The weather is heating up, and we’re going out to the beaches and pools. Some of us are even headed out on road trips or to summer camps. Do you have some empty space in your suitcase or backpack? Then you need to check out this list of summer beach reading essentials!
What will you be adding to your summer shopping list?
You’re going to need a bag to carry all of your books and accessories. And when going to the beach, you’re probably going to want a tote bag because it’s easy to clean and durable. There’s also no shortage of options in style, size, and budget.
Etsy is one of my favorite places to find tote bags because the small businesses there offer some of the cutest and most unique designs. The Nims went with a Y2K girly vibe that captures your attention right away. And CarpeDiem created a black tote that you won’t be able to miss in the sand.
Since you’re likely to be tossing and jostling your bags around, your book is bound to take a slight beating. So, what better way to protect the pages, spine, and covers than with a book sleeve? Bonus points if you find a waterproof one (let me know, I’m still on the lookout for one).
You can find a myriad of choices and vibes on Etsy, from floral to constellations to book quotes and characters. But, if you’re willing to pay a bit more, subscription boxes like The Bookish Box send out book sleeves every other month or so in their boxes.
Book Page Holders
Also known as Book Buddies, book page holders help you manage your book when it’s a bit windy or you need to read one-handed while sipping a beverage by the pool. While the first Book Buddies were wooden and triangular, they’ve come far in design.
The most popular options for page holders are resin and wood. You can find flowers, hearts, triangles, and so many other shapes. I prefer resin because they’re a bit more customizable.
Beach readers might want bookmarks that won’t get completely destroyed by a few drops of water. Etsy’s midislandivy makes thin laminate bookmarks with pressed flowers on the inside that are perfect for reading outdoors.
If you’re looking for something more durable and sturdy but still somewhat water-resistant, wooden bookmarks are gaining popularity. Some are made with laser-cut designs, while others feature woodburned quotes and drawings.
Book-Themed Cups and Bottles
It’s an unspoken rule that you always take something to drink with you to the pool or beach. So, why not bring your drink – whether that be water, juice, soda, or whatever you fancy – in a cup that fits your book preferences and aesthetic?
From plastic to metal, water bottles to tumblers, you’re bound to find something that you love. You can find some generic book lover-themed cups all over the internet. But you’re going to need to check out Etsy for the fandom-specific options.
You could easily walk into Walmart, Target, or any store in the mall to grab a pair of sunglasses on the way to the beach. However, there are only so many options when you shop in person.
If you hop online in anticipation of a summer trip, you can find any shape your heart desires. There’s even heart, wings, and flame-shaped sunglasses if you look hard enough.
Hats and Caps
Some people love hats and some don’t. I happen to fall in the category between those: I love hats, but they look weird on my head. Regardless, you might be spending hours in the sun. And trust me, you’re not going to like it when your scalp is burned.
Go into Target and grab a random floppy hat or baseball cap. Or head to an online business and find something that shows off a bit of your personality or fandom. I, for one, would love to see someone wearing a Crescent City cap on the beach.
I’ve had my Raycon earbuds for nearly a year now, and I wouldn’t turn back. And this isn’t paid advertising; I actually love and use them almost every time I leave the house. And I love that they won’t be completely destroyed if I step into the rain.
But maybe that brand is a bit out of your budget. Just look up “waterproof headphones” online, and you’re golden. You can find in-ear headphones for as cheap as $10 and over-ear headphones as low as $20. And that’s not even counting the nearly endless color options.
Beach Towels and Blankets
Though it’s harder to find book-themed beach towels and blankets, it’s possible. That said, my favorite style happens to be the simple ones that look like they belong in a magazine.
Even if you don’t like the subdued patterns I prefer, you can find any color, fabric, shape, or design you love. And, if you love fringe, you’re in luck because they’re a staple for this type of product.
Beach chairs are a bit too big to fit in average tote bags, but there are plenty of portable chairs to choose from. The most common you’re likely to see are the fabric chairs with built-in cup holders, but let’s talk about another aesthetically pleasing chair I found on Etsy.
The rattan chair is cute and comfy. It’s perfect for spending hours in the sun or shade reading a book. In addition to this, there are tons of other options. One I’m currently on the hunt for looks like it’s straight out of the 1980s.
As the last item on this essentials list before we get into books, let’s talk about beach umbrellas. Though you can’t exactly just toss one of these in your bag, they’re pretty important if you want to read without getting burned all over.
And yeah, you could slather yourself in sunscreen, but that’s going to wear off eventually. With a large beach umbrella, all you have to do is wiggle over when the sun shifts. If you don’t want to lug a large canopy or umbrella with you, there are also plenty of smaller umbrellas that anchor into the sand.
‘The Boardwalk Bookshop’ by Susan Mallery, ‘Beyond the Break’ by Heather Buchta, and ‘Shipped’ by Angie Hockman
For those looking for new books to read, let’s start with some beachy vibes. While I haven’t read The Boardwalk Bookshop yet (it releases May 31 this year), I have heard fantastic things already. Bree, Mikki, and Ashley run the Boardwalk Bookshop; the only thing is their personal lives aren’t going well. Think of it as Sweet Magnolias meets boardwalks and beaches.
If you’re more into Sarah Dessen or The Summer I Turned Pretty, Beyond the Break is for you. Lovette doesn’t surf or date; they are the only things she won’t allow herself to do. But everything changes when childhood friend Jake comes back to her.
Described as The Hating Game on vacation, Shipped is a fun beachy read. Henley and Graeme are competing for a promotion. To prove themselves, they are sent on a cruise to the Galapagos to write up a proposal. And while their long-distance emails say one thing, neither can help the chemistry they have in person.
Road Trip Books
‘Mariam Sharma Hits the Road’ by Sheba Karim, ‘Mosquitoland’ by David Arnold, and ‘The Getaway Girls’ by Dee MacDonald
If you’re dealing with wanderlust while you’re at the beach, here are some books following traveling protagonists. In Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, Mariam and her friends are headed to New Orleans for a fun escape from their parents. While on the way, the trio meets tons of people and gets closer to the truth behind Mariam’s father’s disappearance.
In Mosquitoland, Mim is on the way back to Ohio from Mississippi to see her mom. Onboard a Greyhound bus, she meets lots of people who keep the long trip bearable. However, not every road trip is as fun as we all want them to be; Mim has to figure out who she is on this trip.
After deciding it’s time for a change in her life in The Getaway Girls, Connie wrangles new friends Gill and Maggie into a road trip across Europe. Connie is on a quest to collect her inheritance in Italy, Gill wants a summer romance, and Maggie just wants to escape her dark past. Can I go on a trip like this, too?
Summer Camp Books
‘Sleepaway Girls’ by Jen Calonita, ‘You Have a Match’ by Emma Lord, and ‘This One Summer’ by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
Maybe you want to relive your old camp days. So, let’s break down some fun reads set at summer camps. In You Have a Match, Abby goes to summer camp to meet her sister Savannah. Abby wants to have a fun-filled summer with her sister, but Savvy isn’t too big on breaking rules. At least Abby has Leo, the camp’s co-chef, to keep her company.
Sleepaway Girls is the first in a series set at Whispering Pines camp. This book follows Sam during her training to be a counselor at camp to avoid becoming the third wheel in her best friend’s new relationship. But being a counselor-in-training isn’t what she expected – there are mean girls, new friends, and heartbreak on the horizon.
While This One Summer isn’t technically at summer camp, it has the same vibe. The graphic novel follows Rose and Windy trying to get away from Rose’s parent’s arguments. It’s a beautiful story that will either have you crying, laughing, or relating to characters at any point in the book.
Books Just in Time For Summer
‘Family of Liars’ by E. Lockhart, ‘More Than You’ll Ever Know’ by Katie Gutierrez, and ‘The Guncle’ by Steven Rowley
If none of the last few books have caught your eye, maybe you’re looking for recently released or upcoming books. Family of Liars was released on May 3 this year and is a prequel to We Were Liars. It follows a different generation of the Sinclair family during another summer uncovering yet another dark secret.
In More Than You’ll Ever Know (June 7), Dolores married Andres in 1985 while still being married to Fabian. Somehow, her life goes smoothly with her splitting her time between the men. That is until her secret is out and one of the men kills the other. Now, it’s up to Cassie to reveal the rest of the story.
Patrick loves spending time with his niece and nephew when they visit his Palm Springs home in The Guncle. And despite not having faith in his childcare abilities, he’s now in charge of the two children after their mother dies and their father is not available. But how hard could it be for him to add childcare to his life for a while?