The Growler’s Tourism Guide 2020: Road Trip Worthy Podcasts

Illustration by Kelsey King

Illustration by Kelsey King

Find more great travel ideas in The Growler’s Tourism Guide 2020

When you’re behind the wheel watching the interminable flat expanse of the Great Plains slowly roll past your window, hit play on an audio adventure that will fill the silence and get those neurons firing on all cylinders again.

Here are some titles to add to your library that will make the drive a little more engaging.

Loved “Serial”? Then check out…

Bear Brook

The grisly discovery of two bodies inside barrels unravels into a decades-long mystery that led to a serial killer. The story is documented in this horrifying and engrossing podcast from New Hampshire Public Radio.

Death in Ice Valley

Hosts Marit Higraff and Neil McCarthy investigate the cold case of a mysterious, unidentified woman whose badly burned body is discovered outside of Bergen, Norway, in an area called Ice Valley. The podcast wades through the coded messages, the disguises, and fake identities left behind by the “Isdal Woman.”


The Worst Idea of All Time

Two New Zealand stand-up comics subject themselves to watching the same bad movie once a week for an entire year in each 52-episode season. Pro tip: Dive straight in with Season 2 when Tim Batt and Guy Montgomery descend into madness as they force themselves to digest the 2.5-hour drudge otherwise known as “Sex and the City 2.”

My Dad Wrote a Porno

When one British man found out his recently retired dad wrote and self-published his own series of erotic novels, there was only one thing to do: Start a podcast. Three friends read aloud each painful, anatomically puzzling sentence of “Belinda Blinked” in this mortifying pod. Warning: Explicit content not suitable for children (and most adults, frankly).

The Ladies Guide to Dude Cinema

You haven’t seen “Star Wars”!? This brand of incessant badgering served as the inspiration for this Australian-based pod in which two female comedians review movies that dudes just can’t believe they haven’t seen. Incisive and hilarious.

Conversation Starters

Intelligence Squared Debates

One provocative topic, four experts, and one dauntless moderator take center stage in each episode of this superb debate series. It will challenge your preconceptions and maybe even make you (gasp!) change your mind.

Ear Hustle

This irresistible podcast brings you inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison and shares stories from inmates about both life inside and reentering society.

Against the Rules with Michael Lewis

The role of the American referee (both literal sports refs and more metaphorical refs) has been severely undercut in recent years. Michael Lewis, author of “Moneyball” and “The Big Short” examines the reasons why.


Jeopardy! phenom Ken Jennings and musician John Roderick are on a mission to create a “time-capsule for future generations” filled with strange-but-true stories that will fascinate and generate lots of nostalgia.


For Curious Kids

Brains On

This award-winning science podcast brings together NPR’s Molly Bloom and a rotating kid co-host to tackle intriguing topics like, “Why do we like getting scared?” and “Walking on walls: How ants and spiders do it.” Fun for kids and their adults, alike.

Story Time

Circle Round

This wonderful podcast from WBUR in Boston adapts folktales from around the world into 10- to 20-minute radio plays that explore themes like kindness, persistence, and generosity. Each episode is voiced by a team of storytellers including actors and comedians. Great for kids from ages 4–10. 

Silly Debates

Smash Boom Best

Which is cooler: Invisibility or flying? Sharks or skunks? Robots or aliens? Smash Boom Best takes on these hard-hitting topics in half-hour long, entertaining debates. Kids will laugh and argue along, and parents will have flashbacks to all those backseat debates they had with their siblings on cross-country road trips when they were young.

About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.