Top 20 Books About Camping for kids

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By Kristy Esparza, December 30, 2020

Whether you’re trying to get the kids excited for next week’s camping trip or are playing campout while the snow falls outside, children’s books about camping can always transport your family to your happy place. 

We love a good children’s camping book, and can’t wait to share our favorites with you below. I’ve also added in books that feature kids’ favorite characters and a selection of non-fiction books on everything from tying knots to kid-friendly campfire dinners.

 I hope you find plenty of inspiration for your next camping adventure!

In this post:

Top 10 Children’s Picture Books About Camping

Camp Tiger Book Cover

Camp Tiger

Written by Susan Choi, Illustrated by John Rocco

Camp Tiger is simply a beautiful book, both in its gorgeous illustrations and its depiction of a little boy’s hesitancy to grow up. 

During their annual end of summer family camping trip, a family is greeted at their camp by a talking tiger. Unlike other camping stories with talking wildlife, this tiger becomes a somewhat quiet companion that mirrors a young boy’s feelings about growing up as he prepares to enter the first grade.

When we first got this book, I was a bit worried that it would be one of those stories that I would eagerly introduce without much engagement from the boys. This hasn’t been the case at all. Full of imagination, whimsy, and startlingly beautiful illustrations, they are as captivated by imagining camping with a tiger as I am about how the author weaves in the subtle complexities, and even the occasional sad twinges, of growing up. 

And it’s made me want to start an annual end of the year camping trip with our family. 

Book Cover for Explorers of the Wild

Explorers of the Wild

Written and Illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Explorers of the Wild is a fun little story about two young explorers, a boy and a bear, who enjoy parallel adventures through the woods … until their paths cross!  

Their first response to each other is one of fear, but they ultimately decide that it’s better to adventure together than alone. They become the best of friends. 

Some, like my husband, may not think befriending a bear is a great message in a camping book for kids. But looked at another way, this story of an unlikely friendship encourages its readers to keep an open mind and open heart while out exploring.

Book Cover: Into the Outdoors

Into the Outdoors

Written and Illustrated by Susan Gal

Into the Outdoors is another sweet story from a child’s perspective while on a family camping trip. I love how so many of these stories begin with the long windy road trip out of the city to the wild new world of the forest. It reminds me of my own family camping trips as a child. I now know we were driving less than an hour away, but it always felt like a big adventure! 

As the family heads off onto their first hike of the trip, woodland animals follow along. The illustrations include what JJ calls “sparkle fairies,” the sunlight glistening off the lake that always feels magical. 

In addition to this being a lovely little story about a family’s camping adventure, Gal places an emphasis on spatial relationships throughout the book, which can add a fun and educational element to storytime.

Book Cover: Flashlight

Flashlight

By Lizi Boyd

This wordless storybook may take a little thought to share, but a good visual poem can also fire up a child’s imagination and let him or her be a part of the storytelling. Invite your child to join in on this nighttime adventure, where the story’s protagonist overcomes his fears of scary sounds by shining a light on them.   

Flashlight is also a great introduction to getting a young child prepared for the mindset of tent camping. Who hasn’t been startled by a noise or two outside the tent while trying to sleep?

Some storytellers have brought in a little flashlight to encourage dramatic play with stuffed animals alongside the story. If you’re a creative parent or caregiver, the options are endless with this one.

Book Cover: "Don't Feed the Bear"

Don't Feed the Bear

Written by Kathleen Doherty, Illustrated by Chip Wass

Don’t Feed the Bear is a silly story about the food fight that ensues when a park ranger reminds campers to not feed the bears by leaving their food behind. The bear loves eating the campers’ food and is not happy with this turn of events. A signage war ensues. 

Not only is this a funny little story that kids will enjoy, but it’s also a memorable way to remind kids about camping food etiquette, and why it’s important to store and clean up meals properly in the woods. Sorry bears!

Book Cover: The Camping Trip

The Camping Trip

Written and Illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann

The Camping Trip follows Ernestine on her very first camping trip with her aunt and her cousin. When we meet Ernestine, she has no doubt that she’ll love camping, but her experience is not quite what she expected it to be. I completely relate to the feeling of struggling through a visit to the great outdoors, only to find that I can’t wait to get back to the campground again!    

This story is also refreshing in terms of disrupting narratives of what an outdoorsy family looks like. It’s one of few children’s stories about camping that I’ve found with diverse characters. I also love that it’s female characters who introduce our protagonist to camping.  

Book Cover: Get Dressed, Sasquatch!

Get Dressed, Sasquatch!

Written by Kyle Sullivan, Illustrated by Derek Sullivan

Bug got this book as a gift, and it would always make him giggle.  This time the standoff is between a park ranger who is trying to enforce a dress code and the resident Sasquatch who doesn’t want to wear clothes. As it turns out, Sasquatch has something to teach the ranger about life and freedom in the wild. 

In addition to being an entertaining read, the book introduces readers to the art of compromise and the importance of seeing things from different perspectives.  

Book Cover: Abuelo

Abuelo

Written by Arthur Dorros, Illustrated by Raul Colon

Abuelo tells the story of a young boy and his grandfather. The boy admires his grandfather and loves riding horses and camping out with him under the stars. After he moves to the city, the boy’s memories of their time together in the outdoors stay with him and help him through new challenges. 

This is not a traditional campout story, but I appreciate how it speaks to the importance of spending quality time with family in the great outdoors. The lessons and memories we share stay with children as they grow, providing confidence and broadening their perspectives.

Book Cover: Camp Rex

Camp Rex

Written and Illustrated by Molly Idle

Given my children’s obsession with dinosaurs, I couldn’t pass up mentioning Camp Rex, a cute introduction to camping for dinosaur-loving kids like mine. 

The simple narrative reads like an instruction manual on outdoor safety while the illustrations show how difficult it can be to follow the rules when camping with dinosaur friends. 

Camp Rex is a fun read that subtly shows kids how to act safely in the great outdoors.

Book Cover: One Dog Canoe

One-Dog Canoe

Written by Mary Casanova and Illustrated by Ard Hoyt

One Dog Canoe is a fun read about a young girl who sets off in a canoe with her dog one morning. They are off to enjoy the day when several woodland animals, from a beaver to a bear to a moose, decide they want to hop on board as well.

The lively rhyming text and big splash conclusion make this a fun book to read aloud. If you plan to add canoeing to your camping trip, be sure to bring this one along!

Camping Stories with Their Favorite Characters

Book Cover: Glow Wild

Wild Kratts Glow Wild!

Written by Martin Kratt and Chris Kratt

My boys are a bit obsessed with the Wild Kratts, and Glow Wild! is one of their favorite stories. It’s a book about wildlife, but it easily translates into a book that will get them excited to spend time outside at night. And the glow in the dark images of nocturnal animals will be fun to read in your campsite after dark!

Book Covers: Pete the Cat Goes Camping

Pete the Cat Goes Camping

By James Dean

Pete the Cat goes camping with his family, and finds himself wondering whether or not Bigfoot is real. A fun story full of imagination, adventure, and overcoming fears. This is one book about camping that is right up our alley! 

Book Cover: Curious George Goes Camping

Curious George Goes Camping

By Margaret Rey and H.A. Rey

Curious George and the Man with the Yellow Hat go camping for the first time. What could go wrong? As always, George gets in plenty of mischief in this children’s favorite.

Book Cover: Just Me and My Dad

Just Me and My Dad

By Mercer Mayer

This classic is a sweet story about Little Critter spending time camping with his dad. It’s a simple story that would be perfect to read with a toddler.

Book Cover: The Berenstain Bears Gone Fishin'!

The Berenstain Bears Gone Fishin'!

By Mike Berenstain

The Berenstain Bears were among my favorite characters as a kid, and it’s been fun to read them all over again to my children. This story is from the newer version of the series. It’s a good pick to bring along if you plan to do a little fishing on your own camping trip.

Kid-Friendly Nonfiction Books to Bring Camping

Book Cover: 50 Things to do before you're 11.75

50 Things to Do Before You're 11 3/4: An Outdoor Adventure Handbook

Written by Nosy Crow, Illustrated by Tom Percival

The title of this book definitely caught my attention!  I know a couple of soon to be 10 year olds that will be getting this as part of their next birthday package. I’m all for helping kids extend their childhoods as long as possible, preferably while getting their hands dirty outdoors. 

Produced by the National Trust, a charity organization for heritage and nature conservation in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, this is a book version of a list that you can download for free on their site

The book version is a great keepsake to bring on your next camping trip. It has space for notes, photos, nature collections, and doodles to help kids save their memories as they go through the list. There will definitely be plenty of items to check off during your next campout!

Book Cover: My First Book of Knots

My First Book of Knots: A Beginner's Picture Guide

By Berndt Sundsten and Jan Jäger

This may not be a book specifically about camping, but knowing how to tie knots and being comfortable in the great outdoors go hand in hand.

As someone who has to run to google whenever a project requires an overhand knot, I’d love to work through this book alongside my kiddos. Maybe after they learn how to tie their shoes… 

Book Cover: Cooking on a Stick

Cooking on a Stick: Campfire Recipes for Kids

Written by Linda White, Illustrated by Fran Lee

What better way to get your kids excited for your next camping trip than letting them help prepare and cook your next campfire meal? This book about campfire cooking with kids simplifies common campfire meals so that they can be involved at every step. 

Book Cover: Tracks in the Wild

Tracks in the Wild

By Betsy Bowen

We brought a book about desert scat and tracks with us to Death Valley, and JJ was over the moon excited when he pieced together that a bobcat had recently visited our campsite. 

Unraveling the clues that animals leave behind is like untangling a mystery. Pack this book for your next visit to the woods, and see who might be roaming nearby!

Note: the animals in this book can mainly be found in the northern US and Canada (deer, bears, beavers). Check out the Who Pooped in the Park Series for animal tracking guidance in many popular US National Parks.

Book Cover: S is for S'mores

S is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet

Written by Helen Foster James, Illustrated by Lita Judge

You would think S is for S’mores is an alphabet book for little kids, but it’s actually full of camping tips and tidbits on national parks and conservation efforts. 

I purchased E is for Enchantment: A New Mexico Alphabet for our cross country trip, and look forward to adding S is for S’mores to our collection!

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