A Look at Ten Awesome Summer Vacation Movies

The further we get into Fall the more I’m starting to miss Summer.   And I know tons of sites out there are posting tons of pictures of hot chicks in bikinis and all.  I’d like to think we have a little more class than that (even though our sister sites are doing that, tee hee).

So in order for me to think about summer what better way than to kick back and watch a summer vacation movie?  Maybe I can’t have my summer but at least I can watch movies about it.

Check out ten awesome summer vacation movies (with trailers):

The Great Outdoors

A classic movie that’s got all your key elements.  Two families on a lake.  Tons of drama.  Plenty of humor.  John Candy is at his best here.  Dan Ackroyd is great at playing a prick.  When these two get together it’s nothing but a mess.  Great chemistry.   The waterskiing scene.  The bear with the shaved ass scene.  You name it.  Awesome stuff.

National Lampoon’s Vacation

I mean do we even have to go into it here?  I don’t think so.  A road trip with the Griswald’s and a stop at cousin Eddie’s house along the way?  You guys know the drill here.  It doesn’t get more classic than this movie.  “Yeah but daddy says I’m the best at it.”

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

I remember not being too jazzed about this movie and within the first five minutes I was loving it.  And that’s not even counting when Russell Brand started to appear.  Just a great flick and most films set in Hawaii put you in a good mood anyway.

On Golden Pond

For those of you too young to remember this movie it’s a classic.   Boy’s mother dumps him with his Grandparents who have a summer home on the lake.  Boy thinks he’ll have a shitty time and boy has fantastic fishing time with grandfather.  Bonding, etc etc.  Henry Fonda was fantastic as a grumpy old son of a bitch in this one.

Summer Rental

More John Candy.  Perhaps a slight precursor to The Great Outdoors?  Not really but John Candy as the leader of the household is always a good bet.  Plus Rip Torn was in this one!

The Endless Summer


Perhaps the most classic summer movie of them all.


I personally like Meatballs II because Meathead is in it but there’s no replacing the original Meatballs.   Bill Murray is hilarious and even all the supporting players are decent.  If I were to describe Meatballs it would be that it’s a very accurate depiction of what sleep away summer camp is all about.

Dirty Dancing


Well it’s not like things happen like they did in Dirty Dancing in real life but it’s still a great movie.  And the fact that it’s a family going away on their summer vacation 100% counts for me to put it on this list.  So there.

The Sandlot


One of my favorite baseball movies of all time.  Not to mention this movie truly encompasses what life is like as a kid in summer with nothing to do.  So what do they do?  Get into the biggest pickle of their whole lives.

Summer School

I’m sorry but I’m always going to laugh and love this flick.

*I debated Weekend at Bernie’s but were they really on vacation?

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  1. No movie gives you that summer feel like the sandlot…smalls,squints,benny…”i thought you said the great…bambi!
    Another (already mentioned) is Stand by Me, Dazed and Confused and for a stretch I’m gunna say the classic Heavyweights “step off the scale…turn off the camera”

  2. Without question the best summer vacation movie of all time, On Golden Pond. Great movie with everything you can ask for. The next which I enjoy immensely What About Bob? Two great movies which drove me to my lifelong dream of owning a Lake House.

    1. Mike, couldn’t agree with you more. I actually have an article coming up that mentions Norman as being one of the best old characters ever.

  3. Actaully, I think the best vacation movie of all time is “Mr. Hulot’s Holiday”. It suffers from the double penalty of being French, and from 1953.

    Roger Ebert sums it up perfectly in his review:

    “The movie is about the simplest of human pleasures: The desire to get away for a few days, to play instead of work, to breathe in the sea air, and maybe meet someone nice. It is about the hope that underlies all vacations, and the sadness that ends them. And it is amused, too, that we go about our days so intently, while the sea and the sky go about theirs.”

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