What to Buy

17 Summer Candles With Major Vacation Vibes

Because candles aren't just for cozy winter nights.

June  8, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin

If you’re a candle fan, you know they're not just for the colder months of the year. In fact, trying new scents each season is one of the best things about candles. When the weather turns warm, I can't wait to ditch the beloved pine tree and firewood candles for brighter, summery options.

The right summer candle can add ambiance and sophistication to any room without cloaking it in heavy, heady scents. Not to mention that they also make for lovely hostess gifts if you're visiting friends and family again—throw in some hand-turned wooden candle sticks and a ceramic match striker for a set anyone would love.

Ready to find the perfect summer candle? Here are 17 of our current favorites.

1. Brightland Digestif Candle, $45

This soy and olive oil candle is designed to be burned during and after cooking—and it’s made by Brightland, one of our favorite olive oil companies, so it knows its way around kitchen aromas. The candles are hand-poured in Los Angeles, California and will help keep your home smelling fresh no matter what disasters happen in your kitchen with notes of neroli, vetiver, and black pepper.

2. Esker Terrazzo Plantable Candle, $85

Even though this candle has a cedar base, it's balanced out by soft rock rose so it doesn't overwhelm the summer air. It also comes with a packet of seeds and a soil pod, so you can reuse the container as a mini herb garden when you’re done with the candle.

3. Sweet Water Decor Salt and Sea Candle, $24

This candle includes notes of sea salt, citrus, musk, and amber—i.e. it smells exactly like salty beach air and warm sand. Kick your feet up on the couch and float away to an island escape without actually getting your bags all sandy.

4. Baisun Candle Co. Yuzu Scented Candle, $18

This sharp, citrus-y candle will give you a burst of energy on lazy summer mornings.

5. Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Home Candle, $69

If you don’t make it to the beach this summer, this candle can take you there with notes of sage, amber, and sea salt.

6. blomus Concrete Scented Candle, $24-$27.99

This soy wax candle has a clean, bright scent that is perfect for long summer evenings.

7. Homesick Hawaii Scented Candle, $46.50

This super-beachy candle combines pineapple, coconut, and sugar—a perfect blend of vacation vibes.

8. Harlem Candle Company Sugar Hill Luxury Candle, $45

Inspired by the Sugar Hill neighborhood in Harlem, this fresh candle with notes of lemon, lavender, and neroli is perfect for summer evenings listening to jazz.

9. Boy Smells x Ganni Park Life Scented Candle, $39

This candle brings the outdoors in with ginger, fig, sandalwood, sage, and basil. Just picture yourself sitting in a park, enjoying the sunshine and birds chirping—all in the comfort of your living room.

10. Moods by Yemmie Summertime Love, $20

This candle is inspired by—you guessed it—summertime romance. With notes of jasmine, peach, and vanilla, it’s a perfect balance of sweet and fruity.

11. Abbott Big Sky Candle, $36

Transport yourself to Montana with fresh mountain air, lush grass, and a hint of smoky campfire. It's enough to make you want to look at flights ASAP.

12. Hotel Lobby Island Candle, $54

Inspired by white sand beaches and clear blue waters that surround a beautiful bungalow, this candle has notes of coconut, vanilla, and jasmine. It smells like summer vacation–but without the pocket-draining resort rates.

Photo by Neiman Marcus

13. NEST Fragrances Wild Mint & Eucalyptus Classic Candle, $43.55

If you can't let go of your eucalyptus, try this one with hints of ginger and mint. It's just as refreshing and makes any room smell like a spa—keep it in your bathroom or burn it on weekend mornings for a zen start to the day.

14. Diptyque Baies Candle, $68

You can rarely go wrong with a Diptyque candle, and this classic scent—reminiscent of tangy blackcurrant berries—is fresh and bright.

15. Bright Endeavors Lemon Tea Candle, $8

You can already guess that this candle smells like—your favorite summertime bev with crisp lemon, sweet hibiscus, and soft rose hip. All Bright Endeavors candles are hand-poured by young moms who are part of the organization’s paid job training program.

16. AREAWARE Totem Pillar Candles (Set of 3), $48

These candles look so cool that you may not actually ever burn them. Made from unscented paraffin wax (perfect for when it’s simply too hot to consider scented air), they come in a handful of fun colors and are a perfect addition to your outdoor space, coffee table, or home bar.

17. Byredo Tree House Candle, $85

If summer brings back memories of treehouses, this lux candle has notes of cedar, bamboo, sandalwood, guaiac wood, and hay for a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It's much woodier than the other candles here without any zesty notes like citrus or flora like rose, but we love it just the same.

What are your favorite scents for summer candles? Tell us in the comments below!

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate and Skimlinks affiliate, Food52 earns a commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

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Nina is a writer, editor, and enthusiastic home cook in New York City.

1 Comment

BBeaumont May 11, 2022
Love this list! I recently discovered Seventh & Oak candles. They're wood wick and they have a travel themed collection. My favorite is New Orleans. Check them out https://seventhandoak.com