All-Time Best
Beach Reading Books

A great book can be the ultimate traveling companion. A handful of gifted authors have captured life living on the beach and shared their experience with the world.

Travel Dreams Magazine is passionate about discovering all there is to know about the best beach destinations. Over the years we’ve read select books that have enhanced our travels and given us greater insights into favorite destinations.

If you’re at a loss regarding what book you should bring on your next travel escape, consider the four books below. Three of these recommendations are true accounts of ex-pats who have discovered new lives in exotic locations.One book, Don’t Stop the Carnival, is fiction…but is a loosely interpreted account of the author’s real life experiences in the Caribbean.

A Trip to the Beach: By Bob and Melinda Blanchard

We absolutely loved this book. The Blanchards real life tale played a significant role in our traveling to Anguilla the first time.

This book is about these Vermont natives rolling the dice and starting up a new restaurant on the island of Anguilla. Their trials and tribulations living on island time are at once comical, fascinating, and best of all, easy to relive in your mind’s eye. 

A Trip to the Beach has generated a legion of fans for the Blanchards and they are now minor celebrities on this tiny island that stretches out to 16 miles. This is one of those books that you hate to see end.

Don’t Stop the Carnival by Herman Wouk

Wouk is best known for the novels The Caine Mutiny and War and Remembrance. This book, based in the 1960s, is timeless in capturing a New York press agent cutting the chord from his hectic life in the Big Apple to run a hotel on the fictitious island of Amerigo.

The characters in Wouk’s book immediately spring to life. Norman Paperman, the press agent turned hotelier, encounters one belly laughing setback after another while trying to set up shop on his new little piece of paradise.

The comedy is laced with heartbreak, drama, and a touch of darkness as we learn about Paperman’s new friends and enemies on Amerigo. What’s interesting is I’ve had multiple residents of various Caribbean islands state that this book is a must read for those considering relocation to their island of choice. A Harbour Island realtor gives this book as a house-warming gift to every client who purchases a home from him.

Hurricanes & Hangovers by Dear Miss Mermaid

This book opens up the soft underbelly of the Caribbean and reveals that life isn’t always what you see in the glossy magazine. Hurricanes & Hangovers is mostly some hilarious anecdotes and eyebrow raising stories of expats who now call the Caribbean home. 

This breezy read falls under the category of fact is stranger than fiction. The characters involved include gamblers, sailors, and pirates, as well as a real life FEMA representative who gets a first hand look at an island where rum is the beverage of choice, regardless of the time of day.

Dear Miss Mermaid includes a few first-hand accounts of her own life living on a boat, on the edge, or keeping an island street-walker company. Guest writers take on certain chapters and the variety of voices, as well as writing styles, keeps the reader thoroughly entertained.

Gringos in Paradise by Barry Golson

Golson chronicles his true story ditching the writer’s life in Manhattan to embrace a semi-retired life with his wife in the Mexican fishing village of Sayulita. This book takes the reader in a step-by-step journey covering the Golson’s building their dream home in a tiny Mexican hamlet just outside of Puerto Vallarta.

Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong in the construction process. During the process, the Golson build beautiful relationships in the Mexican community and with other expats living the dream.

Golson’s real-life career as a writer and editor are evident in this book that is always humorous, often charming, and eye-opening in describing a leisurely lifestyle and a community fabric that is knit closer than your grandmother’s winter sweater.

If you already booked an upcoming warm weather vacation, you can’t lose choosing any one of these four books for your next relaxing afternoon on the beach.


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