Escapes: Listens For Family Roadtrips (That You Will Love, Too)

Some of our best fantasy recommendations, taking into account your trip length and the age range of your young passengers.

You’ve decided it’s time to escape: to the beach, to the mountains, to the perfect small town. From your job, from responsibilities, from life. But whoever first said “getting there is half the fun” was being … optimistic. Cramped quarters and cranky kids, not to mention traffic, can easily put a damper on the journey, but the listens below will help make it memorable and let you and your family escape your means of escape. Turn that minivan into a rocket ship when you hit the road this year.

Illuminae

12 hours This one will go over the heads of the little ones, but if you've got teens in your car, they are going to tune into this. It features intergalactic mercenaries, a zombie-like virus, a rogue AI, and a genius teen hacker who's (probably) going to save the day.

Upside-Down Magic #1

3 hours

A charming tale about a girl whose particular set of magical skills don’t align with her family’s or friends’ expectations, Upside-Down Magic is a lighthearted and accessible way to address tricky issues that all kids inevitably face. At three hours long, this is perfect for a shorter trip, but good news: if everyone in your car loves it (as they undoubtedly will), there are two more books in the series.

The Golden Compass

11 hours

The brilliant multicast will transport you and all of your passengers deep into Pullman’s timeless adventure-filled fantasy-scape. One listener even reported that he and his family were “so enthralled that we ran out of gas.” Try not to do that.

Steelheart

13 hours Epic fantasy master Brandon Sanderson turns his talents to young adult sci-fi in this series starter. Everyone in your car will be totally enthralled by the scrappy band of resistance leaders fighting the ruling class of super-heroes-turned-super-villains.

How to Train Your Dragon

3.5 hours

Voiced by the inimitable David Tennant, this charming series about a Viking clan with a love/hate relationship with dragons is the perfect one-stop shop way to prime your offspring to accept your Game of Thrones/Dr. Who/Vikings obsessions.

A Snicker of Magic

8 hours

A powerful tale of a daughter's love for her mother, and what it means to finally find home, this is one of those rare delightful books that everyone, without exception, loves. The only problem with this one is that your kids will be wishing you were headed to Midnight Gulch instead of whatever fabulous destination you have planned.

A Wrinkle in Time

6 hours

It doesn’t get much better than time-travel, tesseracts, and a band of siblings getting to rescue the parent for once.

Illuminae

12 hours This one will go over the heads of the little ones, but if you've got teens in your car, they are going to tune into this. It features intergalactic mercenaries, a zombie-like virus, a rogue AI, and a genius teen hacker who's (probably) going to save the day.

Upside-Down Magic #1

3 hours

A charming tale about a girl whose particular set of magical skills don’t align with her family’s or friends’ expectations, Upside-Down Magic is a lighthearted and accessible way to address tricky issues that all kids inevitably face. At three hours long, this is perfect for a shorter trip, but good news: if everyone in your car loves it (as they undoubtedly will), there are two more books in the series.

The Golden Compass

11 hours

The brilliant multicast will transport you and all of your passengers deep into Pullman’s timeless adventure-filled fantasy-scape. One listener even reported that he and his family were “so enthralled that we ran out of gas.” Try not to do that.

Steelheart

13 hours Epic fantasy master Brandon Sanderson turns his talents to young adult sci-fi in this series starter. Everyone in your car will be totally enthralled by the scrappy band of resistance leaders fighting the ruling class of super-heroes-turned-super-villains.

How to Train Your Dragon

3.5 hours

Voiced by the inimitable David Tennant, this charming series about a Viking clan with a love/hate relationship with dragons is the perfect one-stop shop way to prime your offspring to accept your Game of Thrones/Dr. Who/Vikings obsessions.

A Snicker of Magic

8 hours

A powerful tale of a daughter's love for her mother, and what it means to finally find home, this is one of those rare delightful books that everyone, without exception, loves. The only problem with this one is that your kids will be wishing you were headed to Midnight Gulch instead of whatever fabulous destination you have planned.

A Wrinkle in Time

6 hours

It doesn’t get much better than time-travel, tesseracts, and a band of siblings getting to rescue the parent for once.

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