Beach reading has always been my favorite summer activity. Come late May and early June stories by all my favorite authors hit shelves and I love throwing them in a beach bag and finding a spot to read them in the sand.
This year I’m most excited about Jane Green’s latest book, The Friends we Keep, which was just released yesterday. I’ve been a huge fan of her stories for as long as I can remember. Along with Emily Giffin and Elin Hilderbrand, she was one of the authors that inspired me to want to write women’s fiction.
Find my Flynn Skye dress here
I love seeing so many of you taking Waiting at Hayden’s with you on your beach vacations and can’t thank you enough for your continued support for this love story! It’s been so fun sharing it with you and I truly feel so grateful for each and every one of my readers.
Below, I’ve rounded up ten beach towns I love that are perfect for beach reading. I’m sharing what makes them hot and the best independent bookstores you’ll find in each one. Happy summer reading, everybody!
What makes it hot: It’s my current hometown! You’ll likely spot me reading on the sand on Balboa Island or across the ferry on the Newport peninsula. What else? Bike paths with ocean views for miles, vacation rentals right on the water, Bonzai Bowls for breakfast, and close neighboring beach towns like Huntington, Corona Del Mar, and Laguna, so you can change up your reading location from one afternoon to the next.
Bookstore in town to visit: Lido Village Books and Laguna Beach Books
What makes it hot? It’s been ranked the best surf town by Surfer Magazine, The Dream Inn hotel sits on the sand so you can hear the waves while you read from your room, and The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is right downtown and a great way to mix in a little ferris-wheel-fun with your relaxing beach vacation.
Bookstore in town to visit: Bookshop Santa Cruz
Camel by the Sea:
What makes it hot? Postcard-worthy cottages that are named instead of numbered, one-of-a-kind boutiques, day spas, art galleries, and restaurants that range from casual to upscale.
Bookstore in town to visit: Pilgrims Way
Sullivans Island, South Carolina
What makes it hot? You’ll feel like you’re living in a Nicholas Sparks’ novel while you’re visiting and might even fall in love on the sand (I did last time I was there!). There’s also Froze from The Co-Op, the iconic lighthouse on the beach, water so warm you can float and swim for hours, lunch at Poe’s Tavern, and it’s just a short drive from downtown Charleston.
Bookstore in town to visit: Blue Bicycle Books in nearby Charleston
Pawley’s Island, South Carolina
What makes it hot? Many novels by famous women’s fiction authors such as Dorthea Benton Frank take place here! Experience the magic of reading a love story about the same beach that you’re sitting on.
Bookstores in town to visit: My Sister’s Books and Litchfield Books
Wilmington, North Carolina: Wrightsville Beach
What makes it hot? There’s a reason my favorite author, Nicholas Sparks, sets so many of his books here. The town is quaint, charming, and filled with the nicest people you will ever meet. I loved chatting with reporter Alex Morgan (who has her own blog here!) about Waiting at Hayden’s last year in this picturesque beach town. Bonus: you can visit some of Nicholas Sparks filming locations!
Bookstores in town to visit: Pomegranate Books
Singing Beach, Manchester by the Sea
What makes it hot? Easy train ride from Boston and when you step on the sand the sand squeaks so it sounds like voices singing.
Bookstores in town to visit: Manchester by the Book
Portland, Maine: Peaks Island
What makes it hot? A ferry ride from Portland, Maine drops you at Peaks Island–a town known for having one of everything: One ice cream store, one general store, etc. You’ll find little beaches all around the island so you can sequester yourself on your own private patch of sand and read in peace!
Bookstore in town to visit: Shermans Main Coast Bookshops
What makes it hot? The latest hot read by Christina Lauren, The Unhoneymooners, takes place on this tropical island and had me wanting to visit these relaxing, clear-water beaches all over again. If you can’t make the trip, pick up a copy of the book and let it transport you!
Bookstore in town to visit: Maui Friends of the Library
Chatham, Cape Cod:
What makes it hot? The Chatham Lighthouse, Lobster Rolls, white sandy beaches, a quaint downtown to stroll through, and miles of picturesque cap cod style homes to wind up and down on morning or evening walks.
Bookstore to Visit: Where the Sidewalk Ends
Did I miss any of your favorites? I’d love to hear where you love to beach read in the comments below!