Ah, summer love. From moonlit strolls to beach picnics, there’s little else as dreamy as warm weather romance. But in truth, summer flings are always better in the movies. Instead of dealing with the emotionally messy, physically sweaty real thing, it’s easiest—and probably more enjoyable—to live vicariously through cute onscreen couples.
The impending heat wave gives us all the perfect excuse for a movie marathon. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and blast the AC—it’s time to binge on the best summer romance movies of all time.
1. Grease (1978)
Is it any surprise that our list kicks off with this summer lovin’ staple? Although most of the drama (and great sing-alongs) take place during the school year, we’ll never get over the very beginning of the movie, which displays summer love in all its glory. Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) become hopelessly devoted to each other while they build sand castles, kiss on the beach, and watch the sun set on the ocean.
2. Say Anything (1989)
In Say Anything, a very young John Cusack blasts Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” from a boom box. And yes, the scene makes us swoon every time. This teen romance favorite follows Lloyd (Cusack) as he attempts to win the affections of high school valedictorian Diane (Ione Skye) before she leaves to study in England in the fall.
3. Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is the perfect movie to watch with your BFFs—during a summer apart, four friends learn the power of true friendship. But for Lena (Alexis Bledel), summer also means finding true love. In a setting as romantic as Santorini, Greece, it’s no wonder local fisherman Kostas (Michael Rady) charms her. If only we had the opportunity to jump into the crystal blue Mediterranean with dreamy Greek men …
4. Dear John (2010)
In Dear John, John (Channing Tatum) and Savannah (Amanda Seyfriend) meet and spend a few weeks of sunny bliss together until John has to go back to his post in the army (after which their relationship continues via snail mail). Our favorite scene? Before John leaves, the two share a steamy make-out during a summer downpour.
5. Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Summer love also means young love in Moonrise Kingdom. After corresponding as pen pals, 12-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) decide to run away together—Sam from his camp and Suzy from her parents. The tweens end up on a very sweet summer romp, and when their unsupervised adventure comes to an end, Suzy asks the ultimate question: “We’re in love. We just want to be together. What’s wrong with that?”
6. Dirty Dancing (1987)
No list would be complete without this steamy classic. When Baby (Jennifer Grey) heads to a Catskills resort for the summer with her family, she has no idea what’s to come. There, she meets dance instructor Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze), and the two fall in love as they dance the summer nights away. Why weren’t our family vacations so exciting back in the day?
7. The Last Song (2010)
Real-life couple Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth first met on the set of The Last Song, so it’s no wonder they’re so aww-inducing on screen. Rebellious Ronnie (Cyrus) is made to spend the summer at her estranged father’s beach house, but things heat up when she meets cool boy Will (Hemsworth). Flirty mud fights, dates at the aquarium, and a healthy dose of Nicholas Sparks drama ensue.
8. The Notebook (2004)
Okay, fine—The Notebook might be the most epic romance of any season. Regardless, Allie (Rachel McAdams) and Noah (Ryan Gosling) first meet during an unforgettable summer in South Carolina. They splash in frothy waves, Allie gives Noah an ice cream-smeared kiss, and the two slow-dance in the middle of the street on a warm night. If those aren’t #SummerRomanceGoals, what are?