10 Must-Have Albums for a Summertime Road Trip

As the weather heats up, so does travel fever.

One of the best ways to spend a summertime vacation is to cruise down the open highways for a cross-country drive, but no great road trip can be completed without having the ultimate soundtrack behind it. There’s nothing better than rolling down the car windows on a sunny August afternoon, sipping on an ice cold beverage and bobbing your head to the beat of the tunes cranking from your stereo. In no particular order, here is a rundown of the 10 must-have albums for your next summertime road trip:

The Beach Boys-Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!)
With lyrics reflecting a So-Cal culture of surfing, girls and sunshine, the Beach Boys are an automatic selection to any summertime music list. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!), released in 1965, was the ninth studio album put out by the group. With the chart-topping single “California Girls”, the Beach Boys solidified their place in rock history. Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) will be forever known as the definitive “fun-in-the-sun” album.

The Gin Blossoms-New Miserable Experience
Despite the album’s dark lyricism, the Gin Blossoms became an all-time summer favorite with this 1992 classic. The album went multi-platinum, behind hit singles “Hey Jealousy” and “Found Out About You”. The instantly recognizable hook in “Until I Fall Away” can still be heard at any given summertime barbecue across the country, even though 19 years have passed since the album was released.

Smash Mouth-Astro Lounge
Astro Lounge, released in 1999, produced the hit single “All Star” and became a surf-rock gem for the ages. Smash Mouth was never a band with incredible musicianship, but their catchy hooks and carefree style was irresistible. One listen to this album will make you want to ditch work and head to the beach to catch some summer rays.

Limbeck-Hi, Everything’s Great
Limbeck hails from Orange County, California, and their laid-back, seamless melodies are perfect for any summer drive. Hi, Everything’s Great, released in 2003, is especially great for roads trips because most of the lyrical content revolves around geography. Several songs make references to interstate highways, such as I-8 and I-15.

This release went five times platinum and it’s commercial success etched Sublime into a permanent place among the stars of 1990’s alternative rock music. It’s summery, California-esque sound can be heard on tracks like “Garden Grove” and “Santeria”.

Van Halen-1984
If there is an album that just screams “summer”, it is Van Halen’s1984 release. Filled with sun-soaked anthems like “Jump” and “Panama”, this is a must-have for any road trip. The songs on this album will make you want to shout the words out loud while driving down a lonesome highway on a warm August afternoon.

Bob Marley-Legend
This reggae icon is a staple on beach boardwalk stereos across the world. If “Redemption Song” and “Buffalo Soldier” don’t have you yearning for summertime fun, I’m not sure what would. Bob Marley’s music is a great way to kick back, relax and cool down with your friends.

Sugar Ray-14:59
Take one look at the cover of this 1999 album and you’ll be instantly reminded of a glorious summer pool party. The pop-infused tunes on this classic are catchy, melodic sing-a-longs for a long drive. Check out the songs “Someday” and “Every Morning” for a sample of what this band is all about.

Slightly Stoopid-Closer to the Sun
What makes this a great summertime release is not so much the musicianship, but purely the attitude. This 2005 album is raw fun in it’s purest form. Any fusion of acoustic rock with ska and hip-hop is sure to be a recipe for a great summertime record, but Slightly Stoopid stands apart from the pack.

Grateful Dead-American Beauty
This band is known for their unique blend of country rock with acoustic folk guitar. American Beauty features the song “Truckin”, which is a wonderful anthem for an ultimate summertime road trip. Keep on truckin’ and enjoy your travels!