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Summer Travel Book List for Adventure Lovers of All Ages

A summer travel book list can serve lots of purposes.

It can inspire you as you plan your own trips. It can entertain you when you relax at the end of the day. And it can inform you on what you might expect to see or experience on your adventure.

Whatever the reason for forming your summer travel book list, consider adding a few of these novels to it!

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Into the Wild: Exploring Uncharted Territories

You may enjoy reading books about wild adventures to inspire you to live your own. Or you may enjoy reading about other people’s adventures from the comfort of your beach chair under your sun hat this summer(hello, kindred spirit!). Either way, these books have heart-pounding adventures, journeys of self-discovery, and fascinating looks into the human spirit.

Both of these books were also made into movies, so if you’re on an RV journey, you could spend an evening watching the movie after you finish the book!

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Spoiler alert: this book doesn’t have a happy ending.

In September of 1992, the body of Chris McCandless was found in an abandoned bus in the Alaskan wilderness. Writer Jon Krakauer retraces McCandless’s journey from his college graduation to his death two years later. McCandless headed out into the wild, on the Stampede Trail, with ten pounds of rice, a rifle with ammo, a camera, and a few books. He survived for 113 days.

“Into the Wild” follows McCandless’s journey, but Krakauer also looks at his own wilderness treks and the stories of a few other men who disappeared into the wilderness.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

After the death of her mother and the breakdown of her marriage, Cheryl Strayed decides to hike the 1,000+ mile Pacific Crest Trail. She begins at the Mojave Desert and hikes solo through California and Oregon to Washington.

Her memoir is a funny, heartwarming account of the human spirit and an inspiring story about her journey.

High Altitude Adventures: Scaling Mountains and Beyond

Summer is a great time for a mountain climbing adventure. That’s often the best time to scale some of the United States’ many majestic peaks. Whether you’re planning your own trek or just enjoying reading about others’ adventures, here are some exciting books to try.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer’s other well-known outdoor novel is this harrowing account of his expedition to summit Mt. Everest. Krakauer, a skilled climber, was reporting on the commercialization of climbing Everest. But his climb faced a rogue storm. When the storm had passed, five climbers were dead and another needed his hand amputated.

This is his account of what was supposed to be a standard climb and turned into a fight for survival.

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Another survival story, this one looks at a climb in the Andes Mountains. Joe Simpson and his partner Simon Yates are climbing the virgin West Face of the Siula Grande when a storm came up. Yates was forced to cut his partner’s rope, and returned to camp exhausted and suffering from terrible guilt over his decision.

And then three days later, Joe crawled deliriously into the camp.

This is the heart-pounding account of what happened to each of the men.

Halfway to Heaven by Mark Obmascik

OK, the last two books are kind of heavy. They’re an adrenaline rush and not everyone makes it back okay. This one is just good fun.

Colorado has 54 mountains that are over 14,000 feet, known as fourteeners. Denver writer Mark Obmascik, “fat, forty-four, father of three sons, and facing a vasectomy,” decides he’s going to climb them all. In one year.

The book is his account of preparing and hiking the mountains, but it also weaves in interesting facts and stories about each peak. You’ll learn about Colorado’s history and mountains, and you’ll laugh along the way.

On the Road: Epic Travel Journeys

Some of us explore the world on our own two feet. Others of us like to view it through our bug-spattered windshields, with plenty of stops along the way. Regardless, here are a few books that remind us it’s not about the destination … it’s all about the journey.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is a spiritual exploration of travel and a look at how it can change us forever. It’s a modern classic that has become assigned reading in many literature classes as well.

The book concerns Santiago, a shepherd boy who wants to travel the world in search of treasure. But the riches he finds are far more precious. It’s an introspective book rather than a beach read … and one of those you’ll want to talk about with people long after you’ve finished it.

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts

It seems like long-term travel – traveling for anywhere from six weeks to four months to years – is getting more popular as people consider how to tweak their work to suit their dreams. This book will help you with the nitty-gritty details of vagabonding. You’ll learn how to finance your travel time, how to decide where to go, how to adjust to life on the road, how to work or volunteer overseas, and how to join your ordinary life again when you’re finished.

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

American writer John Steinbeck took a road trip to rediscover the country at the age of 58. His epic RV road trip in 1960 began in Maine and headed to the Monterey Peninsula in California. And it showed him a wide swath of the country’s humanity – from extreme kindness to terrible hatred. Along for the ride? His French poodle Charley.

Ice Sailing on Wentworth Lake in New Hampshire

Nautical Escapades: Sailing Across the Seas

If your adventure tastes run more towards the open seas, here are a few nautical adventure stories.

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Biologist Thor Heyerdahl set sail in 1947 to replicate a voyage of legend in the South Seas. He spent three months on the open waters, navigating storms, sharks, and other natural threats, and finally landed on the island of Puka Puka. This is his account of that journey.

Sailing Alone Around the World by Joshua Slocum

Satisfy your wanderlust with this account of the world’s first solo sail around the globe in the late 1800s. Slocum rebuilt a sadly deteriorating ship in a pasture in Massachusetts and spent three years sailing 46,000 miles around the world. This is his story of the adventure and solitude of his trip.

Kid-Friendly Travel Books: Adventure for All Ages

A great way to help kids get ready for road trips and other travel is by reading stories to them about the experience! Here are a few kids’ books about traveling.

Busy City by Maddie Frost

Ages newborn to 3

Bright colors and illustrations of buses, cars, and people walking show the many different ways people navigate a busy city. You’ll also introduce kids to the many sights and sounds that go on in urban areas, from construction work to playing in the park.

Little Park Ranger Board Book Set by Mudpuppy

Ages 3-8

If you’re headed to one of the country’s national parks, this board book set is a great way to preview kids for what to expect. This boxed set features 16 national parks including the Great Smoky Mountains, Big Bend, and Arches, and talks about geological features, animals, and more.

Hiking Day by Anne Rockwell

Ages 4-8

If you’re planning to do some hiking on your trip, this book walks kids through what they might experience. A little girl and her family go hiking up a mountain, and along the way, they spot animals, trees, and other interesting natural creations.

Grand Canyon by Jason Chin

Ages 5-9

Kids can learn about how the Grand Canyon was formed, and about the plants and animals that thrive there today with this Caldecott-honored book. Beautiful illustrations and die cuts show how a current fossil was a creature long, long ago.

Ty’s Travels series by Kelly Starling Lyons

Ages 4-8

This is a great beginning reader series that follows a little boy on his imaginary travels around the world.

Travel Guide for Monsters by Lori Degman

Ages 6-10

Wherever you plan to travel with your monster this summer, this guide will help with tips and advice. Enjoy the sights and avoid a monster disaster by following this important guide.

The World Between Blinks by Amie Kaufman and Ryan Graudin

Ages 8-12

Two cousins unite to follow a map their late grandmother left behind…and slip into another world entirely. They find real mysteries from around the world and throughout history, including what happened to pilot Amelia Earhart and whether the city of Atlantis existed. This is the first book in an exciting series of adventures featuring Jake and Marisol.

Same Sun Here by Silas House

Ages 10-12

Two pen pals – an Indian immigrant girl living in Chinatown in New York City and a Kentucky coal miner’s son – discover that despite their cultural differences, there’s a lot they have in common.

National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas

Ages 7-10

This world atlas has fascinating facts for curious readers. They can peruse large maps, read facts and statistics about the people and animals of the world, and learn much more about the world they’re living in.

United Tastes of America by Gabrielle Langholtz

Along with learning about new places, it’s fun to learn about the foods that different regions enjoy! This book features recipes from every state in the U.S., plus three territories and Washington, D.C. Try gumbo from Louisiana, peanut soup from Virginia, or fry bread from Oklahoma and learn about foods and facts in each area.

Whether you want inspiration, want to live vicariously through the pulse-pounding stories of adventurers, or want some bedtime stories that teach kids about other places, there’s something on this list for you!

And if you want to head off on your own adventure, be sure to check out RVshare’s motorhome and trailer rentals across the country. You can bring along a few of these stories to read on the road or download audio versions to entertain you while you drive.

Do you have a favorite travel book or summer travel book list? We’d love to hear about it!

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