7 Easy-Listening Podcasts for Summer
These podcasts will refresh your mind and body—like a glass of lemonade for your ears (sounds sticky… but you get what we mean).
This summer is going to look different from last year, mostly in a good way. We’re ready to spend a little extra time outside, with friends and family, and indulging in honest-to-goodness fun (remember that?). How do we do it safely? Your guide to a healthy, happy summer starts here.
Summertime means the living should be easy—and that includes easy listening. That’s why we’ve rounded up the chillest, most-relaxing podcasts to soothe your ears and transport you to a world of calm all summer long.
Podcast listening is on the rise, according to a 2021 study from Edison Research, with 41% of Americans over age 12 listen to at least one podcast a month. And it’s no wonder, as podcasts are not only entertaining but can provide other benefits, too. In fact, a study published in Nature found that listening to engaging stories can stimulate the parts of your brain linked to mental imagery, which may be why you can feel like you’ve literally been transported to another world when you’re listening to something captivating. Plus, listening to a podcast instead of shutting off your brain in front of a TV show or scrolling through social media helps you take a break from all that screen time that we humans are so into these days—and too much screen time may raise your risk of certain health problems, like depression, according to a study in Preventive Medicine Reports.
So whatever your plans are this summer, make time for one of these podcast picks—no hard work required.
1. Top Pick for Beach Lounging: “Meet Cute”
You’ve heard of beach reads, but what about beach listens? If you find yourself sprawled out on a lounge chair by the ocean or pool this summer, try swapping out your typical romantic page-turners for the podcast “Meet Cute.” This podcast features original audio rom-coms told beginning to end in 15 minutes. Everyone loves a charming, funny, happily ever after, right?
2. Top Pick for Falling Asleep With Your Windows Open: “Nothing Much Happens”
Channel your sleepy inner child this summer with Kathryn Nicolai’s podcast, “Nothing Much Happens.” In this pod, the host reads you “bedtime stories for grown-ups” in a mellow voice to help quiet your racing thoughts and drift off into dreamland more peacefully. Here you’ll find stories with cozy, carefree plotlines about things like taking a drive to a serene cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway. And yes, in these stories, nothing much happens—so you don’t have to feel guilty if you doze off partway through.
3. Top Pick to Pair With a Glass of Wine: “Table Manners with Jessie Ware”
Ever wish you could have dinner with one of your favorite celebrities? British singer Jessie Ware turned that wish into a podcast. She and her delightful mother Lennie invite a different guest on their podcast each episode for a chatty, fun, and often hilarious interview—usually with a gin and tonic or other drink in hand. Guests like Dan Levy of “Schitt’s Creek,” singer/songwriter John Legend, and even the beloved Mel and Sue, the delightfully innuendo-full hosts from the first several seasons of “The Great British Baking Show” will grace your ears. This one’s for you if you love witty banter and need a laugh to help kickstart your summer stress relief.
4. Top Pick for When Relaxation Feels Elusive: ”Slow Radio”
Struggling to tap into that summer self-care mindset? This podcast from BBC Radio 3 bills itself as “an antidote to today’s frenzied world.” Each episode immerses you in soothing soundscapes with music and recordings from natural environments, from coastal beaches to Swedish forests. Get lost in the pleasant thrum of sounds from around the world and find yourself infused with a little more gratitude for the little things in life along the way.
5. Top Pick for Sunday Morning Strolls: “Our Love Song”
This innovative podcast interviews a new couple each episode as they take you on the journey of their relationship from strangers to lovers. The cool part of this podcast is that it uses Spotify’s new Music + Talk feature, which allows podcasts to insert full songs into their episodes. Each episode, you'll hear the couple’s love story interspersed with the defining songs of their relationship, as they use the music to chart their romantic milestones—from the song that reminds them of their awkward junior high meeting to their first dance at their wedding.
6. Top Pick for Pop Culture Buffs: “Pop Culture Happy Hour”
If you’re like us, you’ve been dying for some uninterrupted Netflix time—and “Pop Culture Happy Hour” from NPR is your cheat sheet for all the stuff you hopefully have time to binge-watch, read, and listen to, now that it's summer. Pop on this cheerful listen to stay up to date on all the latest goings on in TV, movies, books, and music. Get recs for the best new shows to watch—and ones it wouldn’t hurt to skip—from arts journalists Linda Holmes, Glen Waldon, Stephen Thompson, and Aisha Harris. Released five days a week, this pod is your perfect companion to keep you well-fed with recommendations to keep you entertained all summer long.
7. Top Pick for a Morning Pick-Me-Up: “Horoscope Today”
Astrology buffs, rejoice—Spotify delivers horoscopes via a podcast from network Parcast, with daily episodes tailored to your sign. Each sign has its own separate podcast, from “Capricorn Today” to “Gemini Today” and all the signs between, presented by a cool, calming female voice. Get a fresh astrological take on what you need to know about your love life, relationships, and personal and professional growth each summer morning by pressing play on this podcast pick.
Podcast Listenership Study: Edison Research. (2021.) “The Infinite Dial 2021.” https://www.edisonresearch.com/the-infinite-dial-2021-2/
Screen Time and Depression Study: Preventive Medicine Reports. (2017.) “Association between screen time and depression among US adults.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211335517301316
Narrative Listening Brain Study: Brain and Behavior. (2019.) “Inferior parietal lobule and early visual areas support elicitation of individualized meanings during narrative listening.” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/brb3.1288