A report from the American Recreation Coalition found that national park visits were up nearly eight percent in 2017 compared with 2016. Regardless of the reason—the much-publicized centennial of the National Park Service in 2016 or the ongoing threats to funding—the rise in outdoor-focused travel led to the forthcoming Moon USA National Parks guide, the publisher’s first comprehensive guide to the parks system. “We realized that, through the parks, we could cover the entire country in a new way,” Kevin McLain, v-p, editorial, at parent company Avalon Travel says.
The book details each park’s attractions and suggests offbeat ways of experiencing them, such as nighttime hiking and stargazing, and visiting a park known for its warm-weather appeal in winter, when the crowds have fled.
National Geographic has long seen the appeal of a sweeping parks guide. The eighth edition of the publisher’s Guide to the National Parks of the United States has sold 62,000 print copies since its 2016 publication.
Numerous other guides focus on a single park or region; below, we look at books that offer sweeping perspectives on the great outdoors.
The Bucket List: Wild
Kath Stathers. Universe, Nov.
Spanning seven continents, this title encourages readers to experience wildlife in their natural habitats, whether that means caring for wounded rhinos in South Africa or bird-watching in a Costa Rican cloud forest; photography sourced from popular Instagrammers lends a you-are-there feel. Stathers is also the author of 2017’s The Bucket List, which compiled culinary, cultural, and other must-do experiences, and which has sold 18,000 print copies.
Moon USA National Parks
Becky Lomax. Avalon, Oct.
Lomax, an outdoor guide and educator, is the author of several Moon guides, including books on Yellowstone and Grand Teton, and on Glacier National Park. Her latest takes on all 59 U.S. national parks, offering itineraries organized by region and activity, tips on planning a parks-centric road trip, and more. In the section on Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park, for instance, she suggests things to do on a daylong visit, plus add-ons for weekend trips and longer stays.
100 Dives of a Lifetime
Carrie Miller. National Geographic, Mar. 2019
Readers will plunge into a WWII aircraft wreck dive in Papua New Guinea, beneath ice floes in Antarctica, and among the caves of Belize’s Lighthouse Atoll, aided by vivid National Geographic photography. Organized by experience and certification level and including advice from divers well-known in that sphere, the book gets dive-nerd specific, detailing average water temperatures, depth, and visibility. Miller, a contributing editor for National Geographic Traveler, lives in New Zealand with her husband, a dive master.
100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas
Joe Yogerst. National Geographic, Feb. 2019
This follow-up to Yogerst’s 50 States, 5,000 Ideas—a guide to beaches, battlefield, museums, and more that has sold 35,000 print copies since it pubbed in 2017—zeroes in on city, state, and national parks in Canada and the United States. Expert tips and top 10 lists help visitors have a peak experience: to take one example, the section on Cape Cod National Sea Shore details walking and bike trails, museums and festivals, and where to enjoy oysters and chowder.