Family movie night is always a blast. Everyone gathers around to watch a movie together on a weekly basis. We even bust out our homemade movie snack trays. But, there’s something extra special about movie nights during the summer. Maybe it’s because curfew doesn’t seem as strict and movie nights can happen more than once, twice or three times a week. So, we’ve pulled together some of the best summer family movies…and created a fun summer movie checklist.
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I love a good checklist. We shared a Christmas family movie checklist (great for Christmas in summer too) and summertime seemed like a great theme to tackle next. Most of these movies take place during summer vacation or are about some sort of epic road trip or adventure. Be sure to check out all of our free printable summer activity sheets for kids
30 Family Summer Movies Checklist
First off, you need to print our 30 family summer movies checklist, hang it on your fridge and check off each movie as you watch them. Whatever movies you haven’t watched by the end of the summer become your must-watch list for the fall. But, I bet you’ll make your way through the entire list in no time at all. Here’s a look at the movies that made our list.
The Great Outdoors (PG) John Candy and Dan Ackroyd star in this John Hughes summer classic. When John (Chet) and his family head to an idyllic cabin in the woods they dream of fishing, waterskiing and enjoying some quality family time together. Things take a turn when Chet’s loud-mouthed brother-in-law, Roman, and his family show up for a surprise visit. The teens go looking for love, the young kids get into all kinds of trouble and when the parents aren’t arguing they are battling raccoons and a bear. A hilarious summer movie that is an annual tradition in our house.
Summer Rental (PG) – Coming at you with another John Candy classic. This time around John (Jack Chester) and his family book a summer rental house, right on the beach. Sounds lovely, right? What is supposed to be a relaxing beach vacation turns into an increasingly silly summer. Can Jack redeem himself when he enters the big regatta race?
Moana (PG) Okay, this is the first of our “doesn’t take place in the summer” but, those beautiful island beaches, lush Polynesian landscapes and the vast ocean adventure certainly make you think of summertime. When the fishermen in Moana’s community are unable to catch fish, Moana sets out on a life-changing adventure. She seeks the assistance of the mythical Maui to help her return the heart of Te Fiti in hopes of saving her people.
Moonrise Kingdom (PG-13) Introduce your kids to the artistry of director Wes Anderson’s world with Moonrise Kingdom. A classic tale of the boy who falls in love with the girl with all the emotions of young rebellious love. Add in so many quirky characters, including a summer camp like no other, and you have a fantastic summer move the tweens and teens will love.
The Goonies (PG) Talk about an adventure! When the “Goon Docks” community comes under threat of being sold to developers a group of kids set out to save their town. With a dusty old treasure map in hand and dreams of finding One-Eyed Willy’s chests of gold the kids embark on a remarkable adventure. The main theme of this film is the importance of friendships, however unlikely they might be.
Magic Camp (PG) Here’s a silly one for the younger kids. When a stuffy banker, Andy, decides to return to the summer magic camp he attended as a boy he gets more than he bargained for. Spending his summer working as a fun-loving camp counsellor while working toward winning first place in the upcoming Golden Wand competition. Yes, it’s filled with predictable, cliched moments – but it also has many funny moments and is a fun summer family movie.
Back to the Future (PG) I couldn’t resist offering up these films as an option. While they technically don’t take place during the summer, they certainly qualify as a “road trip” movie. Ah, the Delorian ride of a lifetime! While we might all be familiar with Marty McFly’s journey to the past and the potential time-travelling disaster that occurs, I hope you’ll venture into the other films in the series. Back to the Future II and III are also funny and heartwarming films. They’d make an epic summer weekend of films to watch.
Jumanji (PG-13) While plenty of folks are nostalgic for the original Robin Williams Jumanji film, my family loves the updated films – starring Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black and Karen Gillan. When 4 teens get sucked into an old video game everything gets flipped upside down. Watching the “kids” figure out their new characters and discover their own strengths is hilarious and heartwarming. Friendship is their greatest superpower.
Jurassic World (PG-13) When your summer vacation trip to hang with your aunt turns into a life-threatening dinosaur adventure! That’s Jurrasic World. Yes, you can totally revisit the classic Jurassic Park, but don’t skip the new additions to the series. The dinosaurs are busting off the island and it seems like things are truly out of control this time around.
Crooklyn (PG-13) Welcome to the front stoop of a typical Brooklyn home in the summer of 1973. A great introduction to director Spike Lee’s musical and magical movies. Spend the summer with the Carmichael family. Crooklyn shows the realities of an African-American family making their way through life – the ups and downs, the silliness and the seriousness. The soundtrack will have everyone in the family up and dancing.
Grease (PG) School’s out for summer and the teens are getting into all kinds of trouble. This classic is filled with singing, dancing, romance and a whole lotta fun.
Weekend at Bernie’s (PG-13) Spending the weekend at Bernie’s place was supposed to be fun! Turns out Bernie had other plans. When the boys opt to continue on with their weekend at the beach house, even though their host has checked out…things get kinda out of control.
Spiderman: Far From Home (PG-13) Do superheroes really get to go on summer vacation? It doesn’t seem like it. While Spiderman attempts to have a “normal” summer school trip to Europe things take a turn and he has to don his spidey suit and help save the world…again.
Troop Beverly Hills (PG) Can a Beverly Hills socialite lead a troop of Girl Scouts? You bet she can! It’s gonna be super fun along the way. A hilarious cast of characters from the kids to the adults.
The Hobbit Series (PG-13) The most epic of adventure films. When the Hobbit sets off with a band of dwarves and a very tall wizard things get decidedly magical and dangerous. A ring, a dragon, a mountain, trolls and so much more. This series is a total summer must-watch or rewatch.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG) Roald Dahl’s tale of the pesky Mr. Fox comes to life in an animated masterpiece by director Wes Anderson. What lengths will Boggis, Bunce and Beans go to to protect their farms? Discover just how fantastic Mr. Fox and his family and friends truly are.
Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation (PG) This one scores high on the silly-meter. Great for the younger kids. When the whole Hotel Transylvania staff decides to take a vacation from the hotel, they head out on a summer cruise. What misadventures and possible blooming romance will they encounter on the seas.
Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (PG) Pee Wee’s fabulous bike is stolen and he has to head to the Alamo to track it down. Along the way he will meet a wide variety of crazy and cartoonish characters and eventually arrive at the Alamo…but will he get his bike back in one piece?
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (PG-13) Ever longed to skip a day of school? Well, Ferris makes a plan and involves his girlfriend and his reluctant best friend. Will the school principal track down Ferris and his friends? Will his sister catch him in the act? This one might not take place during the summer, but it certainly has summer road trip vibes.
Field of Dreams (PG) Some say baseball is the ultimate summer sport. When Ray Kinsella hears a mystical voice and builds a baseball field in the middle of his cornfield, many think he has lost his mind. But, perhaps if he builds it they will come?
The Sandlot (PG) Speaking of baseball. Kids, summer and playing baseball go hand in hand. Making friends in a new neighbourhood can be tough, maybe joining the local baseball team with help? The Sandlot will introduce viewers to an unlikely team of baseball players who might not win all the games but they will win over your hearts and have everyone laughing too.
Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (PG) What happens when a group of girls set off on their individual summer adventures? They commit to staying connected, of course. Follow the girls’ adventures as that magical pair of travelling pants makes their way around the world.
A League of Their Own (PG) Another classic baseball film to watch this summer. When the men are away at war, the women take to the field. The Rockford Peaches is where you will find a team of feisty women baseball players who learn about life and baseball and make history along the way.
Karate Kid (PG) Got a bored kid at home during the summer? What about suggesting they help out an elderly neighbour…who happens to be an amazing karate teacher? Will all his car waxing and face painting pay off at the big karate match?
Dirty Dancing (PG-13) Nostalgia pours out of every moment of this movie. Spend summer vacation in the Catskill Mountains at the picture-perfect Kellerman’s resort, with Baby and her family. She wants to change the world with her progressive views, but first, she has to start with her own family.
Bend it Like Beckham (PG-13) Jess wants to be a soccer superstar and she won’t let anything or anyone stop her from pursuing her goal – even her disapproving parents. Jess will discover the truth behind her parent’s disapproval has to do more with their own fears and experiences with racism than their wanting to squash her dreams. What happens when she is selected to play in America?
National Treasure Series (PG) The National Treasure Series are fun and adventurous films for kids of all ages. What would you do if you knew about a national treasure hidden somewhere in America? Can you solve the clues along with Nicolaus Cage and his crew?
The Way, Way Back (PG-13) When Duncan is stuck spending the summer with his mom and soon to be stepdad, he’s pretty sure it will be the worst summer ever. However, when Duncan gets a job at Water Wizz, the local water park, he actually starts to have fun. A coming of age film where Duncan faces the reality of standing up to his would-be step-father, having a conversation with a girl and learning how to be more accepting of himself.
High School Musical 2 (G) This one is an all-time favourite of the tweens. Spend summer vacation at Ryan and Sharpay’s family country club. Troy is taken in by the wealth and opportunities he finds at the club, but will it cost him his friendships? So much singing and dancing to be done!
Stand By Me (R) Wanna know what my all-time favourite movie is? Stand By Me. I added this one to the bottom of this list and I left it off the official checklist, due to its R rating. Be forewarned, Stand By Me has an R rating due to language and well, spoiler alert, we see a dead body of a child too. But, if you are looking for a super nostalgic movie that will have you laughing and crying then you cannot beat the friendships that form in this movie.
Did your family’s favourite summer movie make our list? If it didn’t be sure to comment below and we will give it a watch. Happy movie watching!
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