Create Your Ultimate Beach Playlist

Whether you are lounging by the water or playing volleyball on the beach, no summer day is complete without the perfect soundtrack. Your favorite summer song will compliment the crashing waves and calling seagulls so you can relax and cherish every second of summer vacation. The best playlist will put you in the mood for summer with songs that please everyone.

Creating the perfect beach vacation playlist is easy when you keep these tips in mind:

  • Set the mood: Mellow days on the beach and upbeat afternoons exploring the boardwalk each call for a different musical mood to enhance the energy of the day. Music has the power to help you relax or get everyone on their feet and dancing. Decide if you want to slow it down or pick up the pace with your beach playlist.
  • Please the crowd: Everyone has a different taste in music, so consider who will be listening to your summer playlist and keep their musical preferences in mind. You may want to leave behind the heavy metal and opt for a few country songs instead. Include your favorites as well as crowd-pleasing classics to keep everyone smiling and singing along all day.
  • Mix it up: The best playlist will have some variety to keep things interesting. Try to incorporate a few different genres into your summer playlist, like country, pop, classic rock and reggae. Mix classic favorites that everyone knows with some little-known songs to keep the fun rolling all day long.

beach music

The ultimate beach playlist will sound like summer sun and feel like the rolling tide to keep you feeling good all vacation — or all summer — long. Read on for our must-have summer playlist songs broken down by genre and more tips on creating the ultimate beach playlist.

Don’t Forget the Classics

Start your playlists with some favorites from the classic rock genre. Rock-and-roll has been the music of the masses since the 1940s and continues to entertain with its variety of subgenres and themes. Rock music is about love, heartbreak, youth, culture and, of course, summer. These classic rock-and-roll songs about summer will take you back to your youth and remind you to let loose in the summertime.

beach rock music

Our Must-Have Classic Rock Summer Playlist Songs:

  • Summer of ‘69 by Bryan Adams: This classic rock jam dives right in with a strong guitar riff for the perfect start to your summer playlist. As you dive into your vacation, reminisce on the summers of your youth with Canadian musician Bryan Adams’s 1984 hit. This song inspires you to have the best summer of your life — one you will remember for years after.
  • School’s Out by Alice Cooper: Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit single is another perfect song to kick off the summer, as it captures the last few moments of the school year as kids fidget in their chairs waiting for summer vacation to begin. The song ends with a ringing school bell to signal the start of a carefree, fun-filled summer.
  • Rockaway Beach by the Ramones: This fast-paced 1977 single by the punk rock band the Ramones talks about hitching a ride to the beach to soak up the sun. Its repeating chorus and strong drum beats tend towards the surf style of the Beach Boys and will have you tapping along.
  • The Boys of Summer by Don Henley: This moody rock-and-roll song from Don Henley, drummer and vocalist of the Eagles, takes a look back at the summers of the past. Its idealized image of tanned skin and sunglasses will make you cherish every second of your summer.
  • Santeria by Sublime: This song has become a signature of the ska-punk band Sublime, and was the biggest hit on their 1996 self-titled album. The reggae feel of Santeria makes it a favorite for hanging out on the beach.

Throw It Back

There is nothing quite like 1990s summer hits to get you in the mood for sun and sand. Travel back to the late 1990s and early 2000s with these favorite pop songs that never seem to grow old.

ocean avenue yellowcard

Our Must-Have Throw-back Summer Playlist Songs:

  • Steal My Sunshine by Len: This upbeat indie pop song from the Canadian one-hit wonder Len reminds you to hold on to your sunshine no matter what happens and keep your spirits up all summer long with its hip-hop beat. This song earned Len a nomination for “Best Single” at the Juno Awards of 2000 and continues to make people smile today.
  • Ocean Avenue by Yellowcard: Yellowcard’s pop-punk song from 2003 will make you nostalgic for the summer romances of your teens in the best way. Its fast beat and repeating melody are characteristic of early 2000s music and makes it a perfect song to sing along to. For a more mellow vibe, check out the acoustic version of Ocean Avenue.
  • What’s My Age Again? by Blink-182: Summer is all about finding your inner child, and this 1999 hit by Blink-182 will inspire you to do just that by letting loose on your vacation. This fun song by the popular punk rock band is the perfect vibe for a carefree afternoon on the beach. If you enjoy the late-90s feel of “What’s My Age Again?,” you may want to throw “All the Small Things,” another Blink-182 favorite, on your playlist too.
  • Fly by Sugar Ray: This chill pop-rock song features a bouncy beat and reggae fusion, for a perfect summer mood. “Fly” became Sugar Ray’s biggest hit when it was released in 1997 and held the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart for six weeks in a row. If you want more of their throwback sound, check out “Every Morning,” another hit from their best-selling album “14:59.”

Take It Down South

Nothing screams summer like bare feet and driving with the windows down. Country music provides a relaxed vibe and appreciation of the slow-living of the South that is perfect for a summer day. These country favorites are just a few of the greatest country beach songs.

kenny chesney summertime

Our Must-Have County Beach Playlist Songs:

  • Summertime by Kenny Chesney: This aptly titled song is all about the best things that summer has to offer, including good songs on the radio, bare feet and just relaxing.
  • Knee Deep by the Zac Brown Band, featuring Jimmy Buffett: This 2011 hit single from the Georgia-based country band the Zac Brown Band oozes summer vibes with its images of relaxing in the water with no cares in the world.
  • Cruise by Florida Georgia Line: This 2012 debut single from country duo Florida Georgia Line is perfect for a bike ride on the boardwalk with the wind in your hair or a cruise around the city with the windows down. Its upbeat country-pop rhythm and rock and hip-hop influences will get you pumped up and feeling good.
  • Barefoot Blue Jean Night by Jake Owen: Barefoot Blue Jean Night talks about relaxing on a warm summer night and living young and free. This feel-good song was a popular single from Jake Owen’s 2011 album of the same name.
  • Summer Nights by Rascal Flatts: This light-hearted and fun song will make you want to get up and dance as it talks about flip-flop tans and white sands.
  • Take A Back Road by Rodney Atkins: Rodney Atkins’s 2011 single about wanting to escape the traffic and busyness of everyday life will make you enjoy your relaxing vacation even more.
  • Kiss A Girl by Keith Urban: This 2009 single from the Australian singer-songwriter Keith Urban is reminiscent of young love and starting a new relationship. This fun and perky song is perfect for keeping the energy up for a long day under the sun.

Pump Up The Energy

Summer vacation is made for celebrating, so get the party going with these pump-up songs. These pop songs are perfect for volleyball on the beach or splashing in the pool.

beach pop songs

Our Must-Have Pop Beach Playlist Songs:

  • Dive by Coast Modern: This light and upbeat 2017 single from the California indie pop duo Coast Modern will have you swaying along to the tropical beats and sounds of rushing water in the background. Even if you’ve never heard “Dive” before, the catchy chorus will have you singing along in no time as you dive into the ocean.
  • Kids by MGMT: Complete with kids squealing at the beginning of the song, this classic by MGMT features their signature techno beats that will get your body moving. While you are jamming out, listen to “Electric Feel,” another hit from their 2007 album “Oracular Spectacular,” to keep the party going.
  • Electric Love by BORNS: This pure energy song from the album “Dopamine” was BORNS’s debut single. Its high-pitched chorus and powerful melody made it an anthem of summer 2015, but it is still a classic today that is certain to have you wailing along.
  • Classic by MKTO: This radio hit from June 2013 was the second single from the duo’s self-titled debut album. The cute and catchy tune takes a fun look at love that will have you daydreaming about a classic summer fling.
  • Feels by Calvin Harris: This soft pop song had listeners bouncing along last summer, and it will keep us rocking this summer with its funky guitar lines and upbeat tune. Calvin Harris’s fourth single from his 2017 album “Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1” reminds us to catch some summer feels.

Sing and Dance a Little

Cool beach nights with your toes in the sand is the perfect place for an impromptu dance party. Keep the party rolling with these classic songs that everyone will want to sing and dance to.

sweet home alabama lynyrd skynyrd

Our Must-Have Summer Sing-A-Long Playlist Songs:

  • Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond: This 1969 classic single is reminiscent of football game bandstands and is the perfect sing-along song that everyone knows the words to. Its slow crescendo will have everyone belting the lyrics, reaching out their hands and enjoying the good times.
  • Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd: This twangy 1974 hit single is a classic southern rock song that never grows old. Even if you’ve never been to Alabama, you can still sing along to its classic chorus and memorable lyrics.

cyndi lauper girls just want to have fun

Our Must-Have Beach Dance Party Songs:

  • I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas: This 2009 single from the hip-hop group The Black Eyed Peas will get the good vibes going with its uplifting lyrics and catchy beat as it sings about excitement for the night.
  • Shut Up And Dance by WALK THE MOON: Jam out to WALK THE MOON’s most popular single from their second album titled “Talking is Hard.” Instead of talking, just get up and dance to this upbeat song about letting go and having a good time.
  • Let’s Dance by David Bowie: This title track from David Bowie’s 1983 album was one of his best-selling songs. Its funk-rock beats and creative lyrics invite you to come dance along.
  • P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing) by Michael Jackson: P.Y.T. was the sixth single from Michael Jackson’s album “Thriller” and has been making us dance since 1982.
  • Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper: This famous 1983 single from Cyndi Lauper will get girls young and old up and dancing and singing to its dance-pop beats and empowering lyrics. Even decades later this remains one of Lauper’s signature songs that everyone can enjoy.

Chill by the Water

For those lazy mornings on the beach, slow it down with a few songs that are perfect for a stroll along the shore or tanning by the water. These good vibes songs will make you feel great and appreciate the slow summer days.

jack johnson to the sea

Our Must-Have Relaxing Beach Playlist Songs:

  • Easy by the Commodores: This 1977 ballad written and performed by Lionel Richie will remind you to lay back and take it easy no matter what happens. The song reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 when it was released.
  • Lovely Day by Bill Withers: This feel-good 1977 song from American R&B and soul singer Bill Withers will make you feel like everything is all right as you enjoy your lovely day.
  • (Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding: With sounds of waves crashing and seagulls calling, you will feel right at home dangling your feet over the edge of a pier and doing nothing at all. This 1967 soul and R&B song from Otis Redding is known for its whistling interlude that characterizes its laid-back feel.
  • Island in the Sun by Weezer: This 2001 classic from Weezer’s “Weezer (Green Album)” will make you want to do nothing other than hang out in the sun. This song features mellow California vibes of the rock band from Los Angeles.
  • To the Sea by Jack Johnson: The soft acoustic rock style of Jack Johnson is perfect for a hot summer afternoon. As a former professional surfer, Jack Johnson’s vibes are just right for a day by the sea.

Your New Favorite Summer Songs

Add some variety to your playlist by listening to something new. These songs from emerging or little-known artists will add an indie flair to your beach vacation playlist and may just become some of your new favorite songs.

drift benji lewis

Our Must-Have Unique Summer Playlist Songs:

  • Twenty-Somethings by Judah and the Lion: This feel-good song from Judah and the Lion’s 2014 debut album will become any twenty-something’s summer anthem, as it sings about youth and finding your way in the world. This up-and-coming band has continued to expand their sound, which blends folk, rock-and-roll, hip-hop and pop for a unique and uplifting sound. If you like their style, check out “Take It All Back 2.0” and “Suit and Jacket” from their 2017 album “Folk Hop N’ Roll.”
  • Floating Vibes by Surfer Blood: The indie rock band from Florida combines surf rock vibes with 90s alternative rock jams, for an enjoyable and unique sound in “Floating Vibes.” Released in 2010 on their “Astro Coast” album, the song earned Surfer Blood the number 42 spot on Rolling Stone’s best songs of 2010 list. The album maintains a summery vibe throughout that may inspire you to add the whole thing to your ultimate beach playlist.
  • Cheap Sunglasses by RAC, with Matthew Koma: This 2014 single off RAC’s album “Strangers” features Matthew Koma in a bubbly and catchy song. The electronic vibes perfect for dancing and singing along. RAC is a Portuguese DJ and producer who has remixed many popular artists, including Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Bob Marley and Death Cab for Cutie, as well as producing original work.
  • What I Love by Punctual: This British duo of DJs Will Lansley and John Morgan joined the scene in 2016 with their debut singles “Eva” and “Fix.” “What I Love” is a popular single from their newest EP “Fading Youth,” released in 2017. Its laid-back but energizing beats are perfect for a beach day.
  • Summer Lover by Harbor & Home: Harbor & Home is an alternative band from Minneapolis whose style is based in rock-and-roll with a blend of modern roots Americana style. “Summer Lover” from their 2014 debut album “Dark Days” has a softer jam with bright vocals about love and longing that will make you want to sway and dip your toes in the water.
  • Water on the Moon by Aer: The relaxing vibes and floating beats of “Water on the Moon” are perfect for a chill day on the beach. This title song of the band’s 2010 mixtape keeps it interesting with a strong clanking beat and creative lyrics.
  • Drift by Benji Lewis: The 2017 single “Drift” from the electronic pop artist Benji Lewis is a light and refreshing soft pop song perfect for a stroll by the water. Its soft beats and pleasant melody will encourage you to hop in the ocean and just float.

Summertime Classics

No beach playlist would be complete without some summertime classics written about the season. These are some of the greatest beach music that reminds us why we love summer.

beach boys surfin usa

Our Must-Have Songs for the Season:

  • Surfin’ U.S.A. by The Beach Boys: This single from the California heart-throbs The Beach Boys was a hit in 1963 and will still get you snapping along to its beach-y sound, signature harmonies and southern California surf style. For another classic by the Beach Boys to add to your summer playlist, check out “Good Vibrations.”
  • Wipe Out by The Surfaris: This 12-bar blues instrumental is sure to have you dancing along and make you anxious to hit the waves. “Wipe out” refers to falling from a surfboard, but the upbeat riffs of this classic by California surf band The Surfaris will make you feel like you’re riding waves all afternoon. “Wipe Out” starts with the sound of a breaking surfboard, laughter and the spoken words “Wipe out” before diving into a catchy bass line and drum rhythm that carries throughout the fast-paced song.
  • Summer Nights by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John: This popular song from the musical “Grease” was released as a single in 1978, the same year as the on-screen adaptation of the musical. “Summer Nights” was a hit in the U.S. and U.K., and tells of a summer fling at the beach. Its catchy tune will have people of all ages singing along.
  • Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles: This popular cheerful song from the Beatles’s 1969 album “Abbey Road” is one of George Harrison’s best-known compositions. Welcome the warm weather of summer and feel all right with this mellow pop-rock song.
  • Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves: This mid-80s feel-good song will have you dancing in the sand and feeling alive. Nothing will be able to bring you down from the sun-shiny feeling of a day spent by the ocean.

Listen to the Complete Playlist:

Visit Ocean City, New Jersey

Looking for the best vacation spot to sit back and relax to your summer beach playlist? With eight miles of beautiful beaches and two and a half miles of boardwalk, Ocean City, N.J., is the perfect summer beach resort for you and your family. Ocean City’s quiet beaches are made for sunbathing and watching the tide roll in. Collect shells, build sand castles and catch waves on the sprawling Jersey Shore.

If you’re looking for adventure, head to the Ocean City boardwalk where you can find two amusement parks, a water park, miniature golf and go-carts. Rent a bike to take a ride along the water or stop for a bite at one of the boardwalk’s delicious dining options. Ocean City provides endless fun for the whole family at such an affordable price that you will never want to leave. Visit Ocean City, N.J. for a summer vacation you won’t forget.

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