Whether you’re there to surf or sink your toes into the sand, the beach is the perfect place to escape, relax, and forget your troubles. Though they can’t necessarily bring the sand and water to us, happy songs about the beach help us escape and remind us to enjoy the little things.
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If you’re looking for the best songs to bring to the seashore with you or only looking for the best beach songs for Instagram stories, check out these 10 great songs about the beach.
Inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2016, “Margaritaville” is one of the greatest songs about the beach of all time. Singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett grew up in Mississippi and Alabama before moving to Florida, giving him a fresh perspective of Florida’s peaceful Caribbean lifestyle.
The song’s lyrics describe staying on the beach for an entire season. The singer watches tourists, partakes in resort activities, stuffs his face with good food, and plays his guitar. Who’d want anything more?
“Under the Boardwalk” is a 1964 song about a man and a woman sneaking under the boardwalk to spend some time out of the sun. The song is a follow-up to “Up On the Roof” and was proceeded by “I’ve Got Sand in My Shoes.”
“Under the Boardwalk” has a hint of sadness in its recording. This is heavily credited to the death of Rudy Lewis, the former lead singer of The Drifters. Lewis died the morning “Under the Boardwalk” was originally intended to be recorded. Johnny Moore sang the song in its final recording instead.
One of the best foot-tapping songs with the beach in the lyrics, “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” was a collaboration between The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry. The song is very similar in style and composition to Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.”
“Surfin’ U.S.A.” is quite simple lyrically, celebrating surfing and having fun on the beach. The song lists what The Beach Boys considered some of the best surfing spots in California, along with one spot in Hawaii and another in Wales.
“Cake By The Ocean” was the debut song of Joe Jonas’s band DNCE. Originally peaking at No. 9 in the US, this song about the ocean and beach remains one of DNCE’s greatest hits today.
The song is about having sex on the beach, with the words “cake by the ocean” intended to replace the common phrase and drink name, “sex on the beach.” Jonas later explained that “Cake By The Ocean” can actually refer to any activities you love on the beach and doesn’t have to be specifically about sex.
Despite having barely any lyrics, “Wipe Out” is a song about the beach that personifies the seaside life better than most. Most recognizable by its rockin’ drums and guitar riffs, “Wipe Out” is the perfect song to surf to
Every member of Surfaris was broke at the time of recording “Wipe Out.” The members had to ask for money from friends and family to get the song made, having no idea how much of a hit their instrumental track would go on to be. “Wipe Out” has remained one of the most popular beach party songs for nearly 60 years.
“Soak Up the Sun” is an upbeat, lighthearted song about making the most out of life. It was intended up to be the ultimate cheer-up song, written from the perspective of a childish, happy-go-lucky character who doesn’t understand why everyone else is so down.
Co-writer Jeff Trott got the idea for “Soak Up the Sun” while on a flight to New York and thinking about all the things he wanted to do when he landed. “Soak Up the Sun” was one of the best beach party songs of the 00s and is a delightful song about the sun.
Written in only an hour by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, “Surf’s Up” is a rather somber Beach Boys song. The lyrics use surfing and catching waves as an analogy for youthful innocence lost to adulthood.
Interestingly, “Surf’s Up” is less about being on the beach and more about leaving the beach. The title “Surf’s Up” was believed to indicate The Beach Boys putting up their boards and cleaning the sand off their feet.
A pun for the curse “son of a b****,” “Some Beach” is a song about frustration. The song describes irritation from having a parking spot stolen, being flipped off, and having your teeth drilled.
Whenever he gets too stressed, Shelton pictures himself lying on some beach. “Some Beach” cleverly turns the negativity of saying “son of a b****” into something positive, inviting the listener to picture a calming ocean shore instead.
“Rockaway Beach” is an upbeat punk rock song describing Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk in Queens, NY. Songwriter and bassist Dee Dee Ramone wrote the song about growing up in New York City and finding solace on the beach.
The lyrics describe Rockaway Beach not being too far away from anything and being better than everything else in town. The playground concrete is too hot, the buses are too slow, and the radios don’t play anything good — might as well hit the beach!
“Kokomo” is yet another song proving that The Beach Boys are the kings of songs about the beach. The song describes the fictional island of Kokomo, which is the cumulation of every other vacation spot listed in the lyrics.
“Kokomo” was originally written for the 1988 movie Cocktail starring Tom Cruise. “Kokomo” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in the United States and has since been the name of numerous resorts trying to gain some free marketing.
These upbeat, optimistic, and romantic beach songs are hard to get out of your head — and for a good reason. Despite many of these songs being tonally similar, it’s interesting to see the differences artists take when writing songs about the beach.
Which songs about the beach are your favorites? Are there any great songs about the beach we missed?