I don’t know about you, but I LOVE watching movies. And I really like to watch certain movies at specific times of year. If you’re anything like me, you’re in luck! I’ve compiled a list of over 90 of the best summer movies of all time.
Summer might not seem like the typical time to watch movies. But after being out in the sun all day, it can be nice to sit and relax while watching a great summer movie.
I always bring movies with us on vacation. Being away from the hecticness of daily life provides the perfect opportunity to bond over a fun movie. I’ve added a section to the list containing the best summertime family movies, so you can find great summer movies for kids.
Summer means lots of time together time, so to ensure a bit of quiet, put on one of these movies, pop some popcorn, and kick back!
If you’re looking for summer movies to watch on a date, I’ve also compiled a list of romantic beach movies.
You can click on each of the movie titles for more information.
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On to the list!
Best Summer Movies Of All Time:
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – Four best girlfriends hatch a plan to stay connected with one another as their lives start off in different directions. They pass around a pair of secondhand jeans that fits each of their bodies perfectly.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 – Four college freshmen and best friends find that it may take more than a shared pair of jeans to help them stay in touch as their lives go in different directions. You can buy both movies in a set for even cheaper here.
Mamma Mia – The story of a bride-to-be trying to find her real father told using hit songs by the popular 1970s group ABBA.
My Girl – A young girl, on the threshold of her teen years, finds her life turned upside down, when she is accompanied by an unlikely friend.
Now and Then – Four 12-year-old girls grow up together during an eventful small-town summer in 1970.
The Help – An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African American maids’ point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
The Great Outdoors – A Chicago man’s hope for a peaceful family vacation in the woods is shattered when the annoying in-laws drop in.
Forrest Gump – The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.
Grownups – After their high school basketball coach passes away, five good friends and former teammates reunite for a humorous 4th of July holiday weekend.
Grownups 2 – After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, schizo bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, and 400 costumed party crashers, sometimes crazy follows you.
The Way, Way Back – Shy 14-year-old Duncan goes on summer vacation with his mother, her overbearing boyfriend, and her boyfriend’s daughter. Having a rough time fitting in, Duncan finds an unexpected friend in Owen, manager of the Water Wizz water park.
American Graffiti – A couple of high school grads spend one final night cruising the strip with their buddies before they go off to college.
Indian Summer – Seven friends reunite for a week-long reunion at a summer camp in Ontario they used to attend as children which is now threatened with being closed down.
We’re the Millers – A veteran pot dealer creates a fake family as part of his plan to move a huge shipment of weed into the U.S. from Mexico.
Cast Away – A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island.
Divine Secretes of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood – After years of mother-daughter tension, Siddalee receives a scrapbook detailing the wild adventures of the “Ya-Yas,” her mother’s girlhood friends.
Weekend at Bernie’s – Two losers try to pretend that their murdered employer is really alive, leading the hitman to attempt to track him down to finish him off.
Grease – Good girl Sandy and greaser Danny fell in love over the summer. When they unexpectedly discover they’re now in the same high school, will they be able to rekindle their romance?
Jaws – A local sheriff, a marine biologist and an old seafarer team up to hunt down a great white shark wrecking havoc in a beach resort.
Wet Hot American Summer – Set on the last day of camp, in the hot summer of 1981, a group of counselors try to complete their unfinished business before the day ends.
Independence Day – The aliens are coming and their goal is to invade and destroy Earth. Fighting superior technology, mankind’s best weapon is the will to survive.
I Know What You Did Last Summer – Four young friends bound by a tragic accident are reunited when they find themselves being stalked by a hook-wielding maniac in their small seaside town.
What About Bob? – A successful psychotherapist loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients, an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, tracks him down during his family vacation.
Jurassic Park – During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.
Jurassic World – A new theme park, built on the original site of Jurassic Park, creates a genetically modified hybrid dinosaur, which escapes containment and goes on a killing spree.
Dazed and Confused – The adventures of high school and junior high students on the last day of school in May 1976.
League Of Their Own – Two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry.
Field of Dreams – An Iowa corn farmer, hearing voices, interprets them as a command to build a baseball diamond in his fields.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate “Captain” Jack Sparrow to save his love, the governor’s daughter, from Jack’s former pirate allies, who are now undead.
Where the Heart Is – A pregnant 17-year-old rebuilds her life after being abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma.
Monte Carlo – Three young women vacationing in Paris find themselves whisked away to Monte Carlo after one of the girls is mistaken for a British heiress.
Twister – Bill and Jo Harding, advanced storm chasers on the brink of divorce, must join together to create an advanced weather alert system by putting themselves in the cross-hairs of extremely violent tornadoes.
Apollo 13 – NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.
Little Miss Sunshine – A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
National Lampoon’s Vacation – The Griswold family’s cross-country drive to the Walley World theme park proves to be much more arduous than they ever anticipated.
Meatballs – Wacky hijinks of counselors and campers at a less-than-average summer camp.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead – Five siblings are left alone all summer when their mom leaves town and the evil babysitter bites the dust.
Stand By Me – Four 12 year old friends set off into the woods to find the body of a missing boy in the summer of 1959.
Back to the Future – Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown. I actually recommend watching the whole trilogy. We do every summer. : )
For summer movies to watch with kids, check out the best family summer movies below. They all have a G or PG rating. You can check IMDB for a Parents’ Guide Content Advisory for every movie. And if your kids are teenagers, many of the summer movies listed above would also work to watch with them.
Best Family Summer Movies:
The Parent Trap – Identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, later discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together. I grew up watching the 1961 version, but the 1998 version is also great.
Ramona and Beezus – Based on the popular book, an adventurous young girl uses her imagination to escape her reality, which is quickly spinning out of reach.
Dolphin Tale – A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.
Dolphin Tale 2 – The team of people who saved Winter’s life reassemble in the wake of her surrogate mother’s passing in order to find her a companion so she can remain at the Clearwater Marine Hospital.
Free Willy – When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days – Summer vacation has started, and Greg wants to enjoy it by playing video games. However, his father wants him to go outside, and his mother has her own plans, including a reading club. Things only get worse after the stay at the beachside cabin goes horribly wrong. All the Wimpy Kid movies are great actually.
Honey I Shrunk The Kids – The scientist father of a teenage girl and boy accidentally shrinks his and two other neighborhood teens to the size of insects. Now the teens must fight diminutive dangers as the father searches for them.
Cheaper By The Dozen 2 – The Bakers, while on vacation, find themselves competing with a rival family of eight children.
Harry and the Hendersons – The Henderson family adopt a friendly Sasquatch but have a hard time trying to keep the legend of ‘Bigfoot’ a secret.
The Sandlot – In the summer of 1962, a new kid in town is taken under the wing of a young baseball prodigy and his rowdy team, resulting in many adventures.
Camp Nowhere – Morris “Mud” Himmel’s parents desperately want to send him away to summer camp. But he hates going to summer camp, and would do anything to get out of it. He conspires with his friends to trick their parents into sending them to a camp of their own design.
RV – Bob Munro and his dysfunctional family rent an RV for a road trip to the Colorado Rockies, where they ultimately have to contend with a bizarre community of campers.
Hook – When Captain Hook kidnaps his children, an adult Peter Pan must return to Neverland and reclaim his youthful spirit in order to challenge his old enemy.
Up – Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway.
Moana – In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right.
High School Musical – Troy and Gabriella, two teens who are worlds apart, meet at a karaoke contest and discover their mutual love for music. High School Musical 2 and High School Musical 3: Senior Year are also great. I asked my daughter which one is her favorite, and she said she “likes the second the least, but only because the others are so good” hehe.
Dennis the Menace – When his parents have to go out of town, Dennis stays with Mr. and Mrs. Wilson. The little menace is driving Mr. Wilson crazy, but Dennis is just trying to be helpful. Even to the thief who’s arrived in town.
Soul Surfer – Teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton overcomes the odds and her own fears of returning to the water after losing her left arm in a shark attack.
Ernest Goes To Camp – Ernest, a lovable loser who works as a summer camp handyman and dreams of becoming a guidance councilor, must find a way to inspire a group of juvenile delinquents as well as stop a shady strip mining company from closing the camp.
The Baby-Sitters Club – Seven junior-high-school girls organize a daycare camp for children while at the same time experiencing classic adolescent growing pains. I LOVED reading this series of books when I was growing up.
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – Playing around while aboard a cruise ship, the Chipmunks and Chipettes accidentally go overboard and end up marooned in a tropical paradise. They discover their new turf is not as deserted as it seems.
Muppet Treasure Island – Kermit and his team of buddies go on a warfare against ruthless pirates. They also share their problem-solving journey on sea to rescue a treasure.
We Bought A Zoo – Set in Southern California, a father moves his young family to the countryside to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo.
Secondhand Lions – A coming-of-age story about a shy, young boy sent by his irresponsible mother to spend the summer with his wealthy, eccentric uncles in Texas.
Finding Nemo – After his son is captured in the Great Barrier Reef and taken to Sydney, a timid clownfish sets out on a journey to bring him home.
Because of Winn-Dixie – A mischievous dog befriends a lonely young girl in a new town and helps her make new friends.
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer – Third grader Judy Moody sets out to have the most thrilling summer of her life.
Summer Eleven – The poignant, coming of age story about a group of eleven year old girls in their final summer before middle school.
Dreamer – Ben Crane believes that a severely injured racehorse deserves another chance. He and his daughter Cale adopt the horse and save it from being sacrificed by the owner.
Bee Movie – Barry B. Benson, a bee who just graduated from college, is disillusioned at his lone career choice: making honey. On a special trip outside the hive, Barry’s life is saved by Vanessa, a florist in New York City. As their relationship blossoms, he discovers humans actually eat honey, and decides to sue them.
Charlotte’s Web – Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen.
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl – Set in Cincinnati at the height of the Great Depression, Kit Kittredge, a resourceful young girl, helps her mother run a boardinghouse after her father loses his job.
The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking – After her father’s ship is carried off by a sudden storm, the spunky Pippi Longstocking is stranded with her horse, Alfonso, and monkey, Mr. Nilsson, and takes up residence in the old family home, which is thought by neighborhood children to be haunted. Soon, two children, Tommy and Annika, venture into the house and meet up with Pippi. The three soon become friends and get into various adventures together. This was one of my FAVORITES as a kid, and I still love it today.
Freaky Friday – An overworked mother and her daughter do not get along. When they switch bodies, each is forced to adapt to the other’s life for one freaky Friday.
And here are the best romantic summer movies to watch on a date!
Best Romantic Summer Movies:
The Notebook – A poor yet passionate young man falls in love with a rich young woman, giving her a sense of freedom, but they are soon separated because of their social differences.
Safe Haven – A young woman with a mysterious past lands in Southport, North Carolina where her bond with a widower forces her to confront the dark secret that haunts her.
Dear John – A romantic drama about a soldier who falls for a conservative college student while he’s home on leave.
You can get The Notebook, Safe Haven, and Dear John in a set here.
Dirty Dancing – Spending the summer at a Catskills resort with her family, Frances “Baby” Houseman falls in love with the camp’s dance instructor, Johnny Castle.
50 First Dates – Henry Roth is a man afraid of commitment up until he meets the beautiful Lucy. They hit it off and Henry think he’s finally found the girl of his dreams, until he discovers she has short-term memory loss and forgets him the very next day.
My Life in Ruins – A travel guide rediscovers her romantic side on a trip around Greece.
Couples Retreat – A comedy centered around four couples who settle into a tropical-island resort for a vacation. While one of the couples is there to work on the marriage, the others fail to realize that participation in the resort’s therapy sessions is not optional.
Under the Tuscan Sun – A writer impulsively buys a villa in Tuscany in order to change her life.
Adventureland – In the summer of 1987, a college graduate takes a ‘nowhere’ job at his local amusement park, only to find it’s the perfect course to get him prepared for the real world.
Eat, Pray, Love – A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself.”
Forgetting Sarah Marshall – Devastated Peter takes a Hawaiian vacation in order to deal with the recent break-up with his TV star girlfriend, Sarah. Little does he know, Sarah’s traveling to the same resort, and she’s bringing along her new boyfriend.
500 Days of Summer – An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.
Say Anything – A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.
Hope Springs – After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship.
Casablanca – A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.
There you have it, the ultimate list of the best summer movies to watch. I hope it’ll help you find some great movies to watch this summer!
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Cheers to a safe and happy summer!
What are your favorite summer movies?
Linking up with The Thrifty Couple for Thrifty Thursday