Sure, the big, upbeat, and booming music cities of America are often the top pick for music enthusiasts, but there is much more to explore outside of L.A., NYC, and The Big Easy. Whether it’s music festivals, concerts, or small venues, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the family.
We hear music every day that is genuinely meant to be experienced in person so you can feel, live, and breathe it while spending time with your family driving across the country. Music is the language of our souls, giving us all an opportunity to express ourselves through sound.
From Athens, Georgia, to Telluride, Colorado, you can experience some of the most incredible venues these small-town cities have to offer. There’s a place for all genres alike: rock, punk, bluegrass, folk, country, and more. You can put it all on the road trip wishlist.
And let’s make the dreaded “Are we there yet?” expression a thing of the past with a full list of activities and best road trip songs for kids. You’ll want to make this trip the best one yet, so why wait to have all the fun until you’ve reached your destination? Grab your bag and toothbrush and bring the kids on a fun escapade.
And by the way, you can use the discoverybit travel directory if you are still undecided on a great tourist attraction to visit with the family. Here is how to optimally use the travel directory:
And now that is out of the way, here are some fun stuff to keep everyone entertained while on a road trip. And also great music locations to visit while road tripping across the US with the family.
Top 10 Road Trip Songs for the Whole Family
You want a problem-free road trip with a never-ending playlist that everyone starts humming and dancing to. Let’s start with these top 10 music picks for a road trip:
a) “YMCA” by Village People: You might not be able to make a perfect dancing rendition in a car but this song is always a true crowd-pleaser.
b) “Get the Party Started” by Pink: This one comes in second on the list but it should be kicking off this road trip because you’re getting the party started, right?
c) “Celebration” by Kool and The Gang: Everyone sings this melody out loud when it hits those speakers.
d) “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey: This one will bring you all that holiday cheer while you cruise along Route 66.
e) “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge: What a better time to celebrate family than being stuck in the car together? Released in 1979, this track has proven the test of time and will always be a classic.
f) “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson: Doesn’t this song make you want to snap your fingers and tap them on the steering wheel?
g) “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel: Slow it down a bit for the kids. This song normally gets all the parents singing too.
h) “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles: Hopefully you’re catching all the sun on this road trip. If not, “It’s all right.”
i) “Happy” by Pharrell Williams: Get that blood flowing and do some clapping. This tune will definitely make you “happy.”
j) “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake: Every passenger won’t be able to contain themselves during the chorus.
4 Fun Car Games to Play on a Road Trip
#1 – ‘I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing ’
Have you played that game on a long road trip? This crowd-pleaser is The Picnic Game. It’s a fun and exhilarating game that’s sure to take up some of your boring road time.
The first person starts with the letter “A.” They’ll start their turn by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m bringing (something that starts with the letter A).”
The first person can pick an apple, an apricot, or even their best friend Amanda.
This carries on till you get through the entire alphabet. This doesn’t sound too hard, right? The trick is, you have to recite the entire list of prior picnic picks before you get to your letter, so pay attention to every single answer from your fellow passengers.
#2 – Name That Artist
You have to be quick with this game.
As soon as you know the artist that sings the song that’s playing across the speakers, shout out their name.
Whoever has the most points by the time you reach your destination wins the game. This game sure does beat binge-watching TV at home on the couch.
#3 – License Plate Game
Can you find all 50 states?
Appoint someone in the car, outside of the driver, of course, to write down all 50 states. When someone spots a license plate from a state that hasn’t been mentioned, shout it out.
Whoever can get the most states crossed off the list first wins.
#4 – The Animal Game
Every rider will be putting their brainpower to the test.
Start with an animal of choice and go clockwise from passenger to passenger, naming another animal that starts with the last letter of the previous animal. For example lizard, dog, giraffe, elephant, tiger, etc.
What’s the difficult part, you ask? You can’t repeat an animal already mentioned. If you repeat, you lose. Play until the last person stands.
Top 12 Small Music Cities in the U.S.
a) The 40 Watt Club has gained a highly achieved reputation as one of the best rock clubs in the entire world. It played a large role in introducing punk rock and new pop-oriented styles along with other clubs in the nation. Originating in the 1980s, this club has brought both local and international entertainment to every guest that walks through its doors.
b) The Georgia Theatre will make your imagination run wild. Every genre of musical talent you can think of graces the stage at this theater. Upon walking up, you’re greeted with big bright marquee lights. Rebuilt after a devastating fire in 2009, this building stays true to its original charm.
c) Ath Fest is held in the historic downtown area of Athens. This year, they celebrate the 25th anniversary of the festival and showcase musical talents that stay authentic to the history of music in Athens. Whether you attend the outdoor stage or partake in the Club Crawl, you’ll fill all of your musical desires.
Asheville, North Carolina
a) The Orange Peel, located in downtown Asheville, was named one of the top five music venues in America by Rolling Stone magazine. The establishment offers local brews and a full cocktail bar in the basement so you won’t go thirsty while enjoying some live tunes in the intimate setting.
b) The Grey Eagle is home to some of the best upcoming indie-rock, rock, folk, blues, jazz, and bluegrass artists before hitting the mainstream hit lists. This bar pub has stood the test of time, being the longest-standing live music venue in the River Arts District between downtown Asheville and West Asheville.
c) The Isis Restaurant and Music Hall will make your taste buds sing while listening to some soulful melodies. The family-owned venue is set in West Asheville. Once a 1930s movie theater, the building now offers a dining room, concert hall, patio, and lounge.
a) Miller’s has the sounds of local artists every single night of the week. This famed restaurant gives you the option of late-night jazz and thrifty drink specials while staying true to the vintage charm.
b) The Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival offers tickets and free concerts during September. Musical talents include a wide variety of orchestral musicians from a piano quartet to the sweet sounds of the cello. The festival is hosted by multiple locales and gives almost a tour-like experience.
c) The Paramount Theater closed its doors in 1974, but the people of Charlottesville worked tirelessly to bring the theater to its grandeur days of glory. It was reopened in 2004, and today, the theater provides an eclectic lineup for all guests.
a) Jackson, Mississippi Blues Trail Markers will submerge you in the history of blues in The City with Soul with a full list of stops you should make on your trail. This list includes some of the most iconic Jackson landmarks such as Trumpet Records and the Edwards Hote. If you want to mix history with music, this is a great suggestion.
b) Duling Hall makes listening to some of your favorite music easy with a central location, ample parking, and plenty of restaurants surrounding the venue. It’s also no surprise the events calendar is full of great shows to choose from as the hall has been named the top live music venue in Jackson, Mississippi.
c) Iron Horse Grill will be one of the neatest spots in town you’ll come across. It boasts both an industrial and pub-like atmosphere with a lot of character and charm. This option truly gives you that one-stop feel by offering their guests a full menu, live music, craft cocktails, and even a museum paying tribute to Mississippi’s stamp on musical history.
Eureka Springs, Arkansas
a) The Eureka Springs Folk Festival is the longest-running folk music festival in the U.S. With over 71 years of history, this festival brings folks from all over to come dance to the melodic sounds of folk artists. The festival is held the first weekend of November and has many events happening around the city in celebration.
b) The Ozark Mountain Music Festival is held at the Basin Park Hotel and features a mix of folk, bluegrass, and urban/American roots music. During the four-day festival, the vibe is “camping inside” with an up-close vantage point for all guests.
c) Chelsea’s has been serving the best pizza and live music in the town of Eureka Springs for 37 years. This is a must on your Eureka Springs to-do list. They host open mic on Tuesdays and a mix of melodic genres every night of the week.
a) Sun Studio is “the Birthplace of Rock ’n’ Roll” and home of Sam Phillips, the innovative music producer who took a chance and merged two musical styles. Some great artists walked its halls including Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Johnny Cash.
b) Beale Street is the mecca of Memphis and boasts music venues, restaurants featuring live music, and even museums to captivate anyone’s attention. Some popular stops are the Rum Boogie Club, Memphis Rock ’n’ Soul Museum, and Alfred’s.
c) Levitt Shell is the epicenter of midtown Memphis. This amphitheater serves up over 50 free concerts every year. For the fall season, every Friday and Saturday night features a new artist to bring this Southern community together and enjoy the sounds like one.
a) The Granada was originally a movie theater in the 1930s but is now a music hall featuring a blend of musical genres for every music spectator. There is limited seating, but that just lends to their pit-style audience.
b) The Bottleneck was established in 1984 and is named after its many beer choices. Frequent concertgoers love that they can get close to the stage with the good mix of music it offers. If singing your own melody sounds appealing, they offer karaoke to anyone daring enough to take the stage.
c) Liberty Hall is an event center that offers many art performances outside of music, making it a must-see in Lawrence. Those who have visited describe its beautiful exterior and interior as breathtaking. With its auditorium-style seating, guests can sit back and relax during their chosen live performance.
a) Harney Street Tavern is listed on many of Omaha’s “best” lists. Located in the Old Market District, you’ll likely find either a blues or rock band featured on stage Wednesday through Saturday every week.
b) The Waiting Room is said to be a spot everyone should visit at least once while in Omaha. Home of many other businesses in the past, the building now lets local and touring artists call its stage their own. And with over 25 craft beers on tap, you won’t be thirsty.
c) The Maha Festival takes place in the summer every year and has steadily grown since its initial performances in 2009. The rhythms of rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic music fill the outdoor air every single summer.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
a) The Blind Pig is a modest and cozy watering hole with a relaxed atmosphere spotlighting a good mix of music groups. It once hosted Nirvana in the 90s, putting them on the map and having a proud feature on the popular television network MTV.
b) The Ark gives its guests a more intimate experience with no bad seat in the house while enjoying a wide range of musical variety. If you plan on enjoying an adult beverage while listening to your performance of choice, you’ll need to purchase a $5 membership online or in-person to comply with Michigan Liquor Code.
c) The Ann Arbor Summer Festival brings both local and regional artists to the stage for three full weeks. Outside of music, they promote arts, comedy, and theater as well. The festival holds ticketed performances inside at the Power Center or Hill Auditorium.
a) Make Music Madison is an inclusive summer music festival throughout the entire town of Madison, Wisconsin. Anyone in Madison can participate in this summer solstice event. With more than 100 businesses participating to create over 400 outdoor concerts, this is a fun family affair. Did we mention this is all free?
b) The Sugar Maple Music Festival is another family-friendly event with the sounds of long-established tunes, musical workshops, dance performances, and collaborative sessions with artists themselves. This festival happens at the beginning of August but tickets are limited, so grab them when they become available.
c) The Orpheum Theater is quite the city charmer, dating back to the 1920s. This is a landmark you can’t miss with a distinguishable and notorious sign hanging off the building. Hosting musicians and artists from across the country, they welcome everyone to experience the unique and authentic beauty of the theater.
a) 10 Mile Music Hall is an indoor venue with an upstairs viewpoint for guests watching and enjoying a performance. They offer reggae to bluegrass with different seating options for every show. If you’re staying in Keystone, Copper, Breckenridge, Dillon, or Silverthorne, you can take the free Summit Stage to 10 Mile Music Hall.
b) The Barkley Ballroom is at the core of the town center, offering music and dancing for up to 500 partygoers. You’ll find bluegrass featured artists every Wednesday, local bands, blues performers, and DJs every other night.
c) Highside Brewing offers a friendly and scenic atmosphere. The downstairs taproom offers many beverages of choice, food, and live music daily. If you have a furry friend, they are also welcome at Highside Brewing.
a) Telluride Town Park features the Fred Shellman Memorial Park. Surrounded by mountainous peaks, this venue is perfect for outdoor concerts and festivals. Often featuring folk, blues, and bluegrass, the stage brings music enthusiasts from all over the nation to experience this one-of-a-kind adventure.
b) Telluride Blues and Brews Festival takes place at Telluride Town Park. Bringing jam-band, gospel, funk, blues, and rock performances together with some of the nation’s best-brewed beers, this festival won’t disappoint.
c) Club Red gives concertgoers luxurious accommodations and state-of-the-art performances. Sitting at the bottom of Telluride Ski Resort, it was dubbed ski country’s best concert venue. If you’re looking for more intimate seating, they also offer a VIP seating option.
A Little Music to Your Ears
Road tripping across the country can be scary. You just need to know how to handle the biggest travel disasters and brace yourself for some fun, cooped-up family time. Once you get on the road and experience the talent this country has to offer, you’ll give yourself probably one of the best adventures of your life.
And it’s no secret there are a lot of talented artists who grace the stage daily across our beautiful country. We have so much to provide a music enthusiast’s itch that you just have to make the trip across the map to experience all there is to offer.
Embrace your love of music and visit all the small-town music epicenters that truly won’t disappoint no matter what your musical preferences are.Tags: fun road trip games fun road trip music fun stuff Games Music music hot spots in the USA Road trips