Road Trip Songs & the Ultimate National Park Playlist
Adventurer & Creator
New River Gorge National Park, West Virginia
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
Our road trip playlist begins with one of the newest national parks, New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Of course, there’s only one song that should be on repeat while driving through the winding roads of the Mountain State. John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is the quintessential, always-appropriate road trip anthem.
Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park, Georgia
“Hard to Handle” by Otis Redding
What may soon be one of our newest southeastern national parks, Ocmulgee Mounds National Historic Park, is located east of Macon, Georgia. The area was also home to music legend Otis Redding. It’s only fitting that you listen to the soulful sounds of his song “Hard to Handle” as you journey through the Peach State.
Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska
“Elegy for the Arctic” by Ludovico Einaudi
Kenai Fjords National Park is Alaska’s smallest national park. Feel the full impact of this petite but impressive national park by listening to “Elegy for the Arctic” by acclaimed pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi. The melancholy melodies reflect the looming environmental dangers that threaten our fragile glacial ecosystems.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, performed by Steve ‘n’ Seagulls
According to the National Park Service, Grand Canyon National Park receives roughly 25,000 lightning strikes every year. Thus, AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” performed by Steve ‘n’ Seagulls is the perfect road trip song for this national park. The Finnish band’s version incorporates bluegrass elements that make for an exciting, entertaining addition to our road trip playlist.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton, performed by Miley Cyrus
Any song by Dolly Parton is the perfect addition to a Great Smoky Mountains National Park road trip playlist. However, Miley Cyrus’s rendition of “Jolene” breathes new life into the powerful number. In addition, the Smokies straddle parts of North Carolina and Tennessee. Dolly famously grew up in the hills of east Tennessee and Miley hails from Nashville.
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
“Liz on Top of the World” from the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack
In Minnesota, Voyageurs National Park stuns visitors with expansive horizons and gorgeous waterways. A setting this idyllic deserves an equally transformative road trip playlist. “Liz on Top of the World” from the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack instantly conveys images of twinkling sunlight and unforgettable vistas.
Channel Islands National Park, California
“Ocean” by Martin Garrix & Khalid
One of America’s least visited national parks is Channel Islands National Park in California. Reachable only by ferry or seaplane, this national park is known for its whale watching. Take a listen to “Ocean” by Martin Garrix and Khalid when venturing to this remote national park.
Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
“A Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay
Have you been to a designated dark sky national park? If not, pack your bags and head straight for Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, Colorado. After enjoying unpolluted night sky views, “Sky Full of Stars” by Coldplay will instantly be one of your favorite road trip songs.
Everglades National Park, Florida
“Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
No road trip playlist would be complete without “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Depicting rural, disillusioned America with rugged rebellion, it’s only fitting to play this rock-n-roll anthem while road tripping through Everglades National Park, Florida. In this region of the Southeast, gritty locals break society norms, from hunting alligators to zipping around on airboats.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina
“Carolina” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s latest hit was inspired by the national bestseller “Where the Crawdads Sing.” The movie adaptation, produced by Reese Witherspoon, is due in theaters summer 2022. The haunting melody includes the lyric, “Carolina knows why for years I roam.” If you’re in a wandering mood, play this road trip song on your way to Congaree National Park in Columbia, South Carolina. Evoke scenes of towering live oaks and mysterious marshes that are characteristic of this underrated national park.
Carlsbad Cavern National Park, Arizona
“Cosmic Love” by Florence + The Machine
You don’t have to leave Earth to find yourself on another planet. Below the surface, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico, features other-worldly rock formations and subterranean beauty. Above ground, the park is a protected wilderness area. Blast Florence + The Machine’s “Cosmic Love” as you road trip across this stellar national park.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota
“The John Dunbar Theme” from the Dances with Wolves soundtrack
Dances with Wolves technically takes place in South Dakota. However, the “John Dunbar Theme” from the film score can also be added to the road trip playlist for Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. When it comes to great road trip songs, never underestimate the power of a beautiful soundtrack.
Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona
“Caution” by The Killers
For the ultimate desert landscape road trip anthem, crank up the volume during “Caution” by The Killers. Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona pairs perfectly with this road trip song. The full sound style of the track reflects the kaleidoscope of colors among the petrified logs in the Rainbow Forest.
This road trip playlist will turn even the longest drives into a front-row headliner full of steering wheel singing. Road trip songs are an impactful part of the travel experience. What songs would you add to this road trip playlist?