When we travel, we inevitably find ourselves spending a lot of time in the car. Like many families we enjoy a family road trip! We’ve always tried to avoid giving our kids the iPad as soon as they get in the car, but we know they still require some entertainment.
Our go-to for years has been family friendly podcasts. During our family travels, I find podcasts the perfect solution for engaging my kids without resorting to endless screen time. They can look out their window and admire their surroundings while their minds wander in the stories they listen to.
Podcasts captivate our kids’ imaginations and provide an opportunity for our entire family to share in the joy of storytelling. Here are some of my recommendations for the best road trip podcasts for families that our family has enjoyed throughout the years.
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Best Family Podcasts For Road Trips
1. Circle Round
Produced by WBUR, Circle Round adapts folktales from various cultures into sound-rich radio plays for children, featuring original music and notable voices from the stage and screen. The stories are carefully designed to spark meaningful conversations between children and adults. There are over 100 episodes, each about 20-30 minutes long, ideal for children aged 4 to 10.
We have been long time listeners to Circle Round. It’s one of the top podcasts for younger children. They do a wonderful job of making the stories interesting, so much so that my kids would ask to listen to them over and over again! This podcast for kids was a big hit driving to hiking trails while we were in Palm Springs with Kids.
We even listened to them at home! You can find coloring pages to go along with the Circle Round episodes, which made for the perfect indoor activity! You could even print a few pages out and bring them with you for your kids to color in the hotel room after a day in the car.
Learn more about Circle Round here
2. Greeking Out
The Greeking Out podcast by National Geographic Kids is a narrative journey into the thrilling world of Greek mythology. Expertly blending facts with engaging storytelling, it introduces young listeners to the tales of gods, heroes, and monsters in ancient Greece. With 9 seasons of 10 episodes each, where each episode lasts about 20-30 minutes, it’s an educational and fun listen for kids aged 8 and up.
We were on the hunt for a new podcast during our trip to Seoul with Kids and downloaded Greeking Out. From the first episode, my kids were hooked! The episodes were so entertaining that my kids would ask for the podcast the second we got in the car.
Learn more about Greeking Out here
3. Six Minutes
Produced by Gen-Z Media, this gripping mystery-adventure podcast revolves around a girl named Holiday who finds herself in the middle of a thrilling adventure. The story unfolds in real-time and each six-minute episode leaves kids eagerly awaiting the next twist. With three seasons each consisting of 70 to 100 episodes, it’s engaging for kids aged 6 and up (the whole family will enjoy this one).
We learned about Six Minutes when our daughter listened to a few episodes in grade 3. She suggested it when we were looking for podcasts for our drive to the ski hill when at home. Once we started listening to it, we were hooked!
And not just the kids, our entire family couldn’t wait to get in the car to listen to what would happen next. It ended up being the perfect entertainment (and one of our favorite podcasts of all time) for our kids while we had a few long drives in Costa Rica with Kids.
Learn more about Six Minutes here
4. Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel
Also by Gen-Z Media, this Peabody Award-winning scripted storytelling podcast for middle graders follows Mars Patel and his friends as they embark on a daring adventure to find their missing friends, uncovering secrets and mysteries along the way. With 3 seasons consisting of 10 episodes each, where each episode spans around 20-30 minutes, is a great listen packed with intrigue that you can easily get through in one summer road trip. It’s perfect for kids aged 8 to 12.
We started to listen to the Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel because we were on the lookout for more family podcasts that would work on our summer road trip in France with kids. It took us a little longer to get into this podcast, but in the end we really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.
Learn more about Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel here
Don’t feel like listening to the podcasts? I recommend getting headphones for kids (we like this pack of two because they come with a splitter and we can use just one device). Don’t forget your headphone jack adapter if you don’t have bluetooth headphones for kids.
5. Eleanor Amplified
Eleanor Amplified is an adventure, storytelling podcast about an intrepid journalist who goes on wild adventures to get the big scoop and thwart villains. It’s a fun, family-friendly podcast that encourages critical thinking and media awareness, with each episode lasting about 15-25 minutes. Recommended for children aged 8 to 12.
My kids really enjoyed this podcast, but in all honesty we started listening to it right after we finished Six Minutes. Six Minutes was so well done, that it was really hard to compare them. They asked to switch to something new when we went to South Korea.
Learn more about Eleanor Amplified here
6. Story Pirates
Based on stories written by children, Story Pirates is a creative and hilarious podcast that brings these stories to life with a professional cast. It’s an engaging listen that celebrates the uniqueness of children’s imaginations. There are well over 100 episodes, that range anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes each, suitable for a wide age range.
Again while in South Korea, we gave Story Pirates a try during long drives on Jeju Island with kids. My kids found this podcast to be weird the first time they listened to it. But after a couple more episodes they really started to enjoy it.
Learn more about Story Pirates here.
7. Story Time
Perfect for younger listeners, Story Time offers a delightful collection of children’s stories aimed at helping little ones drift off to sleep. These soothing tales span a variety of themes, ensuring a calm and relaxing end to the day. With over 50 episodes, each about 15-20 minutes long, it’s suitable for kids aged 2 to 13.
Our gives enjoyed Story Time when they were smaller (around 2 to 6 years old). We would listen to them peppered in between the Circle Round podcast when we needed a change.
Learn more about Story Time here.
Best Educational Podcasts for Kids on Road Trips
When we are at home or short road trips, we don’t always want a long story for our podcast because there are some long periods between when we can listen. These are a few of the family friendly podcasts that we always have a few episodes downloaded and ready to listen to on our next car ride.
8. Trivia for Kids
This entertaining podcast is filled with fascinating trivia, covering a wide range of interesting topics from science to history. It’s designed to educate and entertain, sparking a love for learning in young listeners. With each episode lasting about around 35 minutes, there are almost 100 episodes suitable for kids aged 7 and up.
Our entire family loves the Trivia For Kids podcast! To be honest, I’m always amazed at the fun facts that my kids know and share with us when the trivia questions come up. We listen to this one on family road trips but also frequently at home.
Learn more about Trivia For Kids here.
9. Brains On! Science Podcast for Kids
Aimed at inquisitive young minds, Brains On! answers questions sent in by children about anything and everything. The podcast encourages curiosity and learning, making complex topics accessible and fun. Each episode is about 30 minutes long, perfect for children aged 5 to 12.
My kids really do enjoy this one, but they typically only want to listen to one or two episodes at a time. I use this one to mix in with other kid friendly podcasts.
Learn more about Brains On! here.
10. Wow in the World
Hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas guide kids on a journey into the wonders of the world around them, from science to technology and new discoveries. The podcast encourages curiosity and discovery, making each 20-30 minute episode a delightful learning experience for kids aged 5 to 12.
Similar as Curious Kids, I use this family podcast to mix in with other ones or when we are in between storytelling podcasts.
Learn more Wow in the World here.
Audiobooks for Family Road Trips
Aside from the best podcasts for families who travel, audiobooks are perfect for a long road trip! Those longer drives are perfect for longer storytelling sessions.
My kids love listening to the entire Harry Potter series, narrated by the talented Jim Dale.
Here are other audiobooks I recommend:
- Matilda by Roald Dahl (Narrated by Kate Winslet)
- The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C.S. Lewis
- How to Train Your Dragon Series by Cressida Cowell (Narrated by David Tennant)
Better yet, get a 30-day free trial with Audible then you can grab these great audiobooks for your next family road trip!
These fun podcasts for families and audiobook suggestions can help overcome the challenges of long hours of traveling with a kid. So, load up your playlist, hit the road, and let the shared adventures begin!
Celine Brewer is a dedicated family travel blogger with a profound passion for helping families create unforgettable adventures together. Her blog blends captivating travel narratives with practical tips for family-friendly destinations and enjoying active travel with kids. As a mother of two, she understands the unique challenges of traveling with children and offers valuable insights to empower parents.
When Celine isn't traveling with her husband and two kids, she's either working on one of her three travel sites (Family Can Travel, Baby Can Travel and Travel Banff Canada) or out enjoying the majestic Canadian Rockies her family calls home.