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It’s no secret that I’m a National Park lover. I often plan our family road trips around which new parks we can get stamped in our National Park passports I discovered in the visitor’s center at Capulin Volcano National Monument. When I’m not finding inspiration on the road and in nature, books are a huge part of expanding my world view. I also adore the serendipitous experience of stumbling over new gems at my local library. And what’s not to love about stumbling across a new book about some of America’s brightest gems? Join me as I geek out and share this collection of 46 of some of the best National Park books out there. 

Coffee Table Books

1. The Art of the National Parks

The Art of the National Parks is a stunning hardcover book that features contemporary artwork from the Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series. This beautiful collection of artwork celebrates America’s National Parks, showcasing their unique beauty and diversity in exquisite detail. Each poster, created by a different contemporary artist, captures the essence of a specific national park, from the misty forests of Olympic to the towering peaks of Denali. The book is a must-have for nature lovers, art enthusiasts, and anyone who wants to bring the beauty of America’s wilderness into their home. Alongside the stunning artwork, the book also includes essays from park rangers and experts, providing a deeper understanding of the history, ecology, and culture of each park. Whether you’re a seasoned park enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of nature art, The Art of the National Parks is a captivating and informative addition to your book collection.

Buyer review: “This book is hands down the most beautiful thing I own. I love this print series and the art they put out.” 


2. America’s National Parks: A Photographic Guide Through All 63 National Parks of the USA

This comprehensive book provides readers with stunning photographs of every national park in the United States. With breathtaking images showcasing the natural beauty and diversity of each park, this guide is perfect for nature enthusiasts, travelers, and anyone who wants to explore the majesty of America’s wilderness. The book makes it easy to plan trips and navigate through the different parks. In addition to the stunning photography, the book also includes helpful information on each park, such as its history, wildlife, and popular attractions.

Buyer review“The book is organized in a logical and easy-to-follow manner, with each national park getting its section. The layout of the book is well-designed, with beautiful photos taking up the majority of each page. Each photograph is accompanied by informative captions that provide useful information about the location, wildlife, and history of the park.
What sets this book apart from other national park guides is the quality of the photos. The images are of the highest caliber, capturing the grandeur and beauty of each location with an almost visceral clarity. The photos not only depict the grand landscapes but also highlight the intricate details of the natural world, such as the delicate petals of a flower or the intricate pattern of a rock formation.

The book is not just a feast for the eyes, but it is also informative. It offers practical tips and advice on how to get the most out of your visit to each park, including recommended trails, viewpoints, and camping areas.”


3. Subpar Parks: America’s Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors

This book is a humorous and irreverent take on America’s national parks, featuring illustrations of some of the most famous national parks, along with snarky comments from visitors who were less than impressed with their experiences. It’s a fun and lighthearted way to explore the quirks and shortcomings of some of America’s most beloved outdoor destinations. Despite the tongue-in-cheek humor, the book also celebrates the beauty and wonder of these natural wonders, making it a great addition to any nature lover’s book collection.

Buyer review: “This is one of my favorite kinds of books; it is a rare combination of both informative and amusing. It is primarily a book that describes various National Parks, but it also pokes fun at the poor reviews that some people have written about these beautiful places.
The author explains that the National Park Service is split into geographic regions, each overseeing a specific area of the country, and so she organized the book the same way. The Regions are: Alaska, Pacific West, Intermountain, Midwest, Northeast, National Capital, and Southeast. For each section there is a title page describing the region, then a stylized map of the area, and then in the following pages there is an entry for each individual park.

Each park has a title page, which shows when the park was established, followed by a postcard-like picturesque drawing, with a negative review summary over it. For example: Kenai Fjords National Park, which has a beautifully drawn scene of rocks jutting out of the water and the tail of whale just above the surface, with the caption “Only Saw One Humpback.” After that there is a description of the park, and often some “fun facts” or “Ranger tips” added in at the end as well.

I really enjoyed this book. It was great to learn about the history and geography of all of these National Parks, and I really appreciated the author’s sense of humor as she makes fun of the negative reviews. She makes the point in the introduction, that she sometimes finds it helpful to remind herself that if some of the most beautiful places on Earth can receive 1 star reviews, then she shouldn’t be too focused on what her critics have to say, because clearly you can’t please everyone. A great point, and a fun and informative book overall.”


4. Ansel Adams in the National Parks

Ansel Adams in the National Parks is a collection of photographs by renowned photographer Ansel Adams, showcasing the natural beauty of America’s national parks. The book features stunning black-and-white images of some of the most iconic landscapes in the United States, from Yosemite to the Grand Canyon. Adams was a pioneer in the field of landscape photography, and his work helped to shape the way we view and appreciate the natural world. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves nature photography, and it’s a testament to the beauty and grandeur of America’s national parks. Along with the photographs, the book includes quotes and essays by Adams and other writers, providing insights into the artist’s life and his relationship with the national parks.

Buyer Review“There were many photos in this volume that I had not seen. The more familiar ones of Ansel Adams were included, with other beautiful and thought-provoking scenes to pique one’s interest in the natural world. A wonderful addition to any bibliophile’s library who is interested in black and white prints.”


5. Yellowstone: A Land of Wild and Wonder

This book is a stunning visual journey through America’s beloved national park, captured through the lens of photographer Christopher Cauble. With a contemporary and powerful style, Cauble’s photographs showcase the dramatic landscapes, intimate wildlife portraits, and timeless majesty of Yellowstone National Park. The book features art-quality printing and a striking cover, making it a beautiful addition to any coffee table. Cauble’s photography inspires a sense of wanderlust and a renewed appreciation for the park’s natural wonders. This book is a must-have for anyone who loves Yellowstone and fine photography, offering a fresh and unique perspective on this iconic national park.

Buyer Review“This is a beautiful book – a treasure. The soft pastel and subdued colors, along with the luxurious pages (the smoothest I’ve ever felt) make this book extra special. It just feels quiet, if that makes sense. The close-ups of the animals are also amazing. The cover of the book is representative of the photos inside, so if you are drawn to the cover, I think you will love the book.”


6. Roaming America: Exploring All the National Parks

Roaming America is a comprehensive guidebook for adventure and nature enthusiasts looking to explore the US National Parks. Written from the firsthand perspective of professional travel photographers Renee & Matthew Hahnel, the book features practical information for each national park, suggested itineraries, and best-of recommendations. The guide covers all 59 national parks and offers insider tips for avoiding crowds and experiencing the most underrated parks. The Hahnels also share their personal stories and musings from their seven-month journey to all 59 parks, accompanied by breathtaking full-color photographs showcasing the beauty of America’s national parks.

Buyer Review: This book is exactly what I was looking for. I think the negative reviews are amusing. This is NOT a full guidebook on National Parks. It’s not super detail oriented. You won’t find maps and directions. You will find a beautiful roundup of our countries parks. Gorgeous photography and highlighted points of each park. Where to hike, where to stay, etc. Think bullet points. YES, it has Instagram worthy shots (including a few with the photographers) but that’s what I love about it.”


7. Our National Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems

This photography book showcases America’s hidden treasures and offers less-traveled alternatives to busy national parks. It features the 22 land-based national monuments under review in 2017, which include vast lands with breathtaking beauty, diverse wildlife, and historical heritage. The book includes 300 photographs taken by photographer QT Luong and introduces readers to the unique landscapes and people who call these sites sacred. The book is an invaluable guide for adventurers seeking solitude and discovering new places, with travel notes and maps for each photograph. The book won six national book awards and is an important reminder of the need to preserve and protect America’s natural and cultural resources.

Buyer Review: “For the arm-chair traveler, tourist, hiker, photographer and outdoor adventurer, QT Luong’s, Our National Monuments: America’s Hidden Gems, provides even more motivation to document, protect and respectfully enjoy our national monuments.

The writing, photography and passion of the author comes thru in this beautifully photographed and thoroughly documented guide to 27 of our national monuments. Specific highlights of each monument document places to visit and best time to photograph. Owners of the book can purchase electronic, extended travel notes with full maps at a reduced price.

If you are a public land lover, this book belongs in your collection.”


8. The Rough Guide to the USA’s National Parks

The Rough Guide to the USA’s National Parks is an exceptional resource that celebrates the beauty and diversity of 62 extraordinary destinations. This comprehensive guide takes readers on a journey through the iconic favorites like Yosemite and Joshua Tree, as well as lesser-known gems such as Wrangell-St Elias and the US Virgin Islands. With dedicated entries for each park, accompanied by stunning photography, readers can truly immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the USA. The book’s organization by state makes it easy to plan adventures and discover new parks. Written by an expert author, the Rough Guide captures the spirit of each park and provides essential information for travelers. With its stylish design and commitment to “tell it like it is,” the Rough Guide to the USA’s National Parks is a must-have for anyone seeking to explore and appreciate the beauty of America’s protected wildernesses.

9. This is a Book for People Who Love the National Parks

This is a delightful and informative celebration of America’s natural treasures. Whether you’re a seasoned park-goer or a casual camper, this charming guide will captivate you with its engaging profiles of all sixty-one National Parks. From the historic background of the Parks Service to quirky facts and key dates, this book is filled with fascinating information. The modern illustrations beautifully capture the essence of each park’s iconic features. With its perfect balance of research and lightheartedness, This Is a Book for People Who Love National Parks is a must-have for anyone who appreciates the beauty of these extraordinary destinations.


Best National Park Travel Guides

10. National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States, 3rd Edition

This travel guide by National Geographic is an essential reference for outdoor enthusiasts who love exploring recreation areas, historic sites, nature hikes, seashores, camping, and campgrounds. The 544-page guide is packed with full-color photos, detailed maps, historical background, and practical information on the location of national parks properties, the best times to visit, and top-rated activities.

Buyer Review: “If you are looking for information about a particular National Park or Historic Site this is an excellent place to begin your search. If you are browsing in hopes of finding places you may want to visit, again this book will serve you well. Author Mel White has covered everything. Every unit, over 400 in total, of the National Park System is covered here with basic information, and for many one or more photographs are included. Mel gives the telephone number and URL for every unit’s website and sometimes other contact information as well. More popular sites receive more coverage and may also include maps. If your potential or casual interest begins to turn into a more intense one, the book helps you make the next step to obtaining more information. This is the kind of book that if you lay it down in a convenient place you may find yourself picking it up from time to time almost without realizing it.”

11. Where Should We Camp Next?: National Parks

This guidebook written by family camping and RV experts Stephanie and Jeremy Puglisi features more than 300 camping and glamping spots in and around National Park Service units. It provides in-depth profiles of over fifty NPS units, with information on must-see attractions, activities, and historical highlights. Whether planning a family camping trip, a couples’ getaway, or a solo adventure, this book is a gateway to making memories in America’s amazing national parks.

Buyer Review“This book is more than just an extremely helpful and well-written guide. It leaves helpful in the dust.
What this book has that others don’t is PERSPECTIVE. The authors aren’t just good researchers and writers; they’re campers with a family. They live the RV life and have spent countless days on the road with their kids.

They are down to earth, know what’s important, and I can relate to them and trust their opinions more than any others. When I started reading the book, I found campgrounds I had been to and read the reviews. They were SPOT ON, and to my disappointment, I wish this book had been written earlier because it could have made my experience with my own family so much better.

So what constructive criticism can I offer? Well, I wish they wrote faster. I’ll be preordering everything this wonderful couple creates for as long as they’re creating.”

12. 100 Things to See in the National Parks: Your Guide to the Most Popular Features of the US National Parks

This guidebook features 100 must-see historical sites, natural landmarks, and other points of interest in the 63 national parks throughout the United States. The guide provides background information on each point of interest, as well as easy-to-follow instructions on how to find it, allowing national park fans of all ages to explore the parks like never before.

Buyer Review“Need a list of the best things to see and do in our national parks? Then 100 things to See will have you dreaming and scheming over where to go next. Like having your own personal park ranger on speed dial, Payne has created a unique must-do list of the most fascinating sights and activities in 63 national parks. Whether it’s a trail through a Cholla Cactus Garden, a boat ride to a lighthouse, or a boardwalk over a swamp, Payne shows us where and when to go, what to see, and how to get there.
As a long term lover of the national park system, I read about attractions in 100 Things to See that I didn’t know about but now want to see—like the remote Elkhorn Ranch at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the boardwalk loop at Congaree Swamp. She also suggests some extraordinary adventures to eye-popping scenery many park visitors miss, like water excursions to the amazing Stiltsville in Biscayne, underwater snorkel trails at Virgin Islands, and cave tours at Mammoth Cave—the longest-known cave system in the world! A wonderful addition to any park lover’s book shelf.”


13. Lodge: An Indoorsy Tour of America’s National Parks

In this book, Max Humphrey features 10 rustic National Park lodges in America. Humphrey highlights these storied places with striking photos and personal stories. He touches on grand dining rooms, guest rooms, and rustic canteens, highlighting notable architectural moments and period-specific furnishings. The book also adds extra bursts of levity throughout by incorporating pop culture history. The National Parks and lodges included in the book are located in California, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, Washington, Wyoming, and Utah. The book appeals to both National Park rookies and obsessives.

Buyer Review“Everything about this book drew me in- from the forward by Ken Burns, the photographs, and personal stories which make you feel transported to the moment captured. I already started planning my next trip to one of the lodges that I haven’t been to. Highly recommend this book to anyone who has an appreciation for Americas beauty, architecture, travel and history!”


14. The National Parks Cookbook: The Best Recipes from (and Inspired by) America’s National Parks

The National Parks have been feeding their visitors for over a century with a range of unique regional cuisines, gourmet menus, and meals made from foraged foods. Now, you can enjoy over 70 delicious recipes inspired by the iconic lodges, landscapes, and chefs with The National Parks Cookbook. The cookbook features recipes from popular national park destinations in the west, east, north, and south, including classics like the Grand Canyon Hiker’s Stew and original recipes inspired by park flora and fauna. Part cookbook and part lifestyle book filled with stunning travel photography and national park history, this book takes you on a food-driven tour through the parks and allows you to recreate their legendary recipes at home.


Best National Park Atlas and Map books

15. Atlas of the National Parks

This book is a unique atlas that showcases America’s national parks from coast to coast. It features authoritative park maps, hundreds of graphics, and photographs that highlight the extraordinary features of each park. Author Jonathan Waterman, a former ranger, provides readers with a comprehensive introduction to each park, including its magnificent landmarks, thriving ecosystems, representative wildlife, fascinating histories, and more. With stunning imagery and state-of-the-art graphics, this lush reference offers an up-close look at what makes these lands so special and uniquely American. The book also includes a heartfelt foreword from National Geographic CEO Gary Knell, reminding readers of the importance of these lands to our lives and national pride.

Editorial Review“Following coverage of the U.S. parks system as a whole, this gorgeous guide from former ranger Waterman explores all 61 national parks, 33 of them in depth…Visitors to these wonders, as well as browsers and students in middle school and up doing assignments, will find a wealth of information on the natural history of the destinations; the flora, fauna, and geological features to be found there now; and numerous other details, from social history to vital statistics, such as location, size, and highest point. The work offers plenty of well-researched and effectively written textual material, as well as numerous crisply detailed photos, maps, and illustrations per spread, in color and black-and-white as appropriate. The quality of this tome and its emphasis on current features make it worth a purchase even where libraries own [it].” –Library Journal


16. Rand McNally 2023 Road Atlas & National Park Guide

This guidebook is the ultimate resource for anyone planning to visit America’s national parks. The guidebook includes a 132-page National Park Guide, featuring essential information and tips for each park, including trails, drives, natural wonders, programs, museums, and lodges. Hundreds of photos and park inset maps highlight key points of interest. The guidebook also includes a completely updated 2023 Road Atlas, maps of every US state, Canadian province, and an overview map of Mexico. Other features include inset maps of over 350 cities and 63 US national parks, road construction and conditions contact information for every state, a mileage chart, and driving times map. The spiral-bound guidebook has 272 pages and is a must-have for anyone planning a trip to America’s national parks.

Buyer Review: “It has been a while since I have actually used the map due to too much reliance on Google map. However, G-map has it limitation and when searching for area, it was very hard to find entry to the park. Also, for me planning a cross country tour, the map actually is very helpful estimating the distance an surrounding area. So, by using both the G-map and the physical map, I am much able to plan out the large trip and use the Gmap feature to add the locations from the map and update the direction on Gmap. Doing so will eliminate carrying this huge map. This is good for road trip but not for traveling by plane or train as this map weighs about 3 lbs and its about 12 inch by 24 inches.”



17. Mapping America’s National Parks: Preserving Our Natural and Cultural Treasures

Mapping America’s National Parks is a book that explores how the US National Park Service (NPS) uses maps and geospatial technology to protect and manage America’s national parks. The book contains over 240 full-color maps and photographs of national parks, monuments, and historic sites, showing how GIS software helps the NPS keep the balance between park enjoyment and preservation. Through stories told by their own staff, the book explains how GIS helps the NPS provide security for wildlife and ecosystems, analyze search and rescue operations, manage fire protection, and share intelligence on wildlife trafficking and zoonotic diseases.


18. National Parks Maps

This beautifully illustrated map collection offers a unique way to explore and learn about the national parks, from their history and natural wonders to the best hiking trails and scenic drives. Whether you’re a seasoned park enthusiast or a newcomer to the outdoors, National Parks Maps will inspire you to plan your next adventure and discover the hidden gems of America’s protected lands.

Buyer Review“This was very helpful in being able to visualize what the top things to visit are at each park and where in the park they are each located! Wish we would have had it earlier in our tour of national parks haha. This book is beautiful!”


Best Books About Individual National Parks

Wildsam Field Guides

Wildsam Field Guides are known for their unique and visually appealing design, featuring illustrations, maps, and photographs to supplement the written content. The guides are meant to be more than just a collection of information but also serve as a beautiful keepsake for travelers and adventurers. Each guide is carefully crafted and designed to capture the spirit of the location it covers, offering a holistic and immersive experience to its readers.

19. Wildsam Field Guides: Grand Canyon

A comprehensive guide to the Grand Canyon National Park. It features insights and guidance from leading experts on various topics such as geology, flora, fauna, history, culture, and outdoor pursuits. In addition, it includes information on historic trading posts, native leaders, river rapids, and profiles of Southwestern towns. It also provides a list of base camps, trails, road trips, and overlooks for each quadrant of the park. This guide is perfect for anyone looking to explore and learn about the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon.


20. Wildsam Field Guides: Yellowstone: Mystery and Marvel

This guide takes readers on a journey through America’s first national park and its surrounding areas, providing local insights from guides, scientists and experts. The guide offers a comprehensive understanding of the park’s natural wonders, including bison herds, wolf packs, geysers and volcanic forces, as well as the rich human history that dates back thousands of years. The guide also includes practical information such as road trip itineraries, breakfast spots, outfitter recommendations, and base camps for local art, craft brews and quirky memorabilia. Additionally, Wildsam Yellowstone features stories and contributions from local voices such as bison experts, fly fishing guides, astrobiologists, Indigenous historians, park rangers, writers and artists, making it a unique and engaging read.

Buyer Review“These guys from wild sam really get it when it comes to travel and finding the kind of spots that you can only hope to find when you are trying anywhere new!”


21. Wildsam Field Guides: Yosemite

The Wildsam Field Guide: Yosemite takes readers through California’s famed high Sierras and into Yosemite National Park with insights from experts and veterans of the park. It includes a month-by-month guide for activities, a guide to the flora and fauna, climbing wisdom from Royal Robbins, and a three-day road trip itinerary. The guide also explores the history of rock climbing, Indigenous history, John Muir’s conservationist writing, great hikes and campsites, and the park’s natural wonders.

Buyer Review: “Used this book on a recent trip. I love how much the editors love Yosemite. I don’t travel much anymore without Wildsam guides, no matter how many times I’ve been to a place.”


22. Wildsam Field Guides: Great Smoky Mountains

The Wildsam Field Guides for the Great Smoky Mountains offers visitors a fresh perspective on America’s most-visited national park. It includes an essential list of Smokies books, music, and artists, Southern Appalachian dishes, flora and fauna highlights, local Cherokee stories, itineraries, trail recommendations, viewing tips for wildlife, interviews with park rangers, trolley drivers, and thru-hikers, and fifteen base camp options ranging from rustic to high luxury. Additionally, there is intel from a fly fisherman and a rafting outfitter.


23. Wildsam Field Guides: Joshua Tree

Wildsam Field Guides: Joshua Tree explores one of America’s most captivating desert destinations, with the help of local experts and longtime residents. The guide offers practical tips for exploring the national park and surrounding area, as well as recommendations for base camps and hikes. In addition, the book delves into various aspects of the area’s history, culture, and natural features, such as the yucca plants, jackrabbit homesteads, military history, wildlife corridors, date farms, and even UFO sightings.

Buyer Review: “I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered this book, and it was such a great surprise when it arrived. It has all the things you’d want from a guidebook, but there’s much more to it than that. There’s helpful information on booking and planning, lodging options, and sights to see. But the book also includes interviews with really interesting people in the area, historical and architectural anecdotes, nature notes, and dozens of colorful, original illustrations. There’s also a beautiful fold-out map at the end.”


24. Naturalist’s Big Bend

In Southwest Texas, Big Bend National Park is a vast and varied environment of river floodplains, desert, grasslands, and mountains. This region is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, such as the prickly pear cactus, javelina, colima warbler, and Big Bend quonker katydid. Naturalist’s Big Bend is a comprehensive field guide that introduces readers to the unique plants and animals of the region, including details about their habitats and characteristics. It also includes information on the area’s archaeology, history, and walking/driving tours of the best spots for observing wildlife.


25. Death in Big Bend

Death in Big Bend is a book that recounts 17 stories of fatalities and rescues in Big Bend National Park since the 1980s. While most visitors to the park have a wonderful and safe experience, accidents can happen, and this book explores incidents such as heat stroke, hypothermia, drowning, falls, and even murder that have led to tragic outcomes. The book provides useful information that could potentially prevent future accidents and save lives.

Buyer ReviewBBNP intrigues me greatly. I had to get this book after visiting the park and also talking to a Texan who recommended it. ****Get a map of Big Bend and keep it with you when reading, it will make it twice as fun and more easy to follow the stories!**** I enjoyed the writing style, very direct and to the point. There were definitely some sad and scary stories in the book, but for the most part, I think it serves as an interesting way to write a survival guide for the park. I read the book in three days, which is light-speed for me, so if BBNP interests you, I’m sure you will not be able to put it down either.”

Best Children’s Books About National Parks

26. Fun with National Parks

This travel activity book is designed for kids aged 6-10 and features 125+ activities and fun facts about all 63 national parks in the United States. The book helps children explore the landscape, geological features, animals, and history of each park, while also providing educational activities such as mazes, dot-to-dots, and word searches. A map is included to help kids learn the location of each park and improve their geography skills. Fun with National Parks is a great resource for children who want to learn more about these natural treasures and plan a future trip.

Buyer Review: “My 8 year old daughter got this and immediately began doing the activities. They were certainly all age appropriate, but even my husband and I had fun doing some of them. My daughter is now planning a trip to Yellowstone inspired by this book. I’m sure she’ll be planning many more trips for us to National Parks thanks to this great activity book! Bought one for my nephew too!”


27. National Park Mystery Series

The National Parks Mystery series is a ten-book series that follows Jake Evans and his friends on a scavenger hunt through ten of America’s national parks, including Rocky Mountain, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. In book one, Mystery in Rocky Mountain National Park, the group uncovers a mystery left by Jake’s grandfather. The series combines adventure, survival skills, a parallel story set in the 1880s, and humor to nurture a passion for the outdoors and an appreciation for the natural world in kids.

Buyer Review: “I read Aaron Johnson’s first book of the National Park Mystery Series and loved it so much. The characters are fun and I think every eight to ten year old could relate to them. There is a lot of interesting history along with a mystery that keeps you turning pages. I like how the kids learn to work together, and their parents trust their children to explore. I also enjoy the little extra history in the back explaining the research that went into the book. I was a third/fourth grade teacher for thirty-one years and would have loved to have this series in my classroom to extend knowledge of Colorado History. Well done!”


28. National Parks of the USA

National Parks of the USA is a book that takes readers on a journey through 21 of America’s most iconic and majestic national parks. The book is divided by region and includes maps and fascinating facts about the flora and fauna unique to each park. Each park is introduced by a stunning illustration of one of its scenes, followed by individual illustrations of the animals and plants that make their homes there. Captions provide captivating information about the wildlife. The book includes activities, facts, and challenges for readers of all ages, inspiring the adventuring naturalist in all of us.

Buyer Review“Kate Siber’s “National Parks of the U.S.A.” is a travel guide for young readers. The illustrations of artist Chris Turnham are glorious. Siber and Turnham have created a celebration of national parks that is a true nonfiction picture book. Only 21 of America’s 63 national parks are included in the contents, but the selections represent a cross-section of the 50 states and beyond. The book is a standout for young readers in large part because of the heavy emphasis on the wildlife and marine life to be found within is colorful pages. The book is an important selection for any family library to be visited often.”


29. Lonely Planet Kids America’s National Parks 

The book “America’s National Parks” from Lonely Planet Kids showcases 60 of America’s national parks, including their stunning landscapes, unique animals, and exciting activities. The book features facts, photos, and illustrations on each page and covers national parks across the continental USA, Hawaii, American Samoa, and the US Virgin Islands. The book aims to educate and encourage young readers to learn about the world and inspire them to become global citizens.

Buyer Review: This book is a perfect mix of facts, real photos and cute illustrations. I’m a book collector as an artist and illustration myself so I tend to be pretty picky about which books I buy. This one hit all the YES marks and is being enjoyed by everyone in the family. Don’t hesitate to buy if you are a National Parks fan.”


30. B Is for Bison: A National Parks Primer

This colorful alphabet primer by BabyLit introduces toddlers to 26 national parks in the United States, showcasing popular animals, landmarks, and scenic views. The book features illustrations by Greg Paprocki, with a retro midcentury art style that has been popular with both toddlers and adults. Each park is represented by a letter, such as G for Grand Canyon National Park and Y for Yosemite National Park.

Buyer Review: “This book is so great! I love the whole line with this author/illustrator! The illustrations are beautiful and this book has all kinds of neat pages showing our national parks! It’s actually quite informative for a toddler book just with the illustrations! Very vibrant pictures babies and toddlers love to look at!”


Best Memoirs

31. Wild Rescues: A Paramedic’s Extreme Adventures in Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton

“Wild Rescues” is a book that provides readers with an inside look into the lives of paramedics who work for the National Park Service. The author, Kevin Grange, worked in Yellowstone National Park and shares his experiences responding to medical and traumatic emergencies in remote parts of the park. He also reflects on the challenges facing America’s national parks, including rising visitation and shrinking budgets. The book offers insights into the democratic ideal of the National Park mission and the beauty of the land.

Buyer Review: “As one who loves and visits our National Parks, I was drawn into reading what goes on “behind the scenes”. Articles that we see on the news or read about in the paper suddenly comes to life as we look over the shoulders of the Paramedics who respond to calls I could never imagine. And having to assess and treat patients in areas that are barely accessible in weather no one should be out in is crazy. I have the utmost respect and admiration for all of our First Responders and I enjoyed seeing them both at work and enjoying their off-time together. I loved reading about the different state and federal agencies and their specialties, and was amazed at how seamlessly they work together to care both for us and the park environments that we visit. I highly recommend getting this book- it’s hard to put down.”


32. Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park

In Leave Only Footprints, CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Conor Knighton shares informative and entertaining dispatches from his year-long road trip to every national park in the United States, inspired by a broken engagement and a broken heart. Knighton weaves together captivating, hilarious, and inspiring stories of his adventures in each park, while also identifying the threads that tie these wildly different places together and revealing how his trip changed his views on everything from God and love to politics and technology. The book celebrates and passionately advocates for the natural wonders that all Americans share, filled with fascinating tidbits about the parks’ past and reflections on their fragile future.

Buyer Review: “If you’re looking for a detailed guide to America’s National Parks, this isn’t the book for you.However, if your looking for some uplifting content with amazing facts about nature and the history of some of the parks – pick it up! Conor Knighton’s narrative is engaging, beautiful, and funny. I read a chapter a day and I always seemed to be happier after reading. It’s definitely fuelled my excitement to go exploring and travelling to see the amazing sights he’s written about.”


33. Campfire Stories: Tales from America’s National Parks

Campfire Stories is a collection of tales about six iconic national parks in the United States, including Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion. Co-editors Dave and Ilyssa Kyu spent five months traveling and researching the stories, gathering them from public libraries, historical societies, and national park archives. The stories range from well-known writers such as John Muir and Bill Bryson to indigenous peoples’ tales and pioneer diaries. Each story includes an “About this Story” reflection, offering insight into how the story was discovered and why it was selected. The book also includes tips on how to be a compelling storyteller and reflections from the co-editors about their own experiences in each park.

Critic Review: “An engaging, entertaining, unique and simply fascinating read from cover to cover, “Campfire Stories: Tales from America’s National Parks” is exceptionally well written, organized and presented, making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library collections, as well as the personal reading lists of anyone who has ever experienced America’s national parks for themselves — or would like to!” — Margaret Lane ― Midwest Book Review


34. The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks

Terry Tempest Williams’ The Hour of Land is a book that celebrates America’s national parks and explores what they mean to us and what we mean to them. The book is a series of lyrical portraits of different national parks that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. The Hour of Land is a part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique that meditates and manifests why wild lands matter to the soul of America. The book was longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence and named a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year.

Buyer Review: “Terry Tempest William’s has an uncanny sense of timing and deep understanding of our lands and wild spaces. She again, takes the reader on a personal journey while conveying the items of utmost importance in our National Parks and lands. She evokes change in readers like me and I am infinitely better for it. She is the Naturalist of our time. I urge all to read this lovely, sometimes painful yet unflinching look at ourselves. It is indeed, the Hour of Land.”


35. Lassoing the Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks

Mark Woods writes about his childhood memories of visiting America’s national parks with his family, and his decision to spend a year visiting them as an adult. However, his plans are interrupted when his mother is diagnosed with cancer and given only a few months to live. His book, Lassoing the Sun, is a tribute to his family, the parks, and the legacies they leave behind.

Critic Review: “Earnest and heartfelt, [Lassoing the Sun] captures how one family handles the joys and sorrows of life, with American’s most beautiful landscapes standing in the background.”—Travel & Leisure


36. Dirt Work: An Education in the Woods

“Dirt Work” by Christine Byl is a memoir about her experience as a traildog in Glacier National Park. She recounts her first encounter with the national parks as a vacationer, but later joined a trail crew as a seasonal worker. Byl learns the ropes of trail maintenance, from clearing trees to building stairs, and is mentored by fellow workers. She finds the work challenging but rewarding, and returns season after season, eventually becoming a crew leader. Through her experiences, Byl challenges assumptions about gender roles and the division of labor. “Dirt Work” is a contemplative exploration of the value of hard work and the unique subculture of trail crews.

Critic Review: “[It] blends beauty and crudeness, grit and grace… With language that is lyrical despite the earthiness of its subject, Byl turns the words of work into found poetry (“brake on, choke on, pull, pull, fire”), offering a bridge for readers to those “who would not speak like this themselves”—a beautiful memoir of muscle and metal.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review


37. Fox and I: An Uncommon Friendship

Fox and I is a memoir by Catherine Raven about her unlikely friendship with a wild fox that visited her property every afternoon near Yellowstone National Park. The book explores themes of loneliness, connection with nature, and coping with loss. Raven, a biologist living in Montana, shares her experiences of reading to the fox and discovering its unique personality, which taught her the importance of connecting with the natural world. The book has received critical acclaim and won multiple awards.

Critic Review: “It’s a familiar story arc: human becomes best friends with a wild animal and life lessons are learned. Yet in biologist and former Glacier National Park ranger Catherine Raven’s hands, the story—of isolation and tender friendship with a wild fox—feels new. …Her memoir reminds us that connection to the natural world comes in many forms.”—Time Magazine


Best Fiction Books That Take Place in National Parks


38. Where the Fire Falls: A Vintage National Parks Novel

In this late 1920s historical romance set in Yosemite National Park, watercolorist Olivia Rutherford lands a lucrative contract to paint illustrations of the park for a travel magazine. Meanwhile, former minister Clark Johnson, who has found purpose as a backcountry guide, is faced with the opportunity to become a National Parks Ranger. As Clark shows Olivia the wonders of the park and its people, she realizes that the people are just as important to the park’s story as its vistas. This novel is filled with mystery, adventure, heart, and the sense of the place John Muir described as “pervaded with divine light.”

Buyer Review: I’m loving the Vintage National Park series by Karen Barnett! Where the Fire Falls is a mystery, love story, and a little history all rolled into one. The main character, Olivia, is an artist, a watercolor artist that has a job for a magazine that takes her to Yosemite. She’s kind of a mystery herself. I love how the author unfolded her story.”


39. The Wild Inside

“The Wild Inside” is a crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a Special Agent named Ted Systead who investigates a crime that resembles the death of his father twenty years ago. Along with park officer Monty, Ted tries to unravel the mystery, but the locals’ suspicion and connection to the wild make it challenging. Ted’s search leads him deeper into the wilderness, where he discovers shocking personal conclusions, revealing the perilous and unforgiving intersection between man and nature. The novel is atmospheric and alluring, similar to crime novels by C.J. Box, Louise Penny, and William Kent Krueger, and nature writing by John Krakauer and Cheryl Strayed.

Critic Review: “Grizzly bears, murder, mauling, and mayhem mix in Carbo’s debut novel. Ted Systead’s past and present intersect in an unexpected—and chilling—manner against the incongruously gorgeous backdrop of Glacier National Park.” ― Kirkus Reviews


40. Valley Girls

Rilla, a 17-year-old girl, gets in trouble for partying soon after arriving at Yosemite National Park to live with her sister. In an attempt to create a new and stable life for herself, she becomes part of a group of climbers and sets her sights on climbing El Capitan. However, her desire for adventure puts her future and her relationship with her sister in jeopardy.

Buyer Review: No one writes like Sarah Lemon. This is a story of strength set against the breathtaking landscape of Yosemite. It was emotionally immediate, fraught and utterly cathartic. I loved it.”

Best Books About National Park History

41. The Father of Glacier National Park

The book tells the story of George Bird Grinnell, a writer and explorer who discovered and named forty geological features in the area that became Glacier National Park. He wrote extensively about his expeditions and advocated for the protection of the area as a national park for nearly two decades until he succeeded. The book compiles first-person narratives from Grinnell’s unpublished journal entries, personal correspondence, and articles to tell the early history of the park.

Buyer Review: “For someone who’s going or been to Glacier National Park its a great read. I’ve been there 4 times over the past 25 years and can actually see and remember the places in the photos and maps I’ve been. A great way to understand how the park was made by the non stop work by WBG. William Bird Grinnell along with Teddy Roosevelt with the help of others made this happen before we lost this beautiful place forever. I would recommend to anyone traveling there, school children and anyone curious about the late 1800s and how America was. Written from the actual diary of WBG. Really amazing work.”


42. King Sequoia: The Tree That Inspired a Nation, Created Our National Park System, and Changed the Way We Think about Nature

William C. Tweed takes readers on a tour of the Big Trees, exploring the American public’s evolving relationship with sequoias. He covers the history of the sequoias in Yosemite and Calaveras as early tourist destinations, the threat of logging interests, and the protection efforts that were catalyzed. Sequoias inspired the Park Idea, and as science evolved to consider landscapes more holistically, they were once again at the heart of this attitudinal shift. King Sequoia features a cast of adventurers, researchers, politicians, and environmentalists and reveals how one tree species transformed Americans’ connection to the natural world.

Buyer Review: A good read. It was particularly fun as we made a trip through the Sierras and visited Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks this fall. Inspirational to stand in a grove of Sequoias and also to know how hard people have worked to preserve them.”


Best Coloring and Activity Books

43. Seek & Find National Parks

“Seek & Find National Parks” is a book that invites readers to explore the plants and animals of nine national parks through fun facts, engaging questions, and intricate illustrations. The book features a variety of species, including bighorn sheep, American black bears, and giant sequoias, hidden in the illustrations for readers to find. The book also includes a glossary for further discovery. The national parks featured include Acadia, Banff, Crater Lake, Great Smoky Mountains, Thousand Islands, US Virgin Islands, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Zion.

Buyer Review: “My boys (10 & 8) and I have read this every night together for a week. They can’t get enough and love the glossary in the back to dive a little deeper and learn more. Highly recommend.”


44. National Parks of the USA: Activity Book

The Seek & Find National Parks activity book is a companion to the National Parks of the USA reference book. It contains wildlife and nature facts, park trivia, spotters guides, and various activities including coloring, puzzles, quizzes, and more. The book features over 50 stickers and a pull-out poster with a map of the national parks. The parks included in the book are Acadia, Big Bend, Channel Islands, Death Valley, Denali, Everglades, Glacier Bay, Grand Canyon, Hawai’i volcanoes, Mesa Verde, Olympic, Yellowstone, Yosemite, and more. The National Parks of the USA series of books aims to immerse young people in the wonders of America’s outdoors and the diversity of the national parks’ living landscapes.

Buyer Review: “This Activity Book is everything I hoped for! In the planning for a trip across the South West and visiting several National Parks, I decided to shop around and look for some fun educational resources for my kids. I knew we’d be in the van for HOURS driving from Mississippi to Los Angeles and back and I wanted to give them some things to read and do to help the time pass and also for them to learn. This Activity Book is absolutely BEAUTIFUL. I tried to include as many pics as possible of the activities inside. I especially love the ‘Mad Libs’ page where the kids can fill in nouns, verbs, etc into a pre-written story and then read it to see how it all sounds. I also love the page that has the kids using their creativity to design their own National Park.
It comes with a Gorgeous Map of the United States with National Parks labeled that could be framed for a child’s room, playroom or homeschool room. I would recommend this for road trips and also for homeschool families studying National Parks or just families who love National Parks. Be sure to purchase the Book it was Inspired by: ‘National Parks of the USA’ by Kate Siber which is equally impressive and the perfect companion.”


45. The National Parks Coloring Book

The National Parks Coloring Book features 24 popular and scenic national parks in the United States, including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion, Acadia, and more. The coloring book contains unique and educational images of each park’s distinguishing animals, plants, and iconic sites. The book is great for all skill levels and includes a color key for reference. The list of National Parks included is found in alphabetical order. The illustrator of the book is Jen Racine, a designer and illustrator of coloring books that are whimsical and fun.

Buyer Review: I love how this coloring book has not only the national parks but also the animals and plants/flowers native to each area. Good fun for all ages. Not your normal boring coloring book but rather a fun way to learn each park as well as something unique about each area. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a way to combine creativity, learning and fun.”



46. Kids National Park Passport Experience Journal

The Kids National Park Passport is a journal designed for children to record and remember their experiences and adventures in national parks. It includes 20 entries for recording hikes, with accompanying pages for drawing and activities. Each entry has prompted sections to help remember important details such as the date, location, and wildlife seen. The passport is pocket-sized and made with premium quality materials.

Buyer Review: Even though this says it is a book for kids, my older teenager really liked it and bought one for her roommate as well.”


47. Junior Ranger Activity Book

The book is filled with games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and more inspired by the National Parks’ Junior Ranger Program. It covers all 59 of the US National Parks and is great for pre-trip excitement, long car rides, historical site exploration, and general learning. The book features park habitats, animals, and sights, with fun facts on every page to educate and entertain children about the importance of the parks.

Buyer Review: Wonderful activity book for kids! We got it for our 7 year old for Christmas and he’s loved all the activities! The funny fill-ins are his favorite!” 


48. Knitting the National Parks

This book offers 63 knitting patterns for beanies inspired by the landscapes of each of the 63 US National Parks. The patterns range from simple to challenging and include clear charts and easy-to-follow instructions. Each pattern is accompanied by photos of the finished beanie and images of the park’s landscapes that inspired it. The book also provides information about the unique fauna, flora, and landscapes of each national park.

Buyer Review: This is a great book of patterns. Lots of options from beginner to advanced. Made my family hats of their favorite national parks for Christmas this year and they were a hit. The nice thing is is that most of the hats require the same needles (a few do require different ones), so it’s nice to not have to have a bunch of different ones.”

The collection of books showcased above is a fantastic way to explore and experience the beauty of the United States National Parks. Whether you’re planning a trip or just interested in learning more about these amazing natural wonders, these books offer something for everyone. From a Kids National Park Passport that helps young adventurers collect memories and experiences to a knitting book that captures the unique landscapes of each park in beautiful beanies, there is no shortage of creative and fun ways to engage with the National Parks. So, whether you’re exploring from afar or embarking on a park adventure, these books are the perfect companion to help you discover the wonders of the US National Parks.

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