One of the most stressful parts of prepping for any summer vacation is determining which books to bring along. Forget worrying about the right clothes or the right shoes to pack, it’s your reading material that makes or breaks a vacation—who wants to spend eight hours in a pool lounger with a straight-up snoozer?
So ahead of your summer getaway, we’ve prepared a literary guide tailored for travel, with 20 stellar reading recommendations paired to five different destinations. We organized our lists around some of the greatest American warm weather vacation spots, like Austin, Disney World, Yellowstone National Park, and Lake Michigan. Yes, we even included New York City. Whether you’re hiking, swimming, or riding Pirates of the Caribbean five times in a row, there ought to be a great book waiting for you at the end of the day—or coming along for the adventure. Some of these books grapple directly with their ports of call, while others map riveting stories onto similar settings. From fiction to nonfiction, histories to guidebooks, these far-flung summer reads are all about vacation vibes.
Happy traveling—and happy reading.
While you’re lounging on a lakeside porch, brush up on the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks, or get lost in a water-logged novel.
When you head to the Happiest Place on Earth, bring a deep dive into Disney’s animation history, or a black comedy set in Liberty Square.
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Keep Austin Weird with the kookiest guidebook available, or dig into a series of unsolved crimes that still haunt the city.
Don’t visit Yellowstone without brushing up on the park’s history, from its bloody colonization to all the stupid ways hikers have died.
Heading into the city for a long weekend? Pack a history of East Village nightlife, or maybe a classic Brooklyn coming-of-age novel.
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