You don’t have to leave your house to experience the world around you! | Cal Parks
Published: April 9, 2020

Like all of us at California State Parks Foundation, we hope you are staying home and practicing social distancing when going outdoors. With some state parks closing and many regional parks already closed, we wanted to help you bring the outdoors indoors with a few of our favorite nature-themed movies, TV shows, books, and podcasts to help bide your time. We’ve crowdsourced a few favorites from our staff, but we’d love to hear from you too! Let us know what you’re reading, watching, or listening to by tagging us at @calparks on Instagram and Twitter, and California State Parks Foundation on Facebook.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Arguably the book that began the modern environmental movement, Silent Spring exposed the chemical industry’s spreading of misinformation when it came to pesticide usage, and the readiness of political figures to accept it.

Big Sur by Jack Kerouac

This poignant 1962 novel by Jack Kerouac chronicles his experiences through an alter ego in a cabin in Big Sur in an attempt to escape city life and battle his internal demons.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

After several personal tragedies, Cheryl Strayed decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail with no experience in an effort to heal. Heartfelt and relatable, Wild was adapted into a major motion picture in 2014.

California: A History by Kevin Starr

Kevin Starr retraces California history in this sweeping look at the history of the Golden State. From the Gold Rush to the 1906 earthquake, to the rise of Silicon Valley, Starr puts a fresh spin on the rise of the California we know today.

The Mountains of California by John Muir

John Muir recounts his travels through California with a focus on the mountainous regions. Muir shares his journeys in Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Mount Whitney, tracing plants and animals along the way.

Chesapeake Requiem by Earl Swift

Chesapeake Requiem takes place on the disappearing Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay. The book tells the story of the crab fishing community that has called the island home for hundreds of years and how their way of life is threatened by rising sea levels and climate change.

Nature Obscura by Kelly Brenner

Nature Obscura gives us a glimpse into our backyard ecosystem, and how the tiny ecosystems in our urban environments interact, and how human activity has changed them over time.

The Control of Nature by John McPhee

In his 1990 work, John McPhee weaves three stories of ways people have attempted to control nature throughout history. The novel takes you through Mississippi, Iceland, and Los Angeles in an exploration of humankind’s desire for meaning.

Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee

Encounters with the Archdruid is a portrait of the famous environmentalist David Brower, who founded Friends of the Earth, Earth Island Institute, and served as president of the Sierra Club. In three short stories, John McPhee gives the reader a front row seat to historic real-life encounters between Brower and his ideological foes as they debate the value and best use of our natural world.

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt's New World by Andrea Wulf

This is Andrea Wulf’s gripping biography of Alexander von Humboldt, explorer and scientist. Although his name is lesser-known now, he was one of the most famous figures of the 19th century.

Born to Ice by Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen is one of the foremost adventurers in the nature photography field, and it’s easy to see why in this book of photography. Born to Ice is an exploration of our planet’s polar regions, and tells a fascinating story of the beauty of solace.

Sola: One Woman's Journey Alone Across South America by Amy Field

Sola chronicles the adventures of Amy Field across South America, and the many people and places she encounters after leaving her life in the United States.