The beauty of books is, they can take us on the wildest of adventures without leaving our cozy spot on the couch. Opening the pages of a new paperback, turning on your e-reader, or putting in headphones to listen to an audiobook can instantly transport you to another world. Books can lead us on inward journeys or have us dreaming of places to see with our own eyes.
Whether you’re bringing these books to read along your journey or to inspire you to start, there is a perfect book for every adventurer.
We’ll start with practical guides for explorers because you need to make sure you’re prepared for your adventure. To get the right book for the job, you’ll need to know where you’re headed. Perhaps you’re thinking about checking off some state parks near or far, or maybe crossing some national parks off your bucket list. Wherever you’re headed, we have you covered.
National Park Travel Guides
This guide is complete with everything you need to know before you set out to explore the National Parks. In this book, you’ll find information about each park’s hiking trails, kid-friendly activities, must-see spots, backpacking essentials and more.
Commemorate your trip with this journal! Record your memories while you travel through different National Parks and enjoy this keepsake long after you head back home. Small enough to fit in your backpack, too!
This guide is nearly a combination of the two above – it is a fully comprehensive guide for everything you need to know about visiting the parks with a special section for keepsakes.
State Park Travel Guides
This guide is a great starting point for questions on camping in state parks. (You can also find more campground guides here!) There are over 10,000 state parks in the United States, so finding a guide with every park listed would be bulky to say the least (if such a book exists!). This guide includes almost 2,000 parks across 49 states, making it certainly a great place to start!
Again, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a guide that has detailed information about every state park in the country, but this one does an excellent job of gathering inspiration! This guide provides you with detailed travel information as well as interesting facts about each destination. With beautiful color photos, this is a great addition to any adventurer’s library!
Looking to find state parks off the beaten path? This is the guide for you! With over 750 detailed descriptions of state parks across the country, here is another colorful, resourceful guide to plan or gather inspiration for your next adventure!
How-To Travel Guides
Use this guide to discover essential information for your next hiking adventure. This field manual includes how-tos for basic first aid, predicting the weather, bear-proofing your campsite, packing light, and more.
Yes, you are most likely to use the GPS on your smartphone while traveling, but you should be prepared for potential pockets of low/no service or if your phone battery dies. This road atlas includes updated road maps for all of the US, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico in addition to a list of the 24 most visited National Parks and top 100 adventure destinations!
Inspirational Adventure Books & Memoirs
There is a great story to be told with any adventure, and through the words of others, we can often find parallels to our own journeys. This collection of books is sure to lift you up, bring you comfort, and inspire.
Who doesn’t love a good dog story? This book is the true story of how author Ted Kerasote met a dog living on its own in the wild while camping. The two became inseparable, so Ted brought the pup home and named him Merle. There begins the story of how these two grow to love and trust each other and how this “wild” dog could teach a human so much about life.
Who doesn’t love a good laugh? Okay, we’ll stop with the rhetorical questions for now – but seriously, this book will be sure to make you giggle! A Walk in the Woods is written from the perspective of Bill Bryson, who decides to reacquaint himself with America after living abroad for twenty years. He and a friend hike together through the Appalachian Trail, and Bryson shares the journey with us. Not only will this keep you entertained, but there is great information if you decide to venture to the Appalachian Trail yourself!
Another memoir that is hard to put down, writer Cheryl Strayed recounts her journey while traveling alone on the Pacific Crest Trail. There will be moments you’re sure to laugh out loud and plenty where you’ll find tears in your eyes as you walk with Cheryl on her trip back home to herself.
Dogs and adventure clearly go hand in hand! To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light – those were the goals of author John Steinbeck when he set out on a cross-country adventure. On this journey, he encounters bears, old friends, and reflects on the American character, all alongside his French poodle, Charley.
Fiction Adventure Books to Get Lost With
The words on the pages of the books below will take you to other worlds. From classic pieces of literature to books that will make you think, this set will entertain you and keep you company, whether you’re reading after a long day of hiking or simply dreaming up your next adventure.
It would be hard to have a list of adventure books without including Moby Dick. While this novel was not appreciated as much when author Herman Melville was alive, it is certainly regarded as a classic piece of literature today. This adventure tale is about a young sailor who is pulled into a captain’s quest for revenge against a giant sperm whale, who took a leg from the captain.
Author to many great classic adventure novels is French novelist Jules Verne. Journey to the Center of the Earth is a novel about a geologist who sets off on an expedition with his nephew and guide. Verne leads us, and his characters, beneath the Earth’s surface only to find prehistoric creatures and monsters that threaten our group’s life. In addition to this tale, famous captivating works from Verne include Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Around the World in Eighty Days, and more.
Our last classic recommendation for now, though there are countless to add to any adventurer’s book list, is Homer’s The Odyssey. It is one of the oldest pieces of Western literature (second to The Iliad). Set in ancient Greece, our lead character, Odysseus, is still making his way home ten years after war. He has angered the god Poseidon, making it impossible to return home. Only after other gods step in to help does Odysseus have a chance, but of course, he must first go through many adventures.
This novel is about a young shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in search of buried treasure. Along the way, he comes across various obstacles that threaten to take him off his path, and this is where the lesson lies – how can we stay true to the dream in our heart.
Somewhat autobiographical in nature, this book is the dramatization of author Jack Kerouac and his friends. The friends set out on a cross-country trip to find meaning and experience adventure. It’s described as “the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope”.
Adventure Books for Kids
Oh to be a kid again! Through the magic of books, we can certainly revisit the wonders of our youth, or at the very least find inspiration for books to gift the children in our lives. This last section of our list is great for readers of all ages, especially young adventurers.
Treasure Island is a classic tale that seeps of adventure still to this day. It’s been said much of how we view pirates has been lifted off the pages of this book – from having parrots on their shoulders to many sayings like “Yo Ho Ho & a bottle of Rum”. This tale is sure to delight young and old with pirates, treasure, and of course, adventure.
Something you should know about RVshare: we LOVE Harry Potter. Most of us know which house the Sorting Hat would send us – it’s that level of fandom. So we would totally be remiss if we didn’t include Harry Potter on our list of adventure books! Each book of the seven-part series sets you on magical adventures filled with lessons of bravery and friendship.
Another magical adventure for readers of all ages is the classic novel by Roald Dahl. James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peachtree and strange things start to happen. Before we know it, James explores inside the peach and meets many new friends. The real adventure begins when the peach falls from the tree and starts rolling away. Lest we forget Dahl’s flare for magical adventure – a must-read for all includes his classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The animals at the Clarksville City Zoo are acting strange, and when a girl goes missing, it’s up to her brother and their friends to find her. Their only choice is to sneak into the zoo and follow a series of clues. Once inside, they are in for an adventure they were not expecting.
It’s hard to imagine this book has graced the shelves of children everywhere for over 50 years. In this classic adventure tale, we journey through Max’s imagination the night he donned his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another…
Whether you’re curled up in your RV reading after a day of hiking or awaiting your next trip, these books all make for great companions! This list is not all-inclusive – there are countless books and guides full of adventure and wonder to add to your collection.
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