person waving hat out of car window

66 Best Songs For Your Road Trip Playlist (by decade)

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Creating the perfect road trip playlist is much easier today than it used to be. Gone are the days of jamming an 8-track tape in the dash and hoping for the best. Or twisting the radio dial trying to find a decent radio station through all the static.

You spent the time planning your epic road trip, from mapping out the best route to those unique roadside attractions along the way. Now it’s time to put the icing on the proverbial cake and create a perfect road trip playlist.

creating a road trip playlist

Today we have the technology to simply download our favorite road trip tunes to our devices, roll the windows down, and spend the next few hours singing like we’re on the stage of a sold-out stadium.

Let’s face it, everybody loves to sing along to their favorite songs. You’re an instant superstar when “your” song comes through the speakers.

It doesn’t matter if you are traveling by car, truck, RV, or motorcycle, nobody wants to travel in silence.

In this article we put together a list of 66 of the best road trip songs for you to add to your playlist. We divided them by decade and included songs that you can sing along to, play air guitar or drums to, and frankly, get your groove on to. With that said…

Let’s rock…

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 60’s

The 1960’s are best known for civil rights movements, the Vietnam War, and the assassination of John F. Kennedy. These key events in history had a major influence on the music of this decade. And in 1963, America saw the arrival of The Beatles which would begin to change the way people felt about their music.

We chose the following 10 songs of the decade that we thought best represents the era and would make a great addition to any road trip playlist.

vintage car on road trip

You Can’t Hurry Love – The Supremes

As one of The Supremes signature songs, “You Can’t Hurry Love” was released in 1966 an became their 17th number one hit. In addition, The Supremes’ version of the song is included in the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame’s collection of 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

Come Together – The Beatles

Not only was “Come Together” released by The Beales in 1969, but the song was also covered later by Michael Jackson, Aerosmith, and Ike & Tina Turner. While there are several Beatles songs that would make a great addition to your road trip playlist, Come Together is one of those songs that is fun to sing along to.

The Leader Of The Pack – The Shangri-Las

This classic 60’s song has young love, the disapproval of parents, gossip, and a tragic end by way of a motorcycle wreck. I know it’s a sad song, but one that will make you want to crank up the stereo when it comes on, especially when you hear the revving of the motorcycle engine.

Sugar, Sugar – The Archies

This fun, sing-along song topped the charts in 1969 and has been featured in many TV shows and movies, like The Sandlot. If you’re looking for a song you can sing to your sweetheart, you can’t go wrong with this hit.

The Twist – Chubby Checker

Chubby Checker first performed “The Twist” on Dick Clark’s National Bandstand in 1960 and by the end of ’61, the twist dance craze was nationwide. This song makes a fantastic addition to your road trip playlist; however, I wouldn’t recommend doing the twist while you’re driving. But feel free to do the  twist your heart out when you stop for snacks.

Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

Are you feeling a little “beachy”? This popular song of The Beach Boys is guaranteed to be a hit with your road trip crew. In addition, this classic tune will take you back in time and give you the “vibes” of the 1960’s.

Respect – Aretha Franklin

A road trip playlist just isn’t complete without the powerful and amazing voice of Aretha Franklin. Although it was originally recorded by Otis Redding, Aretha made this song an anthem for women across the nation for years to come.

Proud Mary – Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence performed this song at Woodstock shortly after recording it. A lot has changed since the late 60’s, but good music stands the test of time.

Somebody To Love – Jefferson Airplane

Jim Carrey performed this song in the 1996 movie Cable Guy when he was at a karaoke party with his cable customers. Adding this song to your playlist can get everyone in your car singing along like the movie.

Stand By Me – Ben E. King

“Stand By Me” was the featured song of the movie with the same name. This heartfelt tune is a must-have on your road trip playlist.

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 70’s

You don’t have to break out your platform shoes and bell bottom pants to enjoy the best music of the 1970’s. All you need to do is add these groovy tunes to your road trip playlist and you will be sound as a pound. Can you dig it?

VW van driving in front of mountains

Bad, Bad Leroy Brown – Jim Croce

With lyrics like “Badder than old King Kong, And meaner than a junkyard dog”, this song is upbeat, funky, and just plain cool. Get the crowd singing along and dancing with this addition to your road trip playlist.

Y.M.C.A – Village People

Okay, how many times have you danced to this song? I’ll bet you just spelled out “YMCA” with your arms, didn’t you?

American Pie – Don McLean

Another great song to add to your road trip playlist is “American Pie”. This iconic folk song of the 70’s represents “the day the music died”, along with other hidden meanings.

My Sharona – The Knack

Your road trip passengers will give you props when they hear this fun, catchy tune. It’s one of those songs that stays in your head long after you hear it.

Lay Down Sally – Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton has made several amazing songs in his career as a musician. One of his most popular songs is “Lay Down Sally”, a country/blues crossover tune that is a fun choice for your road trip playlist.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Probably the most famous song Queen released, Bohemian Rhapsody is actually a collection of three different songs that Freddy Mercury wrote. In addition, the song became the most streamed song of the 20th century after the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” was released.

Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet

Nobody sings about beach living quite like Jimmy Buffet. “Margaritaville” is one of my favorite songs that he has released. If you want your passengers to dance and sing along, make sure it makes your road trip playlist.

Take It Easy – Eagles

Not only was “Take It Easy” the first single released by the Eagles, but it is also one of their most popular songs, aside from “Hotel California”.

On The Road Again – Willie Nelson

This was my favorite road trip songs when I was a kid. My dad would make sure he played the cassette for our family when we would road trip from Georgia to Texas to visit family. It’s amazing how a family road trip can make everlasting memories.

Me And Bobby McGee – Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin had a unique sound that can never be mistaken for anyone else. You can hear her raspy voice and raw emotion in this signature song from the 70’s.

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 80’s

As the 1970’s ended, the 1980’s brought us hair bands, leg warmers, and slang terms like “radical”, “totally”, and “funky fresh”. We even got some great movies like “Footloose”, “ET”, and of course, “The Breakfast Club”.

The 1980’s was a great decade for music. The ever popular 80’s “hair bands” were coming to light as well as other singers like Madonna and The Go-Go’s.

Below is our list of songs from the 80’s that you should consider adding to your road trip playlist.

stack of vinyl albums

Africa – Toto

Not only does this song have a powerful chorus, but it is also the only song I can think of that contains the lyric “Kilimanjaro”.

Jack And Diane – John Cougar Mellencamp

“Jack and Diane” is one of the best songs released in the 1980’s. It is very easy to sing along to and is a must-add to a road trip playlist.

Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams

This up-beat rock song will have you playing air guitar and playing drums on the dashboard of your car. If you have young kids in the car, they’ll look at you like you’re crazy.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham

Before George Michael had a successful solo career, he was half of the duo Wham. The band’s most popular song has to be “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”.

The Heart Of Rock And Roll – Huey Lewis And The News

An 80’s road trip playlist has to have a great Huey Lewis And The News song, and “The Heart Of Rock And Roll” doesn’t disappoint.

Simply Irresistible – Robert Palmer

We won’t talk about the music video for this song, but if you’re looking for a great rock song to jam to, make sure to add this to your road trip playlist.

Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel

“Sledgehammer” may have been Peter Gabriel’s only #1 hit in the U.S., but it is still a great song for a road trip playlist. We won’t go into the meaning of the song here, this is a family site. I’m sure you can figure that out when you listen to it.

Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car – Billy Ocean

If you want a fun, jaunty tune for your road trip playlist, look no further than Billy Ocean and “Get Out Of My Dreams, Get Into My Car”.

Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins

If you saw the 1986 hit movie, “Top Gun”, then you know this song very well.

Cabo Wabo – Van Halen

There are two types of Van Halen fans. You have the die-hard David Lee Roth fans, and you have the “Van Hagar” fans. Either way, there is no arguing that the late Eddie Van Halen was one of the best guitarists of all time.

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 90’s

The 1990’s saw a boom in pop-culture, more advanced video game consoles, and of course, the internet. The music began to take a slight turn towards more hip-hop and techno music, however, there were several great songs released that you might want to add to your road trip playlist.

car radio for road trip playlist

Life Is A Highway – Tom Cochrane

This popular song of the 1990’s was covered by Chris Ledoux in 1998 and The Rascal Flatts in 2006.

I’ve Been Everywhere – Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash names off several cities in this epic road trip song. Did your hometown or favorite city make the list?

All I Wanna Do – Sheryl Crow

Sheryl Crow made her debut into the music scene with “All I Wanna Do” in 1993 and this song made it all the way up to #2 on the Billboard charts.

I Want It That Way – Backstreet Boys

The Backstreet Boys was one of the 90’s most popular “boy bands” of the decade and this song is a must-have hit on your road trip playlist.

Mr. Jones – Counting Crows

If you want a super fun song to sing along to, Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows will not disappoint. It was released in late 1993 and was their 1st hit song on the radio.

U Can’t Touch This – MC Hammer

Everybody knows the words, and the dance, to MC Hammer’s signature song of the 90’s. Turn it up loud on you next pit stop and stretch your legs doing the “running man”.

Strawberry Wine – Deanna Carter

Add this song to your road trip playlist to slow things down a bit and sing to your sweetheart on a winding back country road.

Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson

Chattahoochee is one of Alan Jackson’s more popular signature songs and a fantastic addition to your road trip playlist.

Waterfalls – TLC

Left-Eye, T-Boz, and Chilli make up this dynamic trio with many chart-topping hits. “Waterfalls” is considered by many as the group’s signature song.

This Is How We Do It – Montell Jordan

Get the entire road trip crew singing along with this hit from the 1990’s.

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 2000’s

As the internet grew, so did other things, like social media. People began seemingly living their lives connected to the screen.

The music, however, saw an increase in popularity of hip-hop. Pop music began to incorporate more rock and roll sounds and country turned more pop in nature.

Below is our pick of the best songs of the 2000’s to add to your road trip playlist.

windshield view of road trip

Chicken Fried – Zac Brown Band

With lyrics like “A pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio up”, how can this song not make your road trip playlist.

Party In The U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus

The transition from Hannah Montana to Miley Cyrus brought us, “Party In The USA”. And it is another great addition to your playlist.

All Summer Long – Kid Rock

If you like Lynyrd Skynyrd you’ll enjoy this up-beat song by Kid Rock. Afterall, he even sings about “Sweet Home Alabama” in the lyrics.

Get The Party Started – Pink

This was Pink’s best-selling song of the 90’s and Q Magazine ranked it at 185 in their list of “1001 Best Songs Ever”. In addition, About.com ranked it #1 in their 2019 list of Top 100 Best Party Songs Of All Time.

It’s Five O’clock Somewhere – Jimmy Buffet/Alan Jackson

Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet make this song more than unique. While they both have their signature sounds, they come together in this duet to give you a great song choice for your road trip playlist.

I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas

While the song was released in 2009, according to Wikipedia, “I Gotta Feeling” became the first song in digital history to sell over 7 million copies in the United States in March of 2011. That many fans can’t be wrong.

It Wasn’t Me – Shaggy/Rik Rock

I wouldn’t suggest this song if you have a car full of young impressionable minds. Although it is a fun song to sing along to, it is a better fit for an adult audience.

Beverly Hills – Weezer

Weezer is one of my favorite bands to listen to. The just have a clean sound that I really enjoy. This song is right at the top of my choices for my road trip playlist.

Beer In Mexico – Kenny Chesney

When it comes to signature sounds, Kenny Chesney is right up there with Jimmy Buffet or George Strait.

She Let Herself Go – George Strait

Speaking of George Strait…ANY song him should be a top choice for a road trip playlist.

Best Road Trip Songs Of The 2000’s – Present

If you’re wondering why we combined the last two decades, it’s because we are only a couple of years into the 2020’s. However, we found ten of the best songs to add to your road trip playlist from 2000 to 2022.

person waving hat out of car window

One Margarita – Luke Bryan

Wendy Hermanson of Taste Of Country.com wrote that this song is a “light, sparkling, feel-good number” and that it also “name drops Bob Marley, Jimmy Buffet, and Kenney Chesney”. I have to agree, this song will make you want to sing along.

Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker

Before he had a solo career, Darius Rucker was the lead singer for Hootie and The Blowfish. “Wagon Wheel” cements his talents as a solo artist and should be near the top of your road trip playlist.

Crushin’ It – Brad Paisley

This is a great up-beat song about having fun while at the same time, using the different meanings of words to get the point across. Give it a listen. I think you’ll like it.

We Are Never Getting Back Together – Taylor Swift

I think Taylor Swift is one of those artists that people love to listen to, but most won’t admit it to their friends. That doesn’t matter when you’re on a road trip. Everyone can sing along and have fun, no matter who is on the radio.

Thrift Shop – Macklemore

What a cool song about finding great bargains at a used clothing store.

Sucker – Jonas Brothers

I love the tempo of this song. It’s one of those that will make you want to tap your toes or slap the steering wheel while you’re listening to it.

Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5

Adam Levine isn’t only a judge on The Voice, he is also the lead singer of Maroon 5. When asked about this song, he said that he didn’t think anyone would ever claim to move like Michael Jackson or James Brown. In addition, he says that having moves like Mick Jagger is a compliment because of his unique stage presence moves that are hard to imitate.

Old Town Road – Li Nas X

I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it. It’s a rap/country crossover that will make you sing along and dance to the beat. If you like fun songs, add this one to your road trip playlist.

Every Little Honky Tonk Bar – George Strait

George Strait makes our list of 70 Best Road Trip Songs, yet again. What can I say? It’s George Strait.

Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert

With a deep southern accent and a bit of hillbilly twang, Miranda Lambert will have you dancing the two-step the next time you stop to stretch your legs.

Road Trip Playlist Honorable Mentions

I couldn’t end a great road trip playlist without a few honorable mentions. These next songs are some of our favorite songs ever that have ever been released.

man, guitar, hands-1281642.jpg

Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne

Another great guitarist plays the main riff of this song. It is one of the best songs ever recorded and way at the top of my road trip playlist.

Gimme Three Steps – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Known for their Southern Rock style and funny spelling of their name, Lynyrd Skynyrd has a great story behind the meaning of this song.

Redneck Yacht Club – Craig Morgan

This song by Craig Morgan is a fun, light-hearted country tune that is sure to get you singing right along with him.

Thunderstruck – AC/DC

If you want to rock on with the greats, make sure you add this song to your road trip playlist.

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

No other song represents the “hair band” era of music better than “Here I go Again”.

Madness – Muse

“Madness” has a distinct sound like no other on this list. It reminds me of a softer version of rock with a hint of R&B mixed in.

In Conclusion

Making a great road trip playlist is one of the best ways to keep yourself, and your passengers engaged for hours. When you are thinking of songs to add to your list, choose the songs that you know, that you can sing along to, or groove to.

If a song calls for some fancy foot work, pull over and dance a little jig in the parking lot of your next rest stop.

What are your thoughts on the songs listed above? Would any of them make the cut for your road trip playlist? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

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