There is nothing like a great novel, especially one set in a National Park. Here is a list of our 10 favorite fiction books set in a unit of the National Park Service System. Our previous list covered non-fiction books.
- Skinny Dip
by Carl Hiaasen (2004)
Hiaasen sets all of his funny novels in South Florida (including the wonderful children’s book Hoot). We have read several, but this is our favorite with swamps, subtropical islands, alligators, and a dive from a cruise boat.
- Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O’Dell (1960)
Channel Islands National Park
A Newbery Medal Winner that tells the story of a girl marooned for 18 years in the Channel Islands off California in the 1800s. Based loosely on a true story.
- Winter Study
by Nevada Barr (2008)
Isle Royale National Park
Ranger Anna Pigeon mysteries are a staple in most National Park bookstores. They are entertaining and we always learn about something new, like wolf research and hypothermia prevention in this one.
- River Runs Deep
by Jennifer Bradbury (2015)
Long before it became a National Park, cave tours were led by slaves in Kentucky. This children’s book also deals with the cave’s brief history as an infirmary for tuberculosis patients.
- Misty of Chincoteague
by Marguerite Henry (1947)
Assateague Island National Seashore
A classic about a wild pony that grows up on Assateague and Chincoteague Islands on the Atlantic border of Maryland and Virginia. She also wrote the excellent Brighty of the Grand Canyon.
- One Day on Beetle Rock
by Sally Carrighar (1944)
Humans are not main characters in this imaginative novel that details the happenings in the lives of the many animals inhabiting this California forest.
- Song of the Exile
by Kiana Davenport (1999)
Kalaupapa National Historical Park
Historical fiction follows the decades of changes experienced by a woman who is exiled to the leper colony on the isolated Kalaupapa Peninsula of Moloka’i Island in Hawai’i. Alan Brennert’s Moloka’i is a similar book.
by Ron Rash (2008)
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This novel is set in the years prior to the creation of the park when ruthless logging companies rushed to maximize their profits. Also a feature film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.
- The Deer Stalker
by Zane Grey (1925)
The greatest Western novelist ever turned his attention to a wildlife manager on the North Rim of the canyon in the wake of World War I. Another of his works set in a National Park is Boulder Dam (Lake Mead National Recreation Area).
…and finally our #1 novel set in a National Park!
- The Killer Angels
by Michael Shaara (1974)
Gettysburg National Military Park
Narratives of the momentous events at Gettysburg in July 1863 told from the point-of-view of some of its most prominent players. Arguably the best work of historical fiction ever written.
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
by Tom Robbins (1976)
Tom Robbins is hilarious. His books are character driven (like the unforgettable Sissy Hankshaw with her oversized thumbs) but the South Dakota setting is also important to this book.