I’ll never forget the time I was driving in the car with my then 3-year-old son and "Life is a Highway" came on the radio.
He perked up, excited.
"Mommy it’s the 'Cars' song," he told me, referencing his favorite movie from the time.
It’s funny how music can connect you, trigger memories, and really change your mood or outlook. Even for a 3-year-old.
When it's time to hit the open road, you need a playlist that can be the soundtrack for your memories — and one that is helpful in drowning out any backseat battles.
So we asked some of the experts — our very own Macaroni Kid publisher moms who are road trip veterans — for their favorite road trip tunes.
So connect the Bluetooth. Fill up the car. It's time for your next adventure.
Macaroni Kid Family Travel Road Trip Tunes
- "Holiday Road," by Lindsey Buckingham: We start every single road trip with "Holiday Road." It has to be the first song! Helen Partlow, Macaroni Kid Mt. Sinai, N.Y.
- "Take Me Home, Country Roads," by John Denver: The whole family loves to sing this on our way to our adventure. Renae Gonzalez, Macaroni Kid Brentwood, Calif.
- "Send Me On My Way," by Rusted Root: We get our trip going with Rusted Root. Mary Englin, Macaroni Kid West Seattle, Wash.
- "Chicken Fried," by Zac Brown Band: Every road trip should be remembered as fun, upbeat, and happy, like this song. Angi Barrera, Macaroni Kid Arcadia, Calif.
- "Wagonwheel," by Darius Rucker: When there is no turning back, we put on Wagonwheel! Paula Ybarra, Macaroni Kid Monrovia, Calif.
- "Africa," by Toto: When the whole family wants to sing along, we put on this song and rock it. Jen Anderson, Macaroni Kid West Chester, Pa.
- "Truckin'," by Grateful Dead: I usually play it when we start any road trip and the boys immediately put their earbuds in and drown out me and Jerry. (Okay, maybe this one is really just for mom!) Tamara Brown, Macaroni Kid Morrison, Duarte, Calif.
- "Champion," by Carrie Underwood: It's an empowering song that makes the whole family feel like anything is possible. Sara Thompson, Macaroni Kid Downtown and West Sacramento, Calif.
- "Livin' on a Prayer," by Bon Jovi: ...because what a sigh of relief to know we’re halfway there! Sarah Jimerson, Macaroni Kid Fort Worth, Texas
- "Runnin' Down a Dream," by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers: I love singing at the top of my lungs to that song down an empty old highway with the windows down and the foot heavy on the gas. Zulema Gomez, Macaroni Kid San Marcos-Vista, Calif.
- "Where the Streets Have No Name," by U2: ...always makes me think of road tripping through Joshua Tree. Armeen Chenault, Macaroni Kid Monrovia, Calif.
- "Take It Easy," by the Eagles: The music of my life and the background music for many road trips! Sandy Atkins, Macaroni Kid Lynchburg, Va.
- "On the Road Again," by Willie Nelson: When it's time to hit the road...again, need I say more. Jeana Cass, Macaroni Kid Monrovia, Calif.
- "Life is A Highway," by Rascal Flatts: Lightning McQueen and Mack made this the ultimate road trip song. Faith Mellinger, Macaroni Kid Pasadena, Calif.
- The whole "Hamilton" soundtrack: The kids and I can sing along to every song! Jessica Streeter, Macaroni Kid Napa, Calif.
- "Bohemian Rhapsody," by the Muppets: When my kids were smaller we listened to the version by the Muppets a lot. Now that they are bigger we love to listen to the original version on road trips, but they still sing some of the Muppets lyrics. And of course, we start head-banging at the shift in the music! Kindle Rising, Macaroni Kid East Tucson, Ariz.
Get the full Spotify playlist of Macaroni Kid Family Travel Road Trip Tunes!
Macaroni Kid Family Travel Kids Road Trip Tunes
When it's time to give the kiddos a turn to take over the stereo, but Baby Shark on repeat is NOT an option, keep this list -- many from the movies our kids love -- on standby:
- "CAN'T STOP THE FEELING!," by Justin Timberlake
- "Shake it Off," by Taylor Swift
- "Don’t Worry Be Happy," by Bobby McFerrin
- "Happy," by Pharrell Williams
- "The Best Day of My Life," by This is Gonna Be Great
- "Uptown Funk," by Mark Ronson, Bruno Mars
- "Try Everything," by Alegra
- "Jungle Gym," by Jack Johnson, G. Love & Special Sauce
- "A Whole New World," by Lea Salonga, Brad Kane
- "You've Got a Friend in Me," by Randy Newman
- "Beautiful People," Kidz Bop Kids
- "The Bare Necessities," by Phil Harris and Bruce Reitherman
- "In Summer," by Josh Gad
- "Hakuna Matata," by Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Jason Weaver, Joseph Williams
For the rockin' babies
Have really little ones? Here are a few fun favorites to mix in that everyone can enjoy!
- "Wheels on the Bus," by Little Baby Bum
- "Raining Tacos," by Parry Gripp
- "Drivin' in My Car," by Ralph's World
- "Old MacDonald," by Big Bird
Get the full Spotify playlist of Macaroni Kid Family Travel Kids Road Trip Tunes!
Now all you have to do is decide where the road will take you!