The 21 Best Movies and TV Shows to Stream When It’s Raining on Vacation

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Photo: Paramount Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Focus Features

Into every vacation a little rain must fall, but what the heck are you going to do when you’d rather be out surfing, tubing, or terrorizing people with water balloons? Stream something on the internet, of course. Here are 21 great movies and TV shows to keep you occupied while you wait for the sun to come. (It will come out tomorrow. Just ask Annie.)

For Family Vacations

Bad weather on a trip with kids is a dual-pronged problem. Not only do you have to deal with children bouncing off the walls while they’re stuck indoors, you also need to find something suitable for all ages. Your best bet is a marathon of Adventure Time (Hulu). The animated Technicolor fantasy is silly enough that even the littlest kids will be engaged, but the mythology of the postapocalyptic Land of Ooo is engaging for grown-ups who don’t mind a fart joke or two. For those with older kids, try The Legend of Korra (Amazon), a surprisingly astute and political story about a superpowered girl trying to navigate a steampunk world and the raging hormones of adolescence.

Adventure Time is available on Hulu.
The Legend of Korra is available on Amazon.

For Party Houses

The keg is tapped, the rosé is flowing, but you can’t lie by the pool during a thunderstorm. Since you can’t have a rager, you might as well watch some on TV and play along. Superbad (Netflix) is not only hilarious, it will take you back to those heady days before you could legally buy booze, where mistakes have little consequence and Emma Stone didn’t quite yet have an Oscar. For something a bit more serious, Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! (Amazon) follows a college baseball team as they drink, dance, and disco their way through a lazy ’80s summer. This movie is especially great for those who enjoy something retro with their rowdiness, or those who (ahem) appreciate the beauty of young men who like to remove their shirts.

Superbad is available on Netflix.
Everybody Wants Some!! is available on Amazon.

For Lake Houses

There is nothing like the scenic beauty of a New England lake, surrounded by trees and family members to bring out your deeper emotions. The 1981 drama On Golden Pond (Netflix) won three Oscars for its depiction of an elderly couple, played by Henry Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, who babysit their daughter’s new stepson. It’s sweet, picturesque, and more than a little bit sad. For something to lighten the mood, What About Bob? (Hulu) is one of Bill Murray’s funniest roles ever, in which he travels up to New Hampshire to terrorize his therapist during a family vacation.

On Golden Pond is available on Netflix.
What About Bob? is available on Hulu.

For Beach Houses

You’ll never replace the roar of the waves and the glare of the sun with something on a screen, but nothing comes as close as The Talented Mr. Ripley (Hulu). The 1999 thriller has beautiful settings, beautiful people, and enough swanning around Europe on gorgeous boats for a million Peroni commercials. Just don’t let the murder and identity theft get you down. If you’re staying in a basic beach rental, you’ll surely find a poster for The Endless Summer (Amazon) somewhere in the house, so you might as well watch the seminal 1966 surf movie, where filmmaker Bruce Brown follows two young surfers around the world as they chase huge waves and good vibes.

The Talented Mr. Ripley is available on Hulu.
The Endless Summer is available on Amazon.

For Fire Island Shares

Trying to get a gaggle of gay men to decide on anything is absolutely impossible, but if there is one thing sure to please even the toughest crowds, it’s the classic British comedy Absolutely Fabulous (Hulu). Patsy and Eddy will inspire insanity, catchphrases, and day drinking for even the gloomiest of stormy days. Meanwhile, although most of the movies in the Gay and Lesbian section on Netflix are dreadful, it’s worth giving GBF (Netflix) a shot. It’s sort of like Mean Girls or Heathers, but about a group of popular girls who exploit the gays in their school for their own possible gain.

Absolutely Fabulous is available on Hulu.
GBF is available on Netflix.

For Montauk Hideaways

If it’s nasty outside but you still want to explore the perspectives of the wealthy who come to Montauk in the summer and the townies struggling to hold onto the authenticity of their home, there’s no better way than Showtime’s The Affair. The Montauk-set drama follows a man and a woman who step out on their marriages and all of the political and socioeconomic implications that entails — plus, the dreariness of the tone will match the weather. If you’d rather just see how the other half lives, all of ABC’s sudsy Revenge is available — though it’s probably best to skip out after the amazing first season.

The Affair is available on Hulu, Amazon, and Showtime.
Revenge is available on Netflix.

For Summer Camp

Do they let kids bring cell phones to camp these days? If you can sneak something into your bunk late at night, Friday the 13th (Starz) will surely give you terrors until your parents pick you up. For something a bit more whimsical, the original version of The Parent Trap (Netflix) has the right blend of hijinks and camp life. If you want to impress all of your friends with how hip and indie you are, Wes Anderson’s twee take on the camp movie, Moonrise Kingdom, will do just the trick.

Friday the 13th is available on Starz.
The Parent Trap and Moonrise Kingdom are available on Netflix.

For a Stoner Weekend

A rainy day stuck in the house would improve with edibles, which means you’ll need some entertainment and light chuckles to go along with it. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix) is the perfect solution with its silly take on camp classics. Although the original movie isn’t available to stream, this prequel series is a perfect catalyst for all those giggles — and same goes for the follow-up, Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later, which debuts on August 4. If that won’t do it for you, Sausage Party (Netflix) is the animated answer to Seth Rogen’s other stoner movies, and this one will also give you a serious case of the munchies. But be warned: With all that talking food, it might scare you away from scarfing down hot dogs.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp and Sausage Party are available on Netflix.

For No Vacation (a.k.a. “I Have a Summer Job”)

Not all of us get to go somewhere fun. Remember when you were stuck at home every summer, working crappy jobs and trying to save up money? That’s the basic premise of Red Oaks, a series about a college kid working at a preppy country club in the ’80s. It both parodies and lovingly embraces a genre that includes movies like Caddyshack, Porky’s, and One Crazy Summer. For a shorter version of a similarly retro homage, Adventureland (Netflix) follows rowdy teens working at an amusement park, but with a bit more of a serious indie tinge. Oh, and let’s not forget the mother of all summer-job movies, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead (HBO). You should get right on top of that, Rose.

Red Oaks is available on Amazon.
Adventureland is available on Netflix.
Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead is available on HBO.

For a Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the Woods. Duh!

What to Stream When It’s Raining on Vacation