Stream These Movies and Shows to Get That Summer Vibe

Even if the weather's not cooperating for your summer plans, you can still get that beachy, carefree feeling by loading up one of these movies and shows that scream "summer."

Photo: Searchlight Pictures

It's the time of year when you swap serious books for beach reads, and opt for a cool, casual outdoor get-together instead of a fancier dinner party. So maybe it's time to lighten up your watchlist too.

That means scrapping those dark, depressing dramas and looking for things that are fun, or at least a little bit juicy—bonus points if they include beachy destinations and plenty of eye candy.

No matter what kind of summer vibe you're hoping to rock this year, there's a summer movie or show to binge watch for you.

P.S. Feel free to bookmark this list for January, when we're all wishing for a little taste of summer.

If your summer vacation plans are a little meh

If your summer plans are more about a staycation than summer travel that involves a passport stamp and a long flight, you can at least eat up a little gorgeous summery scenery as you binge watch.

Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy

Follow award-winning actor (and major foodie) on a rambling, Emmy-winning multi-season tour of Italy—no passport required.

Where to watch: Discovery+

The Reluctant Traveler With Eugene Levy

This hilarious new series features comedian and very reluctant traveler Eugene Levy traveling everywhere from the Maldives to Costa Rica to Tokyo to expand his horizons (however uncomfortably).

Where to watch: Apple+

The Lost City

The lush gorgeousness of the Dominican Republic stands in for the hidden jungle paradise in this rom-com adventure story. Sandra Bullock plays a reclusive bestselling author who is kidnapped by a billionaire (Daniel Radcliffe) to help him find the Lost City from her novels. Both her cover model (Channing Tatum) and a former CIA operative (Brad Pitt) attempt to rescue her—so there's plenty of eye candy to go around.

Where to watch: Paramount+

Love and Gelato

It's a tried-and-true formula: young woman goes on adventurous trip to a gorgeous European capital and has to decide between two dashing young romantic prospects. But this charming movie, based on the novel by Jenna Evans Welch, sets its sights on the incomparably romantic city of Rome. (Just make sure you have a little Italian feast and some gelato stashed in the freezer for your watch party.)

Where to watch: Netflix

Mamma Mia

Mix together frothy ABBA music, incredible Greek beaches, and Meryl Streep singing and dancing—and you have the recipe for a perfect summer movie night.

Where to watch: Peacock TV

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Follow the late chef and traveler on adventures in some off the beaten path places in this award-winning and beloved travel series.

Where to watch: Discovery+

If you're craving real-life summer excitement

Not all documentaries are dark and serious. And these real-life stories will definitely have you thinking summer.

Class Action Park

If thrill rides are your speed, this crazy documentary about one of the most legendary—and dangerous—theme parks ever created may be right up your alley.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Summer of Soul

This epic Oscar-winning documentary by musician-filmmaker Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson covers the epic six-week festival that went under the radar in 1969, with classic performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension and many more.

Where to watch: Hulu and Disney+

If you want that last day of school vibe

Remember that last day of school, when you have that long stretch of lazy summer ahead of you? Get that feeling back (if only for a couple of hours).

Dazed and Confused

The entire plot of this movie is "kids in the '70s party after the last day of school." Hidden in that description is a whole lot of heart and smarts, and all the drama you'd expect from a group of teenagers running wild (fights, romance, immature pranks, and generous helpings of beer and weed, all set to a killer '70s soundtrack). Shout out to Matthew McConaughey's smarmy performance as that 20-something guy who's still hanging out with high schoolers.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Stranger Things

If you haven't already caught the fourth season, now's the time to indulge your spooky side with the spring-breaking crew from Hawkins, where the adventures get them even closer to solving the mystery of the Upside Down. (Or skip back to Season 3, which offered classic '80s summer vibes alongside the spooky chills.)

Where to watch: Netflix

Underachiever Lloyd Dobler gets his dream girl (class valedictorian Diane Court) to agree to a single date—and an epic summer romance —in this late '80s teen classic.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later

Even if you never caught the hilarious original sendup of the 1980s summer camp movie, you'll still find a lot of fun in this limited series—including seeing stars like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, Adam Scott, and Kristen Wiig sporting some seriously ridiculous early 1990s ensembles.

Where to watch: Netflix

If you want some soapy summer drama

It's summer! Trade in your dark The Last of Us obsession for something a little less grim.

Daisy Jones and the Six

If concerts and rock music are your summer vibe, you'll want to catch this series based on the best-selling novel, which follows a Fleetwood Mac-esque band on the road to superstardom.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime.

Outer Banks

The third season of this popular Netflix series has the seaside crew looking for an even bigger treasure—with plenty of drama and adventure to enjoy.

Where to watch: Netflix

The White Lotus

Take your pick of incredible beachy destinations—all filled with crazy death and drama in addition to the drop-dead-gorgeous scenery. Opt for season one in Hawaii, or season two in Sicily.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Dead to Me

This darkly funny Netflix series is essentially a girl-buddy film—with gorgeous California scenery, a few deaths, and some serious plot twists thrown in.

Where to watch: Netflix

Big Little Lies

Death visits a group of uber-moms living in grand homes in Monterey—but a lot of the drama comes from affairs, party invitation snubs, and a controversial production of Avenue Q.

Where to watch: HBO Max

Cruel Summer

In this twisty she said-she said thriller, it's not quite clear which girl is telling the truth about a kidnapping and its aftermath.

Where to watch: Hulu

If summer chills are more your thing

Halloween isn't the only scary time of year—some of the most popular horror movies of all time have a summery vibe.

Friday the 13th

The original summer camp slasher is definitely worthy of a rewatch—as counselors at Crystal Lake meet some pretty horrifying ends.

Where to watch: Paramount+ and Pluto TV

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Teenagers do the dumbest things—like running over someone and dumping the body. This series is a reboot of the equally fun summer horror classic.

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


Get ready for the soon-to-be-in-theaters latest installment of this slasher series by watching the 2022 reboot with Wednesday favorite Jenna Ortega (or indulge in the beloved original).

Where to watch: Paramount+

If you're having a summer movie marathon—or binge watch—with the kids

You can break out the popcorn over pretty much anything on Disney+, from Pixar flicks and Disney classics to all the Marvel and Star Wars content (including the latest season of the beloved Mandalorian series and the Black Panther sequel Wakanda Forever). But whether you're looking for an under-the-radar Disney option—or more family-friendly summer movies or shows to enjoy—check out these options.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

Based on the bestselling novel by Jenny Han, this sweet series follows nearly 16-year-old Belly Conklin on a romantic summer at the beach with her family. Think Elin Hilderbrand for the tween and teen set. (And there's a season two on the horizon!)

Where to watch: Amazon Prime


This under-the-radar (but totally charming!) Pixar-created tale follows a young sea monster who secretly lives his best summer life on the Italian Riviera.

Where to watch: Disney+

Jurassic Park

Sure, there's a more modern reboot of this dinos-gone-wrong series, but why not start your kids off on the classic series? They still feature some pretty epic effects long before the CGI renaissance.

Where to watch: Peacock TV

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Follow four teen friends on their summer adventures—all linked by a pair of pants they share between them. (And enjoy some early-career performances by Blake Lively, America Ferrara, Alexis Bledel, and Amber Tamblyn.)

Where to watch: HBO Max

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