20 Essential Songs for Your Road Trip Playlist

road trip girl

Whether you’re embarking on a weekend getaway or tackling an ambitious cross-country trip, it’s always a good idea to have some good tunes with you to keep the drive going smoothly. But forming a playlist can be daunting—rifling through dozens of CDs, unearthing old high school mixtapes and perusing friends’ music libraries takes time and energy. To save you some trouble, we’ve compiled a list of songs we consider essential fuel for long drives. With tracks from classic artists like The Dead, the Rolling Stones, and Chuck Berry to current musicians like Houndmouth and Coldplay, this assortment is sure to kick your journey into high gear.


20. “Truckin” — Grateful Dead

 

Truckin’, got my chips cashed in  /  Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man  /  Together, more or less in line  /  Just keep truckin’ on

 

19. “Roam” — The B-52’s

Roam if you want to  /  Roam around the world  /  Roam if you want to  / Without anything but the love we feel

 

18. “Speed Of Sound” — Coldplay

Where to, where do I go?  /  If you never try, then you’ll never know

 

17. “Sweet Home Alabama” — Lynrd Skynrd

Big wheels keep on turning  /  Carry me home to see my kin  /  Singing songs about the south-land  /  I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again

 

16. “Slow Ride” — Foghat

Slow ride, take it easy  /  I’m in the mood  /  The rhythm is right  /  Move to the music  /  We can roll all night

 

15. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” — The Proclaimers

But I would walk five hundred miles  /  And I would walk five hundred more  /  Just to be the man who walked a thousand miles  /  To fall down at your door

 

14. “On The Road Again” — Willie Nelson

Goin’ places that I’ve never been  /  Seein’ things that I may never see again  /  And I can’t wait to get on the road again

 

13. “No Particular Place To Go” — Chuck Berry

My curiosity runnin’ wild  /  Crusin’ and playin’ the radio  /  With no particular place to go

 

12. “Fun, Fun, Fun” — The Beach Boys

And with the radio blasting, [she] goes cruising just as fast as she can now  /  And she’ll have fun, fun, fun ’til her daddy takes the t-bird away

 

11. “Home” — Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Home, let me come home  /  Home is wherever I’m with you

 

10. “Runnin’ Down a Dream” — Tom Petty

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down  /  I had the radio on, I was drivin’  /  Trees flew by, me and Del were singin’ little Runaway  /  I was flyin’

 

9. “Ramblin’ Man” — The Allman Brothers

Lord, I was born a ramblin’ man  /  Tryin’ to make a livin’ and doin’ the best I can  / And when it’s time for leavin’  /  I hope you’ll understand  /  That I was born a ramblin’ man

 

8. “Route 66” — Chuck Berry

Would you get hip to this kindly tip  /  Yes and go take that California trip  /  Get your kicks on Route 66

 

7. “Life Is a Highway” — Tom Cochrane

Life is a highway  /  I want to ride it all night long  /  If you’re going my way  /  I want to drive it all night long

 

6. “Start Me Up” — The Rolling Stones

Spread out the oil, the gasoline  /  I walk smooth ride in a mean, mean machine  / Start it up

 

5. “On The Road” — Houndmouth

I’m on the road and I’m sinking slowly  /  I bought a book, gonna read it slowly

 

4. “Call Me The Breeze” — J.J. Cale

Well now they call me the breeze  /  I keep blowin’ down the road  /  I ain’t got me nobody  /  I don’t carry me no load

 

3. “Born To Be Wild” — Steppenwolf

Get your motor runnin’  /  Head out on the highway  /  Looking for adventure  /  In whatever comes our way

 

2. “Highway to Hell” — AC/DC

No stop signs, speed limit  /  Nobody’s gonna slow me down  /  Like a wheel, gonna spin it  /  Nobody’s gonna mess me around

 

1. “Send Me On My Way” — Rusted Root

Send me on my way  /  I would like to reach out my hand  /  I may see you, I may tell you to run  /  You know what they say about the young

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