It's time to pack up the car, round up the kids, and go absolutely nowhere for the summer, because you've got TV to watch. The best substitute for a beach vacation is to watch others on a beach vacation, which is one reason why Netflix's Outer Banks is so popular. Another reason Outer Banks is so popular? Hot teens, treasure hunting, and mystery in lawless waters.
Season 2 came out in July 2021 and Season 3 has finished filming, so we're expecting the next chapter of the Pogues' adventures to come soon, but Netflix has yet to announce an Outer Banks Season 3 release date. We're still getting news on Season 3, including a round of new cast members to join regulars Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline, Rudy Pankow, Madison Bailey, Jonathan Daviss, Austin North, Drew Starkey, and Charles Esten.
But until Season 3 comes out, the decision you have to make is what to watch instead of Outer Banks. We've put together a list of shows like Outer Banks to fill the void. Most involve teens coming of age, some involve them getting into trouble, and others are all about them hooking up.
On the other end of the sun-soaked YA drama spectrum is The Summer I Turned Pretty, which doesn't feature any treasure hunting or murder, but it is loaded with tan teens who regularly strip down to their skivvies in the picturesque beauty of the East Coast shore. Set up the Eastern Seaboard in Massachusetts, The Summer I Turned Pretty is based on the books by Jenny Han and follows Belly (Lola Tung), a 15-year-old who goes to her family friend's beach house, just as she has every summer of her life, but this year is different (she's pretty!). Lola's budding gets her caught in between a pair of brothers — both of whom could have just stepped out of an Abercrombie catalog — she's grown up with, whether it's down by the beach, by the pool, or even a debutante ball. Beach teens should be a genre unto itself. -Tim Surette
Outer Banks and On My Block get compared to each other a lot, and not just because they're both Netflix teen shows. On My Block centers around a group of four misfit friends from a low-income Los Angeles neighborhood as they start high school. On My Block often vacillates between very different tones, ranging from wild comedy and genuinely heartbreaking drama, showing the teens as they navigate life in their sometimes violent neighborhood and the changing dynamics of their friend group. Also, there's a treasure-hunting plot that begins in Season 1. You can never have too many teen treasure hunters. -Allison Picurro
Come on, if we're talking ridiculous teen TV, what better example is there than Riverdale? What began as a fun, self-aware, occasionally eerie show about the trials and tribulations of being Archie Andrews (KJ Apa) with a murder mystery side-plot has since evolved into something so utterly insane it's actually really difficult to describe it in just one short paragraph. Seriously, it's gone in so many wild directions since its first season, sending some characters to prison, some to war, and getting others involved with the mafia (I'm honestly barely scratching the surface) that it absolutely earns the distinction of being TV's most "sure, why not!" show. You really have to suspend your disbelief and know how to laugh to watch this one, but if you enjoy Outer Banks, I have a feeling you already know how to do that. That said, Riverdale makes Outer Banks look normal, which is what it's so great. -Allison Picurro
You know how you started Outer Banks Season 2 and thought, "Oh, right, the two main characters are literally on the run from the law"? The feeling you had at that moment speaks perfectly to the unhinged lunacy that each episode of Elite evokes. The Spanish-language series about three working-class friends who enroll in a luxe private school is the ideal mix of silly camp and actual high-stakes drama. The show centers around the inevitable culture clash between the new kids and their exorbitantly wealthy classmates, but there's also a murder mystery woven through the fabric of the show. While Elite deals with its share of socially relevant topics like homophobia and religion, it leans much more into its chaotic roots. If you're a fan of Outer Banks, I bet you're the kind of person who likes it when a show doesn't take itself too seriously. -Allison Picurro
Based on Lauren Oliver's novel, Panic is truly a teen drama for the ages. Set in a small town in Texas, every summer the graduating seniors take part in a series of challenges that guarantees them an escape from the place they grew up in -- something that seems impossible otherwise. And because this show needed even higher stakes, the first season is set during the summer the stakes become even higher and the rules of the game become more dangerous than ever. Think of it as The Hunger Games (making kids compete in life or death competitions) meets Outer Banks (teen summer). -Allison Picurro
Darker waters fill this Amazon Prime original, as The Wilds ditches the sun-soaked beaches of Outer Banks for an inhospitable deserted island in the middle of whoknowswhere. The group of teens at the center of this show is a diverse set of teenage girls on their way to a spiritual retreat that will supposedly put them back on the right track, except things go awry when their plane crashes near an island. Like Outer Banks, mystery and adventure await, as it's fairly obvious to say that there's more going on in The Wilds than just young women sorting out their stuff on an island. Flashbacks and flash-forwards give the characters depth and allow for the storytelling to tease revelations at every turn. It's Lost for the YA crowd, and that's a compliment.
Netflix advertised Outer Banks as Dawson's Creek meets The Goonies, which if you're trying to appeal to today's youth, might not have been the best idea; have today's teens seen either of these pop culture touchstones? If not, Dawson's Creek should be the first stop after watching Outer Banks. Set in the small town of Capeside, Massachusetts (but filmed in Wilmington, North Carolina), the coming-of-age drama follows Dawson (James Van Der Beek), an aspiring filmmaker; Joey (Katie Holmes), his best friend and love interest; Pacey (Joshua Jackson), his other best friend and Joey's other love interest; and Jen (Michelle Williams), the New York transplant who lives next door, who is also Dawson's love interest, as they experience the triumphs and challenges of growing apart, growing together, and growing up. There are a lot of hormones in one place, but the WB classic took a view of teens that shows rarely did at the time, which is that their problems were just as important and just as serious as those adults were facing. This often translated to Dawson and his circle of friends speaking like adults -- sometimes pretentiously so. And while there is no search for lost gold, just a great show about the trials of young adulthood, there will likely never be another show like it.
You can think of Spinning Outas the winter version of Outer Banks, in that there is a lot of ice and snow involved and there is also so much melodrama you'll be smashing the play button for the next episode even before the credits roll. Much like John B, Kaya Scodelario's Kat Baker is on a mission, only instead of seeking out buried treasure and a missing father, she's looking to find a way back to an elite figure skating career after a dangerous fall during competition forced her to make a detour. The series, which follows Kat as she attempts to revitalize her career by becoming a pairs skater with Evan Roderick's rich and naturally talented Justin, is the perfect amount of extra for those who miss Outer Banks' sheer ridiculousness, and it even features a romance between the central duo. Beneath the sparkles and illusion netting, though, is a deeper story about a fractured family and the toll mental illness can take. Spinning Out lasted just one season, which makes it low commitment (though I firmly believe it would have been renewed if Netflix had not buried it on New Year's Day), and for real world figure skating fans, you can't beat Johnny Weir playing one half of a catty rival pairs team.
The best thing about Outer Banks was easily its setting, which made everyone who watched it immediately want to escape to the Carolinas (although the show was set in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it was filmed outside of Charleston, South Carolina). The Italian dramaSummertime -- yes, sorry, you'll have to read subtitles for this one -- is equally picturesque, possibly even more so, and also features an all-consuming love story. Inspired by Federico Moccia's books and set on the Adriatic coast, the show follows Summer (Coco Rebecca Edogamhe), who longs to escape her hometown but worries about the strain it would put on her family, and Ale (Ludovico Tersigni), a former motorcycle racer who decides to explore what else life has to offer after a bad fall, as they embark on a soapy summer romance in a small beach town. While Outer Banks appeared to exist only at magic hour, Summertime sizzles in the sun, with bold, bright colors that make the seaside town's clear water even more inviting. You'll want to escape into its romantic world immediately.
If the working class teens fighting against the one percent was your favorite part of Outer Banks, you might enjoy the dramatics the teens get up to in Ragnarok, a Norwegian Netflix series with an environmentalist message buried inside a story that pulls from Norse mythology. The show follows Magne (David Stakston), who is the second coming of Thor, as he fights against the Jutul Corporation, which is run by other figures from Norse mythology who look like posh and impossibly beautiful humans. They are the embodiment of corporate malfeasance and, as Norway's fifth-wealthiest family, representative of the one percent. But their factories are also polluting the beautiful and picturesque town of Edda, Norway, and Thor just ain't about that. Ragnarok might not be the greatest show ever made (honestly, if you love Outer Banks, that likely isn't a problem for you), but it's only six episodes and a breeze to watch.
Outer Banks wasn't the first teen soap to feature a pretty rich girl falling for a hunky guy from the wrong side of the tracks, nor was it the first to do it on a sandy beach with a rich ex-boyfriend screaming and punching people. No, that honor goes to Fox's The O.C. (honestly, it probably wasn't the first either, but go with it). Set in the wealthy town of Newport Beach, California, The O.C. follows Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), a teen from a broken home who is adopted by his public defender (Peter Gallagher) and his wife (Kelly Rowan), gaining a quick-witted but socially awkward brother (Adam Brody) and privileged girlfriend (Mischa Barton) along the way. While no one will ever be able to explain how Brody's Seth was ever seen as a dork, the show was the perfect blend of humor, melodrama, and heart. Never better than it was in that brilliant first season, which moved at the speed of light and was backed by an excellent soundtrack, the fourth and final season was a triumphant return to form. I'm not saying it's because the show finally cut the dead weight, but I'm not not saying that either.
A search for buried treasure drives much of the story of Outer Banks, and if the thrill of action and adventure is what you're looking for, CBS's Blood & Treasure should be the next show on your list. The series follows an art enthusiast (Matt Barr) who teams up with a fugitive (Sofia Pernas) to catch a terrorist who funds his endeavors through stolen treasure. That sounds like a TV exec threw a lot of keywords into a bowl and pulled them out to build the premise, and it's entirely possible that's what happened. But with a nice dose of mythology, a global scale, some fun performances, and the obvious influence of Indiana Jones, the series is the perfect low-key binge for summer. While it might be predictable, that is also part of its charm; it doesn't require a whole lot of brainpower, and it's easy to sit back and allow yourself to fall into the show.