Readers, as we approached the 2020 summer reading season, I never thought that I’d do most of my “beach reading” seated in a camping chair, surrounding by birds and trees instead of soothing ocean waves. But I am here for it.
I’ve always enjoyed fresh air and beautiful scenery, but this year the outdoors feels even more vital to my mental health. Not only has camping provided a much-needed, low-risk respite from daily decision-making and pandemic-related stress—it’s also given me a greater appreciation for the beauty of my home state, simple trips that interrupt routine, and the giant exhale I feel when I’m in the woods with—crucially—terrible cell phone reception.
We’re just home from a stinking hot but still pretty great camping trip to Red River Gorge, where I thoroughly enjoyed reading an outdoorsy Appalachian novel and a not-a-bit-outdoorsy Regency romance with my feet in a blissfully chilly creek. (Did I mention it was stinking hot out?)
We’re not leaving town again anytime soon—at least not physically. But when I need a spontaneous outdoor adventure, I’ll turn again to books, as I so often do. Today I’m sharing 14 books that will take us on epic journeys, celebrate the beauty of nature, and help us connect to the natural world. With a mix of memoir, fiction, and detailed histories, this selection features a wide variety of nature experiences.
I hope you find a book (or four) that feels like a deep breath of fresh, clean air—or that vicariously takes you on a harrowing adventure.
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14 books to inspire your next outdoor adventure
What are YOUR favorite outdoorsy reads? Share your recommendations in comments!