101 Road Trip Songs to Play on Your Next Drive

You'll find some road trip playlist names here too.
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Brittany Barber
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Brittany Barber
The Knot Contributor
  • From top movie picks to celebrity scoops and travel advice, Brittany writes on a wide range of topics for The Knot.
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Updated Oct 24, 2023

There's nothing quite like a thrilling adventure behind the wheel, and no journey is complete without the best road trip songs to accompany you on your ride. Whether you're planning a solo expedition, a road trip honeymoon or a fun-filled outing with the bach party crew, the right driving music playlist can transform your lengthy car rides into unforgettable experiences.

From powerful rock anthems that'll have you cranking up the volume to mellow acoustic tunes that set the mood for scenic drives, our editors have curated a list of 101 road trip songs that are so good, they might as well be considered road trip essentials. With the wind in your hair, the sun on the horizon and road trip music on the speakers, you're bound for a memorable adventure. Sit back, fasten your seatbelts, and feel the beat with these road trip songs.

In this article:

The Knot's Top 10 Road Trip Songs

Califormication album cover
Photo: Amazon

From funky beats to cinematic electro-pop, here are the absolute best road trip songs curated by our editors.

"Road Trippin'" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

Here's a mellow, acoustic track by the Red Hot Chili Peppers that captures the essence of wanderlust and the open road, making it an essential tune for any road trip playlist.

"Pull Up To The Bumper," Grace Jones

This sultry groove may not be talking about a car's bumper per se, but it's an iconic disco classic that is perfect for staying energized on late drives.

"California Dreamin'" by The Mamas & the Papas

This timeless anthem beautifully expresses the longing for warmth and sunshine, making it an evergreen song choice for dreamy road trip escapes.

"I Wish," Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" is a funky masterpiece that's impossible not to groove along with while driving to an exciting destination.

"Mr. Brightside," The Killers

As a chart-topping indie-rock hit, "Mr. Brightside" by The Killers is the perfect blend of nostalgia and catchy energy, making it a must-play track for car sing-a-long sessions.

"You Go Down Smooth," Lake Street Dive

When it comes to songs for the road trip of your dreams, look no further than Lake Street Dive's "You Go Down Smooth." With Rachael Price's mesmerizing vocals, this soulful song was made for winding down on a moonlit journey.

"Nightcall," Lovefoxxx, Kavinsky

Fans of the 2011 film Drive will instantly recognize this cinematic electro-pop track. It's a must-play on late night drives through vibrant cityscapes.

"Could Heaven Ever Be Like This," Idris Muhammad

With its hypnotic groove and a unique blend of jazz and disco elements, this iconic track by Idris Muhammad belongs on every list of road trip songs.

"Son of a Preacher Man," Dusty Springfield

Jam-packed with soul and charm, this classic song is ideal for a breezy cruise down memory lane.

"Coming Home," Leon Bridges

This heartfelt tune is a great companion for the long drive home after an epic road trip adventure.

Road Trip Songs About Driving

The Beatles Rubber Soul
Photo: Amazon

With lyrics and melodies that amplify the joy of hitting the open road, these road trip songs about driving also serve as powerful metaphors for life's journey. They're perfect driving songs, but many of them will resonate beyond the literal act of hitting the road, too.

"Fast Car," Tracy Chapman

"Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman is a heartstring-tugging ballad that paints the picture of chasing freedom down the open road — a relatable journey for anyone who loves getting the heck out of Dodge when push comes to shove.

"Keep Driving," Harry Styles

In this Harry Styles road trip song, the lyrics "should we just keep driving?" serve as a metaphorical invitation to persevere through life's chaos, no matter how absurd or challenging it may become.

"Life Is a Highway," Tom Cochrane

This electrifying anthem cranks up the volume on the joys of life as a never-ending highway, making it an absolute must-have for your road trip playlist.

"No Particular Place to Go," Chuck Berry

This rock 'n' roll hit by Chuck Berry is a total blast, capturing the thrill of cruising around with your sweetheart, with no particular place to go.

"I Can't Drive 55," Sammy Hagar

Here's a high-energy rock song that rebels against speed limits and embodies the need for speed — but please, don't take these lyrics literally!

"Drive My Car," The Beatles

Who can resist grooving to The Beatles' "Drive My Car"? It's a pop-rock classic that's practically woven into our musical DNA. With its clever lyrics, it turns the whole idea of driving into a wild ride of ambition and success

"Running on Empty," Jackson Browne

Hit play on "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne when you're in a nostalgic and reflective mood.

"King of the Road," Roger Miller

"King of the Road" by Roger Miller is a foot-tapping country classic that embraces the carefree simplicity of life on the open road, where the journey is the real treasure.

"Highway to Hell," AC/DC

AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" is an electrifying rock anthem that'll have you revving up for your road trip and the wild ride of life.

"I Drove All Night," Cyndi Lauper

Buckle up for an 80s track that'll whisk you away on a nostalgia-fueled journey. This one's a love song that uses driving as a metaphor for the extraordinary lengths someone will go to be with their special someone.

"Six Days on the Road," Dave Dudley

In "Six Days on the Road" by Dave Dudley, you can practically smell the diesel fumes and taste the trucker's coffee as he sings about life on the asphalt, making you want to hit the road for a cross-country road trip.

"Brand New Cadillac," The Clash

This musical joyride by The Clash features roaring guitars and frenetic beats that'll make you feel like you're speeding down the highway in a vintage muscle car.

"Cruisin'" by Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'" is the ultimate serenade to the special someone sitting in your passenger seat, inviting you to take a musical journey where love and the open road merge in perfect harmony.

"Truckin'" by the Grateful Dead

"Truckin'" by the Grateful Dead is the ultimate road trip anthem, a groovy tune that'll have you nodding along to its rhythm while dreaming of endless adventures on the highway.

"Riding in My Car," Elizabeth Mitchell

If you're going on a road trip with kids, this delightful song about driving will make all of you want to roll down the windows and sing along with a carefree heart.

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"Mustang Sally," Wilson Pickett

This is the kind of song that'll make you want to hit the gas pedal and let your inner wild child take the wheel, with a chorus so catchy you'll be humming it long after the ride's over.

"Boyfriend's Car," Colour Me Wednesday

With its upbeat melody and cheeky lyrics, "Boyfriend's Car" by Colour Me Wednesday will make you want to grab the car keys and hit the road with your best pals.

"Get in My Car," BRONCHO

With lyrics like "I like to go fast, I like to go far, won't you open that door? Get in my car," this catchy song by BRONCHO is a fab pick for adventure seekers and dreamers alike. You'll love its catchy beat and unique vocals.

"Road to Nowhere," Talking Heads

Lyrically, "Road to Nowhere" reflects a sense of journey and searching for meaning in life. It uses driving and the open road as a metaphor for life's uncertain and often directionless path.

Classic Road Trip Songs

The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers
Photo: Amazon

From Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" to "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers, these timeless classics are quintessential driving songs for any road trip adventure.

"On the Road Again," Willie Nelson

With its catchy melody and heartfelt lyrics, this country hit has become an anthem for travelers and adventurers, resonating with anyone who's ever felt the call of the highway and the excitement of a new journey.

"Life in the Fast Lane," Eagles

"Life in the Fast Lane" by the Eagles is a rock masterpiece known for its driving rhythm and vivid lyrics that capture the allure and perils of a fast-paced, high-octane lifestyle.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads," John Denver

Here's a beloved folk classic that evokes a sense of nostalgia and the longing for the familiar, making it an essential song for those returning to their roots.

"You're So Vain," Carly Simon

Everyone will be singing along to this sassy, upbeat song by Carly Simon. It'll help to turn those lengthy hours behind the wheel into a fun and memorable road trip experience.

"Wild World," Cat Stevens

This ballad speaks to the bittersweet farewells and reflections often encountered during a road trip, offering a great soundtrack for those moments of contemplation.

"Rich Girl," Daryl Hall & John Oates

Daryl Hall & John Oates' "Rich Girl" is a groovy, feel-good tune that infuses a sense of carefree luxury and adventure into your journey, making it perfect for the road.

"Highwayman," The Highwaymen, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash

This epic country ballad that weaves together tales of life, death, and reincarnation along the roadways, creating an emotionally resonant narrative for your travels.

"Wild Horses," The Rolling Stones

"Wild Horses" is the kind of song that'll add depth and emotion to your journey, inviting reflection and a deeper connection with the landscape, the people you're with and the places you're heading.

"The Long and Winding Road," The Beatles

Here's a classic ballad by The Beatles that'll take you through the scenic landscapes of life, reminding you that even the most twisty-turny journeys can lead to beautiful destinations.

"Riders on the Storm," The Doors

With haunting melodies and Jim Morrison's evocative vocals, this is one of the best road trip songs for cruising along rain-soaked highways, conjuring a cinematic journey into the unknown.

"Easy," Commodores

The Commodores' "Easy" is a smooth and soulful road trip anthem, providing a laid-back groove that matches the leisurely pace of a scenic drive.

"Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey

This iconic road trip song is pretty much synonymous with the enduring spirit of adventure. Its memorable chorus and anthemic sound make it an uplifting and powerful addition to any road trip playlist.

"Rearviewmirror," Pearl Jam

This driving song by Pearl Jam is a great song for shaking off the past and hitting the gas on life's highway, leaving regrets in the dust. With Eddie Vedder's emotive vocals, it's the ultimate anthem for forward momentum.

"Lovely Day," Bill Withers

"Lovely Day" by Bill Withers is a classic song known for its uplifting and feel-good vibe, making it a go-to track for brightening any lengthy drive.

Singalong Road Trip Songs

Like a Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan
Photo: Amazon

Characterized by catchy melodies, easy-to-remember lyrics and an irresistible urge to belt out the words, these singalong road trip songs belong on your driving music playlist.

"Dancing in the Moonlight," King Harvest

With its infectious and carefree melody, "Dancing in the Moonlight" by King Harvest is perfect for late-night drives, where passengers can't help but sing along to the feel-good lyrics.

"Like a Rolling Stone," Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" offers a timeless anthem for soul-searching road trips, with its poetic lyrics and memorable melody that invites passionate singing from all passengers.

"Hey Jude," The Beatles

A singalong standard, "Hey Jude" by The Beatles is tailor-made for group road trips, with its unforgettable "na-na-na-na" chorus that's impossible not to join in on.

"September," Earth, Wind & Fire

This high-energy, funk-infused hit that will have everyone in the car grooving and harmonizing to its infectious melodies.

"My Girl," The Temptations

A soulful gem, "My Girl" by The Temptations is an absolute must-sing during any road trip, with its heartwarming lyrics and soothing harmonies.

"You Make My Dreams Come True," Daryl Hall & John Oates

This upbeat pop classic is an instant mood-lifter, making it an ideal choice for a car full of enthusiastic passengers, ready to sing along to the fun, uplifting chorus.

"Stand by Me," Ben E. King

"Stand by Me" is a timeless ballad that brings people together with its comforting lyrics, making it a natural addition to your list of road trip songs.

"Jolene," Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's "Jolene" offers a fabulous opportunity for passengers to show off their vocal skills while engaging with this iconic country hit.

"All Star," Smash Mouth

"All Star" is an upbeat and spirited tune that encourages animated singalongs, particularly for those who grew up watching Shrek.

"Bennie and the Jets," Elton John

Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" combines a memorable melody with quirky lyrics, creating playful moments that are perfect for singing along on the road.

"Brown Eyed Girl," Van Morrison

With its feel-good lyrics and folk-rock melody, "Brown Eyed Girl" is an enduring singalong that'll bring warmth to any car ride.

"Eye of the Tiger," Survivor

This high-energy anthem is a favorite for group singalongs, especially when you need a motivational boost on the road.

"Tambourine Man," Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan's "Tambourine Man" combines poetic storytelling with a memorable melody, providing ample opportunities for passengers to harmonize and get lost in the music.

Country Road Trip Songs

The Chicks Wide Open Spaces cover
Photo: Amazon

These country road trip songs are perfect companions for scenic drives, offering a soundtrack that resonates with the sights and sounds of driving out in the countryside and making your road trip one to remember.

"Wide Open Spaces," The Chicks

"Wide Open Spaces" is a country classic by The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks), with lyrics that capture the feeling of setting out on the open road, making it an anthem for wanderers.

"Fast Cars and Freedom," Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts' "Fast Cars and Freedom" is an up-tempo country song that embodies the spirit of a carefree road trip, complete with a driving beat and lyrics about adventure.

"Wagon Wheel," Old Crow Medicine Show

Originally penned by Bob Dylan and later reimagined by Old Crow Medicine Show, "Wagon Wheel" is a beloved folk-country song that conjures images of a scenic journey on a dusty trail.

"I've Been Everywhere," Johnny Cash

This high-energy, tongue-twisting song lists an array of places, creating a sense of vicarious travel for the listener.

"Take a Back Road," Rodney Atkins

Rodney Atkins' "Take a Back Road" is a feel-good, country-rock tune that encourages taking the scenic route and embracing life's little detours.

"Drivin' My Life Away," Eddie Rabbitt

Here's an upbeat country track that captures the nomadic spirit of road tripping, with a chorus that's hard not to sing along with.

"Amarillo by Morning," George Strait

George Strait's "Amarillo by Morning" is a classic country ballad that paints a vivid picture of the open plains and the longing for home, making it an ideal song for a cross-country journey.

"I Walk the Line," Johnny Cash

A Johnny Cash classic, "I Walk the Line" conveys devotion and steadfastness, making it a song that resonates with travelers as they embark on their journey.

"Daytona Sand," Orville Peck

"Daytona Sand" by Orville Peck is a modern country song with a nostalgic sound that evokes a sense of wanderlust and the feeling of freedom on the road.

"Here You Come Again," Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" is a timeless country hit that conveys a sense of longing and anticipation, with Dolly singing about the return of a past love.

Summer Road Trip Songs

Lana Del Rey Born to Die
Photo: Amazon

Whether it's a drive to the beach, a cross-country journey or simply cruising with the windows down, these summer road trip songs will set the soundtrack for sun-soaked moments on the road.

"Riptide," Vance Joy

Vance Joy's "Riptide" is a folk-pop song with an infectious melody and a carefree spirit, making it a perfect accompaniment for a summer drive along the coast.

"As It Was," Harry Styles

"As It Was" by Harry Styles is a sunny and laid-back track that embodies the nostalgia of summer, ideal for a leisurely road trip.

"I Follow Rivers," Lykke Li

Here's an upbeat indie-pop song with an adventurous spirit, evoking a sense of wanderlust and exploration.

"Alaska," Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers' "Alaska" is a fusion of folk and electronic elements, creating a unique sound fit for capturing the essence of a summer adventure.

"Summertime Sadness," Lana Del Rey

This melancholic yet captivating song captures the bittersweet feelings of summer's end, making it perfect for late August or September road trips.

"Cruisin' to the Parque," Durand Jones & The Indications, Y La Bamba

"Cruisin' to the Parque" is a soulful track with a groovy, retro vibe that sets the mood for a relaxed summer road trip.

"Texas Sun," Leon Bridges, Khruangbin

"Texas Sun" is a collaboration between Leon Bridges and Khruangbin, offering a fusion of soul and funk that pays homage to the Texan landscape, making it a fantastic choice for a Lone Star State adventure.

"Old Pine," Ben Howard

Evoking nostalgia and longing for the outdoors, this song by Ben Howard is the perfect driving music — especially if you're driving into the woods for an epic camping trip with your pals.

"Postcards From Italy," Beirut

Beirut's "Postcards From Italy" is a folk-infused song with a continental flair, evoking images of sun-drenched European road trips and Mediterranean coastlines.

"Home," Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

This joyful, folk-rock anthem radiates a sense of togetherness and nostalgia, making it ideal for shared road trip memories.

"Summer of '69," Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" is a classic rock hit that brims with nostalgia, celebrating the memories of youthful summer adventures.

"Walking on Sunshine," Katrina and the Waves

An enduring pop song, "Walking on Sunshine" exudes a carefree, upbeat energy that makes sense for a summertime joyride.

"Eternal Summer," Strokes

This indie rock track might be one of the best road trip songs ever, capturing the hazy and timeless feeling of driving in the summertime.

"All Summer Long," Kid Rock

This song is the ultimate summer soundtrack, sampling two iconic rock songs: Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" and Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London."

"Good Vibrations," The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" is a legendary surf-rock track that radiates sunny and beachy vibes, making it synonymous with the spirit of summer.

"Island in the Sun," Weezer

This feel-good, alt rock song that embodies the dream of finding an idyllic paradise, which is totally fitting for a dreamy summer road trip.

"How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?," Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

With vintage vibes and a groovy, horn-laden melody, this soulful track by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings will undoubtedly enhance your summer road trip playlist.

"Franklin's Tower," Grateful Dead

The Grateful Dead's "Franklin's Tower" is a jammy and bluesy track that embodies the free-spirited atmosphere of summer music festivals and road trips.

"Sugar Man," Rodriguez

Rodriguez's "Sugar Man" is a folk-rock song with an aura of mystery and adventure, a perfect fit for a road trip seeking the unknown.

"You And Me," Penny & The Quarters

This soul ballad by Penny & The Quarters sets a romantic and nostalgic tone for a summer road trip, filled with love and longing.

"Heavy California," Jungle

Jungle's "Heavy California" is an electrifying funk and soul-infused track that exudes energy and excitement, making it a top-notch summer road trip song choice.

"Cecilia," Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel's "Cecilia" is a beloved folk-rock song that captures the carefree essence of youth and summertime fun.

"Me and Julio Down by the School," Paul Simon

This Paul Simon song is an upbeat tune that celebrates youthful adventures, making it a great addition to your summer road trip music list.

Groovy Road Trip Songs

Vulfpeck Thrill of the Arts
Photo: Vulfpeck Website

With funky basslines, rhythmic guitar riffs and infectious melodies, these groovy road trip songs are perfect for making those long journeys more fun.

"Back Pocket," Vulfpeck

"Back Pocket" by Vulfpeck is a funk-infused track with a catchy, danceable groove and an infectious bassline, making it a great choice for a lively road trip playlist.

"Young Hearts Run Free," Candi Staton

Candi Staton's "Young Hearts Run Free" is a classic disco song with an upbeat tempo and lyrics that'll inspire a little car seat dancing.

"Long Way Home," Durand Jones & The Indications

This soulful, groovy track will set a mellow, yet rhythmic mood for your journey.

"Oh, Loretta," Sex on Toast

"Oh, Loretta" is a fun and funky tune by Sex on Toast, with a mix of soul and pop elements, with lyrics that'll add a hint of humor to your road trip music selection.

"You're Mine," The Funk Brothers

The Funk Brothers' "You're Mine" is a smooth and soulful track that embodies the classic Motown sound and infuses a groovy atmosphere into your adventure.

"Pusherman," Curtis Mayfield

This funk and soul masterpiece, known for its gritty rhythm and lyrics, is perfect for adding a touch of grit to your selection of road trip songs.

"Give Up The Funk," Parliament

"Give Up The Funk" by Parliament is a funky anthem with an irresistible beat and memorable hooks, igniting a lively vibe during your long journey.

"Le Freak," Chic

"Le Freak" is a disco classic by Chic, known for its catchy melody and danceable groove, making it an ideal choice to keep the good vibes flowing during your road trip.

"Last Dance," Donna Summer

Donna Summer's "Last Dance" is an energetic disco hit that encourages passengers to bob their heads and sing along, setting the stage for a memorable time on the road.

"You Haven't Done Nothin'," Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder's "You Haven't Done Nothin'" is a groovy track with a social message, mixing soul and funk elements to keep the journey's energy flowing.

"1612," Vulfpeck

This funky track has a playful rhythm with killer vocals that's sure to bring a smile to the faces of your fellow road trippers.

"Down in Mexico," The Coasters

The Coasters' "Down in Mexico" is a famous rhythm and blues track with a sultry and captivating groove you'll want to play more than once on your next road trip.

Road Trip Playlist Names

Woman driving by boyfriend sitting in car
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

Whether you're cruising through scenic landscapes, embarking on an epic adventure or seeking the perfect soundtrack name for your journey, here are a few road trip playlist names to consider before putting together your next road trip music list.

  • Highway Harmonies
  • Cruisin' Classics
  • Sun-Kissed Highway Jams
  • Road Trippin'
  • For the Open Road
  • Driving Fast
  • Golden Hour on the Road
  • Summer Road Trip
  • Coastal Cruisin'
  • Backroad Beats
  • Open Road Remixes
  • Country Roads Collection
  • Sizzlin' Summer Sounds
  • Road Trip Mixtape
  • Sunny Drives
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