On a road trip, the hours seem to pass a little faster when you have the perfect playlist to listen to and sing along with. While we all love nostalgia, long gone are the days of mix tapes and burned CDs. In most cars, you can now play music directly from your phone with technology like Apple CarPlay, Google CarPlay or other music apps like Spotify or Pandora. There is nothing worse than driving in silence or scrolling through static radio stations because you forgot to build the ultimate road trip playlist. Check out some of our recommendations for the best songs to rock out to on your summer road trip.
The best songs for your summer road trip playlist
We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel - This upbeat song includes a smattering of major images, events and people from history. If you don’t know the lyrics, now is a great time to practice them.
Summer of ‘69 by Bryan Adams - This classic song gets you to think about all of the memories you made during the summer while growing up. What better way to make new summer memories than road tripping to your favorite destination?
Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins - With the release of Top Gun: Maverick in 2022, this song is making a huge comeback and you can’t help but sing along every time you hear it.
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd - It's hard to resist dancing when this song comes on. Even in the car you’ll be moving to the beat.
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman - Sometimes you just need to jump in a car and escape life for a bit. This 1988 hit is all about that feeling.
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey - What could be better than an upbeat song about hope and living life?
Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses - Life can be hard and road trips are a great way to escape the hustle and bustle. As you are on the road, sing this song and dream of that paradise city you would like to visit.
We Built this City by Starship - While this ‘80s classic made the top worst song of the year list several times, there is just something about the beat that keeps it on our playlists today.
Hotel California by Eagles - Whenever you hear its guitar riffs, you can’t help but get excited to sing along to this oldie but goodie.
In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins - Phil Collins revealed to Jimmy Fallon that he wrote this song during his divorce. Even though it isn’t a love song, it is still worthy to be on your road trip playlist.
Flower by Moby - This is the theme song to the action movie Gone in 60 Seconds. Even though it is about a car being rebuilt, something about the electric guitar and beat makes it a catchy song to add to your playlist.
Life is a Highway by Tom Cochrane - This popular song has been covered by a number of artists, but the original by Tom Cochrane is a road trip classic.
Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses - This is a classic love song that Axl Rose, the songwriter and performer, wrote for his then-girlfriend Erin Everly, whom he married a few years after the song was released.
Jack & Diane by John Mellencamp - Jack & Diane is a catchy song about young love and failed expectations.
I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) by The Proclaimers - Even though you’re driving instead of walking, as they sing about in the song, this tune is still roadworthy. Once you hear it, you can’t get that beat out of your head.
Dream On by Aerosmith - This power ballad encourages us to push forward and follow our dreams, even when life gets hard.
I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing by Aerosmith - This popular love song is perfect to listen to while on a road trip with your significant other.
Ice Ice Baby by Vanilla Ice - You can’t go without adding this upbeat hip hop song from the ‘90s to your playlist.
I Want It That Way by Backstreet Boys - Remember the ‘90s boy band craze? This pop ballad was quite popular then and is still fun to listen to now.
Losing My Religion by R.E.M. - This song’s title is a saying in the South that means “to lose one’s temper.” It’s a fun song to listen to on a long drive.
Come Together by The Beatles - The English rock band The Beatles has so many popular songs that it’s difficult to pick just one for your road trip playlist. We recommend this hit because it’ll get you moving and singing along from the first chord.
I Believe by Blessid Union of Souls - This popular 1995 song is one of hope. Its catchy tune will make you happy you added it to your road trip playlist.
I’ll Be Missing You by Sean Combs and Faith Evans - This song is a tribute to those we have lost. The beat is very catchy, making it perfect for a road trip playlist.
Dance Monkey by Tones and I - This is a great song for the whole family. If there was a dance floor, you would probably be on it, too.
Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars - Who can't help but sing along to this fun song?
Rockstar by Nickelback - This is one of the band’s most popular songs and has made it onto plenty of best-of lists.
It’s My Life by Bon Jovi - Talk about a high-energy song! This one is especially good for keeping you wide awake on night drives. And, you can’t go wrong with a song telling you to live your best life possible.
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon - Sometimes you just need to shut up and dance with your travel partners. Go ahead and sing it out loud.
Happy by Pharrell Williams - Who doesn’t want to be happy? Need we say more?
Shake It Off by Taylor Swift - This song will make you want to forget your negative peers who tell you what you should do with your life. Just shake it off and stay positive!
Roar by Katy Perry - This is another rhythmic song that is just perfect for inspiring a fun, fearless drive.
We Will Rock You by Queen - This hit is great for driving at night and will have you singing out loud and dancing in your seat.
Memories by Maroon 5 - Enjoy the memories you make on this road trip with this song on your playlist.
Thunder by Imagine Dragons - The drum line is amazing and you can’t go wrong adding this song to your road trip playlist.
Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts - If you enjoyed the original version earlier in your road trip, this cover is the perfect song to repeat while traveling on a long highway.
Best summer road trip playlists for families
Ready to hit the open road with your family? No need to spend time playing DJ. We put together a list of some of the top family-friendly playlists on Spotify. Add the ones you like to your Spotify library for easy access on the road:
Kidz Bop Hits Through the Years Duration: 4h 32m
Relaxing Songs for Kids Duration: 1h 45m
Dancing Music for Kids Duration: 1h 17m
Folk Kids Duration: 1h 15m
Summer Music for Kids Duration: 45m
Songs for Toddlers Duration: 57m
Lullabies for Babies Duration: 43m
Kids Dance 2022 Duration: 3h 46m
Kids Songs: Party Songs 2022 Duration 1h 52m
Music for Little Kids (That Parents Won’t Hate) Duration: 3h 10m
It’s Party Time Duration: 5h 30m
Hip Hopscoty and Reggae Recess Duration: 2h 58m
Kindie Duration: 7h
Best Friends Duration: 2h 6m
Broadway Family Sing-Alongs Duration: 4h 19m
Silliest Songs Ever Duration: 1h 56m
Singalong Duration: 1h 43m
Soul Dance Party Duration: 3h 59m
This is Raffi Duration: 1h 45m
Family Roadtrip: Kids ABC Music Duration: 2h 43m
Summer road trip tips
When you head out on the open road this summer, use these ideas to help cut down on costs and save time during your trip:
Stay in a hotel or resort that serves free breakfast.
Use a credit card that earns you cash back so you can reimburse yourself for trip expenses.
Sign up for hotel and airline loyalty programs to earn points or other perks.
Map out where you’ll stop en route to your destination before hitting the road. This will help you avoid scrambling at the last minute to find rest stops, gas stations, roadside attractions and accommodations.
Save time and money by stocking a cooler instead of buying snacks and drinks at gas stations.
Avail can get you there
Planning a summer road trip from Chicago or Denver, but need a reliable vehicle? Instead of renting, borrow with Avail. You’ll avoid the paperwork and long lines associated with typical car rental agencies. Plus, each trip with Avail comes with insurance and 24/7 roadside assistance included.
Borrow & share
Avail makes it simple to borrow a car when you need one, or share your car with others and earn money.