Five Songs for a Family Road Trip from LA City Mom

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Lee Rose Emery writes the award winning blog LA City Mom and since her tagline is “tips from the carpool lane” we found it only fitting to ask for a driving playlist — specifically for a family road trip. Check out what’s on her car stereo and some words of wisdom in this guest post:

In LA, of course, we drive all the time, especially if you are a mom with kids to shuttle around. But a drive that has an altogether different vibe is the family road trip. We cover a lot of ground as a family in our car up and down the West Coast, and then the East Coast in the summer. Along the way we have come up with a list of favorite songs to listen to.

Our criteria: it has to be an upbeat in motion feeling kind of song, a soundtrack that you could imagine hearing with shots of moving scenery. It has to appeal to the kids but can’t sound like the kind of cloying kids music that makes you want to drive off the road. Here’s an eclectic sampling of some of our favorites:

“Life is Highway” by Tom Cochrane
(Granted this song came to our attention by the classic kids’ movie CARS, but it has a great beat and chorus and is particularly good for, well, the highways of life.)

“Bye Bye Miss American Pie” by Don McLean
(Tragic in theme, as it is about Buddy Holly’s death, but let’s face it, the kids don’t know what this American classic is about. They think the lyrics are great fun to sing along to, and my husband and I do too.)

“What a Wonderful World” by Bob Thiele
(A little corny, but when you’re in the car on a gorgeous California day, with your tribe in tow, with everyone listening to Louis Armstrong sing this song, and no one fighting, the world feels pretty wonderful.)

“You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt
(There is something about this song, and it’s wistful story that we love to listen to and sing over and over again as we watch the landscape fly by. Try to download the version that doesn’t have the F word in it, although your children would enjoy the one that does.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson
(Really anything Michael Jackson is great for a road trip, from “ABC” and the early Jackson 5 songs to his later albums. It will make you all start grooving in your seats.)


Like all worthwhile journeys, motherhood is an excruciating, glorious and often bumpy ride. While there is no one road map for parenting well, I believe that all moms have an inner GPS that if we can just learn to trust, will ultimately steer us in the right direction.