The Best Beach Bookstores
Sag Harbor, New York
Behind the sweet blue façade of this Hamptons bookshop, there’s much to be found beyond the well-curated selection of new and used children’s books, food books, biographies, and novels. It’s a veritable literary gathering place, drawing the likes of Margaret Atwood for readings in addition to hosting photography and writing workshops; caniosbooks.com.
R.J. Julia Booksellers
A crown jewel of Main Street in this shorefront town, this historic building houses a bookstore with accolades aplenty, from Publisher’s Weekly’s Bookseller of the Year to Connecticut Magazine’s Best Bookstore. One step inside and you’ll understand why: Handwritten book review cards adorn favorite staff picks, and there’s a book signing or event almost every day of the year; rjjulia.com.
Page & Palette
This third-generation family-owned bookstore hosts frequent literary events with Southern authors such as Winston Groom and Fanny Flagg. One of Page & Palette’s best qualities may be its in-house bar, The Book Cellar, which serves up local brews and craft cocktails with literary names like Tequila Mockingbird, Gin Eyre, Rum Forrest Rum, The Last of the Mojitos, Old Man and Seagram's, and Are You There God? It's Me Margarita; pageandpalette.com.
North Beach, San Francisco, California
Prepare to spend all day in this funky North Beach relic of Beatnik heritage. Actually, make that all day and all night, as the shop is open until midnight. This corner spot is surprisingly large, with a basement full of books and an upstairs poetry room, and feels like the cozy home of a (perhaps obsessive) book-lover with arched doorways, exposed brick, and comfy spots to sit and read for a while; citylights.com.
This family-owned bookstore is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and in that time it’s gained a distinctly loyal following thanks to kind, helpful employees, a well-curated book selection, and of course its proximity to the ocean (just a couple blocks away). Downstairs, shelves burst with modern fiction, poetry, biographies, and more, while the upstairs is home to Central Square Records, an independent music store selling CDs, records, and fun gift items for readers and musicians. The best spot in the house is from the second story balcony, where you can glimpse at the ocean and watch the easygoing hustle and bustle of the town’s center; sundogbooks.com