This varied list of the best books to read while camping will help you feel more in touch with nature and the wildlife that surrounds you…
With so many RVs equipped with outdoor TVs these days, it’s easy to forget how enjoyable a good book by the campfire is.
The sounds of nature as your background track will truly make these stories come alive. You’ll feel more connected to the great outdoors, in tune with the spirit of adventure, and in awe of Earth’s creatures.
The following books span continents, decades, and many genres so there is something for everyone on this list.
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The Best Books to Read While Camping (My Top 10 Picks)
I compiled this list of the best books to read while camping based on one unifying factor: the appreciation of nature and its creatures.
You may have heard of several of these, but I’d be willing to bet there are at least a few you haven’t. Those are perhaps the ones I recommend the most, but I think you’d be pleased with any on this list. In fact, we put all of these on a new Amazon List for easy reference.
The beautifully detailed and life-like imagery of the American marsh makes this book worth reading alone. But the story of its heroine is also just as enticing.
It’s the story of a young girl, Kya, who essentially raises herself in the marshes of North Carolina. Misunderstood and underestimated by the nearby locals, the “Marsh Girl” tries to steer clear of their judging eyes and prejudiced murmurs. She finds solace and purpose in the wetlands around her, making friends with gulls and catching the attention of two young men. When one turns up dead, all fingers are pointed at Kya, forcing her out of seclusion.
This is Delia Owens’ first fiction novel, but she is a three-time international bestselling author of nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist. Her advanced understanding of nature and its creatures catapults this mysterious coming-of-age story to an awe-inspiring level.
Well known as a great American Tale, A River Runs Through It was also adapted into a movie directed by Robert Redford and starring Brad Pitt.
This book is ideal for camping not only because of its rugged setting and storytelling but also because it’s easily digestible since it’s broken into 3 parts.
Based on Maclean’s own experiences as a young man, the book’s two novellas and short stories are set in the small towns and mountains of western Montana. It is a world populated with drunks, loggers, card sharks, and whores, but also one rich in the pleasures of fly-fishing, logging, cribbage, and family.
Also adapted into a movie and highlighted throughout the decades as an American Classic, The Call of the Wild is a must-read for every camper.
(By the way, you may want to check out 13 Best Road Trip Movies for RVers and Camping.)
This adventurous story is told through the eyes of a strong, determined dog named Buck that is trying to navigate the world of man and animals. His perilous, heartwrenching, and inspiring story takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions.
“Spanning the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, London to Morocco, Washington Black is a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, and of a world destroyed and made whole again.”
An eleven-year-old field slave becomes a manservant to the eccentric Christopher Wilde, who turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. They set out together in a flying machine, discovering the world, themselves, and the commonalities between all humans.
This book embraces the spirit of adventure and how it leads to self-discovery and empowerment, making it one of the best books to read while camping.
Mike and Jennifer’s Spring T-Shirts for your next adventure
Chances are, you haven’t heard of this book, but you’ll be grateful that you now have if you decide to read it. This story is unlike any other you’ll ever read and it will stick in your mind and heart for many years to come.
The synopsis puts it perfectly:
Raised together in a small German circus town, a boy and an elephant formed a bond that would last their entire lives, and would be tested time and again: through a near-fatal shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, an apprenticeship with the legendary Mahout elephant trainers in the Indian teak forests, and their eventual rise to circus stardom in 1940s New York City. As the African Sun-Times put it, Modoc is “heartwarming. . . probably the greatest love story ever told.”
This story is set on a heartwrenching foundation of a burned-out teacher who has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died.
However, the story becomes uplifting and heartwarming as he travels to Yellowstone with his son’s ashes. He picks up two unexpected passengers along the way, turning it into a transformative journey for everyone.
A team of women answers the call of Eleanor Roosevelt to deliver books far and wide. The four women venture through Kentucky and become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.
They face all kinds of dangers and are confronted with beauty and brutality, but they press on. Nothing, including men, will prevent them from fulfilling their calling.
This story speaks to the pull of nature and its power to steal us away.
It’s based on a mysterious missing person case where a young man from a well-to-do family escaped from the confines of his class to the wilds of Alaska. He disappeared into the wilderness north of Mt. Mckinley, only for his decomposing body to be found four months later.
The author confronts the judgmental and dismissive responses the public has for the boy’s tragedy, and how, in truth, many of us can relate to him more than we may care to admit.
Driven by a similar impulse as Into the Wild, this is the story of a broken young woman who flees to the Pacific Crest Trail to escape tragedy and disappointment in her life. Fortunately, this one has a happier ending.
As RVers, we can relate to the desire to drive away from chaos in search of serenity. This honest memoir may speak to us on an even deeper level than those less traveled.
I’m ending this list on another lesser-known book that serves as an intriguing introduction to the complexity of animal behavior and intelligence. This series of true animal tales is perfect for reading aloud around the campfire.
What I appreciate about this book is how it reports on true tales of animals and then mostly lets the reader draw their own conclusion on the deeper meaning. It doesn’t overly anthropomorphize animals yet still makes you wonder how much we underestimate them.
Your Vote on the Best Books to Read While Camping
Please let us know if you’ve read any of the above books, and if you agree that they belong on this list of the best books to read while camping. We put them all on this Amazon list for easy reference.
Plus, I’d like to add to this list and eventually have an expanded best books to read while camping list! So, please share any other recommendations you might have in the comments below.
New ebook from Mike and Jennifer Wendland – the Natchez Trace
The Natchez Trace Parkway will capture your imagination, soothe your jangled travel nerves, open your mind and inspire you with the history that unfolded along its 444 miles.
Each of the 7 Days of the ebook has:
- Suggested Mileposts to explore
- Places to Eat in each area of the 7 sections
- Campground descriptions and links
- Links to all the special places and information
- Links to videos that show more in detail
- and a lot of highlighted information for each section
PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT a printed, hard copy guide.
Whether you want to follow the footsteps of explorers, discover natural beauty, or visit historic sites, the Trace has something to grab your attention and leave you eager to see what’s at the next milepost.
You can see why this is one of our favorite US routes to explore. We’ve traveled it a half dozen times!
Mike and Jennifer Wendland’s Yellowstone Travel Guide
At the top of every RVers bucket list, it is a place so majestic, so wild, and so big that it calls us to return, to explore, to get to know the diversity of its land and animals over and over again.
Everywhere you look are waterfalls, fast-moving rivers, geysers, sheer rock faces, towering lodgepole pines, all framed by mountains under the bright blue cloudless sky.
It’s spectacular for those who love the wilderness and getting up close and personal with it. Enjoy Yellowstone for RV travel.