Hitting the road this summer? Listening to road trip classics like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Born to Run” on repeat will only get you so far. Luckily, a podcast revolution is providing listeners with hours of stories, interviews and chats to while away the hours on America’s highways. There are aural options in every flavor, whether you seek a one-off deep dive with a favorite celeb, saucy sex advice, a gripping true crime drama or a kid-friendly science lab.
If you haven’t yet listened to popular titles like “Serial” and “S-Town,” by all means start there. If you’re a fan of public radio stalwarts like “This American Life” and “Radiolab,” continue with them. But if you’re looking to try something else in the podcast-verse, we’ve got you covered. (Mercifully, we are leaving politics off the menu.) We surveyed Minneapolis Star Tribune staffers and came up with 15 podcasts perfect for any road trip.
“You Must Remember This”
Karina Longworth’s podcast explores Hollywood’s secret or forgotten histories.
Time commitment: There are 100 episodes; each averages 45 minutes.
Perfect road trip: Down the California coast, where dreams of fame feel within reach.
Best bits: Grace Kelly marries a prince. Marilyn Monroe dies alone. Dorothy Stratton is stalked and murdered. A treasure trove for cinephiles. youmustrememberthispodcast.com
— KIM ODE
“My Favorite Murder”
An L.A.-based comedian and television host tell each other stories of gruesome murders and true crime.
Time commitment: About 40 minutes for a “minisode” and up to 2 hours for a full episode.
Perfect road trip: When the drive ends at lodging with locked doors.
Best bits: The episodes begin with light personal banter, but be sure to stick around for the crime-telling portion. myfavoritemurder.com
— KRISTEN LEIGH PAINTER
“Two Dope Queens”
Two fly ladies talk race, sex, love and big-city weirdness, for people who spend a lot of time on Twitter.
Time commitment: Episodes are 40 to 60 minutes.
Perfect road trip: A solo trip when you’re missing your sassy, hilarious friend.
Best bits: Hosts Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams riff off each other and special guests. wnyc.org/shows/dopequeens
— ALICIA ELER
New York Times culture reporters and friends Jenna Wortham and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wesley Morris take on an issue a week.
Time commitment: Weekly; 40-minutes to an hour.
Perfect road trip: The friendly banter will liven up the flattest parts of the Midwest.
Kid-friendly: Teens who are tapped in to culture would love this.
Best bits: Most episodes draw on pop culture through the lens of race, sexuality and current events, such as episodes on what “Wonder Woman” means for women in Hollywood. nytimes.com/podcasts/still-processing
— SHARYN JACKSON
Minnesota Public Radio produces this science podcast for kids, which touches on everything from the ions in slime to how elevators work.
Time commitment: 20- to 30-minute stand-alone episodes.
Perfect road trip: A drive to a national park.
Best bits: Ideal topics for traveling are the episodes that explore the science behind cars. brainson.org
— SHARYN JACKSON
“The Bill Simmons Podcast”
Hosted by popular sportswriter Bill Simmons and produced by Simmons’ The Ringer Podcast Network, this is a talk show examining the world of sports and pop culture. It is said to be the most downloaded sports podcast of all time.
Time commitment: There are more than 200 episodes, each running an hour to two hours.
Perfect road trip: A summer tour of baseball parks.
Kid-friendly? If you’re OK with swearing.
Best bits: Simmons’ deep knowledge of sports shines through as he expertly dissects the latest sports news. theringer.com
— ALLIE SHAH
“The Black Tapes”
Host Alex Reagan embarks on an NPR-style serial investigation into a file of fictional paranormal unsolved mysteries.
Time commitment: This serial has two dozen 45-minute episodes.
Perfect road trip: The Pacific Northwest, home of “Twilight,” would make a fitting backdrop for this moody ghost story.
Kid-friendly: If they don’t scare easily.
Best bits: Although you could drop in at any point, you should at least listen to the first episode to get the back story. theblacktapespodcast.com
— SHARYN JACKSON