Fun Summer Beach Reads Set in Nantucket, Newport, the Hamptons & Martha’s Vineyard

There’s something about the storied beach towns of the Northeast US that capture the imagination of summer. Which means they’re prime targets for summer beach reads to focus on. There are hundreds of books set there, so here are just a few ideas for you to pack on your summer trip to the Northeast!

Beach Reads Set in Cape Cod, Newport, and Other Beach Towns in the Northeast

Bad Summer People

I never thought it was possible to read a book and decide all of the characters are terrible humans – but here we are! Despite how terrible and flawed all the characters are, they’re deliciously juicy. Reading this novel set on Fire Island, NY, is almost voyeuristic in looking at the inside of a rarified (yet terrible) world.

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The Beach at Summerly

Set at the end of World War II, The Beach at Summerly is a juxtaposition of the privilege of wealth with the duty to one’s country. Again, a bit heavier than a typical beach read romance, this is a great book if you want one set on the beach in the Northeast but want a bit of brainpower with it.

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The Summer Place

Set on Cape Cod, this very gossipy-feeling beach read follows a family on the way to a wedding. To a pandemic boyfriend. Given that so much has happened to the whole world in the aftermath of COVID-19, this is a microcosm of a look at how it, and other family drama, impacted one family. Juicy, fun, and an easy read!

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The Lost Summers of Newport

Three different generations, one house, one summer town. The storied mansions of Newport are the setting for this engrossing historical (and modern) fiction. The family connections, with a murder mystery as well, make this the perfect combination of suspense and beach read.

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The Bookshop by the Bay

This book might be the embodiment of so many female fantasies – just not necessarily the sexual kind. Life falling apart? Need to go to Cape Cod to get away from it – and have a bookshop with your best friend? Check, check, and check. Get ready to enjoy living the dream life in this sweet summer read.

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The Paper Palace

One day – that’s all it takes to change a life. Or decide to keep the one you already have. Wrestling with a complicated love triangle, Elle explores her history, and what true love means to her. Reese’s Book Club picked this as one of their monthly reads – and for good reason!

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Sandwich

Set on Cape Cod, Sandwich tells Rocky’s story of one week on Cape Cod with her family. With both her aging parents as well as her children, this is a beautiful book about what it means to be in the middle, with all of the glories (and struggles) within.

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The Summer Swap

Cecila travels back to Cape Cod, to her old house – long unused. Of course, she happens upon Lily, a med school dropout who thought the house wouldn’t be used. Lily becomes Cecilia’s guest, and a sweet friendship unfolds – until Cecilia’s grandson arrives. Of course, the grandson is Lily’s unrequited crush. What can happen next? The Summer Swap is a sweet a delightful beach read!

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Beach Reads Set in Martha’s Vineyard

The Summer of Broken Rules

At the end of this book, you’ll also wish you were marrying into the Fox family. This is a delightful, fun read – almost nothing in it is a surprise, except how much this family gets into their summer game of Assassin. You’ll be inspired to start some new summer traditions with your own extended family!

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Summer of ’69

One of the most storied summers in the history of the US – it inspired songs, pop culture, and more, and lives as the ultimate summer of love. Summer of ’69 is a true beach read that explores family and the intricacies of what it felt like to live through this summer that’s turned into legend.

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Summer Darlings

Told through the eyes of Heddy, a nanny who joins one of the wealthiest families on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer, this is another beach read that is gossipy yet has substance. If you want your beach read to feel like spying on the ultra-wealthy while also giving you food for thought, this one is a great pick.

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The Silver Boat

The Silver Boat is the story of three sisters who go to their mother’s beach house on Martha’s Vineyard one last time, and all that they discover there. And in the secrets they find, they follow the family history to Ireland to learn about the truth. This novel is more complex than your typical beach read, but is beautiful in its complexity!

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Beach Reads Set in The Hamptons

East Coast Girls

East Coast Girls is a fictional drama set in Montauk, exploring the depths of friendship. This is another one that’s great to read on the beach, but can be a bit heavier than the typical mental candy bar of a beach read. This book is perfect for when you’re looking for a more literary yet excellent choice for the beach.

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On Gin Lane

What happens when you get everything you’re supposed to want – and everything everyone else wants – but maybe you don’t want it? This is set in the 1950s, so it’s great to walk through the Hamptons of a few generations ago. There’s still all the drama – all the intrigue – and all the elements of a great beach read.

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It’s Hot in the Hamptons

Love, sex, money, affairs, gossip – everything you want in a summer beach read is right here, all set in the Hamptons. Get ready to experience “When you marry for money, you work for it every day.”

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All the Summers In Between

When a well-to-do party girl in the Hamptons befriends a local, middle-class girl, their friendship takes them unlikely places. With secrets and history, discussions of who to marry – who to trust – and what the boundaries of friendship truly are, this has more depth than your average beach read and is a great find!

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Beach Reads Set in Nantucket

If For Any Reason

In this book, the main character Emily is discovering herself, and what it really means to have a true place to call home. For a wandering soul looking for rest, this is a fun book. Recognizing her mother has passed away, this isn’t the lightest of summer reads, but it still is a fun beach read.

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The Hotel Nantucket

This novel follows Lizbet through a Nantucket summer when she’s put in charge of the Hotel Nantucket – and revitalizing it to its former glory. Between Instagram influencers, celebrity chefs, and all the drama in between, gear up for a fun summer read.

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That Nantucket Summer

This book follows Nic in a coming of age novel, where she discovers her parents really were also teenagers once themselves. And she starts unspooling all the decisions that go with that. As she explores Nantucket, and learns more about herself and her family, Nic has a few difficult decisions to make when it comes to turning over the stones of the past.

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The Summer We Started Over

Eddie and Barrett are two sisters opening Barrett’s store on Nantucket. This is the first time both sisters are back on the island after the death of their brother, and both of them (and their family members) are handling it in different ways. This book is all about the love of family – despite the secrets they can have. It’s a great book if you want a break from the traditional romance beach read!

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