Book Roundup: Adventure Mom & Outdoor Family Stories

Non-Fiction Books About Adventurous Moms and Traveling Families

We love stories that celebrate getting outdoors in all seasons of life, and these books are particularly special in the way they celebrate family bonds forged (or strengthened) by way of nature experiences. This book roundup pays tribute to all the adventure moms, little explorers, adult children, back-to-nature parents, and families who choose to travel together—and the incredible stories that have come from each of their unique journeys. 

Check out our BOOKS + MEDIA tag for more reading recommendations or—better yet—head over to our page for She Explores on Bookshop.org where we’ve curated even more book lists.

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This One Wild Life: A Mother-Daughter Wilderness Memoir by Angie Abdou (2021)

Angie Abdou loves hiking, and her daughter Katie is disillusioned with organized sports and becoming increasingly shy—so Angie sets a challenge to hike a peak a week with her daughter Katie over the summer. It’s a story of modern parenting, bonding in the mountains, and tandem self-discovery with levity and heart.

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The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet (1962, re-released in 2011)

An absolute classic for all adventure moms, this book is the first-hand account of a mother who packed her five children (and sometimes dog) onto a 25-foot boat and traveled the coastal waters of British Columbia for several summers after she was widowed in 1927. Traveling summer after summer and intimately exploring tides, fog, encounters with bears, and a special interest in Haida culture and traditions, the book is both a time capsule of the coast and its villages in the 20th century and a universal story of traveling with young children in tow.

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Wild Mama: One Woman’s Quest to Live Her Best Life, Escape Traditional Parenthood, and Travel the World by Carrie Visitanier (2017) 

This book goes far beyond a local coast or wilderness area: Carrie Visintainer laces up her boots to travel extensively—rebuffing the notion that her adventurous life was over when she became a mother. Tackling guilt, postpartum depression, and the identity shift that comes along with motherhood, Carrie offers another narrative of what parenting can be.

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Everything Left to Remember: My Mother, Our Memories, and a Journey Through the Rocky Mountains by Steph Jagger (2022)

Steph Jagger’s new memoir is a stunning journey tracing the highways of the Rockies in memories of childhood, motherhood, and personhood, documenting a mother-daughter road trip to Montana as the author’s mother’s memory wanes from progressing dementia.

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LISTEN: OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE BOOK! ⟶ Episode 206: Courage & Surrender On The Road – Steph Jagger


Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure by Patricia Ellis Herr (2012)

Trish Herr and her husband Hugh vowed to instil a bond with nature in their children, and by the time their daughter Alex was five, Trish believed she and her boundless energy might be capable of hiking big mountains—so, together they climbed all 48 of New Hampshire’s highest mountains.

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Small Feet, Big Land: Adventure, Home, and family on the Edge of Alaska by Erin McKittrick (2013)

Erin McKittrick and her husband Hig trekked thousands of miles together before their children were born, so it’s no surprise that they set out to explore Alaska with two little ones as a family. Adjusting their pace to the attention span and short legs of a toddler and newborn baby, this book chronicles their walk of Alaska’s rapidly changing coastline.

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Moms Who Hike: Walking with America’s Most Inspiring Adventurers by Heather Balogh Rochfort (2021)

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LISTEN: HEAR FROM THIS AUTHOR TOO! ⟶ Episode 119: Adventure Moms – Getting Out There With (And Without) Your Kids


Portage: A Family, a Canoe, and the Search for the Good Life by Sue Leaf (2015)

Traveling the routes of the Ojibwe, voyageurs, and map-making explorers, Sue Leaf reflects on the region’s history, peopling her pages with Lewis and Clark, Jean Lafitte, Henry Schoolcraft, and Canada’s Group of Seven artists. Part travelogue, part natural and cultural history, Portage is the memoir of one family’s thirty-five-year venture into the watery expanse of the world.

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Scraping Heaven: A Family’s Journey Along the Continental Divide Trail by Cindy Ross (2016)

The Continental Divide Trail, a rugged 3100-mile footpath running along the crest of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico, is infamous for its tricky mountain passes and snowy traverses. In 1993, Cindy Ross, her husband, and their two toddlers set out together on the Trail. Using llamas as kid-carriers and packers, they successfully hiked the entire route over the next five summers, covering the last 700 miles on tandem mountain bikes in 1998.d biography chronicles her climbing career, relationships, and ultimate disappearance that gripped the world.

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Hike It Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures with Babies and Toddlers by Shanti Hodges (2018) 

Welcoming a baby into the family can mean that parents put some excursions on the back burner for a few years, but Shanti Hodges knows that continuing to get out with babies and toddlers can make for years of meaningful experiences for parents and kids alike—even with the added challenges. Hike it Baby is an incredible resource of 100 truly “family-friendly” adventures across the US, along with everything you need to know about exploring nature.

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LISTEN: THE AUTHOR (AND THE OTHER CO-FOUNDER OF HIKE IT BABY) SAT DOWN WITH US TO TALK A FEW YEARS AGO ⟶ Episode 11: Adventuring with Kids — Part 2


Note: This list contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we receive a very small commission (at no cost to you) that helps sustain the work we do. Thank you for your support!

What other outdoor family or adventure mom stories are on your list?

  1. Jenn Andrews says:

    Thank you SheExplores team! I just ordered a few books for my best friend and her wife for Mother’s Day — this was just the gift idea I was looking for. 🙂

    • Hailey Hirst says:

      How wonderful to hear — thank you!! We hope they love them.

      – Hailey @ She Explores

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