When I was a child and my family headed out on Highway 26 toward the coast in our VW bus, we could always count on the delighted scream of my younger sister coming from the last row: "Going beach!" Those memories of playing in the cold ocean in my Salt-Water Sandals, building castles and eating slightly sandy lunches on a blanket are some of the best I have. I still love the beach, whether it's in Oregon or elsewhere.
Apparently a lot of authors do too, as there are plenty of novels set in coastal locations. Elin Hilderbrand's books take place on Nantucket where she, herself, lives. In The Island, Birdie Cousins is immersed in planning her daughter's incredibly expensive and complicated wedding - until she gets a late night call from Chess saying she's broken it off with her fiance. Birdie decides that a summer trip to the old family home on Tuckernuck Island is just the thing to help Chess heal and Birdie reconnect with her daughter. Birdie's other daughter, Tate, and her sister, India, are soon folded into the plans and so begins a month of family time that includes old dramas and at least one new flame. Is happily ever after possible for the Cousins family?
In The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice, three sisters converge on Martha's Vineyard in order to clear out the family home after their mother's death. They lead less glamorous lives than the Cousins family, but I liked them better. Dar, the daughter who lives on Martha's Vineyard, doesn't really want to sell the house, but the other two see no viable alternatives. As the days go by, conflicts arise and a family secret is uncovered on a trip to Ireland. At the risk of a spoiler, you can count on happily ever after in this book.
If you aren't "going beach!" in real life this summer, at least try to get there in a novel.