31 Of The Best Songs About The Beach Of All Time

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

In the midst of our hectic schedules, we can’t help imagining some fun time on the beach. A time enjoying the waves, sandy shores, hot sun, and cool breeze can do wonders to recharge us.

The beach’s natural beauty and calming vibe are sources of creative inspiration for songwriters. There are many songs of different genres that you can add to your playlist for your beach outing.

Here we have a list of 31 of the best songs about the beach. They can invoke the warm feel of the sand between your toes, the ocean breeze in your hair, and the endless days of summer. Have fun reading!

1. “Surfin’ USA” By The Beach Boys

It’s only fair to begin with the ultimate beachy boy band whose iconic surf rock songs and perfect harmonies charmed a nation. “Surfin’ USA” is one of the dozens of chart-topping hits in The Beach Boys’ repertoire.

It debuted on their 1963 album of the same name. It topped the Billboard chart and landed a spot on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of songs that shaped rock and roll.

The Beach Boys popularized surf rock and carried the theme of surfing waves and endless summers into their lyrics as evidenced by “Surfin USA.” This catchy song is an ode to California and its epic waves, beaches, and lifestyles.

2. “Kokomo” By The Beach Boys

From their name alone, The Beach Boys was all about beaches and fun under the sun; many of their songs were on these topics. Probably the epitome of songs about beaches is their smash hit “Kokomo.”

The song is basically a list of the great islands and beaches of Florida and the Caribbean. From Key Largo to Port au Prince, the Beach Boys invites listeners to get away and delight in cocktails and moonlit nights there.

They mention a place “you want to go” called Kokomo, “off the Florida Keys.” Though Kokomo is the name of several known places, none of them is actually near Florida. Still, you get your pick of other locations they name.

“Kokomo” was released in 1988, and despite scathing reviews, it was The Beach Boys’ last #1 hit—topping the charts of the US and Australia—before their slow decline.

3. “Wipe Out” By Fat Boys Ft. The Beach Boys

No one would think to mix rap and California sound, but the Fat Boys did just that in their song “Wipe Out.” The Beach Boys also did the backing vocals for this song about surfing and enjoying some relaxing time on the beach.

After working for years straight, the singers need a break, and their destination is the beach. Filled with “sand, sun, and lots of fun,” for them, it’s the perfect place for their vacation.

From their 1987 album Crushin’, “Wipe Out” became one of Fat Boys’ hit songs, landing at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100, #10 on the R&B chart, and #2 on the UK Singles.

4. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” By Otis Redding

Sadly, “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” was the last song recorded by famed soul singer Otis Redding. Shortly after, he met his untimely demise in a tragic plane crash in 1967. The song debuted in 1968, becoming the first posthumous single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” is a beautiful, soul-baring song of uncertainty and vulnerability. The lyrics find the singer watching the waves at the beach as he contemplates life, fears, and loneliness.

The beach is about fun in the sun. However, its vast and ever-flowing waters evoke more profound feelings too, as felt in the song.

5. “Beachin'” By Jake Owen

Country singer Jake Owen gives it his all in his summertime song “Beachin'” from his 2014 album Days of Gold. The song became a hit on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, topping both charts.

“Beachin’,” as you can surmise from the title, is simply just that. The singer and his girl are at a margarita bar on Daytona Beach, just chilling on their chairs and sipping on some booze.

Both are enjoying their time together as a reggae band provides mood music in the background. Honestly, the simplicity of the lyrics is what makes it perfect for a day (or night) at the beach.

6. “Rockaway Beach” By The Ramones

Up next is a song with “beach” in the title. “Rockaway Beach” came out from the American punk rock band The Ramones’ third album, Rocket to Russia, in 1977. The song was influenced by The Beach Boys and ended up being a surf rock sound mixed with gritty punk rock vocals.

Ironically, only bassist DeeDee Ramone was a fan of the beach. He wrote the song as an ode to New York’s famous Rockaway Beach, which he frequented growing up.

In the lyrics, the singer invites his listeners to go to Rockaway Beach with him. It isn’t far, and he can even hitch a ride going there.

7. “At The Beach” By The Avett Brothers

Next, we have another song that describes how being at the beach can ease your worries away. “At the Beach” by the Avett Brothers was released in 2004 in their album Mignonette.

The lyrics take you through the beach as the narrator takes a stroll down the shore on a summer afternoon. There, he sees his sister’s new family under a beach umbrella, and later in the evening, fireworks bloom in the night sky.

He thinks of his love, who’s absent from the scene, and knows that if she had been with him, she would be smiling at the rightness of being at the beach as well.

8. “Margaritaville” By Jimmy Buffet

If you’ve been to any beach shack restaurant and bar, you’ve surely heard this utopian song serenading your favorite tropical cocktail. “Margaritaville” debuted as a wildly popular single from the famed pop country singer Jimmy Buffet in 1977.

As the name suggests, “Margaritaville” is an ode to Buffet’s new favorite cocktail at the time. In the song, it is implied the singer is hanging out by the beach, strumming a guitar, and watching people sunbathe.

We can tell he’s been brokenhearted and has been staying at the beach. He nurses his heart with an endless supply of margaritas.

“Margaritaville” is also the name of Buffet’s many businesses, including restaurants, casinos, commodities, and—you guessed it—beach resorts. So the song is quite fitting in this list.

9. “Sea And Sand” By The Who

For many people, the beach is the best escape from life’s challenges. The English rock band The Who thinks so too, if their song “Sea and Sand” is anything to go by.

The song expresses a love for the beach as a calming oasis from the stresses and challenges of life. At this point, the singer has left home, and though “nothing ever goes as planned,” by the beach, it’s where he finds himself.

It’s also clear that the narrator isn’t able to fit in at home or anywhere. However, for him, the beach symbolizes a place where he could be free and be himself.

10. “Somewhere On A Beach” By Dierks Bentley

Be crooned by Dierks Bentley‘s deep voice with “Somewhere on a Beach,” from his album Black. Released in 2016, the song topped three charts: US Country Airplay, US Hot Country Songs, and Canada’s Country.

The lyrics take us through what happens after the narrator’s girlfriend breaks it off with him. He buys a one-way plane ticket and goes he’s off to a beach somewhere.

There, he’s getting sun, having fun, and partying all night, and with a new girl to boot. Meanwhile, his ex keeps asking his friends about him and driving past his house, thinking he’s missing her and perhaps even regretting breaking off with him.

11. “Down On The Beach Tonight” By The Drifters

American R&B and soul group The Drifters released “Down on the Beach Tonight” as a single in 1974 and included it in their album Love Games the year after. The song did not catch on in the US but reached #7 in the UK chart.

In “Down on the Beach Tonight,” the narrator meets a heartbroken woman. She’s been crying because her man is off somewhere with her best friend.

The narrator tells her that her ex is not worth her tears and urges her to meet him at the beach, where they can dance barefoot in the sand from day till night, and he can wipe away those tears.

12. “Knee Deep” By The Zac Brown Band Ft. Jimmy Buffett

Next up, we have another country song, this time by Zac Brown Band. “Knee Deep” is a song about getting back on your feet after a heartbreak.

In the song, the narrator details his sorrow, of how he had something great but he lost it. In his sadness, he imagines he’s on the beach somewhere so the sun and sand can wash his blues away.

Revived by this image, the narrator buys a boat and heads off to his permanent vacation—”a sweet life livin’ by the salty sea,” where he has no worries in the world. In the end, he tells listeners to find a slice of happiness and lose themselves in their own paradise.

13. “All Summer Long” By Kid Rock

Country rockstar Kid Rock released “All Summer Long” on his album Rock n Roll Jesus. The song was an instant hit in Europe and Australia and launched Kid Rock to the forefront of the country genre in the US.

“All Summer Long” is a country ode to the shenanigans of young love in the summertime. The lyrics find the singer reminiscing about the year 1989 in Northern Michigan. As you can expect from lovers, they spend the summer having fun.

This was a time when there was no internet yet. But it doesn’t matter, because the couple enjoys each other’s company. They frolic in the sand bar, hang out by the beach watching the waves, and sing Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

14. “No Shirt No Shoes No Problem” By Kenny Chesney

Our next song, “No Shirt No Shoes No Problem” by Kenny Chesney, also refers to the beach as an escape against the mundaneness of life. It’s easy to imagine a good time somewhere when you’re tired from your routines.

In the lyrics, the singer finds himself burned out from the typical nine-to-five, six-days-a-week job. He can’t remember the last time he had a vacation, and he badly needs one.

He fantasizes about having some much-needed R&R on one of the beaches in Mexico. He would be with his lover, enjoying “the sun and the sand and a drink.” He’s going to enjoy the sun-soaked days without a boss breathing down his neck.

15. “Beyond The Sea” By Bobby Darin

“Beyond the Sea” is a jazzy rendition of a French song released by iconic singer-songwriter turned actor Bobby Darin in 1959. The original song, written in French by Charles Trenet, expresses a love for the ocean.

Darin’s version uses the ocean as a secondary theme with “Beyond the Sea,” which he overshadows with themes of love. He must cross an ocean to reach his lover’s side.

He describes his love, who is an ocean away, and paints an image of her watching from a sandy beach vantage point for his ship to sail in. In his mind, it will be there, on the shore, where he will kiss her as they reunite.

16. “Some Beach” By Blake Shelton

Up next, we have a song with “beach” in the lyrics. “Some Beach” is country star Blake Shelton‘s third #1 single on the Billboard Country chart. Behind the song is a simple story of a man going to his dental appointment and wishing he was on the beach.

This highly relatable song expresses the narrator’s frustration and boredom. He experiences some minor inconveniences on the way to the dentist, first with a man who has “a road rage attitude.” It makes him wish he could be on the beach now.

Shelton uses a southern accent to make “some beach” sound like an expletive. Nevertheless, the title has a double meaning that expresses exasperation at reality and yearning for a different one.

17. “Under The Boardwalk” By The Drifters

For lovers, the beach is one of the go-to places for some quality time. The Drifters‘ “Under the Boardwalk” is a song that follows a secret rendezvous between lovers.

The singer delights in the idea of spending a sweltering day away from the sun. The perfect place? Right below the boardwalk.

It’s just the right place to spread a blanket and spend precious time with his baby. From here, they can still hear the sounds from the nearby carousel. At the same time, it affords them enough privacy from the people above.

18. “Summertime” By Bon Jovi

The single “Summertime” by Bon Jovi was released in 2007 only in Canada. The song is a guitar-heavy rock ballad, and in it, the singer uses the beach and summertime as a metaphor for the woman he loves.

For him, she is like “white sand, sunshine” and a “beach blanket and a bottle of wine.” This, for the singer, is like summertime, and nothing is better than that.

We can probably all agree with Bon Jovi on this one. After all, who doesn’t want to be likened to something as heavenly as the beach? It is such a happy, soothing place.

19. “Toes” By Zac Brown Band

Though the word “beach” is not mentioned anywhere else, you’ll know “Toes” is about it. This song is Zac Brown Band’s second #1 hit from the album The Foundation.

The song finds the singer leaving Georgia for the tropics for some much-needed getaway. He enjoys what the place has to offer, with his “toes in the water, ass in the sand.” It’s the place to enjoy life.

In true road trip fashion, he and his friends drink and celebrate to their last dime. He returns to Georgia penniless, but it’s the sun and sand he misses. In Georgia, he makes do with sitting in a lawn chair, with his toes in the clay. Still, he declares that “life is good today.”

20. “On The Beach” By Cliff Richard & The Shadows

Next, we’ll go back to 1964 for the surf rock song “On the Beach” by Cliff Richard and the Shadows. It was recorded for the film Wonderful Life and became an international hit, peaking at #4 in Australia and Norway, #6 in Ireland, and #7 in the UK.

As a surf rock song, “On the Beach” has similar vibes to the releases of the Beach Boys. Its lyrics are very simple, repetitive, and quite catchy. It only tells listeners one thing: “On the beach, you can dance” to anything—rock and roll, bossa nova, the twist, whatever you want.

21. “The Beach” By The Neighbourhood

“The Beach” by The Neighbourhood was released in 2015 from their second studio album, Wiped Out. Despite its title, the song does not refer to the sun and white sands we all love.

Metaphors fill this song to the brim, where “beach” is used as a metaphor for hope. It’s a heartwrenching piece, a war between emotions of letting go or continuing.

The narrator seems to be sick and tired of how his friend is treating him, and he’s considering maybe letting the friendship end (“I’ve been callin’ you friend, I might need to give it up”).

The song continues in a slow, heavy beat as the narrator asks for his friend to compromise (“swim with me”) because he feels there is still hope (“I think I could see the beach”) for their friendship.

22. “Malibu” By Miley Cyrus

Pop singer Miley Cyrus wrote “Malibu” well past her teenage years as a transformational piece. It signaled the end of her wild days and the beginning of a more mellowed adult artist.

The song reads like a typical summer love song set along the beautiful shores of Malibu beaches. The narrator had never been to the beach before. When her lover brings her to one, she ends up thanking him because the place makes her feel free.

At the same time, she expresses her fear of the ocean, which symbolizes her fear of the unknown. She fears drowning, in the metaphorical sense, but knows that he’s going to save her.

23. “Surf City” By Jan & Dean

Released in 1963, “Surf City” is a classic surf rock song that you might confuse with the Beach Boys. You wouldn’t be wrong because the Beach Boys’ lead singer Brian Wilson co-wrote the song with Jan Berry. 

The surf rock duo Jan Berry and Dean Torrence were at a party with Wilson when he played “Surfin USA,” which inspired the melody and singing style of “Surf City.”

“Surf City” represents Jan and Dean’s summertime Valhalla, a made-up surfers’ paradise where they surf all day and party all night at the beach in a sea of beautiful women who outnumber the men two to one.

24. “Walk In Love” By The Manhattan Transfer

From partying, we’ll move on to a slower ballad by the Manhattan Transfer. “Walk in Love” is a track from the band’s fourth studio album, Pastiche, released in 1978.

The song perfectly captures love at the beach. Walking hand in hand, the lovers stroll in companionable silence as they enjoy the sandy beach barefooted.

After their walk, the couple enjoys a picnic while they watch the rise and fall of the waves and the twinkling of the stars as the day turns to evening.

“Walk in Love” is simple, and the beat is soft, perfect for slow dancing. It’s a song that can make anyone fall in love if they aren’t already.

25. “Girls On The Beach” By The Beach Boys

We have yet another Beach Boy song to add to this list, and this time it’s “Girls on the Beach.” Written by Mike Love and Brian Wilson, the song is from their All Summer Long album, released in 1964.

It doesn’t take much to figure out what the song’s topic is. It is an ode to all the females enjoying the sea and sand at the beach. The girls’ golden tans and the glint of sun in their hair, as they frolic and had fun, were enough for one of the greatest bands of all time to sing about.

“Girls on the Beach” follows the same harmonizing style as most of the Beach Boys’ songs, but the tempo is slower and more languid. Though it did not chart, the song became the theme song for the film The Girls on the Beach.

26. “Walk On The Beach” By Summer Obsession

The punk rock band Summer Obsession knew what they were talking about when they made “Walk on the Beach.” The song is simple, its tune catchy, and the message is perfect advice on how to leave worries behind.

As the title implies, “Walk on the Beach” is an invitation to do just that. Sometimes work, and the school can be so overwhelming that you might want to get away from it all, and a walk on the beach might just be the best way to unwind.

If you bring a friend, you can maybe have a little heart-to-heart talk. As the singer says, “There’s more to life than this,” so relax and enjoy the ocean side.

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

From the album Preliminaries, “I Want to Go to the Beach” is a song that mentions “beach” as an escape. The track strays from the gritty prototype of punk rock Iggy Pop is famous for.

This song shows some realities of everyday life. Sometimes it’s so tiring and lonely that the narrator wants to escape from it and go to the beach. He probably thinks it’s the cure for the sadness he feels inside.

We can’t blame him, though. What he goes through is what many of us feel from time to time. It’s understandable when we just hate what life gives us and look for something to give us the motivation to go through it.

28. “On The Beach” By Chris Rea

For the English singer Chris Rea, the beach holds a very special memory. “On the Beach” was inspired by the Spanish island of Formentera, a beautiful paradise. The island has a special place in Rea’s heart because it was where he married his wife.

On that joyous occasion, Rea was “between the eyes of love.” That memory is etched in his dreams, something he goes back to repeatedly. He yearns to be taken to that night on the beach when it was just him and his wife under the moonlight.

29. “Beach Comber” By Real Estate

Up next is an imaginative song about the strangest beachgoer. “Beach Comber” was released in 2009 from Real Estate‘s self-titled debut album.

The song narrates the searches of a lone beachcomber who scans Pensacola Beach with a gold-detecting apparatus. He’s “waiting for that sound” with the hopes of discovering buried treasure in the sand.

From the looks of it, “Beach Comber” is about one’s discontent with what he has. The titular character seems to be a person who’s chasing money with the hopes of getting rich. In the process, he does not see and appreciate what he already has.

30. “Miami” By Will Smith

What is Miami known for? Yes, those beautiful beaches, among other things. Will Smith sings about this place in “Miami” from his Big Willie Style album.

In “Miami,” the singer celebrates the glamorous Florida beach city with its turquoise waters, opulent nightclubs, and nonstop beach parties. It’s the place where people celebrate and party every day.

And who doesn’t love Miami, where it’s “no work, all play”? He only intends to stay a little while, but he always ends up overstaying. And he’s not going to pass up the chance to party all night on the beach.

31. “Calma” By Pedro Capó

Finally, we have a huge hit song in most of Latin America, “Calma” by Pedro Capó. The song won Song of the Year at the Latin Grammys in 2019.

The song is written in Spanish and speaks of escaping everyday life with the love of his life. The singer realizes she’s all that he needs, and he wants to spend more time with her by going to the calming and romantic beaches of the Caribbean.

Here, he invites her to switch off her phone and enjoy the sand beneath their feet, the sun, and the water. Indeed, the beach can heal one’s soul and provide serenity.

Summing Up Our List Of Beach Songs

From surf rockers to rappers to country icons, the allure of the beach is as universal as the music itself. After exploring this diverse list of songs about the beach, you’ve got plenty of fodder for this summer’s playlist.

Each one talks about beaches and the escape from the daily grind it represents that we’re sure at least one of them has got you running for the sea and sand nearby.

Photo of author

Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.