54 Road Trip Books and Movies

Running on the Map

The Great American Road Trip: A directory

Are you planning a Road Trip? Here’s a state-by-state directory of the travel literature and travel movies we have recommended in the past 14 months, as we crossed the country on the Great American Road Trip. Find each one by plugging info into the search box on the far right.

Road Trip Across America from West to East

Hawaii: Shark Dialogues (novel) by Kiana Davenport, guest post by Kris Bordessa

♥Southern California: Farewell My Lovely (classic mystery) by Raymond Chandler

Northern California: Cannery Row (classic novel) by John Steinbeck

Nevada: Charlie Varrick (Movie) (bank heist movie)

Oregon: The Heart of the Beast (novel) by Joyce Weatherford

Alaska: Insomnia (movie thriller)

Washington: The Baker Brothers (comedy movie)Guest post by Beth Whitman

Idaho: Five Skies (novel) by Ron Carlson

Montana: The Way West (classic historic novel) by A. B. (Bud) Guthrie

Wyoming: Come Again No More (novel) by Jack Todd

Colorado: Butch Cassady and the Sundance Kid (western movie)

Utah: The Mountain Between Us (novel) by Charles Martin

Arizona: Going Back to Bisbee (memoir) by Robert Shelton

New Mexico: The Guardians (novel) by Ana Castillo, My Town (novel) by Margaret Randall and Po’pay (history) ed. by Joe S. Sando and Herman Agoyo

Texas: The Last Picture Show (novel), Lonesome Dove (western novel, TV series)by Larry McMurtry. Guest post by Ruth Pennebaker

Oklahoma: Mountain Windsong (mystery novel) by Robert J. Conley

Kansas: In Cold Blood (classic non-fiction crime novel and movie) by Truman Capote

♥Nebraska: My Antonia (classic historic fiction)by Willa Cather

South Dakota: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (children’s book) by L. Frank Baum , a guest post by Kristen Gough

*North Dakota: Movie: Fargo (detective movie ), a guest post by Sam Lowe

Iowa: Movie: Field of Dreams (movie)

Minnesota: Vermillion Drift (mystery novel) by William Kent Krueger

Wisconsin: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) by David Wroblewski

Michigan: Thank You, Mr. Falker (children’s book) by Patricia Polacco and Weird Michigan (humor, guidebook) by Linda S. Godfrey, a guest post by Kristen Gough

♥Ohio: The Thurber Carnival (classic humor collection) by James Thurber

The Great Lakes region: The Third Coast: Sailors, Strippers, Fishermen, Folksingers, Long-Haired Ojibway Painters, and God-Save-the-Queen Monarchists of the GREAT LAKES (non-fiction travelogue) by Ted McClelland

Indiana: Movie – Hoosiers (Movie drama)

Illinois: The Book of Ruth (novel) by Jane Hamilton

Missouri: Puddin’head Wilson (clasic novel) by Mark Twain

Arkansas: Farther Along (novel)by Donald Harington

Louisiana: A Free Man of Color (historic mystery novel) by Barbara Hambly

Mississippi: The author William Faulkner (classic American novelist), guest post by Paul Kaser

Alabama: Gods in Alabama (humor, novel) by Joshilyn Jackson

*Florida: Nature Girl (mystery novel) by Carl Hiaasen

Georgia: A Man in Full (novel) by Tom Wolfe

South Carolina: Bull’s Island (mystery novel) by Dorothea  Benton Frank, a guest post by Margo Millure

*North Carolina: The Last Child (thriller novel)by John Hart

Tennessee: Movie – Nashville (classic movie)

Kentucky: No Heroes (novel) by Chris Offutt

*West Virginia: Movie – October Sky (drama)

Virginia: Sister Jane’s Foxhunting Books by Rita Mae Brown and Mrs. Murphy Mysteries by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown, (all mystery novels) a guest post by Paula Price

Maryland: Chesapeake Blue (romance novel) by Nora Roberts

Delaware: The Du Ponts: Houses and Gardens in the Brandywine 1900-1951 (non-fiction) by Maggie Lidz

♥New Jersey: Independence Day (novel, also movie) by Richard Ford

♥Pennsylvania: An American Childhood (memoir) by Annie Dillard

*Northern New York (Buffalo): City on the Edge (non fiction)by Mark Goldman

New York City: Charming Billy (novel) by Alice McDermott

Rhode Island: We’re There Rhode Island (children’s book) by Elizabeth S. Grumbach

New Hampshire: The Good, Good Pig (memoir)by Sy Montgomery

*Maine: The Lobster Chronicles (memoir)by Linda Greenlaw

Vermont: South of the N.E. Kingdom (memoir) by David Mamet

Connecticut: Ice Storm (Movie drama)

♥Massachusetts: Dogtown (non-fiction) by Elyssa East

♥*Kickoff of Road Trip: Blue Highways (road trip memoir) by William Least Heat-Moon

*The asterisk indicates the most popular posts from the Great American Road Trip. (An imperfect measure, since the ones at the bottom of the list have been around longer and have therefore had more opportunity to gain readers.)

♥Indicates my personal favorites

Don’t forget that for each stop on our road trip, Music Road supplied musical background. Take a jaunt over there and check out some of her great suggestions. Kerry has a beautifully written and useful blog, and I encourage you to check it out.

If you have a friend who could use this list, please let them know about it with the easy share buttons below. THANKS!

What was your favorite Road Trip post? Your own state or someone else’s? Where should A Traveler’s Library go next? I’m always open to suggestions.



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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

12 thoughts on “54 Road Trip Books and Movies

  1. Fabulous idea and great book list. I tip my hat to anybody who – in this age of online this and online that- recommend a real book from time to time. Also, thanks very much for your comment on my Venice article for The Travel Belles.

    1. Hi Inka. The list took over a year and plenty of help to compile. Glad you find it valuable. Unfortunately, can’t get to Venice on a road trip from the U.S., although I took a road trip out of Venice down through the Le Marche region.

  2. Thank you for this wonderful list which I printed out for future use. One small correction – the author of the excellent book representing Louisiana, A FREE MAN OF COLOR was written by Barbara Hambly.

    1. Thanks Carol, and feel free to correct my mistakes any time. I was afraid in that long list something would go astray, and I’m sorry it was the fine writer Barbara Hambly. (Off to write Hambly about 50 times.)

  3. DId I miss Kerouac’s On the Road? I know it may be cliche in some circles, but it is one generation’s seminal road trip novel.

    Also – The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, by Tom Wolfe.

    I guess you can tell my coming-of-age years, huh?

    David W. Berner
    Author, Accidental Lessons

    1. David: Thanks for your endorsement. Kerouac may be mentioned later when I list general books about American Road trips. This was just the state by state list of books and movies that showed up each Wednesday over the last year plus. With the exception of Blue Highways which was the kickoff book, they are all place specific.

  4. I would have to vote for Idaho of course. For South Dakota, hard to beat The Wizard of Oz, but we should have a nod to Laura Ingalls Wilder for “The Long Winter” (Or I suppose she could compete with Capote with “Little House on the Prarie”). Just saying…;^) -r

    1. Richard, I’m sorry to say I never thought about using Laura Ingalls Wilder for Kansas. And as a little girl I read every one of those books!

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