There are few things better in life than cozying up on a sunny beach and getting lost in a great book.
If you’re spending your summer on a gloriously sunny beach, then you’re going to want to have a variety of exotic and exciting beach reads with you.
These are the kinds of books that will sweep you away to similarly sunny locations, as well as entrance you with emotional love stories and steamy romances.
There are loads of breezy beach reads out there, which can make it difficult to find the best ones.
Thankfully, we’ve done the work for you! In our sunny guide below, we’ve got a list of the 23 best beach reads that are sure to make your beach vacation even brighter.
Best Beach Reads
We’re starting off our summer vacation with this perfect beach read by Angie Hockman, “Shipped”.
This is the story of Henley Evans, a marketing manager who has been working way too hard.
Between her job with a cruise line and the night classes she takes for her MBA, Evans is severely lacking in the free time department, with no time for herself, friends, family – or dating.
Thankfully, though, she’s just been shortlisted for a dream promotion. However, this shortlisting comes with a big asterisk named Graeme Crawford-Collins.
Who is he? Well, he’s up for the same promotion for a start.
On top of that, he’s her work nemesis, with the two frequently getting into battles over email. With that being said, they’ve never actually met face to face…
In order to win the promotion, their boss asks each of them to come with a proposal of how to do more business in the Galápagos Islands. The best proposal will win.
However, in order to make those proposals, the two will have to take a cruise to the Islands together.
The rivals finally meet and Henley is shocked to find that Graeme isn’t the nightmare she thought he was. In fact, she might even be falling for him.
Torn between attraction, promotions, and being overworked in the first place, Henley Evans is going to need to do some thinking about what she really wants out of life.
This dreamy beach read has the classic concept for a rom-com: rivals that fall for each other.
These kinds of romances are always twisty and fun, and the vivid, sunny descriptions of the Galápagos Islands are also a delight.
- A slow-building, swooning romance.
- Gorgeous and exotic locations.
- Some characters are cliché.
Our next beach read pick is this thrilling novel from the acclaimed, massively popular author Taylor Jenkins Reid.
Set in Malibu in 1983, the book centers around four well-known siblings, all children of iconic singer Mick Riva (who appears in other Reid books!).
Nina, the supermodel and surfer sibling, is throwing her annual party for the end of summer, and everyone there wants to be near the siblings.
There’s Nina, surfer Jay, photographer Hud, and baby sister Kit.
However, Nina isn’t too thrilled by the party. In fact, she’s dreading it, partly because she’s just been publicly left by her tennis player husband.
Similarly, Hud is dreading the event too, because he’s got a dark secret he needs to confess to Jay.
Jay, though, is excited because he’s got a nightfall date with a dream girl. And Kit? She’s invited a surprise guest without telling anyone.
All the pieces are in place for a wild party – perhaps even the party to end all parties.
Secrets will be revealed, music will be played, drinks will be enjoyed, and this famous family will be exposed in ways like never before.
It’s going to be an unforgettable night!
There’s nothing like a wild party novel to bring your beach relaxing to life, and this one has the added benefit of crazy drama, stunning revelations, and a dreamy setting.
Taylor Jenkins Reid is always reliable when it comes to thrilling, fun books full of love, secrets, and twists, and “Malibu Rising” is no exception.
- Covers a wild, well-paced night of drama.
- Great character study.
- Fascinating family.
- It can be difficult to keep track of all the different characters!
This swooning, hot debut novel by Carley Fortune is the perfect romance to get lost in while laying on a beach.
Persephone “Percy” Fraser hasn’t been home in a very long time, and with good reason.
A decade ago she made the biggest mistake of her life, and now she’s been living far from the Barry’s Bay lake shores of her youth, instead trading it in for the big city.
There, she spends her time having fun, but never letting anyone close to her heart.
However, an unexpected call sends Percy heading back home at last, where she encounters the man of her past: Sam Florek.
She and Sam had been inseparable, once upon a time.
They spent six summers together as friends, reading and relaxing together, until the friendship evolved into something more.
However, it wasn’t to be, and they fell apart.
When they meet again, the connection is still there.
However, Percy must confront her decade-old decisions and find whether their love is worth returning to.
This romantic, emotional novel has a massive scope, covering the six years of their friendship and then the weekend of their reunion.
Readers get to inhabit every part of their love story, with every tough decision and regret that came from it, and it all makes for an involving, moving beach read that you’ll love.
- Massive scope.
- You’ll feel all kinds of emotions.
- A moving romance.
- Young love and nostalgia.
- The flashbacks can be more interesting than the present-day parts.
Our next beach read is a hilarious, romantic tale of two sworn enemies that are forced together on what should be the happiest of occasions and the Hawaiian vacation of a lifetime.
Olive and Ami Torres are twins, but couldn’t be more different.
More specifically, Ami has all the luck (and is getting married), while Olive has recently been laid off.
Unfortunately, though, it looks like Olive’s luck will get even worse at her sister’s wedding, because she’ll have to spend it with the best man, Ethan Thomas.
Ethan is Olive’s sworn enemy, but Olive must put it aside to give her sister the best day possible.
However, the best day possible isn’t actually coming, because the entire wedding party gets food poisoning. That is, everybody except Olive and Ethan.
With a free honeymoon now available, the pair must ignore their differences to make the most of this free Hawaii vacation.
However, they’ll have to pretend to be newlyweds. Oddly, though, Olive doesn’t seem to mind as time goes by…could her feelings be changing?
- Another classic rom-com where enemies become lovers.
- Exotic Hawaiian locations.
- Good lessons.
- Not as steamy as you might want.
This next beach read is, appropriately enough, by the author of the book “Beach Read”!
As a result, it’s the perfect vacation novel to enjoy while you’re relaxing on the sand.
Despite being totally different, Alex and Poppy have been best friends since college.
Poppy is a wild child, while Alex enjoys a night in.
Though the pair live far apart – Alex is in their hometown, Poppy is in New York – they’ve spent a decade going on vacation together once a summer.
However, they haven’t been for two years. Why? Something happened between the two and they haven’t spoken since.
Miserable, Poppy proposes one final vacation with Alex, where the two will put it all out there and patch things up.
Alex agrees, and now Poppy has just one week to fix things. Can she?
Or is there an enormous truth that’s always been hanging over their apparently-perfect friendship?
- It’s very funny.
- Great characters.
- A rom-com about old friends.
- A sunny vacation.
- Too much build-up.
We just looked at one of Emily Henry’s books, so why not look at another one of her smash hits? “Beach Read” is, you guessed it, an ideal beach read!
Another classic tale of opposites, the book is about two authors.
January Andrews writes popular romance novels with happy endings, while Augustus Everett writes dramatic, dark books.
Though they couldn’t have less in common, both authors are going to be spending the next three months in neighboring beach homes, both battling writer’s block.
When the block doesn’t disappear, the pair strike up a deal to help both of them: they’ll swap styles.
January will write a literary masterpiece, while Augustus will pen a happy book for once. Each will help the other, too.
It’s a great plan, but will it achieve more than just getting their books written? Is love on the cards?
- A unique story all about authors.
- Funny metafiction about romance novels.
- Has a very sweet and subtle romance.
- The story could have more tension.
Our next beach read is all about a regular summer that’s totally transformed when a prince and princess move in next door.
Piper Evans lives a quiet life. An elementary school teacher, she spends her time looking after her mother (who has a mental illness) and reading romance novels.
On top of that, she also spends time avoiding her bartender ex.
Though she’s been in her tight-knit community for five years, it’s one that still doesn’t welcome her as a proper member.
However, she really doesn’t mind too much: she’s content with her small life.
That is until a British prince and princess rent the place next to hers, throwing the area into a media frenzy.
Harder still, the royals have a brooding bodyguard, Harrison Cole, that has assessed Piper as a threat.
Yet each encounter between the pair is extremely confusing – and hot.
When a royal scandal then strikes, Piper and Harrison (who really has a soft heart underneath his brooding exterior) will have to decide between careers and love…
- A playful story with a royal twist.
- Set in a tight-knit island community.
- The characters are charming.
- It’s a little predictable at times.
Part of Jill Shalvis’ “Lucky Harbor” series, about romances in the cute eponymous locations, this is the perfect tender beach read.
Becca Thorpe has given up her city girl lifestyle, moving away from it all to the quiet beaches of Lucky Harbor.
This is a chance for a new life – a chance to live in the moment.
However, it isn’t long before she’s met a handsome surfer named Sam Brody. His eyes are intense, his touch thrills her, and that’s all it takes: she’s interested.
Sam is a self-made man who spends his time building boats and making smart investments.
However, he knows better than anybody that you shouldn’t mix business and pleasure.
Yet, he just can’t help offering Becca a job. After all, it’ll mean they can spend more time together.
Things become uncertain, though, when Becca’s brother arrives asking for help.
Will it be enough to tempt Becca back to the big city that she tried so hard to leave behind?
Or does she have a future with Sam and the beachy paradise of Lucky Harbor?
- Part of the Lucky Harbor series – and characters from other books make an appearance!
- It’s funny and sweet.
- Well-drawn characters.
- Some storytelling is inconsistent.
The first of a duology of books by Tess Bailey, this is a totally romantic beach read that you can enjoy with the knowledge that there’s a second book to devour afterward!
Piper Bellinger is the Hollywood “It Girl”, a wild child who spends her time constantly partying and being followed by paparazzi.
After a rooftop party goes too far, Piper finds herself in jail. For her stepfather, this is the last straw.
He cuts Piper off, then sends the wild child and her sister to go and run their late father’s bar in Westport, Washington.
It should, he hopes, teach them about responsibility.
A total fish out of water, Piper Bellinger is going to struggle to be so far from Beverly Hills and the cushy life that she’s always been accustomed to.
This is certainly the opinion of a handsome sea captain, Brendan, who meets Piper.
However, Piper is determined to prove both him and her stepfather wrong.
This isn’t going to be easy, though, because she keeps bumping into the hot, grouchy sea captain.
The pair are total opposites, but there’s some kind of spark there.
But Piper can’t be distracted by it, especially when this is a man who sails off for weeks at a time.
As she becomes more and more at home in the cozy, small town of Westport, she wonders whether her old Los Angeles lifestyle is actually what she wants.
Might she want small town life, and Brendan, instead?
- A classic romance of opposites.
- A city girl learning the small town ways.
- You can enjoy the sequel afterward!
- It’s a bit repetitive.
This next beach read is a romance all about redefining your dreams in life.
Emma is an actress on a popular show, but her character has just been cut.
To make things worse, she’s just found her boyfriend with another woman. It’s fair to say that Emma’s life is not going well.
To make things better, she heads off to a gorgeous California estate to relax and recover.
There, she meets the owner’s charming and secretive grandson, Lucian Osmund.
A former hockey player, she sees the yearning and pain in his eyes that she knows all too well.
However, the two put their walls up and keep their distance, despite an undeniable attraction.
A few events draw the pair closer and closer, though, and it seems that these two broken souls might be able to help one another learn to taste life again…
- Romantic and sweet tale of broken souls.
- Touching ideas about regrets and dreams.
- Characters you’ll love.
- It’s a little drawn out.
Our next beach read is all about love and life – at 30,000 feet in the air!
Ava Greene has been a flight attendant for a decade, and now it’s time to retire and settle. All she has left is one last flight.
However, she soon discovers that Jack Stone, a cocky former pilot with whom she’s held a secret grudge forever, is on the flight.
Worse still, he thinks he can flirt with her. Has he forgotten the part he played in the most embarrassing night of her life?
Oh well, at least she’ll never see him again after this final flight.
However, that isn’t the case, because the flight runs into some mechanical problems, and everybody has to stop for a weekend layover at a luxury resort.
How on earth will Ava make it through a couple of excruciating days with a man she hates?
Only, it turns out she may not hate him after all.
The more the two spend time together in Caribbean resort paradise, the more Ava realizes that she may have viewed Jack wrongly…
- A classic rom-com about enemies turned lovers.
- A vacation resort paradise.
- Filled with emotions.
- It’s a bit overlong.
Perfect for a beach read, this book by Julie James has you covered with this exciting, hot summer romance.
Victoria Slade is a divorce lawyer, and it’s fair to say that her job has put her off marriage for life.
However, that doesn’t mean she’s against casual dating every now and then, and that life suits her just fine.
With that being said, she is reluctant to be roped-in by her gorgeous and cocky new neighbor, Ford Dixon.
He’s an investigative journalist, and his pregnant sister has been left abandoned by a flaky partner.
Ford is determined to find the man, but he’ll need to team up with Victoria if they want to win.
Though the pair are distinct opposites, there’s no denying the fact that there’s some serious attraction between them, and the more time they spend working together, the closer they become…
- A classic romance of opposites.
- A likable heroine.
- A smooth-talking love interest.
- The story can be predictable.
This next beach read is a powerful tale all about love and the braveness to dream again.
Gracelyn Glock is in her forties and loving life. She has no husband, she deliberately avoids men, and she’s got no retirement plan.
However, a tragedy results in Gracelyn inheriting her young nephew. As a result, she gets a San Diego beach house and readies the pair for a nice summer.
It isn’t long, though, before she finds that their beach neighbors are a hot anatomy professor, Nathaniel Hunt, and his young daughter.
A single dad, Nathaniel hasn’t been with a woman for a decade, instead focusing on work and raising his child.
However, when he happens upon Gracelyn’s habit for stepping outdoors, he finds himself being tempted.
Will the sustained chastity of these two adults continue? Or will they fall for each other? One thing’s for sure, it’ll be an unforgettable summer.
- A perfect balance of humor and heart.
- A summer romance full of stolen kisses.
- Characters you’ll love.
- Some readers don’t believe in the story.
Our next beach read recommendation is full of exotic traveling, new experiences, and love.
Marin has been living a small, safe life ever since her journalist mother died on an assignment.
However, Marin’s sister, Sadie, has been exactly the opposite: living an adrenaline-fueled life as a globe-trotting photographer.
When Sadie returns tired from a tough assignment, Marin reluctantly agrees to a tropical spa weekend for the two sisters.
However, Marin has always been weary of traveling, and she’s about to be proven right by this trip: luggage is lost, Sadie misses the plane, and turbulence pushes Marin right into a handsome stranger’s lap.
The stranger, Lucas Tsai, soon becomes the furthest thing from a stranger, because he and Marin explore the tropical island together, trying out breathtaking experiences.
With every new one, Marin realizes what she’s been missing out on, and also finds herself getting closer and closer to Lucas…
- Emotional and romantic.
- Tropical island setting.
- A great message about living life to the fullest.
- It’s very sad, so be prepared.
This next beach read recommendation is a feel-good delight that’s gone viral on TikTok.
Eighteen months ago, Meredith Fox lost her sister, and it made her reclusive.
However, she’s determined to put herself out there again this summer, and it’ll all begin with the annual Martha’s Vineyard family vacation.
The whole extended family are going to be there for a wedding, and Meredith can’t wait for their annual game of “assassin”, especially since her sister had always loved it.
However, Meredith has been dumped recently, so she’s got no date to partner up with.
So, Meredith is paired with a cute groomsman, and the duo need to work closely to win the game – something Meredith is especially keen to do in memory of her sister.
Working closely will be no easy task, though, because Meredith quickly feels herself falling for the man. And getting distracted.
- A unique and fun plot.
- A sunny setting.
- The family dynamic is great.
- The couple is extremely likable.
- There isn’t a lot of tension.
Nicholas Sparks is one of the most famous romance writers out there, and you’ve probably seen the Ryan Gosling movie that was adapted from this hit novel.
Naturally, the book itself is a perfect beach read!
When Noah Calhoun returns from the war, he’s got plenty of ghosts on his mind.
In order to keep them at bay, he decides to dedicate his time to restoring an old plantation home.
However, even this home carries its own ghosts, because he once met a beautiful girl, Allie Hamilton, in the area.
Though the girl stole his heart, her parents wouldn’t let such a thing happen, and it seemed that the couple weren’t meant to be.
However, that didn’t stop Noah from writing to Allie every day for a year, even if he didn’t get a single response.
Unexpectedly, Allie shows up on his doorstep one day.
Time has passed, but she’s always been on his mind, and this is Noah’s chance to win her back for good.
However, it’s also his last chance to do such a thing, because Allie is now engaged – and she’s not the type to break promises.
- A famous love story.
- Perfect if you love the movie.
- Memories of young love.
- It doesn’t spend enough time on the flashbacks.
This engaging, emotional romance is another great beach read for you to try!
Anna has recently lost her fiancé.
However, when a reminder goes off about the Caribbean trip that she had once booked for them to take, the adventurous Anna impulsively goes to complete the sailing trip herself, using the sailboat that her fiancé had left her.
The trip is too much for one, though, and Anna realizes after a treacherous night of sailing that she will need help here after all.
As a result, she hires a professional sailor named Keane.
Keane is struggling with problems of his own, which makes them a fitting pair, and the two find themselves growing closer and closer as they continue sailing.
As the water carries them, these two souls will find that it’s never too late to take a new path in life, and that starting again doesn’t mean letting go of the past.
- Exciting sailing adventure.
- Great themes about starting again in life.
- It’s full of sailing terms that will confuse some readers!
The fifth book in the “Chicago Stars” series, this romantic novel from Susan Elizabeth Philips is another great choice for a summer beach read.
Molly Somerville is the creator of a popular children’s book series. Naturally, she loves her career, but she’s well aware that other parts of her life might be lacking.
For one, she’s known for trouble – and not just because she once gave up her fifteen million dollar inheritance.
On top of that, she’s forever had a crush on Kevin Tucker, a football quarterback who barely even knows she exists.
One night, Kevin bursts into her life in an unexpected way, and Molly soon finds that the man is not as shallow as she had always hoped.
The pair eventually find themselves at Wind Lake, a picturesque place with cute cottages and BnBs, and the two must struggle against their building attraction to one another.
Can they stay away from each other? Do they really want to?
- Great dialog.
- The characters are properly 3-dimensional.
- Sweet and romantic.
- It’s quite explicit and steamy at times, so be aware going in!
The fifth and final book in the “Beautiful” series, this explosive and exciting novel is the perfect beach read for any vacation.
After she finds her boyfriend with another girl, Pippa Bay Cox has abandoned London and set off for the United States.
With the change of scenery, she plans to lose herself in a drunken road trip with Ruby Miller and a few other friends from the Beautiful series’ cast.
Meanwhile, Jensen Bergstrom has been dealing with heartbreak by losing himself in work.
However, his sister Hanna has convinced him to take a little more time for himself by accompanying her gang on a wine tour.
Only once he’s agreed to it, though, does he realize that the strange girl he encountered on the plane is coming too.
She seems a little crazy, but maybe that’s what his life needs?
With a great cast of characters, wild times will be had by all, and there will be plenty of adventures in love and friendship for everyone.
- It’s the last entry in a series, so you’ve got four other books to enjoy!
- Heartwarming romance.
- Great cast of interesting characters.
- The explicit, steamy scenes won’t be for everyone, so keep them in mind!
The first part in a series of books, this novel from Jenny Han is the ideal summer beach read!
Belly lives for the summer.
Everything good in her life happens in that magical period between June and August each year, while the rest of the year is just spent counting down the days to the next summer.
However, the rest of the year is also a time for Belly to distance herself from Jeremiah and Conrad, the boys she’s known since her first summer.
These boys have been like brothers to her, but they’ve also been crushes, and it’s all very confusing.
And it’s about to get more confusing! This summer, everything is going to change between Belly and the boys – for better and for worse.
- A coming of age story.
- Full of summer excitement.
- A complex love triangle.
- It’s for younger readers.
This period romance novel is the perfect beach read to sweep you off your feet to a different era.
Annabelle Peyton could pick any suitor she wants, if she only had a dowry. With her family nearing financial ruin, the only way Annabelle can save them is by marrying a wealthy suitor.
Unfortunately, though, the best man for the job is Simon Hunt, a brash man who only wants Annabelle as his mistress.
Despite his brashness, Annabelle finds it hard to resist his wicked proposals, and the more they try to get around each other, the closer they find themselves falling…
- Period romance.
- Part of a series.
- Romantic and emotional.
- The heroine is sometimes self-absorbed.
This desert island-set novel is perfect for reading on a beach!
Anna Emerson is an English teacher living a monotonous life, with a relationship that’s headed nowhere.
T.J. Callahan is a 16-year-old whose cancer is in remission and whose parents want him to spend his summer catching up on school.
Anna decides to make her life a little more adventurous by taking the job of tutoring T.J. on a tropical island.
However, when their private plane crashes in shark-infested waters, the two have to swim to the nearest shore.
Unfortunately, the nearest shore is an uninhabited desert island.
Now the pair needs to survive, as weeks turn to months, and endure threatening weather and animals.
On top of that, there’s the risk of T.J.’s illness returning. A tale of companionship found in the most unexpected places, this is a moving and exciting read.
- Exciting tale of desert island survival.
- A heartwarming story of companionship.
- It’s a little overlong.
Our final beach read is this heartwarming romance from Jenny Hale!
Melanie Simpson’s grandma has just passed, leaving Melanie feeling lost.
However, her grandmother’s will gives her an inheritance to buy and renovate an old crumbling house that the two used to visit every summer.
On her first night in the new town, she meets Josh Claiborne, a local contractor, and realizes that this dreamy man is the perfect person for the renovation job.
However, an old stack of letters is found in the house, revealing a history that involves the entire town.
Will the mystery bring Melanie and Josh closer – or tear them apart?
- Plenty of twists and turns.
- A beautiful love story.
- The importance of family.
- It’s repetitive at times.
When looking for the perfect beach read, you’ll want to find a story that’s got vivid, exotic locations. Island resorts and sunny beaches are a must!
Additionally, it’s always good to have a story full of romance, especially when it’s the surprising emergence of love between two rivals or distinct opposites.
Of course, plenty of emotions are key too! It doesn’t just have to be heart-swooning romance, a book that elicits laughter, sadness, excitement, worry, and more will make your vacation one wild ride!
When you’re relaxing on a sunny beach, it’s always essential to have a great beach read with you.
Our list of 23 beach reads is packed with romance, adventure, companionship, and exotic locations to make your vacation even better!
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Beach Read?
A beach read isn’t just any old book, rather one that’s perfect for vacation. As a result, it’s something that’s got romance and thrills, as well as gloriously sunny and exotic settings.
On top of that, it should be great enough to keep you hooked, but not so serious that it throws your vacation off.