Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Your Guide to the National Parks” as Want to Read:
Your Guide to the National Parks
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Your Guide to the National Parks

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  412 ratings  ·  43 reviews
With more than 530 color images, 140 easy-to-read maps, and 55 hiking tables make this guide to America's most scenic wilderness areas - all 58 national parks - the most appealing, comprehensive, and indispensable book of its kind.

This guide provides step-by-step itineraries, kid-friendly activities, and the most popular ranger programs to help plan your family vacation.
Paperback, 704 pages
Published August 2012 by Stone Road Press (first published April 8th 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Your Guide to the National Parks, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Your Guide to the National Parks

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  412 ratings  ·  43 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Your Guide to the National Parks
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I'm ready to win another Goodreads book. AND this one should be the one. Love the National Parks and have been to many of the Parks the past 20 years.
This book has excellent ratings so it should be a good one to have handy around the house.
Update --- going on a Western states vacation, via train, this Spring 2014 and I am using this book as a bigtime guide. Great info. Thanks again for this top of the line book.
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: how-to, travel
I will admit I haven't had a chance to travel since I got this book. However, my friends and family were visiting over memorial day weekend and got to talking about some attraction near my sister's house in Ohio.

I grabbed this book which I had been perusing and we spent hours leafing through the pages and discovering all sorts of random finds hidden within. There are some places that are not to be missed if you are touring any of the national parks and you will read about them here!

I love a ro
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is AWESOME and packed with so much information! And very soon to be very battered, dogeared, and loved like crazy. Its already loved like crazy... but it will be physically visible lol!
carl  theaker
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: outdoorz, non-fiction
Whoa, now this is a guide. In this age of everything online, this book is really a guide that adds to the information that is out there on the National Park Service web sites.

Great maps, glossy photos, various costs, and I particularly liked the “Don’t Miss” notes on the various trails or sites. Since there are so many things to see in a park, I found these most helpful. Also each region has a section on “What’s nearby”, which covers places to stay, other things to see, places to eat.

I am part
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, nonfiction
In this ultimate guide, Michael Oswald presents the reader with everything you need to know before visiting any of the 58 National Parks, with over 140 easy-to-read maps, 530 images, and 55 hiking tables. The book includes 11 potential road trips and suggested pit stops beyond the parks, as well as a family vacation planner with step-by-step itineraries and kid-friendly activities.

Each park guide contains beautiful photos, commentary on park history, geology, flora and fauna, activities, sug
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I got this book on a Giveaway, First Reads. I have never been to a National Park evidently. I have driven along the borders of about ten of them. I lived in south Florida where three of them are and never set foot in them but just on the border of them. Sadly, I thought I was a nature lover too. Maybe not so much, or maybe if you count the NWRs.

That said, I picked up this book and looked at it just to get an idea of format, information given, and pictures. The book pulled me in and I couldn't pu
Michelle Smith
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So glad that I got this through the Goodreads First Reads! I really wanted it! This is an amazing compilation of resources and information! I had no idea how many treasures were in my own back yard! My family and I have marked several parks for exploration this spring and summer. In fact, we've placed this in the car so that it is with us on all our road trips! A must have for anyone who loves the great outdoors and adventure! ...more

My takeaway from this thick book is the thoroughness that the author employed in giving as much information as possible about how to get to the most interesting places in each park, and who to ask for help. What I missed was the mention of Puerto Rico, or even including it in the map. That island has beautiful places to visit as well; for example El Yunque, or Cabras.

This is the cover, and editorial information or the book I read:

Here is
While I haven't read through the entire book, what I have read has impressed me. This book has been instrumental in helping with plans for our family trip this year. Catalogued and color coded by regions (East, North, South, Southwest, West, Alaska & The Remote Islands) this is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to the National Parks. There is Park Information (Location, Phone Number, Fees etc.), History, Directions, When to Go, Maps, Pictures, Hiking Tables, Other Activities to do in the Parks ...more
Don O'goodreader
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads, travel
Your Guide to the National Parks by Michael Joseph Oswald is a wonderful paperback book (almost 700 pages) covering all 58 US NPS National Parks.In addition to the basic information, the book includes the very helpful "What's nearby."

From first-hand experience traveling to almost half of our national parks over the last 40 years (I now have a Senior Pass - explained on page 2), I know the hardest information to find is the location of the nearest grocery store and something to do when the family
Kelly Willcoxbrackeen
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is awesome! Pictures are beautiful, details are excellent, and the advice is spot on! When visiting the Grand Canyon, pay attention to what the guide says. My husband and I have talked to many tourists that have complained about the $80 skywalk. Dining, grocery stores, camping, and family activities I mean this book has it all! I am definitely suggesting this book to all my fellow travelers!
Cassie Wolfgram
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! can't wait to go on some adventures! ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I received this book for my birthday back in March. Originally, before the pandemic began, we would have seen the Everglades this year along with Miami, cancelled that, but plan on seeing at least one national park that is a day trip and is an often overlooked one near us, as a family, that we have not visited before, in the fall, during peak weather. One of the most visited ones is close to us, but avoiding that one until the off season for obvious reasons, or potentially altogether for a bit. ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really helpful guide for my cross country road trip this year. I liked being able to research the parks I would be visiting in the near future. It was very extensively researched although as of 2017 it was dated and inaccurate in many places, as my copy I think was 2012 or around there. I'm sure there is a more recent version but I didnt have it.

I took many of this books suggestions, mostly on the hiking section, as many of the recommendations didnt apply to me.
Apr 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
I disliked this book because it is organized regionally. I think a reference book would be a LOT more useful if it organized the content (ie the parks) alphabetically. It was not a useful book for travel or for home research and we wound up donating it.
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve had this book for several years and I’m still reading it. It has been so incredibly helpful in planning trips around the National Parks and it also serves as a good dream book for things I want to do in the future.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very comprehensive travel resource. Includes maps, itineraries, outfitter information, park history, trail information, visitor center information.
Kelly Whitt
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not a national Park book that you sit down and read cover to cover. But it’s really good at information for traveling to specific parks. You get a little history introduction and then info on camping, trails, and some personal insight on what not to miss.
Marnie E.
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perfect guide for National Park geeks! We used it across the country on our quest to visit as many parks as possible!
Tom Kellermann
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
America has some of the best national parks. This book is a great guide to them.
Lindsey Silvestrini
Jul 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have always loved traveling and being outdoors so I was thrilled to receive Your Guide to the National Parks. As a child my parents took us camping all over the United States one summer and we hit up many of the National parks. That’s when my love for them began.

As an adult, I fell in love with hiking and wanted to hike all of the National Parks. Financially it’s not exactly reasonable but I have visited many and now with this guide, I can find the ones that are closest, easiest to get to and
Wisconsin Alumni
Michael Oswald ’03

From the author:
This award-winning guide, completely updated for the 2017 edition, includes more than 450 new photographs, 160 revised maps, and 50 hiking tables, making it the only guidebook you’ll need to explore the United States National Parks.

An all-new design with the same intuitive layout keeps the step-by-step itineraries, kid-friendly activities, and most popular ranger programs at your fingertips to help plan your next family vacation. Thousands of hotels, resta
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-read
I won a free copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads, which made me very happy because this book is right up my alley. My husband and I enjoy hiking and camping, and we have a small collection of state and national park guides with a focus on geology.

Your Guide to the National Parks has information on 58 of the 59 National Parks (the latest, Pinnacles National Park, formerly a monument, became a national park after this book was published). It has historical and geological background, h
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, adult, 2018
While this isn’t the kind of book most people will sit and read cover to cover, it definitely can be done since it’s so interesting. It lists all the National parks (except that dumb gateway arch “park”) in geographic order from east to west, with sections on hiking, camping, what to do with kids, horseback riding, driving, etc. Subsections vary by park- some will have snorkeling and some rock climbing, for example.

I refer to this book to plan all our trips and sometimes read about a park just
Dec 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic guidebook to the National Parks. Just about everything you need to know about each National Park is included in this book.
The author's explanations are so detailed, and give really great travel tips for each park and nearby locations. Some side trips are also included, which is a fun detail.
This really is a wonderful book for anyone who enjoys the National Parks, and who may be taking a road trip in the near future.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There's a wealth of information here - maps, photos, lists, itineraries, and stories - that are really handy both on a practical level for those planning an outing to a national park, and on a historical level for those who are fascinated by the background of the park system. This is an incredible resource for any outdoor enthusiast, and it just might persuade you to take a camping road trip. ...more
Amanda White
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this book free from a Good Reads contest . This book is just full to the brim with things you need to know when visiting national parks, tips, hints, lists, and maps. I will make sure this book goes with me if I go to a national park on a vacation . It is very informative and has things that every vacationer should know.
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific way to plan your vacation to National Parks! It's the perfect size to take on your vacation too. Our family really loves the pictures, park information and "what not
To miss". We can hardly wait to see more and more of our beautiful country!
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: travel-books
Browsed through the whole book, and read the portion on Glacier in depth. Really beautiful book with tons of information. A great reference for the future. Happy to see the author is a UW alum and currently living in NE Wisconsin! Shop local as they say!
May 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Received as a Goodreads giveaway. This is a fantastic book with insermountable information, and beautiful pictures. Great reference. Can't wait to seek out some of these National Parks! ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Sword of Shannara (The Original Shannara Trilogy, #1)
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake
  • Full Throttle
  • National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States: Featuring 400+ Parks, Monuments, Battlefields, Historic Sites, Scenic Trails, Recreation Areas, and Seashores
  • The Poison Garden
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames
  • The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire, #1)
  • A Crafter Hooks a Killer (A Handcrafted Mystery #2)
  • The Penguin Book of Mermaids
  • The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina—Separating the Myth from the Medicine
  • The Care and Keeping of You 1: The Body Book for Younger Girls
  • The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home
  • Home Learning Year by Year: How to Design a Homeschool Curriculum from Preschool Through High School
  • A Night's Tail (Magical Cats Mystery #11)
  • The Search for Anne Perry
  • Searching for the Lost Tombs of Egypt
  • What We Knew in the Night: Reawakening the Heart of Witchcraft
  • Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert
See similar books…
Michael Joseph Oswald (born June 18, 1980) is an award-winning American travel writer. In 2003 he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with degrees in electrical engineering and chemistry. After four years working in a corporate environment, he escaped to a more adventurous lifestyle only to be mugged in Colombia, South America. Injuries sustained required surgery, and failure to fol ...more

News & Interviews

Ciannon Smart has been holed up in her England home since the pandemic began a year ago, but by no means has she been idle. She’s been on...
30 likes · 6 comments
“Best of Death Valley Attraction: Zabriskie Point Runner-up: Titus Canyon 2nd Runner-up: The Racetrack 3rd Runner-up: Dante’s View 4th Runner-up: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes” 0 likes
More quotes…