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35 Best Songs About The Beach

December 13, 2023
Songs About The Beach

I’ve compiled the best songs about the beach, a playlist that captures the essence of sun-soaked sands and rolling waves.

This article is your musical ticket to the seaside, featuring tracks that embody the relaxation, joy, and freedom of beach life.

Top songs about the beach

  • The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ USA”
  • The Beach Boys – “Catch A Wave”
  • The Beach Boys – “Kokomo”
  • Bobby Darin – “Beyond The Sea”
  • The Drifters – “Under The Boardwalk”
  • The Drifters – “Down On The Beach Tonight”
  • Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”
  • The Surfaris – “Wipe Out”
  • Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”
  • The Andrew Sisters – “Rum And Coca Cola”

1. The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ USA”

The first of a few entries from The Beach Boys, you have been warned!

This memorable track was written over Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen with new lyrics to support the surfing culture that was taking Hawaii, Australia, and California by storm.

The song’s lyrics capture the thrill and excitement of the water sport and mention some very famous surfing coasts in the outro.

“Haggerties and swamies
pacific palisades
san anofree and sunset
redondo beach l.a.
all over la jolla
at waimia bay”

It is an iconic example when it comes to songs about the beach and enjoying it!

2. The Beach Boys – “Catch A Wave”

Much like the track above this hit also draws on surf culture.

Surfing was actually invented in a crude form by the ancient Polynesians but became a widespread popular pastime during the 50s and 60s.

Rock and Roll was also peaking during this time and the birth of a new genre ‘surf-rock’ soon prevailed with bands like The Beach Boys at the helm of the movement.

Everybody tries it once
Those who don’t just have to put it down
You paddle out turn around and raise
And baby that’s all there is to the coastline craze
You gotta catch a wave and you’re sittin’ on top of the world”

It is another classic example of songs that remind you of the beach.

3. The Beach Boys – “Kokomo”

For most of us not fortunate enough to live coastally the beach is something we associate with holiday destinations.

This saucy love song by The Beach Boys cites some of the most beautiful tropical spots on the earth to visit and describes the environment with one or two cocktails as being idyllic for romance as well as relaxation.

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooh, I wanna take ya
Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego
Baby, why don’t we go Jamaica
Off the Florida Keys
There’s a place called Kokomo”

Some of the best songs about beaches are the ones that make you want to sing along!

4. Bobby Darin – “Beyond The Sea”

“Somewhere beyond the sea
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands
And watches the ships that go sailin'”

Another love song that makes mention of the beach that most will have heard whether they know it or not is this, the classic piece that is in any crooners repertoire.

The song was originally in French, named “La Mer” and was a bona fide ode to the sea rather than a person.

The song has been covered countless times and has featured in many motion pictures.

5. The Drifters – “Under The Boardwalk”

Much more picturesque than many teenage hangout spots, under the boardwalk gives youths a private place to explore the transition to adulthood.

Anyone who lives near a coast will have spent some of their juvenile years away from adult gaze beneath a boardwalk of some sort.

“Under the boardwalk, down by the sea, yeah
On a blanket with my baby is where I’ll be”

This one is a chipper, romantic song about the beach, the landscape with its jaw-dropping sunsets creates the perfect ambiance for an evening with someone special.

Lead singer Rudy Lewis died, unexpectedly and Johnny Moore had to sing lead on the song.

So there are two different versions of it.

Moor decided to spice the track up by changing “we’ll be falling in love” to the raunchier line “we’ll be making love.” 

6. The Drifters – “Down On The Beach Tonight”

Of course, “Under The Boardwalk” was a bigger hit for The Drifters but “Down On The Beach Tonight” is probably more fitting for our songs about the beach theme.

“Say you’ll meet me down on the beach tonight
Where you and I can dance your tears away
Barefoot in the sand, hand in hand
We’re gonna have all night party”

There is something about the mention of being barefoot in the sand that instantly makes you recall your last beach trip fondly.

This lesser-known track released in 1975 was probably the group’s attempt at recreating the success they had with their hit above in 1964.

7. Otis Redding – “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay”

Of course, it’s not all songs about sand and tropical sunsets, some songs we have selected are subtler lyrically.

There’s no shortage of seashore songs but this lackadaisical classic with its dreamy legato lyrics and gorgeous soulful vocal tone is up there with the best.

The lyrics have a gloomy tinge, unlike most of our beach song choices.

It is a reflection of the monotony you get when life gets stale but for many, the concept of wasting time watching the ships on the dock has pleasantness to it.

You can be happy doing nothing so long as you have the free time to do nothing.

“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes
Watching the ships roll in
Then I watch ’em roll away again, yeah
I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time”

8. The Surfaris – “Wipe Out”

Back to the Californian surf culture explosion of the sixties with the surf-rock band The Surfaris who jumped upon that bandwagon and never fell off.

This is one of the world’s most widely recognised rock instrumentals.

It borrows heavily from the 12-bar blues and the rhythmic dynamics really do paint a picture of rapidly rolling waves building and breaking, you can hear the chaos as the waves form a barrel.

When it comes to songs about the sea and beach this one is well worth considering despite not having any real lyrical content other than the title “wipeout” being lamented suggesting the protagonist has been thrown from his board.

9. Rupert Holmes – “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”

In the pre-tinder era, personal ads (even in a cringe-tastic video format) were the way for singles to mingle.

Quite often people would write ‘enjoys walks along the beach’ as a pretty standard description of themselves.

You either like the beach or you don’t, I guess it helped narrow down the types!

The narrative of this famous track better known by its more memorable parenthesized title “The Piña Colada Song” tells a humorous eye-opening love story.

A bored husband places a person and looks for his ideal woman, listing the interests she must have.

He spots a similar and meets with the woman who turns out to be his own wife.

They were perfect for one another, just things had gone stale, blind-sighting them.

10. The Andrew Sisters – “Rum And Coca Cola” 

A nice early entry we felt like including which is one of the few songs about beaches with a specific beach in mind mentioned.

This popular early 40’s calypso song by the harmonic trio sets the scene in Trinidad and talks of the beautiful Manzanilla beach and the laid-back evenings of drinking that the Yanks would enjoy.

The popularity and success was something quite notable considering that at the time many radio stations refused to play the song as it could be considered free advertising for Coca Cola!

The musical melody line comes from a song titled “L’Année Passée” written by Lionel Belasco a Venezuelan calypso composer.

11. Elvis – “Beach Shack” 

From the 1966 movie Spinout, featuring Elvis as the heartthrob, this song is probably one of his more forgettable ones, short and not so sweet.

By today’s standards, it gives off predatory vibes rather than romantic!

“When you’re through swimming
I’ll dry your back
Come and relax girl
In my little beach shack”

Beach songs tend to have a raunchy edge it is one of the very few activities we do publicly wearing very little, meaning it’s the perfect environment for things to take a turn.

So it is unsurprising we see many songs about the beach being a little saucier.

12. Brian Hyland – “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”

On the subject of beach attire, we have the 1960 novelty hit that either got on your nerves or spurred you to sing along with its ridiculous lyrics.

On the surface, it sounds quite fun with its musical and rhythmic choices and tongue-in-cheek hook.

It in fact tells of anxiety and not wanting to be looked at.

Bikinis had only just come into fashion and swimming clothes for women up until then had been far more conservative with some destinations even measuring women’s attire and policing it!

“She was afraid to come out in the open
And so a blanket around her she wore
She was afraid to come out in the open
And so she sat, bundled up on the shore”

13. Black Lace – “Agadoo”

In a similar novelty vein as the beach song above “Agadoo” is chock full of nonsensical lyrical offerings.

The rather silly chorus came accompanied by dance moves that many a drunken fool attempted at the time giving it its popularity!

“Agadoo doo doo, push pineapple, shake the tree
Agadoo doo doo, push pineapple, grind coffee
To the left, to the right, jump up and down and to the knees
Come and dance every night, sing with a hula melody”

It is a song that many associate with that package holiday activity vibe.

Dancing on the beach is something many a holidaymaker has ticked off of the bucket list, proudly or not!

14. Olivia Newton John & John Travolta – “Summer Nights”

From the motion picture “Grease”, there aren’t many people who don’t know the lyrics to both parts of this sleazy duet.

Hopeless romantic Sandy and greaser Danny Zuko, recount their summer activities as they return to Rydell High for their first semester.

Each has different perspectives of their summer romance, Danny giving things an exaggerated macho edge.

“He got friendly, holding my hand
She got friendly down in the sand
He was sweet just turned eighteen
Well, she was good you know what I mean”

Most of us are no strangers to a summer fling, this song about the beach encapsulates the experience pretty well if a little naively.

15. Sheryl Crow – “Soak Up the Sun”

“I’m gonna soak up the sun
I’m gonna tell everyone to lighten up
I’m gonna tell ’em that I’ve got no one to blame
For every time I feel lame I’m looking up
I’m gonna soak up the sun”

Although it makes no mention of the beach in its lyrics, this Shery Crow track is a song that reminds you of the beach.

With its Beach Boy harmony style and sunshine references and video shot on a beautiful coast, it ticks enough boxes.

It is a song about remembering the little things and trying to let the negative go.

Rather than fall into the habit of playing the blame game Crow is going to “soak up the sun”.

She uses the phrase metaphorically, keep smiling, counting your blessings, and put a happy face on.

16. Kenny Chesney – “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems”

Chesney reveals his desire to ditch his hectic work schedule and take a beach vacation down in Mexico – Who doesn’t?

Inspired by the “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service” signs of restaurants as a title choice it, in turn, inspired Chesney’s fans to give themselves the name No Shoes Nation!

Over the intro of his laid-back country hit from his 6th album, he insists that it isn’t just a song title but rather a way of life.

“And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems
Blues what blues hey I forgot ’em
The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom
And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems
No problems”

Nice philosophy!

17. Kenny Chesney – “When The Sun Goes Down”

” Suntan toes ticklin’ the sand
Cold drink chillin’ in my right hand”

This duet featuring Uncle Cracker and Kenny Chesney again echos the sentiments of many of the songs about beaches we have already highlighted.

Dancing on the sand beside the waves.

“… When the sun goes down we’ll be groovin’
When the sun goes down we’ll feel alright
When the sun sinks down over the water
Everything gets hotter when the sun goes down”

The last line of the chorus is possible a little saucier than it appears on the surface, with sexual undertones which again seems to be a common correlation in some of these beach-themed songs we are seeing.

18. Blake Shelton – “Some Beach”

This next one is one we can all get on board with, whether you love the beach or hate it the idea of longing to be somewhere you want to be instead of where you currently are is a familiar one…

“Some beach
There’s a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair
Palm trees are growin’ and warm breezes blowin’
I picture myself right there
On some beach

Blake Shelton paints us a picture of the paradise he has his sights set on as he goes about business in the starkly contrasting landscape of his reality.

A vacation is probably overdue…

19. Kid Rock – “All Summer Long”

An upbeat 2008 country rock track that is chock full of musical homages as it samples the piano of Werewolves Of London and parts of Sweet Home Alabama as well as borrowing Inspiration from Night Moves by Bob Segar.

With the driving musical track near perfection, Kid Rock turned it into the biggest solo hit of his career with some relatable summer days gone by lyrics.

“Splashing through the sand bar
Talking by the campfire
It’s the simple things in life, like when and where
We didn’t have no internet
But man I never will forget
The way the moonlight shined upon her hair”

20. Weezer – “Island In The Sun”

When we are vacationing we often say or do things we normally wouldn’t with the stresses of modern life sometimes it’s tricky to find a moment.

“When you’re on a golden sea
You don’t need no memory
Just a place to call your own
As we drift into the zone
On an island in the sun
We’ll be playing and having fun
And it makes me feel so fine
I can’t control my brain”

Recorded and released in 2001 it became one of the band’s most successful singles.

The chilled groove of the rhythm guitar gives it a relaxed beach vibe that compliments the dreamy lyrics to perfection.

21. Weezer – “Surf Wax America”

This Weezer track is a little heavier, with its stricter drumbeat and builds once again the punkier music suits the rebellious words that accompany it.

The sentiments of the song go against the norms, the protagonist insists that rather than going to work and climbing the career ladder they would take surfing any day of the week.

They use their boarding as an escape.

“The sea is foamin’ like a bottle of beer
The wave is comin but I ain’t gonna fear
I’m waxin’ down so that I’ll go real fast
I’m waxin’ down because it’s really a blast
I’m goin’ surfin ’cause I don’t like your face
I’m bailin’ out because I hate the race
Of rats that run round and round in the maze
I’m goin’ surfin’, I’m goin’ surfin'”

22. Ramones – “Rockaway Beach”

Speaking of punky, this is one of The Ramone’s more coherent pieces! Released in 1977 as an homage to surf-rock with retro Beach Boy-inspired backing vocals it has a happier feel when compared to most of their tracks.

“Chewin’ out a rhythm on my bubble gum
The sun is out and I want some
It’s not hard, not far to reach
We can hitch a ride
To Rockaway Beach”

It is once again a song about a beach that is associated with youthful sexual pursuits in the sun beside the sea and may have a lot of truth in it.

Rockaway Beach is in Queens, New York and the Ramones famously grew up in Forest Hills, which is nearby.

23. Don Henley – “The Boys Of Summer” 

Eagles vocalist Don Henley reflects on a summer romance that has long since ended as he sees the empty beaches.

He remembers her tanning herself with strong vivid memories flooding to him.

He vows to get her back somehow as he still loves her strongly.

“Nobody on the road
Nobody on the beach
I feel it in the air
The summer’s out of reach”

We often go over fond memories questioning the way we went about things when they end against our wishes.

“I can see you
Your brown skin shining in the sun
You got your hair combed back
And those sunglasses on, baby
And I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
After the boys of summer have gone”

24. Bon Jovi – “Summertime” 

Hot of off his 2007 Lost Highway album this one was a welcome addition to the rest of the bunch, with its heavier edge.

It’s a high-energy ode to the protagonist’s valentine.

You could think of it as Bon Jovi’s attempt at William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 which begins with “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day” only Bon Jovi says “You make me feel something like summertime”.

Not quite as poetic but he does go on to give some excellent imagery that gives it its credentials for our list of best songs about the beach.

“Like a first slow dance and a first long kiss
There ain’t nothing baby better then this
It’s like a beach blanket and a bottle of wine
It feels something like summertime

25. The Who – “Sea And Sand” 

“Nothing is planned, by the sea and the sand”

From the groups, Rock Opera Quadrophenia is this underrated gem.

It has one of Roger Daltry’s best vocal performances melody-wise hands down.

The story follows youths during the mod vs rocker period and is set around Brighton Beach.

The whole album has coastal references but the anguish felt in these few heavy-hitting lines from the hopeless romantic and the sea-bird and waves upon the shore in the opening give this one the makings of a great song about the beach.

“Come sleep on the beach
Keep within my reach
I just want to die with you near
I’m feeling so high with you here”

26. Stranglers – “Peaches”

This raunchy rock track with its infectious groove was a happy accident.

The group had been stuck overnight and watched a reggae group working with dubbing and sound systems.

The Stranglers were apparently “the only white guys there” so they have been heard to have said.

They were inspired by the dub concept however upon recording their syncopated rhythms the snare wasn’t quite in the right place so they invented their own little strangler version of reggae.

Although some might argue that this song has far too much objectification of women in it not to upset a few people these days.

We say no more so than many popular reggaetón tracks.

“Walking on the beaches looking at the peaches”

Cornwells’ lecherous vocals fit the bill perfectly; One of the best beach songs of all time despite the crude nature and sexual tension.

27. Iggy Pop – “I Want To Go To The Beach” 

Okay, so this one fits more into the songs with the beach in the title category as opposed to songs about the beach.

But the desire to go to one is close to many hearts.

Iggy brought us something vulnerable with his jazz-tinted Preliminaires album.

This is a song about escaping to the beach literal or metaphorical.

His vocals are shaky and unsure and the music, not the typical happy beach vibe nor your typical Iggy Pop but that adds to the narrative of the piece.

“I wanna go to the beach
I don’t care if it’s decadent
I don’t know where my spirit went
But that’s alright…”

His baritone is pleasantly surprising no matter how unrefined and the tremolo of the guitar gives it a hopeful edge.

28. Jake Owen – “Beachin’”

“And it’s sunshine, blue eyes, tan lines, it’s low tide
Rolling white sand, cold can koozie in my hand, just a summertime strollin’
Chillin’, breezin’, sippin’, singin’ whoa-oh-oh

A modern country song about beaches from Jake Owen, that turns the noun beach into a verb cleverly in its lyrics we all know what beachin’ is without having come across the term.

It is your typical country party song only the setting is coastal instead of mid-field or woodland area! But we won’t hold that against him.

The best songs about beaches are the fun ones and this one is certainly that!

29. Chris Rea – “On The Beach”

Much like The Boys Of Summer by Henly, this one is a reflection on summers gone by spent on the beach with someone that you loved once upon a time.

The protagonist is reminded each summer when there is a warm wind of the days that they spent together.

“The secrets of the summer I will keep
The sands of time will blow a mystery
No one but you and I underneath that moonlit sky
Take me back to the place that I know
On the beach
Yeah, yeah
(On the beach) on the beach”

30. Zac Brown Band – “Toes”

“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”

Another modern country offering with Jimmy Buffet tinges in the mix that makes for a great beach song is “Toes”.  

Co-writer Wyatt Durrette was celebrating his 30th birthday on vacation in Key West, Florida when those opening lines sprang to his mind.

He and Zac got right on it and the rest practically wrote itself.

31. Jack Johnson – “Only The Ocean”

If you’re searching for songs about the sea then this one should fit the bill.

Recorded back in 2010 it was featured on his soft folk-rock album, entitled To The Sea.

The Hawaiian singer-songwriter tried to use the concept of a body of water as a representation of the subconscious mind.

This particular track the final track was in memory of his father whose ashes were scattered at sea.

‘Only the Ocean’ is personal, the beach trip is like visiting his father now.

“And all of these lines
Will all be erased soon
They go out with the tide
And come back with the waves soon
It’s only the ocean and you”

32. Katy Perry – “California Gurls”

this pop song about the beach has an unstoppable infectious chorus which is probably what brought it so much success overnight.

The concept is pretty simple as the title suggests, but the lyrics are fun and young.

“You could travel the world
But nothing comes close
To the golden coast
Once you party with us
You’ll be falling in love
Ooh oh ooh oh oh ooh”

It had a number one debut position in the digital charts after selling 294,000 digital downloads in its first week and is one of those beach songs that is perfect for a playlist in the summertime.

33. Pedro Capó, Farruko – “Calma”

We couldn’t write an article full of songs about beaches without making mention of this Latin billboard hit, though many of us don’t understand the lyrics the remix version featuring Farruko was an instant success.

The inspiration for this chilled track is said to be the slow and happy Caribbean lifestyle a philosophy that Puerto Rican Pedro Capo experienced growing up.

He didn’t think too much of the finished piece with its simple honest lyrics and it didn’t get released as a single on any album at the time.

However, once Farruko (who was on house arrest and desperate to listen to as much music during the time) heard the laid-back piece he wanted in.

The remix earned Pedro two Grammys!

“Vamos pa’ la playa
Pa’ curarte el alma
Cierra la pantalla
Abre la Medalla2

34. Mr. Probz – “Waves”

“My face above the water
My feet can’t touch the ground
Touch the ground, and it feels like
I can see the sands on the horizon
Every time you are not around
I’m slowly drifting away (drifting away)
Wave after wave, wave after wave”

This song like the one above was propelled into the spotlight when remixed by someone with a more established artist.

In the case of Waves by talented dutch singer/rapper Mr. Probz it was Marcus Shultz who sped the arrangement up to an acceptable dance tempo and gave it the lifts and drops it needed along with a thumping bit of drum and bass.

The vocals of Dennis Princewell Stehr (Mr. Probz) have impressive gravel to them which doesn’t detract from the beauty of the notation.

35. DNCE – “Cake By the Ocean”

We draw this beach song article to a close with one last modern hit that dominated the charts in recent years that makes for another fine example.

With its iconic bass riff, and uptempo neo-funk flair it was destined to be a summer hit.

Add to that the summer syncopation and beach theme that is unashamedly about sex on the beach and we don’t mean the cocktail and you have a hit that was apparently the second most-played song for Canadians in 2016.

The euphemism was apparently coined when a Swedish producer they were working with kept confusing sex on the beach with cake by the ocean in translation, or so says Joe Jonas!

Et voilà a summer hit is born!

Final Thoughts

So those were our top choices for songs about the beach, how do your selections measure up?

Songs about beaches are never not going to be popular in the summer time, we all like to let a little loose, and enjoy the warmer weather outdoors!

Summer songs with beaches in the lyrics take our minds right there! So even when the weather is colder you can start imagining your next vacation when you listen to a beach song.

As ever we have tried to provide a good balance from cross-genre sources and hope you’ve enjoyed listening to the best songs about beaches, time to plan your next trip perhaps?

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Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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