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15 Great National Geographic Coffee Table Books

A guide to help you choose the most beautiful National Geographic coffee table books

Few things are more enjoyable than relaxing at home with a good book. But when it comes to coffee table books, not all are created equal. 

Many are forgotten within days or end up collecting dust on the shelf. But coffee table books and adventure books that really transport you to distant lands through breathtaking photography – now those are books you’ll find yourself lost in time and again.

For the travel lover in your life, or just to fuel your own wanderlust when you can’t hit the road, here are some of the most stunning National Geographic coffee table books that will have you itching to pack your bags for your next great adventure.

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National Geographic Coffee Table Books

1. 100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails

by Kate Siber

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I picked up this fantastic coffee table book, “100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails” by Kate Siber, and can’t put it down!

As a big fan of hiking, I love the variety of trails included in this book – from the well-known Appalachian Trail to the lesser-known Micronesia’s Six Waterfalls Hike. 

Plus, the National Geographic photography is simply breathtaking. 

I was also pleasantly surprised by the range of hikes for all levels, with both day and multi-day excursions like Mount Meru in Tanzania and Bibbulum Track in Australia. 

And don’t even get me started on the unique experiences, like wine tasting in Switzerland or spotting moose on the Teton Crest Trail in Wyoming. 

It’s the ultimate hiking guide for anyone exploring the best trails the world offers!

2. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places

by National Geographic

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If you’re looking for travel inspiration, check out the National Geographic’s travel coffee table books, and in particular, Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places. 

Flip through the pages, and you’ll be transported to some of the most breathtaking locales worldwide. 

I love to travel therefore, I was drawn in by the vibrant photos that the elite photographers at NatGeo captured. 

From ancient monoliths to electric cityscapes, white-sand beaches to rain forests, this book has it all and is chock-full of helpful information on when to go, where to eat, where to stay, and what to do. 

If you’re like me and are always itching for your next adventure, you won’t want to miss this fantastic read!

3. National Geographic Stunning Photographs

by Annie Griffiths

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Have you ever flicked through the pages of one of those National Geographic books full of stunning photographs? Well, let me tell you about the National Geographic Stunning Photographs.

These pictures capture moments in time that are truly breathtaking; whether it’s a burst of energy from a firecracker or the last rays of sunshine stretching across a valley. 

The images will leave you in awe of the world around us. National Geographic’s best photographers have shot these snaps, and they’re accompanied by inspirational quotes that work together to create an enchanting collection of images. 

The book is an array of colors, textures, and sensations that capture the fabric of everyday life. Trust me, you’re going to wanna get your hands on this masterpiece!

4. National Geographic: The Photographs

by Leah Bendavid-Val

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I recently got my hands on a copy of National Geographic: The Photographs by Leah Bendavid-Val, and let me tell you, it’s been hard to put down. 

I can see why it was praised as the gift book of the year when it was first published. 

The pages are filled with stunning and iconic images from National Geographic, including the unforgettable “Afghan girl.” 

What I really love about this book is that it’s not just a collection of pretty pictures, but it’s also filled with stories and anecdotes from some of the most renowned National Geographic photographers like David Doubilet and William Albert Allard. 

It’s amazing to see how they capture rare natural moments and define events in human lives. I’ve been using this book as a coffee table book and it’s been a hit with all my guests.

It’s definitely a must-have for any National Geographic coffee table book collection.

5. Rare and Astonishing Photographs

by National Geographic

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Okay, so let me just say: this book is hands down one of the best coffee table books out there. “National Geographic Spectacle: Rare and Astonishing Photographs” is a total feast for the eyes. 

It’s filled with over 200 stunning color images that showcase the most incredible and awe-inspiring moments worldwide.

I’m talking about everything from the mesmerizing aurora borealis to cities made of neon lights. And let’s not forget the wildebeest migration or the contortionist on display – this book has it all. 

Every time I flip through its pages, I’m transported to a different place and time.

It’s a real eye-opener, and I can’t recommend it enough. Trust me, it’s a must-have for any coffee table.

6. National Geographic The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals

by Joel Sartore

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I’m absolutely in awe of Joel Sartore’s National Geographic The Photo Ark project. As a photographer, Sartore has taken on a daunting task – documenting over 12,000 animal species – but he’s up for the challenge. 

He travels all over the world to capture beautiful portraits of these animals, especially those that are endangered. 

What I love most about his approach is that he’s bringing these creatures into a studio setting – it makes them feel more real, more intimate. 

It’s a brilliant way to inspire people to take action and help preserve these amazing animals. 

If you’re a fan of National Geographic animal books, you’ve got to check out Sartore’s book – it’s got over 6,000 species photos, from the tiniest critters to the largest beasts. Even Harrison Ford is singing Sartore’s praises in the foreword!

7. Ultimate Visual History of the World

by Jean-Pierre Isbouts

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Okay, so I’m not usually one to geek out about history, but I have to say, the National Geographic Ultimate Visual History of the World has got me hooked. 

This massive hardcover book has it all – maps, photos, and even archival imagery that’ll transport you straight through time. 

And forget about dry, boring text – the writing here is as engaging as the pictures. 

You can explore everything from ancient China to modern-day space exploration, and honestly, it’s hard to believe how much human history has happened in between.

I don’t know about you, but this book has earned a spot on my coffee table.

8. National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs

by Annie Griffiths

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National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs by Annie Griffiths is hands-down one of the coolest coffee table books I’ve ever enjoyed flipping through.

I was transported on a fantastic visual voyage through gorgeous photos from National Geographic’s library as I turned each page. 

What I loved most was how the book was organized around aesthetic concepts of beauty, specifically Light, Composition, Moment, Motion, Palette, and Wonder. 

The minimal text allowed each photograph to speak for itself, while the lyrical quotes from scholars and poets enhanced my viewing experience.

I particularly enjoyed the Light chapter and the Leonard Cohen quote on light entering scenes – it was profound and thought-provoking. 

The Wonder chapter was equally impressive, featuring a wish from Andre Bazin and an image of a snowy bird’s tail. 

This lovely book is also one of the best cheap coffee table books so you won’t need to spend a fortune to get it. 

9. America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs

by National Geographic

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I have to say, when I received my National Geographic coffee table book of America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs, I was blown away. 

The book features over 200 incredible images of all 50 states, showcasing natural and cultural treasures that make America unique. 

The landscapes are breathtaking from California’s Big Sur coast to the Appalachian home of Davy Crockett. 

But what caught my attention were the images of people who helped shape America’s history, like the early 1900s Arikara Nation and scientists prepping for Mars on Hawaii. 

It’s incredible to think that these photos were culled from over 130 years of National Geographic archives, both modern and historical. 

The book even follows the verses of “America the Beautiful” poem, organized by regions, with an introduction on the country’s journey. 

I was impressed with the beautiful images and the photographer’s commentary and perspectives from conservationists and historians keeping America beautiful. 

This book is definitely a must-have for any coffee table collection.

10. Visions of Earth: National Geographic Photographs of Beauty, Majesty, and Wonder

by National Geographic

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If you want a stunning coffee table book to add to your collection, I highly recommend Visions of Earth: National Geographic Photographs of Beauty, Majesty, and Wonder. 

I mean, wow. This book is a literal treasure trove of breathtaking images worldwide. 

Each page is a new adventure, with photos of incredible landscapes, fascinating cultures, and unique natural wonders.

Even just flipping through the pages feels like escaping from the world’s chaos and being transported to some otherworldly realm. 

And honestly, I can’t imagine a better way to add some personality to your living space than decorating with National Geographic coffee table books like this. 

It’s a conversation starter, a work of art, and a source of endless inspiration all rolled into one. Trust me, your guests will want to linger over this book and soak up every last detail.

11. Women: The National Geographic Image Collection

by National Geographic

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I stumbled upon this fantastic book at the store the other day, and I just had to have it! It’s called Women: The National Geographic Image Collection and it’s one of the best coffee table books I’ve ever seen. 

The photos are absolutely breathtaking and so powerful. They showcase women’s lives worldwide, with over 400 stunning images from more than 50 countries. 

What’s even more incredible is the interviews and portraits of some of the most inspiring trailblazers like Oprah Winfrey and Jane Goodall. 

The book also highlights social movements like #MeToo, #GirlBoss, and Time’s Up. I love that it celebrates the upcoming 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment too. 

There are chapter themes like grit, love, and joy and commentary from notable figures like Laura Bush, Gloria Allred, and Melinda Gates. 

A new portrait by NG photographer Erika Larsen accompanies each chapter. I have to say, this is definite proof that the future is female. 

It’s more than just a coffee table book, it’s a celebration of women and their incredible journeys.

12. National Geographic Greatest Landscapes

by National Geographic

- 15 Great National Geographic Coffee Table Books

If you want to immerse yourself in some of the world’s most incredible natural landscapes, National Geographic’s Greatest Landscapes is the book for you. 

I love the outdoors and traveling therefore, I was drawn in by this book’s exquisite photography and moving pictures. 

Each picture, which depicts anything from dawn breaking over snow-capped mountain ranges to sunsets over desolate deserts, uniquely and breathtakingly conveys the majesty and beauty of our planet. 

Moreover, the book also includes insights from celebrated photographers, making it an informative and insightful read for anyone passionate about photography or nature.

I highly recommend this book, it’s the perfect addition to any national geographic explorer’s collection.

13. Life in Color: National Geographic Photographs

by Annie Griffiths

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When I first picked up Life in Color by Annie Griffiths, I was immediately drawn in by the stunning imagery that greeted me on every page. 

The photographs are arranged by color, almost like I’m flipping through a rainbow.

But what sets this book apart from other nature coffee table books is the short essays at the beginning of each chapter. 

They explore each color’s qualities, symbolism, and meaning, giving me an entirely new perspective on something as seemingly simple as a hue. 

The captions are also full of interesting quotes and unexpected insights that keep me flipping through the pages.

If you’re looking for a visually stunning book that will give you a new appreciation for the colors of the world around us, then Life in Color is worth adding to your collection.

14. Atlas of the National Parks

by Jon Waterman 

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for a coffee table book that will impress and entertain your guests. 

The National Geographic Atlas of the National Parks by Jon Waterman is a great book.  

This stunning book showcases America’s incredible national park system from coast to coast, featuring authoritative park maps, graphics, and photographs that will transport you to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. 

What sets this book apart is the way that it introduces readers to the unique features of each of the 61 parks, including details on landmarks, ecosystems, wildlife, history, and more. 

And with its state-of-the-art graphics, you can zoom in for a closer look at these special lands. 

This book showcases the pride and importance of these parks in our national identity, and its foreword by National Geographic CEO Gary Knell only adds to its allure. 

So, sit back, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and get ready to explore some of the most amazing places on earth with the national park coffee table books.

15. Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe

by National Geographic

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Food Journeys of a Lifetime 2nd Edition by National Geographic is my new favorite addition to my National Geographic coffee table books collection. 

It’s like taking an epicurean journey around the globe without leaving the comfort of my living room. 

The book is filled with over 500 extraordinary food destinations, from Tokyo’s 226 Michelin-starred restaurants to browsing the spice markets of Marrakech. 

As a foodie, it’s hard to pick just one location to visit first, but exploring the top city in the world for food, Tokyo, is definitely on my list. 

The book also includes insights into places, cultures, climates, chefs behind extraordinary dishes, recipes to cook flavors from abroad, and top 10 lists for side trips to chocolate factories and champagne bars. 

With this book as my guide, I can’t wait to start planning my next food journey.

My final thoughts on National Geographic coffee table books

National Geographic The National Parks: An Illustrated History, one of the best National Geographic coffee table books

And with that, I hope I have convinced you of the lasting impact and immense value of National Geographic coffee table books. 

From their breathtaking visuals to their rich storytelling, these publications are a gateway to exploring our world uniquely and meaningfully. 

So why not leap and add a few to your coffee table collection? Trust me, your guests will thank you for it as they dive into the pages filled with stunning landscapes, captivating cultures, and fascinating wildlife. 

Allow yourself to be transported through time and space with each page turn. Let National Geographic’s legacy live on in your home as you uncover the wonders of our planet together. 

So go ahead, grab a cup of your favorite brew, cozy up on your couch, and immerse yourself in the beauty of National Geographic coffee table books – you won’t regret it!

FAQ about the best National Geographic coffee table books

What are the best coffee table books?

Some of the best coffee table books are Annie Leibovitz: Portraits, 1000 Record Covers by Michael Ochs, or Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style.

What are the best fashion coffee table books?

Some of the best fashion coffee table books are The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers, Pierre Cardin: 60 Years of Innovation, or Louis Vuitton Catwalk: The Complete Fashion Collections.

What are the best decor coffee table books?

Some of the best decor coffee table books are Eat, Drink, Nap: Bringing the House Home, The Art of Home: A Designer Guide to Creating an Elevated Yet Approachable Home, or Beautifully Organized: A Guide to Function and Style in Your Home.