We all love a bit of the beach vibe every once in a while. That feeling of sand between your toes on a hot day. It’s good for us.
Here’s a collection of songs about the beach that will remind you just what a brilliant place it is.
So grab a cold one, turn the volume up, kick back and enjoy this beach playlist. By the time you’re done, you’ll be planning your next beach trip. Rock on dude 🙂
Table of Contents
- ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’ by Kenny Chesney
- ‘Toes’ by Zac Brown Band
- ‘Margaritaville’ by Jimmy Buffett
- ‘Some Beach’ by Blake Shelton
- ‘Knee Deep’ by Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett
- ‘Surf Wax America’ by Weezer
- ‘At the Beach’ by Avett Brothers
- ‘Rockaway Beach’ by The Ramones
- ‘When the Sun Goes Down’ by Kenny Chesney Ft. Uncle Kracker
- ‘Beyond the Sea’ by Bobby Darin
- ‘Under the Boardwalk’ by The Drifters
- ‘Surfin’ Safari’ by The Beach Boys
- ‘Catch a Wave’ by The Beach Boys
- ‘Kokomo’ by The Beach Boys
- ‘Beachin” by Jake Owen
- ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ by Brian Hyland
- ‘Surf City’ by Jan and Dean
- ‘Soak Up the Sun’ by Sheryl Crow
- ‘I Want to Go to the Beach’ by Iggy Pop
- ‘Escape (The Piña Colada Song)’ by Rupert Holmes
- ‘Only the Ocean’ by Jack Johnson
‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems’ by Kenny Chesney
Songs about the beach are often about a ‘beach mindset.’ Well, Kenny Chesney, in general, and in particular this song, is the embodiment of it.
The song title was a response to those ‘No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service’ signs you used to see in restaurants (especially in the ’60s and 70s). For Chesney, no shoes and no shirt are no problem!
Such was the effect of this slogan that Chesney’s fanbase calls themselves the ‘No Shoes Nation.’
‘Toes’ by Zac Brown Band
The Zac Brown Band are maestros of the island/beach rock song.
‘Toes’ is another song about freedom, with the familiar theme of escaping the city (‘concrete and cars are their own prison bars’) and getting to the beach. The line ‘leaving GA’ is a reference to the state of Georgia.
Band member Wyatt Durette was on his 30th birthday bash in the Keys when he turned to his friends and uttered the line which became the chorus ‘I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today, life is good today’.
The zany video introduced to the world the fictional character ‘Floaty Boatwood,’ a lay about who gets lucky on the lottery. Someone we can all relate to!
‘Margaritaville’ by Jimmy Buffett
Any list of songs about the beach wouldn’t be complete without some Jimmy Buffett. While Margaritaville isn’t specifically about the beach, it’s about a carefree lifestyle by the water, so it deserves to be here.
The song sings the praises of that classic tequila cocktail, the margarita.
The song starts with Jimmy on his porch, strumming his six-string with some shrimps on the BBQ. Picture Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, and you have something pretty close.
His biggest issue appears to be ‘searchin’ for my lost shaker of salt’ (salt is added around the rim of the tequila glass).
Buffet’s band are called ‘The Coral Reefers’ (yes, brilliant, isn’t it). Their long-time guitarist, a certain Mac McAnally, is a fantastic award-winning musician in his own right. If you want to hear him in action playing Little Martha, click here.
‘Some Beach’ by Blake Shelton
You have to listen to this one after Margaritaville (see above) as the song is mentioned in the first verse: ‘driving down the interstate…singing Margaritaville and minding my own’.
The song is about running into inconsiderate, aggressive people. Let’s face it; they’re everywhere!
The singer would rather be on ‘some beach, somewhere’ with ‘a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair.’
Ha, wouldn’t we all.
‘Knee Deep’ by Zac Brown Band featuring Jimmy Buffett
Many songs about the beach are about escapism, and this one totally is: ‘Gonna put the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live in it.’
Even better, trop-rock legend Jimmy Buffett steps in halfway through to add a touch of laidback magic.
It’s really a love song to the beach, ‘the ocean is my only medication’, and a longing for a simpler life where ‘the only worry in the world, is the tide gonna reach my chair.’
‘Surf Wax America’ by Weezer
Weezer are an American alternative rock band formed in the ’90s and known for their crisp guitar chops and power chords. They make well-crafted songs sung by the enigmatic frontman Rivers Cuomo.
‘Surf Wax America’ appeared on their first album (‘The Blue Album’) and is a modern anti-establishment tune about escaping the rat race and embracing the surf.
‘You take your car to work, I’ll take my board, and when you’re out of fuel, I’m still afloat’
We nearly included ‘Island in the Sun’, another great ‘sun related’ Weezer number.
‘At the Beach’ by Avett Brothers
If there was ever a song that makes you want to ditch your job and get down la playa, it’s ‘At the Beach.’
The Avett Brothers cook up a delicious mix of traditional folk and bluegrass with hints of rock & roll.
It’s one of the most joyous songs ever about all that sandy goodness – and reminds us to enjoy life to the full and stop fretting about our daily grind.
There is ‘no need to keep the stressing from our everyday life on our minds, we have got to leave all that behind.’
‘Rockaway Beach’ by The Ramones
From The Ramones’ 1977 album ‘Rocket to Russia,’ ‘Rockaway Beach’ was written by bassist Dee Dee Ramone in the style of early surf rock bands.
With a duration of just two minutes and six seconds, it’s a punk rock song with a driving tempo of 185 beats per minute. With a breezy, crested-wave sparkle and resonance, it turned out to be their highest-charting single.
‘When the Sun Goes Down’ by Kenny Chesney Ft. Uncle Kracker
Written by Nashville songwriter Brett James when “this crazy little ditty” popped into his head while he was driving his truck on the I-40. For the petrolheads out there, it was a 1992 Ford F150 two-tone tan – watch his interview here about the origins of the song.
‘When the Sun Goes Down’ was a big hit for Kenny Chesney and a surprise collaboration with Uncle Kracker, who was better known for hip hop than country.
The video also features a gorgeous type 2 VW campervan.
‘Beyond the Sea’ by Bobby Darin
‘Beyond the Sea’ is an English version of the song ‘La Mer,’ originally recorded in the 1940s by Charles Trenet.
While the French version was more an ode to the changing moods of the sea, the English ‘Beyond the Sea’ was more a love song, with lines like ‘my lover stands on golden sands.’
While it’s strictly not about the beach or beach life, it’s one of those classic songs about the sea that had to feature on this list.
‘Under the Boardwalk’ by The Drifters
A boardwalk (or promenade) is an elevated footpath typically built from wooden planks found at the seaside.
The Drifter’s soul classic ‘Under the Boardwalk’ is about meeting up with a woman below the boardwalk ‘on a blanket with my baby, is where I wanna be.’
The song perfectly captures the seaside vibe in summer, with the sun beating down and the sounds of carousels and ‘the hot dogs and french fries they sell’
‘Surfin’ Safari’ by The Beach Boys
The Beach Boys had a string of hits in the ’60s with classics like ‘Good Vibrations’ and ‘California Girls.’ Most of their early songs, however, were about surfing.
Released as far back as 1962, this was their first major hit and still sounds as fresh today as it did back then. The distinctive trebly surf guitar sound is superb.
Popular surf spots are listed (e.g.,, Huntington, Malibu, Laguna Beach), and some choice surf lingo was introduced, such as a ‘woody,’ a wood-paneled van used for transporting surfboards.
‘Catch a Wave’ by The Beach Boys
‘Catch a Wave’ is another classic song that celebrates the surfing craze. It’s almost like an advert! – ‘catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world.’
You’re encouraged to get away ‘from the shady turf’ (which one assumes is a reference to the city) and ‘catch some rays on the sunny surf.’
‘Kokomo’ by The Beach Boys
Another song that is definitively about the beach is the track ‘Kokomo.’
Kokomo is a fictional island off the Florida Keys, but the song makes references to real places such as the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bermuda, Martinique, Jamaica, and Montserrat.
One listen to this, and you’ll be packing your bags.
‘Beachin” by Jake Owen
Another feelgood, laid-back summer number about a guy’s infatuation with a girl he spots kicking back in a ‘thrift store beach chair, droppin’ limes in her Corona.’
They end up in a bar with a reggae band, where she gets them playing a little ‘don’t worry, be happy.’
Chaos ensues, and they end up drinking margaritas (of course) have a glorious time ‘chillin’, breazin’, sippin’, singin’ whoaoaoh.’
‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ by Brian Hyland
Of course, spending time in the sun and sand isn’t for everyone.
Inspired by seeing his two-year-old daughter on the beach with a new bikini, this song by Paul Vance and Lee Pockriss was a huge hit for Brian Hyland. It’s about a bashful girl in a tiny bikini who feels embarrassed.
‘Surf City’ by Jan and Dean
Written with the maestro of surf music Brian Wilson (of The Beach Boys), Surf City was a success for the duo who were ambassadors for California culture in the ’60s, Jan and Dean.
It starts with the claim ‘two girls for every boy.’ If that isn’t good enough, ‘all you gotta do is just wink your eye.’
‘Soak Up the Sun’ by Sheryl Crow
Another song about enjoying the simple things in life like sunshine. Sheryl Crow’s ‘Soak Up the Sun’ will be one of the better-known songs on this list as it was number 1 in the US Top 40 and got a ton of airplay on the radio.
Written on a long haul flight by co-writer Jeff Trott, who was en route from Oregon to New York and the phrase ‘soak up some sun’ popped into his head.
‘I Want to Go to the Beach’ by Iggy Pop
From Iggy Pop’s 2009 album Préliminaires (which was a big departure from his rock-oriented material – it has him singing in French for a start!).
The song ‘I Want to Go to the Beach’ is a sighing, meandering ballad that’s about as deadpan as it gets.
‘Escape (The Piña Colada Song)’ by Rupert Holmes
‘Escape,’ or more commonly known simply as the ‘The Piña Colada Song’, is one of those songs I’d wager everyone above the age of 40 has at least heard one time in their lives. The song crops up in the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, and Jack Johnson does a pretty good version too (which you can hear on our playlist of the best Jack Johnson songs).
Despite its somewhat cheesy feel (by today’s standards at least), it’s actually quite a clever song, telling the story of a guy who gets carried away with a personal ad in the newspaper from a woman who ‘likes Piña Coladas and getting caught in the rain,’ and ‘making love at midnight, in the dunes of the cape.’
He arranges to meets up with her and recognizes ‘her smile in an instant, I knew the curve of her face’ – it’s his own wife. Oops!
‘Only the Ocean’ by Jack Johnson
Often when we talk about the beach, we’re often really talking about the sea.
As a professional surfer before a career in music, Jack Johnson has a close affinity with the ocean (see our list of songs about the ocean).
In this song, he sings about the indifference of the sea: ‘You don’t want, you don’t wait, you don’t love, but you don’t hate’
But ultimately, ‘You just roll over me and you pull me in.’
When interviewed for Gibson.com, Johnson said, “it’s a song for my father. Every time I go to the ocean now, I feel like I’m visiting him.”
So there you have it, our pick of the best songs about the beach. Please share in the comments which are your favorites, or any you think we’ve missed.
Thanks for reading!