If you are heading on a road trip that lasts hours, you will need to look for some of the best free audiobooks for road trips to keep you entertained.
When spending loads of time on a road trip, it can be boring driving long stretches without entertainment or internet access.
This is why downloading free audiobooks is a great way to save money and have entertainment available on your trip.
What are the best free audiobooks for road trips?
We list The Three Musketeers, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland as some of the best free audiobooks for road trips. All of these free audiobooks are easy to download and have compelling stories and intriguing characters to keep you and your road trip passengers entertained.
The best free audiobooks for road trips have to have likable characters and dynamic plot developments.
For instance, characters should have a relatable back story and face unexpected events.
This guide offers more details and lists twenty-four of the best free audiobook choices for road trips.
With the availability of public domain works, free audiobooks have become easier to access and download.
Each free audiobook recommended below can be downloaded for your road trip without paying for a premium Spotify account or signing up for anything at all.
24 Best Free Audiobooks For Road Trips
Free audiobooks are a popular way to entertain passengers on a road trip.
The best free audiobooks for road trips can be different depending on your passengers, but they usually have engaging plots and fascinating characters.
Having an engaging plot means odd or unexpected events might occur in the audiobook.
Hearing about challenging and potentially life-threatening undertakings are great for road trips.
The characters are important as well since they take listeners along in the audiobook.
There are many factors to consider when looking for the best free audiobooks for road trips. These factors include the age of passengers, the driving duration, and what the passengers are interested in.
Getting the right characteristics together for your road trip group can be tough.
With the availability of public domain works on the internet, free audiobooks have become more plentiful and easier to access than ever before.
Think about downloading some of the 24 free audiobooks below for your next road trip.
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
Length: 24 hours and 50 minutes
When I went on a four-day road trip, I listened to The Three Musketeers to stretch a single story across my entire drive.
Aside from being long, what makes The Three Musketeers fitting for a long trip is that it doesn’t rigidly stick to a plot.
It’s easy to sporadically listen to this audiobook and be dazzled by whatever is happening at the time, whether it’s a romantic encounter, an escape from henchmen, or one of many epic sword fights.
The protagonist, D’Artagnan, who seeks to become a musketeer, makes his way across large swaths of 17th-century France and England
With the three musketeers by his side, they interact with a wide assortment of figures from commoners to royals.
Though there are multiple story lines in The Three Musketeers, the themes I most cherished from this book are friendship, loyalty and overcoming the odds.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Length: 10 hours and 57 minutes
The short story format of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes made it great for my long trips with stop-and-go attention spans.
This book gave my younger passengers the feel of short episodic shows they frequently view on streaming platforms.
Aside from being great capers, what I appreciate about the stories in this book is they don’t always have perfectly wrapped and resolved endings.
Holmes will at times be a step too late or see greater good in letting a perpetrator go.
When Holmes does render justice, the results are hugely satisfying due to Holmes’ keen awareness and clever tactics.
Listening to The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes sparked loads of sleuthing discussions during my road trips.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Length: 2 hours and 59 minutes
Following a defined plot can be tough on a long drive, which is why the scattered storytelling in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland makes the audiobook wonderful for road trips.
The visionary story will set minds adrift into a colorful and haphazard world.
The characters the protagonist Alice encounters are quite unique, to say the least.
Many of them are non-humans (mostly animals) bearing human traits and emotions.
There is often no rhyme or reason for their actions, yet their riddle-like patterns may pique your curiosity and have you wondering what happens next.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is an audiobook both adults and children can enjoy.
Though threats of danger lurk throughout, no serious violence actually occurs.
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Length: 5 hours and 3 minutes
Like many, I first read The Jungle Book as a picture book when I was a child.
I also watched and enjoyed the films, but listening to the original novel added far more nuance to the story made it richer and more heartfelt.
If you’re not familiar with The Jungle Book, it’s a tale of a young boy raised by wolves and the harrowing events he faces in the jungle.
There are obviously animal fights and standard jungle activities that occur, but there are also human-like scenes of counseling and bargaining among animals, which make the book more thought-provoking.
I think The Jungle Book works well for road trips due to its scenic nature and Mowgli’s continuous movement.
Also, since the core story is so familiar to many, The Jungle Book can be an easy audiobook to follow.
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Length: 9 hours and 15 minutes
Driving cross-country will feel much less grueling when compared to rocketing to Mars.
Reading The Martian Chronicles took me to Mars and back with its collection of enthralling stories that recount human attempts at colonizing Mars.
This novel covers all phases of the colonization timeline from exploration missions and the discovery of Martians to the all-out destruction on Earth that forces surviving humans to take off for Mars.
Though you might have your share of obstacles on your road trip, the people in The Martian Chronicles face continuously life-threatening occurrences that are light-years beyond anything you’ll likely face.
Though the Martians aren’t chronicled as being definitively evil, they are known to be telepathic, shape-shifting beings that are down to kill…so watch out!
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Length: 42 hours and 49 minutes
At some point during a road trip, we’ll find ourselves in a random place or odd scenario.
In the novel Don Quixote, we find a newly idealistic man in both predicaments at nearly every turn.
The story takes place in the Spanish countryside around the 16th century.
The main characters, Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza spend much of the book traversing land on horseback or settling at an inn.
After some inspired reading about knights and their noble lifestyle, our middle-aged title character sets out on a ridiculous quest to live a life filled with chivalry and adventure.
In more modern terms, it’s like an ordinary man aspiring to be a superhero after reading stacks of comic books.
As absurd as that sounds, Don Quixote will get you and your passengers pleasantly lost in an unpredictable timeline that famously includes Quixote attacking windmills he believes are giants.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Length: 3 hours and 45 minutes
There are few audiobooks more suitable for a road trip than The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
After all, one of the most legendary road trips of all time happened on Oz’s yellow brick road.
My passengers that watched the classic Hollywood film had an easy time envisioning the colorful and mystic wonders of Oz.
Those new to the story experienced even more magic as the imagery was freshly built in their minds.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz audiobook is not much longer than the film, so it’s a great selection for people preferring a more cinematic play time.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Length: 10 hours and 43 minutes
To summon worry-free road trips, I like to listen to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and carelessly raft with Huckleberry Finn and his friend Jim down the Mississippi River.
Much of the charm of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn lies in its vibrant Southern setting filled with rich descriptions of the surroundings.
The events and interactions that occur throughout the book provide an air of authenticity that elevates the narrative even further.
Unlike other books set in the South, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn made me feel the essence of the region without stepping in it.
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Length: 11 hours and 11 minutes
Gulliver’s Travels is among the most renowned travel stories ever written.
After suffering a catastrophic boat wreck, the protagonist Gulliver ends up in dreamlike worlds that can be incredibly immersive during a dull road trip.
Images of Gulliver being tied down with thin strings and shot with needle-like arrows by tiny people are embedded in pop culture through cartoons, films, and children’s books.
Gulliver goes from one extreme to the other, which is something that happens often during my road trips.
When I listened to the Gulliver’s Travels audiobook, it brought more depth to the story and made me love it even more.
The Time Machine by H. G. Wells
Length: 4 hours and 9 minutes
The modern concept of a time machine seen in films like Back to the Future and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure were largely established in H. G. Wells’ first novel, The Time Machine.
This book has been a universal favorite during many of my road trips.
Typical elements in time-traveling stories, such as advanced technology, meeting new beings, and things working by accident, are present in this novel.
The new worlds and creatures “the time traveler” encounters are both fascinating and frightening.
The main character is forced to contend with a new version of humans and other creatures that threaten to keep him locked in time indefinitely.
Though my car can only go so far, The Time Machine audiobook has mentally taken me to other dimensions.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Length: 3 hours and 24 minutes
For animal lovers, The Call of the Wild is a great audiobook since it centers around the travels of a lovable dog.
The dog Buck is faced with ever-changing circumstances and must learn to adapt quickly for survival.
The Call of the Wild helped me get through cold weather drives as the story takes place within heavy snow conditions.
The Call of the Wild is both heartbreaking and heartwarming.
Along with the physical threats around him, Buck must battle instinctual urges that gradually pull him from a stable and affectionate bond.
Themes that stood out to me in this novel include survival, companionship, power and instinct.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving
Length: 1 hour and 24 minutes
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is chock-full of mystery, drama, and fright.
It was fantastic for chilling the spines of my passengers at night.
If Sleepy Hollow’s spooky countryside ambiance and famed Headless Horseman aren’t enough for you, the love triangle and whodunit aspects of the story are sure to draw you in.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of the shortest audiobooks on this list, so if you’re looking to devour a complete story during your road trip, this book is an excellent choice.
The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
Length: 6 hours and 44 minutes
A fun (and terrifying) prospect of playing The War of the Worlds audiobook in your car is that passengers not familiar with the story may believe an alien invasion is actually happening.
Such was the case when actor Orson Welles read The War of the Worlds during a live radio broadcast.
Though all my passengers knew it was fiction, the factual style in which The War of the Worlds was written lent to a more realistic experience with blood-curdling impact.
Many adaptations were derived from this book, including the 2005 blockbuster film starring Tom Cruise.
Like other widely-adapted literature, you’ll find expanded character development and scene buildups that will delightfully keep listeners on the edge of their car seats.
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Length: 7 hours and 32 minutes
One of the first books to popularize pegged-legged buccaneers, treasure maps, and hidden chests of gold was Treasure Island.
It’s a delectably action-packed coming-of-age story I love listening to across long drives.
Though standard pirate elements like deserted islands and singing parrots are abound in Treasure Island, the novel develops characters and events in a deeper fashion, which helps to diminish our awareness of those generic elements.
The simple premise of looking for lost treasure stands out in this audiobook, so it should be a simple listen for most passengers.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
Length: 2 hours and 55 minutes
Like other books popularized in film and television, Winnie-the-Pooh offers extended story arcs and character depictions that allowed my passengers, especially children, to go deeper into its world.
Winnie-the-Pooh, the famous honey-craving bear, takes us through fanciful escapades battling bees and trekking with buddies.
Though Winnie-the-Pooh is considered a children’s book, it contains incredibly adorable scenes that made it super endearing to me and other adult passengers.
The North Pole expedition, in particular, ends with the cutest of cute conclusions.
I imagined my child concluding things the same way!
Anthem by Ayn Rand
Length: 2 hours and 12 minutes
Anthem is a prominent dystopian future story that focuses less on technology and more on societal structures and governance.
Though it’s a science fiction work, it’s people-focused story appeased my passengers that weren’t into science fiction.
Its relatively short length was also less demanding on everyone’s attention spans.
The main character, Equality 7-2521 (yes, that’s his name), is an intellectual individualist with lofty career aspirations.
However, he’s constantly held back by a dictatorial and repressive government with far too much control.
The government in Anthem not only assigns citizens their jobs, they assign their mating partners.
They care nothing about who you love since optimizing breeding is their sole objective.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Length: 8 hours and 10 minutes
A lengthier book about repressive dystopian governance is the acclaimed Brave New World.
The story unfolds in a sterile and contrived world where most humans are artificially produced and conditioned to think, act and feel alike.
As is the case with Anthem, non-conformist citizens emerge that ultimately come to blows with the not-so-lenient government, known as the World State.
With its civil rights-oriented subject matter, Brave New World triggered many debates among passengers during my road trips.
Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
Length: 8 hours 49 minutes
Around the World in Eighty Days starts with a £20,000 wager (worth over £2,000,000 today).
The protagonist Phileas Fogg must travel around the world within 80 days or risk losing half his fortune.
Whether by train, plane or boat, Fogg does whatever it takes to cross the finish line, and most importantly, make it on time.
Starting from and returning to London, Fogg journeys across oceans and seas through countries including Egypt, India, Japan and the United States.
Fogg is constantly pursued by law enforcement and faces innumerable obstacles such as a crumbling bridge, a massive bison herd, a Sioux warrior ambush, and (as I’ve often faced myself) a vehicle low on fuel.
On several road trips, I played Around the World in Eighty Days to let everyone join Fogg in his strenuous delays, thin margins and close calls.
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Length: 4 hours and 11 minutes
Heart of Darkness takes us deep into the Congo with Marlow, a sailor hired to track down Kurtz, a trading post commander many believe has lost his mind.
A whirlwind of mystery surrounds Kurtz, who has reportedly captured the hearts of natives and led them on horrifying ventures.
With the murky river and dense jungle as a backdrop, Heart of Darkness maintains a dreary atmosphere that serves up constant suspense and intrigue.
Among the boundless dread and dysfunction, Marlow must constantly stay on his toes and find a way to continue his mission.
Your road trip passengers will likely cling to Marlow’s every move as he navigates uncertainty and dangers to him and his crew.
Heart of Darkness can be a great listen during nighttime drives, though its occasionally gruesome imagery might be unsettling for some passengers.
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
Length: 5 hours and 53 minutes
When I drive with detective novel fans, they’re always thrilled to listen to The Hound of the Baskervilles.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s “flowery” writing style is retained in this long-form detective novel about a murderous hound that may or may not exist.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is written in a linear fashion that’s easy to follow.
It’s an engaging story that keeps listeners locked in to process clues.
As with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, your passengers can take up guessing games and exchange ideas on what they believe is the truth.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Length: 9 hours and 9 minutes
The Secret Garden is a whimsical book my younger passengers love listening to during road trips.
It contains universal lessons adults can appreciate and enjoy as well.
The plot revolves around…you guessed it, a secret garden, which is a source of pain and happiness for the main characters.
The Secret Garden takes place in England during the early 20th century.
The protagonist is a 10-year-old girl named Mary that loses her parents and is sent to live with her uncle.
While on her uncle’s estate, Mary explores its lush grounds and seeks to enter the mysterious locked garden.
Mary’s explorations unexpectedly release secrets that could shake things up for her and everyone around her.
Though The Secret Garden mostly takes place within a single estate, the beauty of the estate and its surroundings will enamor you and your passengers, especially when there isn’t much to see outside your windows.
Aesop’s Fables by Aesop
Length: 6 hours and 16 minutes
With 284 fables, Aesop’s Fables has been a great road trip audiobook for passengers that enjoy lighthearted short stories.
Some of the fables, like “The Hare and the Tortoise” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” are familiar to most people.
The writing style is relatively straightforward and simple enough for most listeners to follow.
My child greatly enjoys Aesop’s Fables since it often features animal and insect interactions.
Also, knowing she learned lessons addressing perseverance, contentment and other virtues is something that brings me joy.
Grimms’ Fairy Tales by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm
Length: 10 hours and 33 minutes
Many of the world’s most popular children’s stories such as “Hansel and Gretel,” “Snow White” and “Little Red Riding Hood” amazingly appeared in one 19th-century publication called Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
Though authors Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm didn’t write everything they published, there’s no denying they had an eye for compiling mesmerizing and timeless tales.
With over 10 hours of play time, this audiobook will pack a diverse array of short tales for your road trip.
Since the tales are played in short bursts, passengers can simply wait for the next one if they’re not enjoying the one playing.
Though there are several well-known tales included in Grimms’ Fairy Tales, there are likely far more that aren’t known to your passengers.
Even popular tales will be worthwhile listens since they’re often much different than their adaptations.
Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
Length: 2 hours and 35 minutes
On the surface, Metamorphosis is a creepy nonsensical tale of a man turning into a bug.
Looking deeper, his transformation allows us to examine frivolous facets of everyday life and question things we shamefully prioritize.
Though various Metamorphosis films have been produced over the years, listening to details of his transformation in an audiobook can be much more jarring since images conjured in the mind can be more terrifying than what a filmmaker can create.
Aside from the bug aspect, Metamorphosis is a straightforward story about a sudden family crisis and everyone’s way of dealing with it.
Though my road trip groups often find strange delight in the protagonist Gregor’s ghastly transformation, their attentions tend to shift to the survival issues faced by his family and Gregor’s resulting isolation.
Where Can I Get Free Audiobooks For My Road Trips?
There are many free audiobooks available on the internet.
Since internet access may be slow or unavailable on a road trip, it is better to download the audiobook so you can listen to it offline.
There are many sources for free audiobooks available today.
Some are free to listen to on video websites like YouTube, audio websites like Spotify, and public domain websites like LibriVox and The Internet Archive.
Free audiobooks on YouTube are difficult to download and might be illegal to download.
Spotify offers free audiobooks for specific books, but they usually require a premium account to download them.
Since LibriVox and The Internet Archive host public domain audiobooks and have user-friendly websites, they are the best ways to download legal audiobooks for free.
They are the most hassle-free and reliable free audiobooks websites.
What Free Audiobook Attributes Do You Need For Road Trips?
Free audiobooks should be easy to download without a premium paid subscription.
Many streaming services let you stream free audiobooks, but don’t let you download them.
It is important to be able to download the audiobook for your road trip so you can play it in your vehicle without an internet connection.
It is often difficult to have a stable internet connection during a road trip, so downloading the free audiobooks before your trip is best so you can play them offline.
Short Story Collection
Selecting a free audiobook your entire road trip crew will enjoy can depend on many factors. If your passengers prefer short stories that end quickly, then a free audiobook with a collection of short stories, tales or fables could please them.
Many short stories last less than fifteen minutes, so if your passengers get bored with a story, they can just wait a little longer to hear the next one.
There are many genres of short stories including crime stories, fairy tales, folk tales and folklore stories. There are also poems that are similar to short stories.
For trips that span most of the day or more than one day, it can be entertaining for your road trip passengers to listen to long audiobooks with an extended story line.
Since there is so much free time to spend on the road, road trip participants may be delighted to hear fuller details about characters, places, and events in the audiobook.
Long audiobooks usually provide more descriptions for everything, so your road trip party will be able to form richer images of the story in their minds.
For road trips that last a few hours or less, a short audiobook can be a more appropriate choice.
Your passengers will probably enjoy hearing the end of the story before the trip ends.
It can be frustrating to listen to a long audiobook and not be able to finish it.
If the trip ends before the audiobook concludes, your passengers might not be too happy about that.
There are many free audiobooks that are suitable for short road trips. They often span a few hours or less, or about the length of a standard film, so passengers should be comfortable with that common content duration.
What Type Of Free Audiobook Is Best For Road Trips?
Selecting a free audiobook that is right for your road trip depends on more than one factor.
You should consider the age of your passengers, the duration of the road trip, and the genre that interests everyone.
The weather and climate can also help determine which free audiobook would work best.
For weekend getaway road trips, a shorter audiobook might work best.
Longer road trips with drives through snow might fit better with longer audiobooks.
For children, there are many free audiobooks with fairy tales and other stories children are known to love.
Many of those audiobooks contain timeless stories they can easily enjoy.
Downloading a free audiobook about the future is a great way to let your road trip passengers use their imaginations.
They can envision strange worlds that are far from the boring roads they might be on.
About the audiobook file, if you want to download a free audiobook, you should consider downloading it from a website with public domain audiobooks since they tend to be hassle-free.
Other websites, like Spotify, may not allow you to download the free audiobook without a paid premium account.
Audiobooks that might seem free on YouTube might actually have a legal restriction attached to it.