Road Trip Across The Plains: Travel Playlist for America’s Midwest, Vol. 1

Midwest summer road trip

South Dakota may not top everyone’s bucket list. But I promise, you haven’t seen a sunset until that big orange ball sleeps over the Plains.

My suggestion for a true-blue American summer journey? Park the car in a mom-and-pop motel, snap open a Grain Belt beer, turn up the radio and let the guitar chords of a country-music song remind you why the best road trips cross the country’s unexplored Midwest.

The highways here stretch forever, as do the skies that shadow them. Whether it’s Wyoming or Ohio, Rapid City or Cedar Rapids, pick a place in the Heartland and get movin’. Because if you’re looking for open spaces, unexpected hospitality, firm handshakes and the perfect steak, I’m pretty sure we’ve got it all…


Water Tower Town – Scotty McCreery – Your introduction to a typical Midwest town, where “word travels fast, wheels turn slow…”

Take A Back Road – Rodney Atkins – “Put a little gravel in your travel”, Atkins sings, and drive off those dull, gray interstates. Who knows what you’ll find when you lose yourself on some back road.

Time Is Love – Josh Turner – Some trips are escapes, others are rescues. Everyone’s “gotta put in the hours / make the money while the sunlight shines”; but, time is love, and every minute you wait is a mile of pavement too far.

Shinin’ On Me – Jerrod Niemann – A positive reminder of all those blessings from the road, where “the sun is shinin’ on me/ain’t sweatin’ the little things.”

The Wind – Zac Brown Band – Another lyrical tribute to the distances we’ll go for someone we love. It’s the romanticism of a road trip, trading kilometers for heartbeats.   

Beer Money – Kip Moore – If you’re stuck in a one-horse town, “gotta a little cash burning holes in my pocket”, then put your “foot on the gas, taking off like a rocket.” Beer money, gas money, whatever it costs to get away for a while.

5:00 Somewhere – Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffet – A classic dream for the office worker, wondering when that happy hour will role around. Make like Buffet: call it a day and go out in search of your own Margaritaville.

Cowboy Town – Brooks & Dunn – A second anthem for small-town America, farmers and ranchers, who “…like our whiskey strong/play our music loud / get things done by the sweat of our brow.” Some place where Stetsons and red pickup trucks are as common as cans of PBR.

Long Hot Summer – Keith Urban – Road trips represent summer as much as Popsicles and lemonade stands. Nothing says three months of freedom like “…your feet on the dashboard now / singing along with the radio/ it’s such a beautiful sound.”

Woke Up In America – Matt Maher – From the “moonlight dancin’ over the Dakotas / it breaks your heart, it’s so beautiful / Lady Liberty, she leaves the light on.” As you travel across this varied and astounding landscape, maybe you’ll pick up a bit of Maher’s pride…

Which songs make up your Midwest playlist?  Let me know the tunes I’m missing!

6 responses to “Road Trip Across The Plains: Travel Playlist for America’s Midwest, Vol. 1

  1. Hi, This is Rhonda your Mom and Dads’ neighbor. I have been reading your blogs. They are awesome! If you ever need anything Please ask. Ask your Mom to give you our information.o.k.

  2. Good list! Pink Houses by John Cougar Mellencamp? For some reason, it reminds me of the wide open spaces between Sioux Falls and Fargo….

  3. Pingback: 21 Reasons To Take A Midwest Summer Road Trip | Too Mutch For Words·

  4. Pingback: Road Trip Across The Plains: Travel Playlist for America’s Midwest, Vol. 2 | Too Mutch For Words·

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