38 of the Best Outdoor Adventure Books for Kids

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A little girl standing on the bank of a creek looks intently at the flowing creek, surrounded by various shades of green.

This picture booklist includes 38 outdoor books for kids with an emphasis on quality literature. I have included books that are commonly found at local libraries. I hope most of these books are accessible to you.

My priority is to provide my children with rich literature. I want books that encourage them to see the beauty in everyday things, seek the good in challenging circumstances, explore the outdoors, and always strive for honor, honesty, and courage. Good books will feed the soul and become old friends. I hope you and your child find a literary gem on this list of outdoor books for kids that ignite a sense of adventure and desire to get outdoors and explore.

I’m always on the hunt for rich literature. I will continue to add any new finds here to the book list.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you on qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate.

1. A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

Mr. Magee takes his dog, Dee, on a camping trip but they get into trouble with a marshmallow-loving bear. This is one of our favorite books from Chris Van Dusen. I love the simple rhyme and colorful illustrations.

2. Learning to Ski with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

Mr. Magee and his dog, Dee, learn how to ski one beautiful, snowy morning, but a curious Moose causes some problems, and Mr. Magee finds himself hanging over a cliff. Chris Van Dusen writes plenty of good books, but these two are our favorite.

3. Hugo and the Impossible Thing by Renee Felice Smith

A curious and courageous dog named Hugo inspires his forest friends, and they learn together that the impossible thing is only the extremely difficult thing with the help of friends. This is another one of our all-time favorites. I love good books that inspire the reader that difficult things are not bad. This is the perfect book to ignite a fire of curiosity and bravery.

4. The Hike by Alison Farrell

Go on a hike with three friends who explore the woods, forage for berries, write in nature journals, read maps, and do more outdoor activities on a walk through the woods. I love how each little explorer enjoys the forest differently.

5. Hike by Pete Oswald

This is one of my favorite wordless picture books. This amazing book follows a father and son as they hike a difficult trail, overcome obstacles, and make special memories.

6. Wonder Walkers by Micha Archer

A sister and brother take a walk, asking some thought-provoking questions. The book is filled with unique and colorful illustrations.

7. The Raft by Jim LaMarche

A boy dreads spending his summer on the river with his grandmother (known as the river rat), but he gradually falls in love with the river. He has some pretty amazing adventures on the raft. This book is such a good read and is sure to inspire young readers to seek outdoor adventures.

8. The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg

A large house is built in a tree by the sea. The treehouse has ladders, a rope swing, and a red flag waving with the letter J.
The Tree House that Jack Built by Bonnie Verburg

A young boy named Jack builds an amazing tree house with unique and brilliant features. My littles loved spotting all the different animals in his tree house. We discovered this book last year at our local library, and my girls loved it so much that we added it to our bookshelf.

This book is now out of print but can be found at secondhand bookstores and online used bookstores.

9. Dear Yeti by James Kwan

Two hikers write letters to the Yeti as they set out on a search to find the Yeti. This book is so cute and a fun, playful read. My kids asked me to read it over and over again.

10. Climb on! by Baptiste Paul

A little girl drags her dad on a hike. Her enthusiasm to explore is contagious, and they make it all the way to the “tippy top.”

11. Fern and Otto: A Story About Two Best Friends by Stephanie Graegin

Otto is trying to write a book, but he doesn’t think he and Fern have an interesting story to write about, so they head into the big woods, seeking a book-worthy adventure. There is an appearance of a witch towards the end of the book.

12. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Max, the wild child, misbehaves and is sent to his room. Immediately, his imagination takes off, and he becomes King of the Wild Things. This is a classic children’s book.

13. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep dark woods, trying to avoid being a snack; he convinces the hungry forest creatures he is meeting the Gruffalo, a most fierce creature.

14. Mossy by Jan Brett

While on her morning walk, Dr. Carolina, a biologist, finds Mossy, a unique turtle with a garden growing on her shell. Mossy is collected for an indoor exhibit. Dr. Carolina’s niece, Tory, notices that Mossy becomes sad, and Tory becomes concerned.

15. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

Alice has one more mission: to make the world a more beautiful place. This is one of my favorite picture books to read to my girls. It is hard to see a lupine without thinking of the Lupine Lady.

16. Mapping Sam by Joyce Hesselberth

Every night Sam, a cat who loves adventure, goes out to explore the neighborhood. This book is full of interesting facts and a great introduction to mapping. I included this book in the outdoor adventure booklist because I could not help but think of J.R.R. Tolkien’s quote, “I wisely started with a map.” Oh, how the imagination is sparked by the making of a map. I, also, think of Anne of Green Gables, as she labels “The Lake of Shining Waters.”

17. Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

A father takes his little girl owling. She trails behind her father quietly for when you go owling you only need hope. This is a classic outdoor book that focuses on a nighttime adventure.

18. How to Find a Bird by Jennifer Ward

This book is an introduction to bird watching and fun facts about birds. This book beautifully illustrates where to look for birds, how to observe birds, and how to listen for birds. The pages are filled with various types of birds and provide a great read for kids of all ages.

19. The Golden Glow by Benjamin Flouw

After learning about a rare plant in one of his botany books, Fox, a backpack explorer, adventures out to the mountain to find the golden glow.

20. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Sal goes blueberry picking with her mother. Sal wanders off and meets a mama bear while the baby bear finds Sal’s mother’s pail of blueberries.

21. Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler

While this adventure into the woods is not by choice but rather by unforeseen circumstances and great loss, this family finds a little house in the woods. Even in difficult circumstances, the children find ways to have fun and find beauty in their new home. The family’s homestead evolves as the story unfolds. My heart aches for this family. I hesitated to place this great book on this outdoor adventure booklist, but I just had to share this book with you.

22. We’re Going on A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen

The whole family goes on a bear hunt in the great outdoors. They traverse over various terrains and into a cave where they find a big shiny nose.

23. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Peter dons his snowsuit and goes out on a beautiful snowy day. This child’s wonder of the snowy day is so contagious.

24. Hiking Day by Anne Rockwell

A young girl and her family go on a hiking adventure for the first time.

25. Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? by Carmela LaVigina Coyle

A little girl asks many important questions pertaining to the actions of a princess. While it’s not a book about hiking, the little girl discovers that princesses do take the scenic route, climb trees, ride bikes, and clean their rooms. This is a very simple book for your little princesses.

26. Lucy Steps Through the Wardrobe by Deborah Maze

A little red-headed girl wearing a pink dress is walking along a snowy path and staring at a lamppost that is shining bright.
Lucy Steps Through the Wardrobe

A four-book illustrated series of an abbreviated retelling of The Chronicles of Narnia. This is a great way to introduce the Narnia series to younger readers. The books are currently out of print. But most of the books can be borrowed from your local library.

27. Water Dance by Thomas Locker

A poetic and informative picture book about the water cycle, one of the wonders of nature.

28. Mountain Dance by Thomas Locker

Introduction to earth science through beautiful illustrations of the movement and endurance of the peaks and valleys of our natural world. This book references millions of years.

29. Redwoods by Jason Chin

A boy on a subway picks up a book about Redwoods and is instantly transported to the Redwood forest, where he gains knowledge as he walks and climbs through the forest. I did not know that a Redwood stands as tall as a New York City Skyscraper. This book does reference millions of years.

30. The Cloud book by Tomie DePaola

This is an educational book about clouds including an introduction to the types of clouds and some myths and legends about clouds. This might interest more older kids and older readers. But I love teaching my kids to cloud watch and let the shapes of clouds spark their imagination.

Recommended by Others:

These next few books I have included because they have been highly recommended to me. However, I have most of the books on hold at the library, or I’m still trying to get my hands on them. Once I have read them, I will provide an update.

31. Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner

32. Water is Water by Miranda Paul

33. Camilla Cartographer by Julie Dillemuth

34. Rhoda’s Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin

35. Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

36. The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail by Stan Berenstain

37. Because of an Acorn by Lola Schaefer

38. Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost

Kids Benefit Greatly from Outdoor Adventures

This was one of my favorite book lists to create for you. It was an easy list to compile because we had already read almost all of these great books. I love reading books to my kids about outdoor adventures because I believe it is so important for to kids to spend more time outdoors than indoors. Here is a list of 9 benefits for kids playing outdoors.

Interested in More Book Lists for Kids: Check These Out!

20 Fantastic Frog Books for Kids

13 frog books for toddlers all stacked on a wooden table with a pathos house plant in a blue pot. A green, smiling frog is centered at the top of the image.

Get the Complete Book List HERE.

35 Best Farm Books for Kids

A white gravel road leads up to a red barn with white trim and white fencing up on a hill. The sky is blue with white fluffy clouds and the sun is just starting to set behind the trees.

Get the Complete Book List HERE.

Black and White: High Contrast Books for Infants

Four high contrast books laying on a white table with the leaves of a pathos houseplant in the top left corner.

Get the Complete Book List HERE.

More Book Lists Coming Soon!

Thanks for Stopping By!

Finally, I want to thank you for stopping by! Please say Hi in the comment section and share with me your favorite outdoor book for kids. I hope you and your children find a favorite book from this list of books about outdoor adventures.

– With Great Joy, Katie


Bold text that reads Outdoor Adventure Books for Kids is stretched across an image of a little girl standing on the bank of a creek looking intently at the flowing creek, surrounded by various shades of green.

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  1. I love this list of kid’s adventure books! Great variety and plenty of options to keep the little ones engaged for a while. I also love that these are commonly found at the library. I collaborate with the local Youth Librarian in my community, and these are great options for storytime. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a great selection of outdoor adventure books for kids! I love all the suggestions – especially The Berenstain Bears Blaze a Trail by Stan Berenstain! That was always my favorite series growing up!

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