The Best National Park Books To Inspire Your Next Vacation

Whenever we are looking for our next park to chase, it always seems like we look to the same places for ideas and inspiration.  Word of mouth from the trips of friends, family and fellow ParkChasers usually gets our vacation wheels a’turning. So do our Facebook and Instagram feeds, full of posts and photographs from the individual units of the National Park Service.  9 times out of 10 though, the idea for our next park to chase comes from something we’ve read.

Since our first trip to Glacier in 2010, we’ve been voracious collectors of books about our National Parks. Our bookshelves and nightstands have a steady supply detailing the photography, history, and conservation of our parks.  We keep a running list from the Visitor’s Centers and bookstores on our vacations and ask for them as Christmas and Birthday gifts later in the year.   And we have often found that a few minutes of flipping through color photos of beautiful places can take the edge off what otherwise seemed like a long work day.


Today we thought we’d share some of our favorites. Some of these have inspired us to pack our bags and set sail, and others were souvenirs from the places we’ve been. (And buying through these links helps us chase more parks which we definitely appreciate!)   Mostly, we hope picking up a new page-turner encourages you to do some ParkChasing of your own.

This book (and the PBS documentary) inspired our best idea ever: to take our very first National Park vacation.

This book was one of Amy’s Christmas gifts to Greg this year and one of the best photography collections of the parks ever produced.

It’s hard to imagine where our protected lands would be without President Theodore Roosevelt’s passion for the parks. Douglas Brinkley’s careful history of Roosevelt’s conservation work should be on everyone’s stack for the #NPS100 Centennial celebration.

While not technically a book, this single issue of National Geographic from January 2016 should be on your bookshelf. It kicks of a full year of features and stories on the parks (and it has a killer fold out of Yosemite Valley!)

Every time we spot this pop-up book in a bookstore, one of us has to open it up and flip through it – the Grand Canyon page is terrific!

We’ve used this guidebook on more trips than we can count. While it may not always capture our ParkChasing style, it is a good starting point to inspire trips and extra planning!

We don’t have the 2016 updated edition (yet!) but our copy of this guide still is one of the first places we look for park ideas and basic info.

Truthfully any of John Muir’s work is worth adding to your bookshelf. Right now, “Travels to Alaska” is on Amy’s reading list.



Greg & Amy
Chasing a visit to all 400+ units in the NPS
Current Count: 130/423
Next Stop: @hawaiivolcanoes


2 thoughts on “The Best National Park Books To Inspire Your Next Vacation”

  1. Pingback: Back to School: The Best National Park Books for Kids - Park Chasers

  2. Pingback: Best National Park Books to Buy a Park Chaser - Park Chasers

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