Whether your mom is easy or tricky to buy for, sometimes you need a little inspiration.
My mom is pretty easy to please—I think I could still get her a macaroni portrait on construction paper and she’d be happy. But, she’s also adventurous and outdoorsy and I’m always on the look-out for gifts she’d love. I find a lot of these in National Park visitor centers, but if you don’t have one of those nearby, this handy little gift guide for outdoorsy moms should hopefully do the trick.
I got the idea to write this gift guide while talking with a friend about all the National Parks we’d visited with our moms. That soon turned into a conversation about how shameless both our moms fangirl over anything and everything to do with parks and monuments.
Thinking back to my seasons as a Park Ranger, I wish I could give a shout out to every enthusiastic mom who made my day. Whether they were eagerly stamping their National Park Passport books, or asking a borderline excessive number of questions during guided hikes, National Park-loving moms are simply delightful.
So, if this sounds like your mom, who also takes nothing but pictures and leaves nothing but footprints, this gift guide was written in her honor.
Without further ado, here are my favorite gifts for National Park-loving moms!
National Park Passes and Passports
The America the Beautiful Pass (AKA the annual all-National Park pass) is the holy grail possession for all National Park travelers. I buy one every year, my parents buy one every year… it’s definitely a must-have.
This pass gets your mom free entry into every single National Park in the country, for 12 months from purchase. The coolest thing about buying her pass from REI directly is they give back 10% to the National Park Foundation.
Please note, though, if your mom is 62 years old, has a disability, or is active duty military, she qualifies for a cheaper pass than this one and she should ask about it the next time she’s at a National Park entrance.
My mom is a huge fan of collecting National Park passport stamps. It’s a Very Big Deal.
For those who don’t know, in every visitor center of every National Park, there’s a little passport station. You bring in your special, official National Park passport book and get that park’s special stamp. These are a lot like real passport stamps! They even have the exact date you visited the park.
If your mom likes National Parks, and she doesn’t have a passport book yet, there is a SOLID chance she’s 1) seen them, 2) debated buying one, and 3) will be thrilled to have her own!
I believe this one came out around the NPS 100 year anniversary. It’s basically a more intense passport book.
Check out its Amazon page for pictures of the pages and whatnot. There are still spaces for passport stamps, like a basic passport book, but there’s also a little more information and pictures.
The collector’s edition is a much larger book, rather than compact and passport-sized. It’s for the truly die-hard National Park-goers.
This is a great thing to buy your mom if she already has (and loves) her trusty passport book. Many visitors will whip out both their passport book and the collector’s edition at the park’s passport stamp station. So extra. So adorable.
This is similar to the collector’s edition passport book, but even more interactive!
For example, the adventure guide book comes with gorgeous stickers for each National Park. There’s also a top 10 list for every park, educational facts, and a small note-taking section.
This is a new one; the passports have been around a while and the adventure guide is a recent development. I have a feeling this is going to be the next popular thing among National Park super fans.
Check out the National Park Adventure Guide on Amazon!
National Park Games for Moms
If your mom enjoys/collects Monopoly games, she will be tickled by this National Park edition.
I’ve seen the game in so many National Park bookstores and always almost bought it, so I was psyched to see it for sale on Amazon.
This game is legit so cute (I low key might get it for myself)… the game pieces include a bison and a Park Ranger hat, for one. It would be perfect for a campsite game, or just to play at home and get you SUPER PSYCHED for your next trip!
Unsurprising spoiler alert: Boardwalk and Park Place are Yellowstone and Yosemite, respectively.
If Monopoly is a little… much for you (fair enough), there’s another super popular National Park family board game out there! May I introduce you to… Trekking the National Parks!
My mom doesn’t really care which game we play, so much as she’s absolutely thrilled whenever the whole family is at home to play a game together in the first place. Luckily, this game is a hoot and has awesome reviews! If your family is super into board games, you should give this one a shot.
Trekking the National Parks is a MENSA Award-winning game (AKA a big freakin’ deal, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a board game fanatic). It’s both entertaining and educational, perfect for any family of National Park nerds.
Check out its Amazon page for more deets!
WPA-era artwork is popular right now in all National Park bookstores, and these playing cards are fun, gorgeous reflections of that style!
These are super affordable and fun (I have several sets lol). They’re slightly different from the set sold in most National Park bookstores, because they include National Monuments, too.
National Park Books for Moms
Does your mom listen to podcasts and audiobooks on her commutes and workouts?
America’s Best Idea, by the LEGENDARY (I DO NOT USE ALL CAPS LIGHTLY) historian Ken Burns, is undoubtedly considered the cream of the crop re: National Park history.
But you don’t have to be an intense history buff to enjoy/adore Ken Burns’ works. I low key did not enjoy history class, but I breeze through his books and documentaries like it’s a Game of Thrones marathon.
America’s Best Idea covers the history of the NPS, the philosophies behind public lands, and why they are in a way essential to our democracy itself. It’s beautifully written and educational to boot.
Find it on Amazon! America’s Best Idea comes in book form, too, and would make a stunning coffee table book.
National Geographic National Park Guidebooks
There are two different extremely popular National Park books National Geographic publishes.
The books are fairly comparable, just vary in detail and length.
The first (shorter) one is the National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States. It covers actual National Parks in solid detail, from nearby activities to hiking trails. The photography, as with any NatGeo work, is awesome.
The second version, National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States, includes information on National Monuments (e.g. Mount Rushmore), Battlefields (e.g. Antietam), Scenic Trails (e.g. the Pacific Crest Trail or the Appalachian Trail), Seashores (e.g. Cape Cod), etc!
If your mom is a book worm, they pair together as great companion books. NatGeo is really good about putting out updated editions of both, so they’re actually really functional, as well.
If you want more of a trip-planning guide with specific information on each National Park, I’d go with the National Geographic Guide to National Parks.
If you want a super-comprehensive, fun compilation of facts and info for every single NPS site, go with the National Geographic Complete National Parks of the United States. Luckily, both are available on Amazon.
Home & Decor National Park Gifts for Moms
An Environmentally Friendly, Adorable Happy Camper Mug
An environmentally friendly mug to remind her of how much she loves the great outdoors is a super heartwarming gift. This one is super cute!
This is an especially great gift your mom can take camping. Whether you’re on the trip or not, she’ll look at this mug and think of you.
A huge plus: this mug is 16 oz, so for moms who need their campfire coffee in the mornings (or campfire hot toddies at night), it is perfect. It’s easily big enough to eat out of, too.
A Fun Deluxe National Park Sticker Set
Got any scrapbookers in the house?! My mom is a huge “scrapper” and would totally love these.
They’re a set of 50 gorgeously design individual National Park stickers.
These stickers are also just excellent collectables your mom could put on her water bottle, laptop, vehicle, etc.
National Park Apparel for Moms
A Cool National Park T-Shirt
I am in love with this t-shirt of a National Park word cloud in the shape of a bear.
My mom and I are absolutely guilty of being t-shirt collectors from just about every NPS bookstore we visit. This one is great because it’s like you’re reppin’ all your favorite National Parks (and love/healthy respect of bears) at once!
Those are my favorite National Park gifts for moms!
Some of these items are available in National Park bookstores across the country, some I’ve just seen online. Either way, I think crunchy granola nature-loving wonderful moms everywhere will enjoy them!
Please let me know what you thought of this list, and if you got your mom anything from it, what she thought!
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