20 Excellent Road Trip Flicks To Kickstart Your Summer Spirit

Summer is here, so there’s no better time to shine a spotlight on some stellar road trip flicks.

Summer is here, and the heat is on to find the perfect film to set the tone for the season.

Warner Bros

Luckily, I’ve got you covered, as there’s no better kind of movie to get you pumped for sun, sand, and adventure quite like a road trip movie. With this in mind, I’ve assembled 20 terrific highlights of the road trip subgenre to kick off your summer just right, regardless of whether you’re a comedy fan, a horror buff, or a drama movie diehard.


National Lampoon’s Vacation

Warner Bros. Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

This classic, franchise-launching comedy starring Chevy Chase follows the Griswold family as they embark upon a cross-country vacation in which everything that can go wrong, does.


Plan B

Hulu / Courtesy Everett Collection

Directed by Natalie Morales, Plan B is the story of two teenage girls who encounter drug dealers, crushes, and their own personal revelations as they venture from their sleepy town to Rapid City in search of a “Plan B” pill.


The Devil’s Rejects

Lions Gate / Courtesy Everett Collection

Rob Zombie’s gruesome sequel to House of 1,000 Corpses expands upon that film’s universe while flipping the character dynamics on their head by sending them on the road while evading a sadistic lawman.



United Artists / Courtesy Everett Collection

Channing Tatum headlines this heartwarming comedy about an injured former soldier who is assigned to accompany a troubled dog on a road trip to his fallen comrade’s funeral.



Paramount Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

This poignant black-and-white film follows a middle-aged man and his elderly father who their complicated past and present when the former drives the latter from Montana to Nebraska to claim a sweepstakes prize.


Road Trip

DreamWorks / Courtesy Everett Collection

The breakout film for director Todd Phillips, this outrageous throwback to ’80s sex comedies parlayed the momentum of American Pie into this flick about the misadventures of four college students who must cross the country to retrieve an accidentally mailed sex tape from a one-night stand.


My Own Private Idaho

Fine Line Features / Courtesy Everett Collection

River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves are absolutely incredible in Gus Van Sant’s state-crossing (and, eventually, globetrotting) journey of a narcoleptic hustler and his rebellious son of a politician in search of answers to life’s mysteries, both existential and otherwise.


The Long Dumb Road

The Film Arcade / Courtesy Everett Collection

Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Tony Revolori and The League‘s Jason Mantzoukas are an inspired pairing in this hilarious, irreverent, and oddly touching tale of a straight-laced photographer and an unpredictable mechanic who begin upon a spontaneous bonding trip while traveling from Texas to Los Angeles.



Paramount Vantage / Courtesy Everett Collection

This underrated horror offering starring Chris Pine follows four survivors of a viral pandemic attempting to avoid infection, violence, and paranoia while driving through a bleak, post-apocalyptic Florida.


Little Miss Sunshine

Fox Searchlight / Courtesy Everett Collection

A sleeper sensation among critics and audiences alike, this dark comedy surrounds a dysfunctional family that reluctantly comes together for an 800-mile road trip after their young daughter qualifies for the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant.


A Goofy Movie

Walt Disney Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Disney’s animated cult favorite is a surprisingly endearing story about Goofy and his son, Max, as they attempt to bond on a last-minute cross-country fishing trip, which the latter attempts to manipulate toward a highly anticipated concert.


Dumb and Dumber

New Line Cinema / Courtesy Everett Collection

The Farrelly brothers’ beloved comedy follows a pair of dimwitted best friends who attempt to return a briefcase containing ransom money left in Rhode Island to a woman in Colorado, with whom they both fall madly in love.


Midnight Run

Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

Arguably the greatest action comedy of all time, Midnight Run Surrounds a grizzled bounty hunter and an obnoxious mafia accountant as they run afoul of gangsters, the FBI, and a rival bounty hunter in a cross-country race from New York City to Los Angeles.



Gramercy Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Brad Pitt eschewed his “pretty boy” image to play a ruthless serial killer in this pitch-black 1993 thriller about a cash-strapped journalist and photographer that unwittingly welcomes a pair of bloodthirsty sadists upon their cross-country tour of infamous murder sites.


Smokey and the Bandit

Universal Pictures / Alamy

Director Hal Needham and stars Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, and Jackie Gleason essentially redefined the “road trip” movie with this all-timer about an illicit beer importer speeding from Texas to Georgia in less than 30 hours.


Due Date

Warner Brothers / Courtesy Everett Collection

This warped modern retelling of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles follows a no-nonsense architect and a flamboyant aspiring actor who find themselves on the road trip from hell while rushing to get the former to the birth of his first child.


Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

The feature-length directorial debut of Tim Burton, this unforgettable road comedy follows good-natured manchild Pee-wee Herman as he encounters various eccentric strangers while searching across the nation for his missing bicycle.


We’re the Millers

Warner Bros / Courtesy Everett Collection

A small-time pot dealer enlists in his misfit neighbors to act as his squeaky-clean “family” while attempting to transport marijuana across the Mexican border to clear his debt in this hilarious recent entry into the road trip film canon.


Joy Ride

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy Everett Collection

John Dahl’s edge-of-your-seat horror-thriller is about a cross-country trip in which a college freshman is manipulated by his miscreant older brother to prank a murderous trucker, who psychologically and deeply targets them on their way to pick up a childhood friend in Colorado.


The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

Produced by the untouchable Lord and Miller, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is an exceptional animated road film about a family driving their innovative film student daughter from Michigan to California when they are besieged by sentient (and vengeful) AI.

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