Over the years, people have rediscovered a simpler way of traveling: the road trip. Maybe you’re planning a day trip within your own state. Or perhaps you want to take a long road trip around the country. Whatever your travel goals, there’s a song that can accompany you.
The list below contains old favorite songs about travel as well as some new songs about adventure. Let’s dive in and hit the road!
1. “Vacation” — Thomas Rhett
This unique country music song by Thomas Rhett Akins is a hidden gem in the world of beach songs. The lyrics reference tons of beach themes, including toes in the sand, coconut water cocktails, Coppertone, and bikinis.
The video is equally fun, and it features the singer with his wife and family on vacation in Hawaii. In the video, you can watch them chilling on the beach, surfing, and even skydiving.
2. “Pontoon” — Little Big Town
How does spending a lazy day on a pontoon boat sound? Talk about relaxing! The song “Pontoon” by Little Big Town is all about spending the day on the lake with friends and family.
“Pontoon” was released on the band’s “Tornado” album in 2012. “Tornado” was Little Big Town’s fifth studio album and was the first number 1 single the group had on the Billboard’s chart of Hot Country Songs.
3. “Soak up the Sun” — Sheryl Crow
When you’re feeling down and bad about your life, just know you’re in good company because Sheryl Crow sometimes feels the same way. Her “Soak up the Sun” song references a “crummy job” and not enough money, which isn’t likely for her at this point in her life, but perhaps she has had her own money woes in the past.
The song was inspired when Crow had a conversation with a co-worker and they wrote the song to take Crow’s mind off of some health issues.
4. “All Summer Long” — Kid Rock
Nothing says vacation like summertime, especially when you’re a kid in school. Kid Rock’s song “All Summer Long” brings those long-ago summers back to life. The song was released in 2008 on Rock’s “Rock n Roll Jesus” album in 2007.
Kid Rock says that the song was inspired by a Bob Seger song titled “Night Moves.” The song has snippets from Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves of London” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”
5. “Party in the U.S.A.” — Miley Cyrus
On the surface, “Party in the U.S.A.” is about a young woman who has been thrust into a big and complicated world. In the song, Cyrus sings about wondering if she’ll fit in, but she also talks about a sense of adventure and possibility.
The song was written by Dr. Luke and it was originally intended to be recorded by Jessie J. However, Dr. Luke determined that it wasn’t edgy enough for Jessie, so he passed it on to Miley.
6. “A Thousand Miles” — Vanessa Carlton
While travel and adventure songs can be bold anthems, they can also be piano ballads with the same adventure vibe. Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” combines two popular themes: love and travel. In the song, Carlton sings about walking a thousand miles to see her beloved.
The song came out on Carlton’s “Be Not Nobody” album in 2002 and it has become her signature song. Carlton herself wrote the song, and she said it was inspired by her crush on a fellow student, who is now a well-known actor.
7. “Promised Land” — Chuck Berry
When you’ve got California on your mind, you shouldn’t think of getting there without listening to “Promised Land” by Chuck Berry. Berry wrote the song to the melody of the classic American folk song “Wabash Cannonball” for his “St. Louis to Liverpool” album.
The song was released in 1964 just after Berry was released from prison, and Berry wrote the song when he was locked up. In the song, the singer hopped on board a Greyhound bus in the city of Norfolk, Virginia, and headed west.
8. “Life Is a Highway” — Rascal Flatts
Life is sort of like its own kind of road trip, and that’s the theme that this Rascal Flatts song brings us. The lyrics point out that there’s a world that’s waiting outside of every darkened doorway. All you have to do is open the door and explore it and the blues won’t haunt you anymore.
Just like the highway, life can have smooth and rough patches. It’s all about how you navigate the journey.
9. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” — The Proclaimers
It’s possible that “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers is one of the catchiest and most energizing songs ever. This song was written by identical twin brothers from Scotland named Charlie and Craig Ried, and once you get the song in your head, it’s hard to forget it.
The song speaks about being willing to travel to the ends of the earth to be with someone.
10. “Truckin” — The Grateful Dead
As one of the most well-known songs by The Grateful Dead, “Truckin” spoke to the band’s grueling tour schedule. The song appeared first on the band’s “American Beauty” album in 1970, and it has been listed as an official national treasure by the U.S. Library of Congress.
One of the most famous lyrics of the song is “what a long, strange trip it’s been,” so this is the perfect song for your travel Spotify list.
11. “America” — Simon & Garfunkel
Paul Simon composed and wrote “America” to be performed by himself and his musical partner, Art Garfunkel. The song is about two young lovers who decide to hitchhike their way across America. Supposedly, the song was inspired when Paul Simon took a road trip in 1964 with his girlfriend at the time, Kathy Chitty.
The road trip Simon took with Chitty took five days and they drove across the country together.
12. “Some Beach” — Blake Shelton
The Blake Shelton song “Some Beach” is all about the beach, but the lyrics also reference driving down the interstate and singing Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville.” This epic song was released on Shelton’s “Barn & Grill” album in July 2004.
“Some Beach” addresses the issues we can face when we travel to get to our vacation destination. They include being flipped the bird in traffic and being at a dentist’s office all day.
13. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” — Cyndi Lauper
Is it even possible for a group of young women to take off for an adventure or vacation and not sing “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper? The song was actually written by a man, who released it in 1979. However, it’s Lauper’s version that is so famous.
In the 1980s, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” was a worldwide hit, and it’s considered to be Cyndi Lauper’s signature song.
14. “Fly Away” — Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz wrote “Fly Away” for his “5” album, which was released in 1998. The song hit the number 12 spot on the U.S. charts, and it was a hit around the world.
“Fly Away” won Kravitz a Grammy Award in 1999 for Best Male Rock Performance. He said that he wrote the song accidentally when he was playing different chords on a guitar when he was testing a new amp.
15. “I’ve Been Everywhere” — Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash’s hit song “I’ve Been Everywhere” was actually written in 1959 by a country singer from Australia named Geoff Mack. The song has been recorded by tons of artists, but it’s Johnny Cash’s version that is the most well-known.
Cash recorded the song for his “Unchained” album in 1996 with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The “Unchained” album won that year’s Grammy Award for Best Country Album.
16. “Cruise” — Florida Georgia Line
If you’re taking an aimless journey, either around the block or around the country, you definitely need “Cruise” on your playlist. Just like the song says, you’ll want to roll down your windows and cruise.
The country duo Florida Georgia Line released the bro-country song “Cruise” to iTunes in 2012, and the song became even more famous when it was remixed by the rapper Nelly in 2013.
17. “Chillin’ It” — Cole Swindell
“Chillin’ It” is a song that was released independently by Cole Swindell as a digital download in March 2013. Just a few months later, Swindell signed his first record deal, and the song was included on Swindell’s debut album.
This song will get anyone ready to go on an adventure as it blasts about having the “top back” and the sunglasses on. Oh, and rolling with the music jacked.
18. “Travelin’ Man” — Ricky Nelson
You’ve got to have a few oldies on your travel playlist, so why not add the Ricky Nelson classic “Travelin’ Man”? This song was a number 1 hit in 1961, and the song tells the story of having a beloved in every port around the world.
It’s hard to know if this song could still be a big hit in the “Me Too” era, but it sure is catchy and fun.
19. “Ramblin’ Man” — Hank Williams
Hank Williams was one of the most influential and significant songwriters in the United States. Williams wrote “Ramblin’ Man” and released it in 1951 on the B side to another song. However, “Ramblin’ Man” ended up being the most well-known song.
This song speaks about a man who can’t settle down with the love of his life because he can’t control his wanderlust. He’s apologetic but says she just has to learn to deal with a Ramblin’ Man.
20. “End of the Line” — The Traveling Wilburys
In the latter part of the 1980s, five music legends created a supergroup called The Traveling Wilburys. The men in the group were Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, George Harrison, and Jeff Lynn. Unfortunately, the group was only able to release a single album before the death of Roy Orbison.
“End of the Line” was on that album, and the song talks about how everything will “work out fine” as they head down the highway together.
21. “Cake by the Ocean” — DNCE
The DNCE song “Cake by the Ocean” talks about two of our favorite things: cake and the ocean. Because why not? The theme of the song is not to walk around sad, but to treat like like you’re having cake by the ocean and licking cake frosting from your fingertips.
The song was released by DNCE’s debut album titled “EP” in September 2015. The band also included the song on their self-titled debut studio album, “DNCE.”
22. “On the Road Again” — Willie Nelson
One of the most popular songs ever written by Willie Nelson is his classic “On the Road Again.” This song was so popular that it won Willie the Grammy Award for Best Country Song the year after he released it.
Willie wrote the song on an airplane’s barf bag after movie producer Jerry Schatzberg asked him to write something about what it’s like to be on the road as a musician. The song was in Willie’s movie “Honeysuckle Rose.”
23. “Around the World” — Daft Punk
This Daft Punk song is proof that a song doesn’t have to have complex lyrics to make it big and be super catchy. The song’s only lyrics are “around the world,” and they’re sung over and over.
Daft Punk is a French duo that makes electronic music. As far as travel anthems go, this one will certainly energize you and you don’t have to think a lot about the lyrics. Just go with the flow.
24. “Blame it on Mexico” — George Strait
The country music superstar George Strait knows a bit about the love that can happen south of the border in Mexico. After all, he and his wife Norma eloped to Mexico to get married and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
“Blame it on Mexico” is a classic country song, but it also speaks to the adventurous spirit that many of us have when we hit the open road.
25. “Train Song” — Phish
The band known as Phish has been touring in the U.S. for nearly 40 years, and during one of their tours, Mike Gordon (the bassist) wrote “Train Song.” This simple song has a serene melody that will remind you of the rolling movement of a train.
It’s hard not to feel chill and relaxed when listening to “Train Song,” so it’s perfect for a vacation.
26. “Born to Be Wild” — Steppenwolf
In 1968, Steppenwolf released a rock anthem that was destined to capture the very essence of getting out onto the open road. “Born to Be Wild” was written originally as a ballad, but the band sped the rhythm up to make it into an epic rock anthem.
This adventure song proclaims that we were all “born to be wild,” and the song has been covered by dozens of artists over the years.
27. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” — John Denver
John Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” is about the state of West Virginia. Denver released the song in 1971 as a single, and it still sells well now. In fact, so far, this song has sold more than 1.6 million digital copies, and it’s probably because it’s such a timeless adventure and travel song.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is about traveling back home by country roads and singing on the way.
28. “Ramblin’ Man” — The Allman Brothers
The Allman Brothers were inspired by the Hank Williams song of the same name, but their version of “Ramblin’ Man” is a totally different song with its own style. Like the Williams song, this version is about a man who loves to travel too much to settle down.
In the song, the singer gives the suggestion that he’ll have to leave behind someone he loves because he was “born a ramblin’ man.”
29. “Sunshine and Summertime” — Faith Hill
Faith Hill released “Sunshine and Summertime” in 2006. The song was the fourth single from her “Fireflies” album and it reached the number 7 spot on the Hot Country Songs chart.
LIke many of the songs on our list, this song is all about the freedom of summer and all that it means to get outside and explore new things and simple pleasures.
30. “Toes” — Zac Brown Band
When you want to have your toes in the ocean water, your behind in the sand, and a beer in your hand, listen to “Toes” by the Zac Brown Band. This song was recorded by the country music band and released in 2009.
“Toes” is the third single from “The Foundation,” the band’s 2008 debut studio album. “Toes” was their second song that hit the top of the U.S. charts.
31. “Road Trippin'” — Red Hot Chili Peppers
The Red Hot Chili Peppers released “Road Trippin'” on their hit album “Californication.” The song was the fifth and last single on the album, and it’s a travel song that has earned a place on countless road trip music lists.
The song tells the story of a band road trip that was taken by Anthony Kiedis, Flea, and John Frusciante when they drove up the coast road from Lost Angeles to Big Sur.
32. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” — Peter, Paul, and Mary
Did you know that the late John Denver wrote “Leaving on a Jet Plane”? He actually included it on his debut demo recording and handed out copies as Christmas gifts in 1966. However, he changed the title of the song from the original “Babe I Hate to Go.”
The most famous version of the song was recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary for their “Rhymes & Reasons” album in 1969. For Denver, he said that the song was very personal to him. He says that the song is about having to leave someone behind.
33. “Travelin’ Band” — Creedence Clearwater Revival
John Fogerty wrote “Travelin’ Band” for Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the band included the song on their “Cosmo’s Factory” album that was released in 1970. Fogerty says that he was inspired by rock ‘n roll songs from the 1950s, particularly those by Little Richard.
The song’s lyrics describe what life on the road is like for a musician or band.
34. “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” — Kenny Chesney
For many of us, the first thing we do when we get home is take off any clothing or shoes that we don’t absolutely need to walk around the house. This includes our shoes, and for many folks, their shirts.
Kenny Chesney’s song brings that vacation vibe to wherever you go with “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.” This song is on Chesney’s album with the same name.
35. “Highway to Hell” — AC/DC
AC/DC is an Australian rock band that reigned supreme in the 1970s and 1980s. Their hit song “Highway to Hell” was released in 1979, and this song referred to the horrific tour schedule that the band had to keep.
The lyrics to this song are all about being on the road, and while the band did grow weary of travel, this song lives on as the perfect travel and adventure anthem.
Final Thoughts on Songs About Traveling and Adventure
Did these songs about traveling and adventure make you want to hit the road and discover parts unknown? Load up your music streaming apps/devices and go explore the world.