For the price of a paperback (or for free at your local library), you can escape to somewhere far away—ideally somewhere with sand, surf, and a whole lot of sun.
It’s definitely cheaper than booking a tropical vacation.
Plan your own mental escape by picking up one of these awesome beachy reads. Curl up in a chair, pour yourself a cup of tea (or, heck, a margarita), and get lost in the pages of a summery book.
Summer Sisters, Judy Blume
Remember Judy Blume, the author of well-written tween angst books from your youth? Back in 1998, she wrote a book for an adult audience titled Summer Sisters. Her work is just as amazing as you remember.
Set in the picturesque Martha’s Vineyard, this novel follows two best friends as they spend summers growing together and, in some ways, growing apart. The gorgeous beaches don’t change, but the characters in the story certainly do.
The Beach by Alex Garland
Forget the movie by the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio—though it is indeed based on this book, it doesn’t do it justice. Skip the flick and dive into this aptly named novel.
The Beach follows the story of Richard, a young English backpacker gallivanting through Thailand, who stumbles across a secluded beach that appears to be paradise on earth. Of course, there’s always more than meets the eye…
The Island by Elin Hilderbrand
Elin Hilderbrand is the go-to author for romance novels set on idyllic beaches. If that sounds right up your alley, check out The Island. Set in Tuckernuck Island – just off the coast of Nantucket – this novel follows a mother, her two daughters, and her own sister as they take what they think is a peaceful, much-needed getaway.
Hilderbrand grew up spending summers on Cape Cod, so she knows a thing or two about life on the beach. If you find yourself engrossed with The Island, then you’ll want to happily worm your way through her other novels.
Light My Fire: My Life With The Doors by Ray Manzarek
The late Ray Manzarek’s memoir is a must-read for autobiography fiends and fans of Jim Morrison alike.
Whether you’re a die-hard fan of The Doors or you just appreciate a well-written, thoughtful story, you’ll get lost in Light My Fire. Set mostly in Los Angeles in the 1960s, there are plenty of SoCal beachy cameos in this memoir.
Tough Guys Don’t Dance, Norman Mailer
Pulitzer Prize winning author Norman Mailer spent some time in Provincetown, a lively beachside town on the tip of Cape Cod that happens to be the setting of Tough Guys Don’t Dance.
This gritty novel retraces a foggy, drunken day in the life of Tim Madden—one that we know ends with a bloody car and a beheaded body. Light, fluffy beach read this is not—but gripping page turner? Absolutely.
Birds of Paradise, Diana Abu-Jaber
Family drama, a teenage runaway, and tropical beaches? Check, check, and check. This novel is set in Miami Beach, Florida and tells the story of 18-year-old Felice—who ran away from home five years prior—and her family.
This meaty novel captures those complex familial relationships that just about everyone can relate to. You’ll wish this book never ended.