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."

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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 in the movies.

The Lost City

The lush gorgeousness of the Dominican Republic stands in for the hidden jungle paradise in this fresh-from-the-theaters 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

Crazy Rich Asians

A lot of people added Singapore to their travel bucket list after seeing the gorgeous settings from this charming rom-com—with good reason. A love story featuring a smart heroine, a handsome and wealthy beau, Awkwafina as her scene-stealing BFF, and some of the most luxe locations on the planet? Sign us up.

Where to watch: HBO Max

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

Class Action Park

If thrill rides are more 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

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: Peacock TV

Stranger Things

If you haven't already caught the excellent 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

Say Anything...

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

If you want some soapy summer drama

It's summer! Trade in your dark Euphoria obsession for something a little less grim.

The White Lotus

Enjoy all the drama behind the staff and guests at an exclusive Hawaiian resort in this critically acclaimed series, which will be back for a new season—this time in Sicily—late this year or in early 2023.

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. (Catch up now before the new season starts this fall.)

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.

Jaws

The blockbuster movie that made everyone afraid to go into the water is a great summer watch—the soundtrack alone will give you shivers. (Bonus points if you do an outdoor movie screening from your swimming pool.)

Where to watch: Peacock TV

Friday the 13th

The original summer camp slasher is definitely worthy of a rewatch—as counselors at Crystal Lake meet some pretty horrifying ends. (Or go ahead and set up an epic rewatch of most of the Friday the 13ths in this never-ending series—Pluto TV has many of them available for free on demand.)

Where to watch: Paramount+ and Pluto TV

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Teenagers do the dumbest things—like running over a man and dumping the body. A year later, they begin to pay the price in some wickedly gory ways.

Where to watch: HBO Max

If you're feeling nostalgic

If you really want a blast from the past, blow past the new releases and rewind to a summer movie you loved way back when—or perhaps a new documentary about one epic summer.

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+

Caddyshack

The beloved golf comedy is a bit light on plot, but features an epic comedy cast, including Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, and Rodney Dangerfield.

Where to watch: HBO Max

National Lampoon's Vacation

The family road trip is a time-honored American tradition—and sending the goofy Griswolds trekking across the country to Wallyworld is pure comedy gold.

Where to watch: HBO Max

If you're having a summer movie marathon 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 brand new and highly acclaimed Obi-Wan Kenobi series). But whether you're looking for an under-the-radar Disney option—or a more family-friendly summer movie to enjoy—check out these options.

Luca

You may have missed this charming Pixar-created tale of a young sea monster who secretly lives his best summer life on the Italian Riviera—it went straight to the streaming service due to the pandemic.

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? The first three films are all on HBO (and still feature some pretty epic effects long before the CGI renaissance).

Where to watch: HBO Max

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

The Goonies

A group of kids sets off on a swashbuckling adventure looking for a pirate's treasure, with a gang of cartoony criminals in hot pursuit. It may just inspire your kids to drop the screens and explore the outdoors a little more.

Where to watch: HBO Max

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