15 Best Adventure Novels To Read When You’re Not Traveling
While we all miss traveling, the world won’t be this way forever. Keeping up our adventurous spirits has never been more important than when we’re literally trapped in our homes. What’s the best way to do this? Pick the best adventurous novel you can find and go far away from your four walls. The best adventure books got me through quarantine and will take me through my next layover!
Want more book recommendations? Follow me @Southern.Lady.Reads or explore more of my bookish posts below:
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If you’re a budget traveler, remember that weight and space in your pack are valuable while backpacking. You’ll already be carrying a phone- so the E-version of these books on the free Amazon Kindle app could be the best way to go!
Romantic Adventure Novels
Love the combo of romance and adventure? Me too! These are my favorite of romance’s best adventure books:
Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
Absolutely LOVED this book! Christina Lauren is an author duo that has long been on my auto-buy list, and their latest novel based on the American Southwest is no different. Lily is a long-time rancher who now leads treasure hunts as a business, and Leo is her first love that just walked back into her life. While Leo is on a guy trip, things take a turn, and the mystery of Lily’s father’s lost treasure becomes real.
Looking for more romance’s best adventure books? Head to my post with over 200 Romance Novels Divided by Category!
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Ahh… Pride & Prejudice. This was the first book I really loved being forced to read in school. I definitely think Austen’s novel belongs on this travel book list!
While I know it’s not the early 19th century, part of European countries’ charm is that they keep history alive! If you’re a fan of Austen novels, England would be a perfect place when we can travel abroad again. You can even visit Wentworth Woodhouse, which was the home of a few characters from Pride & Prejudice the movie!
Historical Fiction’s Best Adventure Novels
A Storytellers Secret by Sejal Badani
By far, one of my favorite novels to make me want to travel recently has been A Storyteller’s Secret. The raw emotions of the characters, combined with the rich history of India, put it at the top of my recommended travel books. There’s something about the desire to plan a trip to a culture so different from their own and understand how people live. In the novel, a taxi driver wonders aloud if cattle and animals walk in the street in the main character’s country. Her response, of course, is ‘no’, since she’s from New York City. All I could think was – ‘What a beautifully wild thing that must be to see?’. Definitely worth a re-read because it’s hard to miss traveling and getting lost in Sajal Badani’s bestsellers!
- FIND A STORYTELLER’S SECRET ON AMAZON
- Also available on Kindle Unlimited
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
I haven’t read this book yet, but it gets great reviews and is a book recommended by the Nomadic Matt blog. Personally, I love finding recommendations from other travelers because they miss traveling too! I imagine this book will transport me thousands of miles away! Here is a snippet from the ‘About Blurb’ for this Middle Eastern-based adventure novel:
Â ”Inspired by the Moroccan vacations of his childhood, Tahir Shah dreamed of making a home in that astonishing country. At age thirty-six he got his chance. Investing what money he and his wife, Rachana, had, Tahir packed up his growing family and bought Dar Khalifa, a crumbling ruin of a mansion by the sea in Casablanca that once belonged to the city’s caliph, or spiritual leader. “
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy
For anyone dreaming about traveling to France, and Paris in particular; this is the book for you. To me, travel books always need to include a little bit of history. When I imagine the characters, it makes them come to life a little more if they’re a part of a grand scheme or historical mystery? As a romantic at heart, these are also the books I remember the most and imagine when walking the streets of a new city. Paris is a city I plan to travel to when I’m a little older and not needing as many physically challenging adventures but
A little snippet of the storyline: ‘Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.’
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
This novel has come highly recommended, so I had to include it on this list of travel books. Not only was it a New York Times Bestseller, but it was also on Reese Witherspoon’s list for her Hello Sunshine Book Club. Set in North Carolina on the coast. Having grown up on the coast of Virginia in a small town, there is something nostalgic about books that have the ability to take me back there. I also love mystery novels, which, combined with traveling, makes Where The Crawdads Sing a must-read! Solving puzzles, and making educated guesses as to how the story ends throughout gives me sort of a thrill while I’m stuck doing dishes!
A little about this North Carolina adventure novel: ‘For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand.’
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist has a great message about the real importance of travel. Have you ever heard the quote, ‘Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’? I personally 100% believe this is true, and Paulo Coelho’s tales of his travels make this an excellent travel book to include if you’re looking to escape for a little while. While, yes, travel can give you some amazing photos and memories, you’ll see the world differently. This book reminds us of the real reasons we travel – to become better people.
A little about this adventure novel: ‘Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different and far more satisfying than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.’
Best Non-Fiction Adventure Novels
More of a serious reader but still want to explore the world from your cozy couch? These are my favorite adventure books based on real-life explorations around the globe.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams
Peru is one of those places that I dream of, and specifically, Machu Picchu is where I would want to plan a trip. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site so it’s been on my bucket list forever. Reading this book about travel through Peru, was listed as a New York Times Bestselling Travel Memoir and gets over 4/5 stars on Amazon. As a person who loves to travel in general to completely foreign cultures, Peru is one of the countries in South America that I feel hasn’t been as impacted by tourism. The lack of impact from tourism means you’ll have more of an authentic experience, and that’s exactly the vibe of this Mark Adam’s travel memoir.
A snippet about this non-fiction adventure book: ‘In 1911, Hiram Bingham III climbed into the Andes Mountains of Peru and discovered Machu Picchu. While history has recast Bingham as a villain who stole both priceless artifacts and credit for finding the great archeological site…
The Shipwreck Hunter by
David L Mearns’ memoirs about discovering some of the world’s most elusive shipwrecks is a must-read for any armchair explorer. Wondering what might be below the sapphire blue seas of the Mediterranean or what may have lain just off the coast of Virginia, where I played as a child, helped me travel thousands of miles while I read.
A little about this travel book: ‘David L. Mearns has discovered some of the world’s most fascinating and elusive shipwrecks. From the mighty battleship HMS Hood (sunk in a pyrrhic duel with the Bismarck) to solving the mystery of HMAS Sydney, to the crumbling wooden skeletons of Vasco da Gama’s sixteenth-century fleet, Mearns has searched for and found dozens of sunken vessels in every ocean of the world.’
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
This best-selling adventure lover’s tale has been widely discussed as one of the best travel books for a fresh perspective on life. Why are other countries so happy? Is it their lack of materialism? Their focus on spirituality? The money or lack thereof? It’s interesting to look into what defines happiness in cultures so completely different from our own, where materialism abounds.
Contemporary Fiction’s Best Adventure Books
Love adventure novels but not looking for romance, historical fiction, or nonfiction? Ernest Dempsey has created some of the best adventure books and series I’ve read in a long time!!
The Secret of the Stones by Ernest Dempsey
I love a good archaeological mystery, especially when action-packed. While many people don’t know them well – the Blue Ridge Mountains are a gorgeous US mountain range. Ev and I have been on many adventures hiking the Appalachian Mountain chain, chasing waterfalls, and getting some gorgeous views! Following fictional Native American historical mysteries as well as links to Egyptian cultural references, had me completely captivated. While I couldn’t wait to try the next book in the series, I also felt a renewed sense of wanting to see the US in our travels. For the remaining books in this trilogy, see here and here! You won’t be able to put it down!
A little about this adventurous book: ‘A four-thousand-year-old mystery lurks in the hills of Georgia. While investigating a strange series of ancient symbols, an archaeologist vanishes, and a professor he entrusted with the secret is murdered. Former government agent, Sean Wyatt, learns of his friend’s disappearance and the murder. Now he must unravel the clues to the ancient mystery that holds incredible power.’
- FIND THE SECRET OF THE STONES ON AMAZON
- Dempsey’s best adventure novels are available on Kindle Unlimited!
Most of these adventure-inspiring books are available through Amazon digitally – e-books = eco-friendly! Let me know which ones have been your favorite in the comments below!
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