Who doesn’t love a good road trip movie? Movies that capture the thrill, the fun, and, yes, sometimes the dangers of hitting the open road. Here are some of the best road trip movies to watch tonight, films that epitomize car travel. You’ll find something for everyone: comedies, dramas, family-friendly, horror, classics, and more.
Ready to watch? I’ll make the popcorn!
The best road trip movies:
National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
In National Lampoon’s Vacation, Clark Griswold takes his family on a 2,460-mile quest for fun. The destination: Walley World (think, knock off Disney meets Six Flags). The family of four hits the road in a metallic pea Wagon Queen Family Truckster station wagon stopping to at roadside attractions like the Dodge City old west town and the “House of Mud”, visiting family, and hitting every roadblock imaginable along the way.
Rain Man (1988)
Hot shot Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) travels back home for his estranged father’s funeral only to discover that he has an autistic savant brother (who is getting his entire inheritance). With an ulterior motive, they pack up in their late father’s 1949 Buick Roadmaster to drive to Los Angeles.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
After Pee-wee Herman’s beloved bicycle gets stolen, a psychic tells him where he will find it: the basement of the Alamo. Pee-wee heads off on the adventure of a lifetime to find it, encountering convicts, bikers, ghosts, and the Cabazon Dinosaurs along the way. Watch this road trip movie and be sure and tell’em, Large Marge sent ya!
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
Neal Page (Steve Martin) just wants to get home to his family for Thanksgiving. It’s a plan that’s easier said then done when his flight gets cancelled and he encounters Del Griffith (John Candy), a traveling shower curtain ring salesman. What starts as an innocent offer to help with a hotel room turns into a road trip nobody bargained for.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Best friends Thelma and Louise take off on a weekend road trip to escape their problems with the men in their lives. Their problems only worsen when a detour goes awry and they become fugitives on the run from the law.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
When seven-year-old Olive Hoover gets the chance to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, the whole family (including mom, dad, a brother who has taken a vow of silence, a suicidal uncle, and a heroin-addicted grandfather) pack in a VW bus for a cross-country road trip from Albuquerque. After numerous setbacks, they make it to the pageant and Olive has a chance to show the audience her signature moves.
The Muppet Movie (1979)
With a dream of stardom, Kermit the Frog leaves his small-town pond and takes off for Hollywood. Along the way he picks up some new friends (including Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Gonzoa) and dodges the advances of the evil Doc Hopper, who wants Kermit as the mascot for his Frog Legs food chain.
Y Tu Mamá También (2001)
Two teenage boys, Tenoch Iturbide and Julio Zapata, try to convince Tenoch’s cousin’s wife, Luisa Cortés, to join them on a road trip to made-up fantasy beach (Boca del Cielo, Heaven’s Mouth). After confirming that her husband has been cheating on her, she agrees to go. Their road trip, set against the backdrop of Mexico, challenges the boys, their friendship, and their sexuality.
Tommy Boy (1995)
After seven years of school, dim-witted Tommy Callahan Jr. is finally a college graduate. He returns home to work for his father, Big Tom Callahan, at the family’s auto parts factory in Ohio. When Big Tom suddenly dies, Tommy Boy hits the road with his late father’s right-hand man Richard, to try to sell brake pads and save the company.
A struggling music executive (Jason Sudeikis) ends up on a road trip with his estranged father (Ed Harris), a dying photojournalist on a journey from New York to Kansas to have his last lost rolls of Kodachrome film developed before the discontinued ink is no longer available at the lab. While the relationship plot line itself isn’t based on a true story, the premise is, with inspiration stemming from the real-life end of the road of Kodachrome as documented in “For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas” by A.G. Sulzberger.
Road Trip (2000)
College student Josh (Breckin Meyer) accidentally sends his long-distance girlfriend a sex tape that he made with another girl. Him and his friends embark on a cross-country road trip to get to her college to intercept the tape before she sees it.
Road Trip: Beer Pong (2009)
A semi-sequel to Road Trip, this movie follows a college beer pong team that hits the road to join a bus full of models on their way to compete in the National Beer Pong Championship. The team faces many roadblocks along the way, leaving their future in the championships (and relationships) up in the air.
A week before Jack’s (Thomas Haden Church) wedding day, his best friend, the struggling writer Miles (Paul Giamatti), plans a road trip around California wine country to relax before the big day. Oenophile Miles wants to sit back and savor the vino, but Jack has other plans for them both. The friends spend the week dealing with divorce, love, heartbreak, and merlot.
To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (1995)
New York drag queens Vida Boheme (Patrick Swayze) and Noxeema Jackson (Wesley Snipes) win a local pageant and the chance to compete in the Drag Queen of America pageant in Hollywood, California. After meeting the green Chi-Chi Rodriguez (John Leguizamo) and taking her under their wing, they cash in their plane tickets, buy an old Cadillac, and set off on a cross-country adventure. Along the way the three face adversity and forge unexpected friendships.
Almost Famous (2000)
High-school student and aspiring rock journalist William (Patrick Fugit) is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about up-and-coming rock band Stillwater. He travels around the country with them on their tour bus as he tries to get the story.
Johnson Family Vacation (2004)
Nate Johnson (Cedric the Entertainer) and his family take a cross-country road trip to attend a family reunion to face off against his brother for “Family of the Year.”
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Retired writer Ben (Paul Rudd) tries to escape his past by becoming a caregiver for a disabled teen. Trevor (Craig Roberts), who has muscular dystrophy spends his days stuck to routine, eating nothing but waffles and watching a news program about roadside attractions day after day. Together, they break out to take a road trip to see the world’s biggest pit: picking up stragglers, confronting their emotions, and testing their limits along the way.
Three estranged childhood friends, Lucy (Britney Spears), Kit (Zoe Saldana) and Mimi (Taryn Manning) take off on a cross-country road trip where they face their past, prepare for the future, and rediscover their friendship.
On The Road (2012)
Though purists for the iconic novel might be disappointed, there is still no more iconic road trip story than On The Road. The movie version chooses to focus on the relationship between writer Sal Paradise (Sam Riley) and his friend Dean Moriarty (Garrett Hedlund) as they traverse the country, cuts out the solo adventures of Sal, and pulls inspiration from many sources.
The Wizard (1989)
Jimmy (Luke Edwards) is always running away from home. after his parents put him in a mental institution his brother Corey (Fred Savage) breaks him out and, together, they set off towards California. Along the way they meet a girl named Haley (Jenny Lewis), discover that Jimmy is a video-game prodigy, and dodge the bounty hunter the parents hired to track them down.
After a virus outbreak turns most of America’s population into zombies, an unlikely foursome of survivors takes a post-apocalyptic road trip across the country, in search of sanctuary (and Pacific Playland) in California.
Into the Wild (2007)
Based on a true story and a book of the same name, Into the Wild follows recluse Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), AKA Alexander Supertramp, as he hitchhikes around the country, eventually making his way to Alaska, where he intends to live off of nothing but the land.
Mr. Pig (2016)
An aging pig farmer (Danny Glover) crosses the border from Southern California into Mexico to sell his prized pig to an old friend’s son. When the deal doesn’t go as planned, he keeps driving, eventually joined by his reluctant daughter (Maya Rudolph), in a last-ditch effort to find a home for the cherished hog.
In order to save his job, Bob Munro (Robin Williams) cancels his family’s Hawaii vacation and convinces them to take an RV trip to Colorado. Along the way they run into road problems, bizarre campers, and familial tension.
Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011)
Three friends take a bachelor party road trip through Spain. Along the way they hit some roadblocks, confront their past and future, and have an adventure of a lifetime.
It Happened One Night (1934)
Heiress Ellie (Claudette Colbert) runs away from her father and fiancee. While escaping by bus she meets a man (Clark Gable) who helps her on her way, in exchange for her story.
College Road Trip (2008)
High school overachiever Melanie (Raven-Symoné) really wants to go to Georgetown. But, her overbearing father (Martin Lawrence) is hoping to keep her close to home. When the opportunity to interview for her dream college comes up, her dad reluctantly agrees to take her, with the idea that he can change her mind along the way.
Lost in America (1985)
When David (Albert Brooks) loses his job he convinces his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) to quit hers, get a Winnebago, and leave conventional society behind. But when plans quickly get derailed, the couple has to change course.
Boys on the Side (1995)
Musician Jane (Whoopi Goldberg) accepts a rideshare from Robin (Mary-Louise Parker) to go from New York to Los Angeles. Along the way, they stop to see Jane’s friend Holly (Drew Barrymore), run into trouble, and settle down far from their original destination.
Easy Rider (1969)
After gaining a large profit from a drug deal in Mexico, hippies Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) outfit themselves with motorcycles and set off to discover “the real America.”
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
A convict on the run crashes and uses his dying words to tell the group of motorists who witness the crash about his buried treasure sparking a cross-country race to see who will find it first.
A Goofy Movie (1995)
Goofy just wants some father-son bonding time. His son Max just wants to impress his crush Roxanne. When the two go on a road trip, destination Lake Destiny, Max schemes to change course and get his way.
4L (4 Latas) (2019)
Two old friends, Tocho (Hovik Keuchkerian) and Jean Pierre (Jean Reno), travel to visit their old friend Joseba (Enrique San Francisco) one last time before he dies, taking his estranged daughter (Ely, Susana Abaitua) along for the ride. Their journey takes them across the Sahara, crossing Africa to get to Mali, recreating and recalling the adventures the three men shared in their youth.
Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
Based on a true story, Motorcycle Diaries depicts a road trip across South America taken by medical student Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Gael García Bernal), who later went on to be recognized as a Marxist guerrilla leader and revolutionary.
After aging Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) gets a letter claiming he’s won a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize, his son David (Will Forte) agrees to drive him from Montana to Nebraska to claim the alleged prize. (Look for a cameo by the L.P. Anderson Tire Co. Muffler Man in Billings, Montana.)
After getting turned around on the road, anthropomorphic race car Lightning McQueen ends up in trouble in Radiator Springs, a rundown Route 66 town that pays homage to all the famous sites on the Mother Road.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
After watching the woman he drove to the airport leave a briefcase behind, limo driver Lloyd (Jim Carrey) and his friend Harry (Jeff Daniels) take off after her in a dog-shaped vehicle while facing one dumb situation after another.
Letters to Juliet (2010)
While visiting Verona, Italy, on a pre-honeymoon with her busy chef fiancé Victor (Gael García Bernal), Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) stumbles upon the “Secretaries of Juliet,” a group of women who answer lovelorn letters left at Juliet Capulet’s balcony. She ends up answering a letter herself, sparking an overdo road trip looking for a long-lost love.
Interstate 60 (2002)
Aspiring artist Neal Oliver (James Marsden) learns to be careful what you wish for when he encounters the mysterious O.W. Grant. His overheard birthday wish catapults him onto an off-the-map road trip to find the girl of his dreams and figure out what he wants in life.
The Straight Story (1999)
Retired Iowa farmer, Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), learns that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) has suffered a stroke in Wisconsin. Determined to see him again, he sets off on a journey using the only vehicle he can drive: an old lawn mower.
Joy Ride (2001)
College freshman Lewis Thomas (Paul Walker) buys a car to pick up his friend and crush Venna (Leelee Sobieski) on their way home for summer break. But plans go awry when his brother, Fuller (Steve Zahn), convinces him to pull a prank over a car’s CB radio with deadly consequences.
The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
A trio of drag queens and transsexuals hop in a colorful bus to travel across the Australian desert to get to a new gig. Along the way they run into both trouble and compassion, and learn the real reason they are taking the trip.
Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World (2012)
As an asteroid heading towards Earth threatens humanity, insurance salesman Dodge (Steve Carell) and his neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) set off together to revisit the past in their last days.
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
After her husband dies, aspiring singer Alice (Ellen Burstyn) hits the road with her son in search of a new life.
We’re the Millers (2013)
After getting robbed, small-time pot dealer David (Jason Sudeikis) needs to repay his supplier. He’s sent on a big-time mission to Mexico disguised as a family man on vacation, complete with an RV and a fake family.
The Long, Long Trailer (1953)
Newlyweds Nicholas Collini (Desi Arnaz) and Tacy (Lucille Ball) buy a motor home so they can see the country. They quickly learn the ins and outs of living on the road.
After being fired from her job Tammy (Melissa McCarthy) comes home early to find her husband having an affair. Desperate to get away, she takes a road trip with her grandmother, Pearl (Susan Sarandon) towards Niagara Falls.
Follow That Bird (1985)
At the suggestion of a social worker, Big Bird leaves Sesame Street to live with a family of Dodos in Illinois. When he realizes he had already found a home, he leaves to walk back. But the journey is a little farther than he accounted for and trouble is around every corner.
Guilt Trip (2012)
Andy Brewster (Seth Rogen) is traveling across the country to try to sell his environmentally-friendly cleaning product to big-box stores. When he learns about his mother ‘s (Barbara Streisand) long lost love, he invites her along with the secret mission of reuniting them at the end.
Brian Kessler (David Duchovny) and his girlfriend Carrie Laughlin (Michelle Forbes) are working on a book about serial killers. To cut costs on their road trip to explore murder sites, they set up a ride share with strangers, Early Grayce (Brad Pitt) and his girlfriend, Adele Corners (Juliette Lewis). But they soon learn that they didn’t have to travel far to find a killer.
More movies that feature road trips:
- Duel (watch)
- Romy And Michele’s High School Reunion (watch)
- Getting There: Sweet Sixteen & Licensed to Drive (watch)
- Wristcutters: A Love Story (watch)
- True Romance (watch)
- Flirting With Disaster (watch)
- Bonnie and Clyde (watch)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (watch)
- Inside Llewyn Davis (watch)
- Magic Mike XXL (watch)
- Paris, Texas (watch)
- Sullivan’s Travels (watch)
- Wild Strawberries (watch)
- Midnight Special (watch)
- The End of the Tour (watch)
- Over the Top (watch)
- Stranger Than Paradise (watch)
- Grandma (watch)
- Pierrot le Fou (watch)
- The Daytrippers (watch)
- Smoke Signals (watch)
- Last Day Of Summer (watch)
- American Honey (watch)
- Two for the Road (watch)
- Smokey and The Bandit (watch)
Also check out these road trip movies on Netflix!