30 Of The Best Songs About Florida: Sunshine State Playlist

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Written by Laura Macmillan
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Florida is one of the most well-known vacation destinations in the world. With more than 120 million annual tourists, it’s not difficult to see why.

In addition, Florida is constantly romanticized as a beachfront paradise. Unsurprisingly, the Sunshine State has been the subject of countless songs throughout the years.

We’re here to count off 30 of the best songs about Florida. You’ll find some classics, some lesser-known hits, and everything in between. Let’s begin!

Related: See our list of the best American songs here.

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 far away as he can. He 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. The song states that either the alligators or mosquitos will kill him long before the authorities can.

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

The allure of Florida and everything it offers is irresistible. Just check out Corey Smith‘s “If I Could Do It Again” to know what we mean.

This song tells the story of a college trip to the Panhandle of Florida (Panama City, to be exact). The narrator and his best friends have made plans to celebrate their senior year at this beautiful beach destination.

The trip includes experiences that he’ll never forget. Evading cops to hide booze, getting a sunburn on his new tattoo, and cheating on his girlfriend. These are just some of the highlights of the trip. At the end of it all, he would do every second of the trip again.

3. “Ocean Avenue” By Yellowcard

Arguably the most famous song by emo/pop-punk legend Yellowcard is “Ocean Avenue.” The title refers to a street near Jacksonville, where the band members originated.

The song references several places in Florida such as Ocean Avenue and Cherry Street. The latter was not far from where the members went to high school. In the song, these places are central to where the narrator and his beloved spent time together in the past.

What makes Ocean Avenue special is the memories. It reminds him of the girl who stole his heart. He wishes she were with him at the moment.

4. “Florida Man” By Blue Öyster Cult

If you’ve seen the news, you’ve seen tales 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 Öyster Cult adopted this fully for the sinister track “Florida Man.”

This song bearing “Florida” in the title focuses less on the locale and more on Florida Man. It aims to make this character 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

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

Like another geographical track by Owl City, “Hello Seattle,” this strange song is difficult to follow lyrically. Toward 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 title fool you! The song “Rhode Island” mentions Florida as one of the destinations. The rock band The Front Bottoms released this track in 2011.

Lyrically, the song begins with a tale of a guy going on a bike trip to Florida. The narrator presumes it’s going to take the guy a long time because Florida is far away from where they are at the moment. Then the lyrics cut to talk about the narrator admiring a girl.

The first part of the song is based on an experience the band had while on tour. They met this person who asked for directions to Florida. Two months later, they met the same guy on their New York show.

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.

The narrator states that she doesn’t care about her name and to throw her on a train if you catch her dying in Florida. Naming Daytona and Orlando in particular, she has no desire to spend the rest of her life there.

Instead, she wants to return to the Indian summer where she came from. She declares that she’d rather go to where the icy cold and hills greet her. She plans to leave Florida without a trace.

8. “Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season” By Jimmy Buffet

Florida elicits images of sunny beaches and sweltering heat. But come August, the worse hurricane days occur. Jimmy Buffett captures the essence of living in hurricane-prone areas like Florida in “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season.”

The song reflects the lifestyle and mindset of people living in Florida. The lines “Squalls out on the gulf stream / big storm coming soon” depict the anticipation and preparation for the inevitable storms.

In addition, the song captures the laid-back Floridian attitude toward these storms. The lyrics suggest that the narrator has slept late into the day. He seems unbothered by the impending storm.

9. “The State Of Florida” By Less Than Jake

The ska punk band Less Than Jake released their album GNV FLA in 2008. One of the most notable tracks is “The State of Florida.”

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

The city skyline has changed since then, and the boom in the real estate of South Florida is to blame. Overall, Florida’s all garbage and concrete for the band now.

10. “Celebration, Florida” By Chumbawamba

Up next, we have “Celebration, Florida” by the British anarchist punk band Chumbawamba. Released in 2000, the song is about this particular city that’s near the Walt Disney World Resort. 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. Rascal Flatts had just the same thing in mind when they went down to Daytona, as told in “Summer Nights.”

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 to the celebration.

The music video holds a party atmosphere as well. The band members 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, island-y instrumental, Sylvia sings about the many sights to see in Florida.

Quite simply, this song is an ode to everything that’s Florida. The lyrics suggest that if you visit this place, you will be welcomed. You will enjoy soaking up the sun and watching as the sun sets “over Tampa Bay.”

The song paints a lovely vacation landscape for you to relax on the beach. In Florida, the song says, “It’s like a Caribbean holiday, every day…”

13. “Florida” By Modest Mouse

The rock band Modest Mouse doesn’t seem to have the brightest vision of the Sunshine State in “Florida.” Here, they talk about how there’s no such thing as far enough from Florida.

When we hear Florida, we think of vacation vibes and sunny beaches. But in this song, the narrator longs to escape as far away from Florida as possible. It seems as though he harbors distaste for this place. He longs to get away in hopes of changing the state of his life.

But at the end of the day, getting “far enough wasn’t far enough.” And perhaps Florida is not the problem. After all, he “couldn’t quite seem to escape [himself].”

14. “Florida Blues” By Ricky Skaggs

With Ricky Skaggs’s “Florida Blues,” we have the first and only instrumental track on this list! Despite the title, it’s not as sad as you’d expect it to be, what with upbeat banjos and slide guitars.

The song invokes the feeling of a day on the beach as you walk 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.

If there’s one thing we can say about this instrumental, is that it’s full of emotion and energy. And Florida and everything it offers perfectly matches that.

15. “Florida Time” By Bob Seger

What list of songs about the Sunshine State would be complete without a song like this? Bob Seger’s “Florida Time” focuses on vacation in Florida. It depicts how everything will be better once they reach the Sunshine State.

The narrator talks about what he and his friends are going to do once they reach Florida. They’re looking forward to enjoying this vacation. While others hit Daytona and Lauderdale, the narrator plans to “find a good girl and just treat her right.”

At its core, the song is about having a good time in Florida. It’s the perfect soundtrack when you feel like hitting the beach, in Florida or elsewhere.

16. “Move To Miami” By Enrique Iglesias Ft. Pitbull

The 2018 song “Move to Miami” is about more than just moving down to the party-centric paradise. Enrique Iglesias is joined by Pitbull in this heartsick song about being smitten with a party-goer.

The song focuses less on Florida and more on a woman that the narrator has met. She is enchanting enough to make him want to move down to Miami. Everything about her got him hooked.

With a body “built like a Bugatti,” he questions how much of his life he’s willing to change just to be around this woman longer.

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

Certain places are memorable for us due to our connection to that place. In “Talk Me Out of Tampa,” Joe Nichols is pulled in two directions. A part of him wants to go to Tampa. The other begs someone to talk him out of it.

The narrator is on the verge of booking a flight to this Florida city. The song captures the allure and charm of Tampa, which can make it hard for people to leave. In his case, he doesn’t want to be there. He cites various reasons, including hurricanes and the sweltering heat.

As the song progresses, we find out the real reason why he has second thoughts about going to Tampa. He’s afraid of what it could do to his lovesick heart to be in his ex-girlfriend’s city.

18. “Miami 2017” By Billy Joel

Singer-songwriter Billy Joel needs no introduction. But his song, “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” is a bit more complicated than most think. The song only mentions “Florida” in the lyrics once, but let’s see what it is about.

Considered a science fiction song, Joel was inspired to write this track when New York was on the verge of bankruptcy. In the song, a potential economic collapse weighed heavily on the minds of New York citizens.

Many of these New Yorkers retire to Miami. The narrator in the song is telling his grandchildren in the year 2017 about these events, hence the title “Miami 2017.”

19. “Florida Kilos” By Lana Del Rey

Florida is known for sunshine, beaches, retirement, theme parks, and more. In “Florida Kilos,” Lana Del Rey is saying that cocaine is something that should be on the list as well.

The writing of this song was inspired by the documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Del Rey penned “Florida Kilos,” which focused on drug traffickers in Miami. There are plenty of metaphors for this illegal substance in the lyrics.

Though it has a different vibe from the rest of her album, “Florida Kilos” remains a fan favorite of Del Rey’s. At its core, it’s a captivating song that delves into themes of wealth and the darker side of the American dream.

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 for your hometown. A Day to Remember brings this front and center from the first line of “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” and forward.

The lyrics not only focus on the narrator wanting to leave his hometown but on despising it as well. Focusing on Lauderdale, he proclaims how washed up the town is and that being stuck there is the worst luck possible.

The motivation behind these emotions is the fact that he doesn’t feel like he belongs there. He laments that no one cares and understands him. It makes leaving his hometown all the more alluring.

21. “Tallahassee Lassie” By Freddy Cannon

With our next song on the list, we’re heading back to the fifties with Freddy Cannon’s “Tallahassee Lassie.” As you know, Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida.

As far as this track goes, it’s also the hometown of a woman the narrator is smitten with. Singing about his Tallahassee Lassie, he 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.

In many ways, this song is a celebration of this woman. Her presence in Florida is enough to make the Sunshine State just a little brighter.

22. “Jacksonville” By Josh Turner

For some people, a place becomes special because that’s where they’ve met the love of their lives. In “Jacksonville,” Josh Turner is singing about meeting a woman in this Florida city.

Though the city is the song’s name and setting, the true subject is the person he’s fallen in love with. The narrator relates how he really “didn’t plan on hangin’ out in Florida.” That’s because he rarely stays in one place long enough.

But all that changes when he meets this woman, and Jacksonville suddenly looks inviting. Just the sight of her is enough to get him excited to spend a few more days in Jacksonville.

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

One of the most popular pop-punk bands of the last decade and a half is The Wonder Years. Their Sister Cities album drives that home. One of the songs that stands out is “Heaven’s Gate (Sad & Sober).”

The track uses Florida as a setting to express desolation and longing. The narrator experiences the choking Florida heat, suggesting an intense and overwhelming situation. He talks about whittling away another day in Florida while dealing with grief over a lost friend.

In essence, Florida is the perfect metaphor for a suffocating emotional state. And the line “Sad and sober Sunday afternoon” reflects the narrator’s regret, loss, and melancholy.

24. “Welcome To Miami” By Pitbull

Back down in Miami, Pitbull has plenty to celebrate. He is one of the most popular artists in the Party Paradise, and his many anthems to the city help keep that reputation going. One of them is “Welcome to Miami.”

This track is a complete celebration and introduction to the city. The lyrics focus on the many landmarks and activities in the city, calling it a melting pot of “culture and different races.” The song also mentions the dome where the Miami Heat plays.

In essence, “Welcome to Miami” has all the things you need to know when visiting this city. Whether you’re looking into discovering what the place offers or partying all night long, Miami is for you.

25. “FloriDada” By Animal Collective

Perhaps the trippiest song on the list is “FloriDada” by Animal Collective. While the track itself is uplifting and happy, the lyrics bring the Sunshine State to bear more than anything.

The song uses Florida as a metaphor to express a specific state of mind. The band refers to this as “FloriDada,” or “The Everywhere Place.” It suggests a sense of inclusivity.

The lyrics present this state as a concept and not just a physical location. They depict Florida as a symbol of weirdness and uniqueness, perhaps influenced by the numerous “Florida Man” stories circulating on the internet.

26. “Mainline Florida” By Eric Clapton

Singer-songwriter Eric Clapton pays homage to the Sunshine State in “Mainline Florida.” Released in 1974, the song captures his affection for this place.

“Main Florida” reflects the singer’s connection to the state. The lines “My heart was leaping in the sun / My friends all say that you’re the one” suggest a sense of joy associated with his time there.

In addition, the line “There ain’t enough going on down here” expresses his desire for more experiences in Florida. This shows that the place had a significant impact on him, which left him wanting more.

27. “Goin’ Back To Daytona” By Floyd Miles

Up next is an upbeat jazz number by Floyd Miles, bringing him back to the home of NASCAR. In “Goin’ Back To Daytona,” he calls this place a dream.

Daytona is one of the most visited locations in the state, and Miles pays homage to this wonderful city. He had played in several clubs in the area a long time ago.

By going back to Daytona, he is revisiting the place where his dreams began. He also sings about going to the boardwalk and the pier.

28. “Backflip” By The Front Bottoms

Moving on, we have another song by The Front Bottoms, “Backflip.” Released in 2013, this song finds the duo highlighting another escape to Florida.

In this track, the narrator is skipping town to escape a life in the north. The lyrics reflect his introspection, personal growth, and the desire for freedom. As the song progresses, he decides he’ll move to Florida. 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.

29. “Florida Blues” By Cruel Youth

Released in 2016, “Florida Blues” by Cruel Youth is about a challenging lifestyle in Florida. The struggles and realities of life it refers to could be based on the band’s experiences.

In relation to Florida, the song portrays the kind of duality that mirrors the state. The chorus, for instance, reflects the sunny side of Florida. But the rest of the song contrasts this as it delves into darker themes. It seems to suggest a more complex reality beneath the surface.

As such, the song is a commentary on the juxtaposition between Florida’s idyllic image and the harsher realities. Florida serves as a backdrop to explore themes of struggle and the human condition.

30. “Deep Down In Florida” By Muddy Waters

Last but not least is the blues song “Deep Down in Florida” by Muddy Waters. The lyrics express the narrator’s fondness for the state of Florida.

The lyrics find him longing for Florida, “where the sun shines damn near every day.” He talks about its warm, sunny climate, which contrasts with Waters’ native Mississippi, known for its colder weather.

The line “Yeah, I’ll be going down in Florida” conveys his desire for an escape or a return to a beloved place. From the rest of the lyrics, we can tell he considers Florida his home.

Summing Up Our List Of Florida Songs

Though we’ve found 30 lovely tracks, there are many more 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.

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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.