28 Of The Best Songs About Florida: Sunshine State Playlist

Florida is one of the most well-known vacation destinations in the world, with more than 120 million annual tourists. Constantly romanticized as a beachfront paradise, the Sunshine State has been the subject of countless songs and art pieces.

We’re here to count off 28 of the best songs about Florida. You’ll find some classics, some lesser-known hits, and some songs shouted out on the sandy shores of the state itself.

1. “The Everglades” by Waylon Jennings

From its first line, “The Everglades” song oozes Floridian identity. Waylon Jennings sings about a nice young man born and raised around Jacksonville, a city in the north of Florida.

The song follows this young man’s flight from Jacksonville after a murder. A jealous fight turning deadly leads this character to run as south as he can.

Our protagonist goes all the way to the Everglades, a large, dangerous national park in the south of Florida.

Here, the murderer hides amongst the weeds and swamps, with Waylon stating that either the alligators or mosquitos will kill him long before the authorities can.

2. “If I Could Do It Again” by Corey Smith

Corey Smith is big in the country world, but this vacation anthem is sung no matter what genre you prefer.

Telling the story of a college trip to the Panhandle of Florida (Panama City, to be exact), Smith distills Floridian joy into a brief track.

Smith tells the story of getting a sunburn on his new tattoo, cheating on his girlfriend with a beautiful beachgoer, and running out of money.

Having to call his dad for a wire and working months to repay him, evading the cops to hide contraband, and breaking his lover’s heart all were highlights of the trip for Smith.

At the end of it all, Corey Smith would do every second of the trip again.

3. “Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard

“Ocean Avenue” is arguably the most famous song by emo/pop-punk legends Yellowcard.

The song’s namesake is a street near Jacksonville, where the band members originate from. Interestingly enough, the name was changed for artistic value, with the original streets referenced being both Ocean Boulevard and Beach Boulevard.

Another street mentioned in the song is Cherry Street, which exists and isn’t far from where the members went to high school.

There’s another street far south in the beach city of Melbourne called Ocean Avenue, though it’s unknown if this has any relation to the song or band.

4. “Florida Man” by Blue Oyster Cult

If you’ve seen the news, you’ve seen tell of Florida Man. The meme has run for years now, focusing mostly on the insane and downright outrageous news stories that come out of Florida. Blue Oyster Cult adopted this fully for this sinister track.

Focusing less on Florida as a locale and more on Florida Man themself, this track aims to make the Florida Man more like something of a myth or legend.

Fun fact: there are so many reports on “Florida Man” because of how public records laws work in the Sunshine State. These records are made available to the press, who then report on Florida Man in turn.

5. “Swimming in Miami” by Owl City

Owl City has a dreamy, atmospheric poppy discography, and “Swimming in Miami” fits in with such a collection. Coming from the artist’s 2007 “Of June” EP, this surreal track focuses on a variety of people and places throughout the world.

Similar to another geographical track by Owl City, “Hello Seattle,” this strange song is difficult to follow lyrically.

Towards the end, the song invokes the beaches of Miami and swimming through the water at night.

It’s a romantic and surreal track that keeps you floating above the ground in the soundscapes Owl City brings.

6. “Rhode Island” by The Front Bottoms

Don’t let the name fool you! “Rhode Island” mentions a fan of the band that lyricist Brian Sella mentioned in the earlier days of their time as a musical group.

Discussing a fan affectionately called Zombie Boy, the song travels from Rhode Island and southward, discussing a fan affectionately called Zombie Boy.

The fan in question told the band that they intended to bike from Rhode Island to Florida with nothing but a backpack full of drugs.

The band questions how that bike trip was going and whether the government knows he’s hiding from them. They expect it’ll be a few more months before they find out, given the distance between the states.

Ultimately, they would find the fan again months later in New York, where Zombie Boy stated that he got to South Carolina and had to turn back.

7. “Don’t Let Me Die in Florida” by Patty Griffin

Plenty of people are coming to Florida to stay, but Patty Griffin certainly isn’t. In the song “Don’t Let Me Die in Florida,” Griffin states just what you would expect.

Griffin declares that they don’t care about their name and to throw them on a train if you see them dying in Florida. Naming Daytona and Orlando in particular, Griffin has no desire to spend the rest of their life there.

Instead, they want to return to the Indian summer they came from. Griffin declares that they’d rather go to where the icy cold and hills greet them, stating they’ll leave Florida without a trace.

8. “Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season” by Jimmy Buffet

There aren’t many musicians that capture that beachy vacation feeling better than Jimmy Buffet. With this track, we see Buffet pondering an incoming storm during Hurricane Season in Florida towards the end of Summer.

Discussing A1A, a road that runs across Florida’s eastern coastline, Buffet talks about needing a bloody mary to deal with having to move to avoid the hurricane.

Seeing the white caps of growing waves, winds at fifty knots, and more, Buffet decides to get on a plane to flee.

9. “The State of Florida” by Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake is a Florida band, but few records sell that more than GNV FLA. The name itself translates to “Gainesville, Florida,” home of the Gators and hometown of Less Than Jake.

The track itself focuses on several different problems in Floridian life. The band discusses drowning in the quicksand as Florida slowly sinks into the ocean.

The city skyline (though it’s unclear if they mean Gainesville or another location) has changed since the band formed, and the boom in the real estate of South Florida’s to blame. Overall, Florida’s all garbage and concrete for the band now.

10. “Celebration, Florida” by Chumbawamba

The topic of this track is clear from the moment you read the title. Celebration, Florida is a city in the state nearby Disney. It’s so popular that the original first citizens of the area were picked by lottery, as everyone wanted to live close to Disney.

That said, the track is rather critical of Celebration. Chumbawumba points at social engineering, bake sales, innocence, and overly-protective residents.

All the way, war, and poverty continue, but you’ll never see such things so close to the Happiest Place on Earth.

11. “Summer Nights” by Rascal Flatts

Country music has more than a few celebrations in Florida. We’ve discussed Corey Smith’s vacation up above, and Rascal Flatts had just the same thing in mind when they went down to Daytona.

With a somewhat-womanizing gaze at women in small bikinis and a focus on flip-flop tans, Rascal Flatts paints the idea of a beachfront summer.

As the band rocks out to the thoughts of Igloo coolers, Coronas, and bonfires, it’s almost impossible not to dance along to the celebration.

The music video holds a party atmosphere as well. Flatts and his team discuss sending their film crew down to the beach and letting fans film themselves rocking out to the song with their friends.

It’s one big party on the Florida beaches with fans and friends alike!

12. “The Florida Song” by Ricky Sylvia

If a vacation in Florida had a soundtrack, it’d undoubtedly be Ricky Sylvia’s “The Florida Song.” Through a dreamy, islandy instrumental, Sylvia sings about the many sights to see in Florida.

From Shaquille O’Neil to the Dolphins, sunset over Tampa, and more.

Sylvia paints a lovely vacation landscape for you to relax on the beach as the sun sets over the ocean.

13. “Florida” by Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse doesn’t seem to have the brightest vision of Florida in their album “We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.” With “Florida,” Modest Mouse talks about how there’s no such thing as far enough from Florida.

Lamenting a life on cruise control and drowsing off, Florida proves as a symbol of a life of complacent luxury.

Modest Mouse’s desire to escape this life leads them as far away from the Sunshine State as possible.

14. “Florida Blues” by Ricky Skaggs

With Ricky Skaggs’s “Florida Blues,” we have the first and only instrumental track on this list! “Florida Blues” isn’t as sad as you’d expect with such a name, coming with upbeat banjos and slide guitars instead.

The song invokes the feeling of a day on the beach, walking down the sandy shores. With such almost-comedic energy, it’s hard not to be in love with the thought of a day with your toes in the sand.

15. “The Perfect Florida Song” by Bob Seger

What list of songs about Florida would be complete without a song like this? Bob Seger’s track focuses on vacation in Florida and how much better everything will be once they cross out of Georgia and into the Sunshine State.

Name-dropping several locations, Bob Seger sings about finding a good girl to spend your vacation with and holding tight.

Hitting Daytona and Lauderdale, the band decides to turn away from Nassau with their wallets running empty. As the song ends, the band chants “Florida Time” over and over.

16. “Move to Miami” by Enrique Iglesias

“Move to Miami” is about more than just moving down to the party-centric paradise. Iglesias is joined by Pitbull in this heartsick song about being smitten with a party-goer.

The song focuses on a woman beautiful enough to make the narrator want to move down to Miami.

With a body built like a Bugatti, the singers applaud the gorgeous dancer and question how much of their life they’re willing to change just to be around this woman longer.

17. “Talk Me Out Of Tampa” by Joe Nichols

In this lovesick track, Joe Nichols has his reasons to avoid Tampa, but countless more to go there. Nichols talks about the cheap ticket to fly and the beautiful scenery of the city, but despite that, he doesn’t want to go. 

Nichols asks about the likelihood of a hurricane hitting and stranding him there. Past that, he’s in love with the thought of Busch Gardens or the Bayside Motel, but all the memories are tainted.

Instead of being excited about the trip, he’s in fear of what it could do to his lovesick heart to be in his ex-girlfriend’s town.

So instead of stepping away from the desk, he’s begging the clerk not to let him buy the ticket. Repeatedly pleading for them to find some way not to let him buy the ticket, he asks about New Orleans or Chicago, hoping for some form of salvation to take the decision out of his hands. By the end of the song, it’s impossible to tell where he’s flying.

18. “Miami 2017” by Billy Joel

Billy Joel needs no introduction, but this track is a bit more complicated than most think. Written in 1976, four decades before the song takes place, Billy Joel is singing what would become one of the many anthems of New York.

Joel wrote this track during a time when New York was in upheaval over racial tensions. Additionally, a potential economic collapse weighed heavily on the minds of New York citizens. “Miami 2017” describes the hypothetical aftermath of the destruction of New York.

After this fictional destruction, many of the inhabitants of the city choose to move to Miami instead.

There, they sing about their time seeing the lights of Broadway and the Empire State as if reminiscing on a fallen empire. Interestingly, this song saw a surge in popularity after the September 11th attacks.

19. “Florida Kilos” by Lana Del Rey

Florida is known for sunshine, beaches, retirement, theme parks, and more. According to Lana Del Rey, cocaine is something that should be on the list as well.

Inspired by the documentary “Cocaine Cowboys,” Lana Del Rey wrote this song focused on drug traffickers in Miami. Singing about white lines, powder, and snow, there’re plenty of metaphors for cocaine throughout the song.

Though it had a different vibe from the rest of the record, “Florida Kilos” remains a fan favorite of Lana Del Rey’s.

20. “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” by A Day to Remember

If there’s one thing common in emo and alt-rock music, it’s the hatred toward your hometown. A Day To Remember brought this front and center from the first line of “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” and forward.

The band focuses not just on trying to leave your hometown but on despising it. Focusing on Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the band proclaims how washed up the town is and that being stuck there was the worst luck possible.

Demanding that no one tries to tie them down, A Day to Remember does everything possible to get out of their hometown quickly.

21. “Tallahassee Lassie” by Freddy Cannon

With the 21st song on our list, we’re heading back to the fifties with Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie.” Tallahassee is the capital of Florida, located north at the beginning of the Panhandle.

As far as this track goes, it’s also the hometown of a woman Freddy Cannon is smitten with. Singing about his Tallahassee Lassie, Cannon brings all of her best features to light. Able to dance the Bop, Stroll, Walk, Bunny Hop, Shag, and more, she’s a real fifties party animal.

Her presence in Florida is enough to make the Sunshine State just a little brighter.

22. “Jacksonville” by Josh Turner

Josh Turner is the next in line to fall in love in Florida with his track “Jacksonville.” Though the city is the song’s name and setting, the true subject is the person he’s fallen in love with.

Stating that he never expected to spend so long in the state, Jacksonville suddenly looks inviting. Just the sight of his lover’s eyes is enough to get him excited to spend a few more days in Jacksonville.

23. “Heaven’s Gate (Sad & Sober)” by The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years are one of the most popular pop-punk bands of the last decade and a half, and their most recent album drives that home.

Much of the album “Heaven’s Gate” comes from “Sister Cities,” which focuses on the band’s travels around the world.

“Heaven’s Gate” discusses trips to Florida and choking down the heat. Despite the Floridian heat, the song is a cold one, talking about whittling away another day in Florida while struggling with the grief of a lost friend.

24. “Welcome to Miami” by Pitbull

Back down in Miami, Mr. Worldwide himself has plenty to celebrate. Pitbull is one of the most popular artists in the Party Paradise, and his many anthems to the city help keep that reputation going.

“Welcome to Miami” is a complete celebration and introduction to the city. Focusing on the many landmarks and activities in the city, Pitbull highlights the American Airlines Arena, a dome-shaped stadium where the Miami Heat plays.

He also brings in championship rings, party days in the city, and plenty more.

25. “FloriDada” by Animal Collective

With maybe the trippiest song on the list, Animal Collective has us covered with some sunny beats. While the track itself is uplifting, happy, and bright, the lyrics bring the Sunshine State to bear more than anything.

The music video is exceptionally stunning, with flashy animations and a swirl of colors that’ll leave your head spinning.

As the vocalists chant the state’s name, it’s a disorienting trip around the nation to leave you comfortable on the sand of the Floridian coast.

26. “Only the Ocean” by Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson’s “Only the Ocean” isn’t only about the Floridian ocean, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a beach in the state that isn’t playing this tune.

The surfer-musician’s track focuses on the nature of the ocean and its constant back-and-forth, rolling over him on the shore.

27. “Goin’ Back to Daytona” by Floyd Miles

Second to last on our list is an upbeat jazz number by Floyd Miles, bringing him back to the home of NASCAR. In this track, Miles urges his lover not to wait up, as he’s got a long road ahead of him.

Daytona is one of the most visited locations in the state, especially amongst racing enthusiasts. Miles’s trip back to the beachside city is one every Floridian is always keen on taking.

28. “Backflip” by The Front Bottoms

Closing out our list is another song by The Front Bottoms, where the duo highlights another escape to the Sunshine State. In this track, though, it’s the singer skipping town instead of a backpack-toting fan.

In the song, the narrator tries to escape a life in the north, being led in a listless, identityless way. Instead, he decides to move to Florida, where he’ll buy a new truck and tint all the windows so nobody can see him.

It’s a love letter to anonymity as the Sunshine State claims another permanent resident from the colder parts of the nation.

Summing Up Our List Of Songs To Do With Florida

Though we’ve found 28 lovely tracks, there are hundreds of songs that focus on the Sunshine State. From the northernmost reaches of the Panhandle to the shores of Key Largo, there’s plenty to sing about.

Did we leave out your favorite song, or do you have more additions to our list? Let us know about your favorite Floridian track and we’ll be sure to add it.

Photo of author
Written by Laura Macmillan
Laura has over 12 years experience teaching both classical and jazz saxophone and clarinet. She now resides in California where she works as a session and live performer.