Green Ceilings covers topics ranging from human ecology to wildlife conservation to youth education to environmental justice. Produced by policy research firm Water Savvy Solutions, this podcast strives to center on historically underrepresented environmentalists from Queer, Trans, POC, Indigenous, and Disabled communities.
Expedition National Parks
While listening to this podcast, you get to follow the journey of 1 parent and 2 kids as they explore 423 national parks. They follow the Junior Ranger motto of “Explore, Learn, and Protect” as they travel around the country visiting different national parks.
National Parks Traveler
This podcast offers information and news on all the national parks and protected areas across the United States. You can search and find content about the specific area you’re visiting to learn more and be prepared before you arrive.
Road Trip: Where to Go
Now that you have all of the road trip entertainment you need to get to your destination, you just need to decide where you’re going! Here are a few ideas for national parks you might want to visit this summer.
Catch a glimpse of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
Tucked between Arizona and Utah, Lake Powell is a recreation spot not to be missed. America’s second-largest man-made lake is surrounded by breathtaking scenery perfect for hiking, camping, houseboating, water adventures, and more.
Where to stay: Defiance House Lodge
Breathtaking sunset views on the Defiance House Veranda.
Mesa Verde National Park
Explore all of the history that Mesa Verde has to offer.
Mesa Verde National Park is unique because it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to thousands of archeological sites. During your visit, you can tour the cliff dwellings built by ancient Americans.
Where to stay: Far View Lodge
Enjoy a relaxing stay at Far View Lodge.
Olympic National Park
Take a stroll on Rialto Beach, one of the many treasures in Olympic National Park.
Located in northwestern Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park has one of the most diverse environments. You’ll see glacier-capped mountains, valleys of forests, rugged Pacific coastline, and hot springs.
Where to stay: Lake Quinault Lodge
Take in the crisp, fresh air on the porch at Lake Quinault Lodge.
You can’t miss these beautiful seasonal colors at Togwotee.
Togwotee Pass, located on the Continental Divide in the Jackson Hole Valley is surrounded by some of the most beautiful territories in the United States. Located within a short drive of both Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, this is the ideal location for summer hiking.
Where to stay: Togwotee Mountain Lodge
Make sure to stay in the cozy Togwotee Mountain lodge.
Before your next road trip, be sure you have everything you need before you set off on your journey. You’ll want plenty of entertainment for the car ride ahead to keep you awake and informed. These podcasts, playlists, and audiobooks should give you just the right balance of education and entertainment.