7 best beach movies on Prime Video, Max and Netflix

Dwayne Johnson as Mitch and Zac Efron as Matt Brody in Baywatch 2017.
(Image credit: Alamy)

Summer may be winding down, but that doesn't mean your fun in the sun has to end. If you didn't get a chance to visit the beach and catch some waves this season, you can still fill the void by watching the best beach movies from the comfort of your living room.

Prime Video, Max and more of the best streaming services offer great seaside movies all year round. We've rounded up 7 of the best beach movies available to stream right now, from the over-the-top musical stylings of Mamma Mia to the heartwarming inspiration of How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Or if you're in the mood for something with a little more bite, consider throwing on Jaws or Cast Away to get your dose of beachside living with a twist.

So grab some popcorn and a drink (preferably something with a little umbrella in it), and check out these nine best beach movies you can stream right now.

The Way Way Back

Liam James as Duncan in The Way Way Back

(Image credit: Alamy)

Let's kick things off with a heartwarming coming-of-age-tale set on the idyllic sandy beaches of Cape Cod. The Way Way Back follows 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James) as he joins his mother (Toni Collette), her rich, condescending boyfriend Trent (Steve Carrell) and his arrogant daughter (Zoe Levin) for a summer trip. 

Deep in the throes of teenage awkwardness, Duncan struggles to fit in and withstand Trent's relentless badgering with a straight face. He lands a job at a local water park to help stay off Trent's radar, and what starts out as the introverted teen's worst nightmare turns into a summer he'll never forget. Duncan bonds with wisecracking park manager Owen (Sam Rockwell), finding in him a father figure at a time when he desperately needs one.

Watch it now on Max

Mamma Mia

Harry Bright (Colin Firth) and Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) sit on a boat in Mamma Mia!

(Image credit: Alamy)

When it comes to movies about vacation-worthy locales, you can't do much better than Mamma Mia. This upbeat ABBA musical was filmed in Greece on the gorgeous islands of Skopelos and Skiathos. 

Amanda Seyfried stars as Sophie, a young bride-to-be who dreams of the perfect wedding where her father walks her down the aisle. The only problem is, she doesn't know who he is. In a bid to finally uncover his identity, she secretly invites three men from her mother's past to her wedding. Her mom, played by Meryl Streep, is none the wiser until her exes show up in the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. Chaos and hilarity ensue. 

Mamma Mia is a celebration of mothers and daughters with a killer soundtrack, featuring ABBA's heavy hitters like "Dancing Queen" and "S.O.S." among other earworms.

Watch it now on Netflix

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

(Image credit: Universal)

Our next stop is the island paradise of Hawaii for an endlessly quotable romantic comedy about a guy who's just trying to leave his past behind. 

Jason Segel stars as Peter, a struggling musician who sets off for Hawaii for a much-needed vacation after getting dumped by his famous girlfriend Sarah Marshall (Kristen Bell). To his horror, he runs into his ex along with her new rock star boyfriend (Russell Brand) at the resort. 

Taking pity on him, hotel concierge Rachel Jansen (Mila Kunis) offers him a free upgrade to a cushy suite on the condition that he keep it clean, and the two end up falling for each other. 

Watch it now on Hulu

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

Angela Bassett as Stella Payne and Taye Diggs as Winston Shakespeare in How Stella Got Her Groove Back

(Image credit: Alamy)

No list of the best summer movies is complete without the vacay classic How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The movie stars Angela Bassett as the titular Stella, an accomplished and perpetually single stockbroker in desperate need of a getaway. After seeing an ad for Jamaican vacations, she calls up an old college friend (played by Whoopi Goldberg, who's just as hilarious as you'd expect) and heads off for a sunny island vacation. 

What starts as a spontaneous trip evolves into an inspiring voyage of self-discovery as Stella learns to open her heart and find love. A fling with a local chef (Taye Diggs) who's 20 years her junior quickly turns into something more. When it’s time to leave, she has second thoughts about returning to her humdrum life in the corporate world and realizes she may have found a reason worth staying. 

Watch it now on Disney Plus


Bay Watch (2017)

(Image credit: Alamy)

The iconic '90s TV series hits the big screen with 2017's Baywatch. An elite team of lifeguards led by the legendary Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) goes way beyond the call of duty in this wild and eye-candy-packed action-comedy. 

When a string of mysterious deaths at the beach rocks their Florida community, Mitch is joined by a trio of hot-shot recruits, including former Olympian Matt Brody (Zac Efron), to investigate. To save their beach, the crew must ditch their bathing suits and go undercover to foil a ruthless businesswoman and drug lord (Priyanka Chopra).

While it may not have been a huge hit when it landed, you still can expect plenty of strong performances and laughs. 

Watch it now on Paramount Plus

Cast Away

Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland in Castaway

(Image credit: Alamy)

Tom Hanks has plenty of iconic roles to his name, and his performance of a man trying to stay sane in Cast Away is easily one of the best. 

This survival drama from famed Back to the Future director Robert Zemeckis follows Chuck Noland (Hanks), a FedEx systems engineer whose ruled-by-the-clock existence gets upended after a plane crash leaves him stranded on a remote island. Terrified, injured and with no immediate hope of rescue, he scrounges together some supplies from the plane's cargo that washes ashore. 

Years go by as Chuck learns to adapt to his new environment. He constructs a shelter to protect himself from the elements and figures out how to hunt for food. Throughout the ordeal, he begins talking to a volleyball he names Wilson, which becomes a personal confidante and sounding board for his plans to escape their island home. Cast Away is a captivating ride that explores themes of resilience and strength in the face of overwhelming adversity, and Hanks' performance injects a sense of humanity and humor into it throughout. 

Available on Prime Video for rent or purchase


A scene from Jaws

(Image credit: Universal Pictures | Zanuck Brown Productions | Ronald Grant Archive | Alamy)

Steven Spielberg's terrifying thriller topped our list of the best shark movies. Based on Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel of the same name, the movie stars Roy Scheider as Martin Brody, a police chief tasked with tracking down the great white behind a rash of attacks that have shaken the townsfolk of Amity Island. 

Punctuating the hunt is John Williams' Oscar-winning score, which has gone down as one of the most iconic in cinema history. The original Jaws tapped into our collective subconscious in a way that few movies have since, inspiring a wave of sequels, copy cats and terror that continues to grip beachgoers to this day. So if you prefer beach movies with a little more grit, consider adding this to your to-watch list. 

Watch it now on Tubi

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Alyse Stanley
News Editor

Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.

Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats.  She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.