We Made the Perfect Florida Summer Playlist Just for You
From country to reggae to latin and rock, this playlist captures Floridians’ eclectic musical vibes, and we think it’s one you’ll want on repeat all summer long
Summer is peeking it’s sunny, carefree head around the corner, and we’re here to help you prepare. We’ve pulled together 12 songs performed by Florida musicians or written about our beloved Sunshine State to listen to while you’re running down the Intracoastal in your center console or mixing up drinks for a small group of (socially distant) friends. Whether you’re looking for a high-energy dance tune to kick-start the party or the perfect road trip track to ease your mind, we hope this playlist will be the soundtrack to your summer.
1. GULF COAST HOME BY THE CURRYS
This beautiful ode to The Currys’ Panhandle roots will transport you to the sugar-white shores of Port St. Joe with their lilting harmonies and twangy guitar. The Currys released the song in 2018 just after Hurricane Michael ravaged the region and sold early downloads of it to raise money to help Gulf County rebuild.
Favorite Lyric: I wanna go to my Gulf coast home / where the pines and palms together sing the songs I used to know / As I was born so may I die beneath this watercolor sky
Perfect for: displaced Floridians missing their home a little extra this summer.
2. RUN WILD BY LANEY JONES
This folksy-pop tune from singer-songwriter Laney Jones is the sort of track that makes you want to stick your head out of the sunroof while you’re flying down the highway (although for safety reasons, we’ll need to advise against this). The Orlando-based musician is a Nashville resident now but her Sunshine State upbringing is hard to miss in her music. She’s even got a song about one of her family’s goats being eaten by a gator. It doesn’t get much more Florida than that.
Favorite Lyric: And we climbing to the greatest heights the world can’t stop us now / They try to bring us down but we just burn brighter
Perfect for: spending the day splashing around in the pool.
3. TRYING TO REASON WITH HURRICANE SEASON BY JIMMY BUFFETT
You knew we couldn’t make a Florida playlist without some Buffett. Of course we love the classics like Margaritaville and Cheeseburger in Paradise but any Floridian who’s had to deal with unwelcome house guests like Andrew, Charley and Irma will get a kick out of this Buffett bop. Despite her storms, the Sunshine State helped launch Buffett’s career, and we’ve got the whole beer-soaked tale (and some great vintage photos) to prove it.
Favorite Lyric: Well the wind is blowin’ harder now / Fifty knots or there abouts / There’s white caps on the ocean and I’m watchin’ for water spouts
Perfect for: boat drinks, of course, or boarding up the windows for the first ‘cane of the season.
4. GOOD MORNING BY ROYCE LOVETT
Do yourselves a favor and ditch the obnoxious iPhone alarm for this contagious song. Tallahassee native Royce Lovett, and former contestant on The Voice, mixes a little bit of reggae, hip-hop and rap for this track that will have you looking forward to the sunrise (Yes, even you night owls).
Favorite Lyric: Good Morning / The sun is here to tell you who you are / listen up you’re a star
Perfect for: your early morning workouts.
5. CUBA LIBRE BY GLORIA ESTEFAN
Even if you don’t have a coordinated bone in your body, this Latin number will have you convinced you can work the dance floor. Not only is this super danceable but it’s also an upbeat homage to Gloria Estefan’s native country.
Favorite Lyric: No puedo olvidar (I can’t forget) / Eres parte de mí (You are part of me) / Te quiero ver feliz ( I want to see you happy) / Quiero mi Cuba libre (I want my Cuba free)
Perfect for: Dancing with a beautiful stranger in South Beach—or just mixing up margaritas in your kitchen.
6. RUNNIN’ DOWN A DREAM BY TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS
We’d add every Petty track to this list if we could, but this head-bobbing breezy jam is a summertime must. The Gainesville rock icon nails the feeling of cruising down a Florida road with the wind whipping through the open window.
Favorite Lyric: There’s something good waitin’ down this road / I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine
Perfect for: long drives down A1A with the windows rolled down.
7. MAINLINE FLORIDA BY ERIC CLAPTON
Clapton’s stellar guitar skills are on full display in this song off of his infamous 461 Ocean Boulevard album. This comeback project reignited Clapton’s career after a three-year hiatus, and we’d like to think the inspirational beauty of Miami had something to do with it. Clapton fans still flock to the Miami-Dade County address, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Sunshine State home that revived this struggling guitarist’s music career.
Favorite Lyric: I could remember not long ago / We took a cruise down on Hotel Row
Perfect for: tying up your boat with friends
8. CLEAN UP WOMAN BY BETTY WRIGHT
Last month, the world said goodbye to Miami’s queen of soul, but what better way to remember Betty Wright than by turning up her smash hit. Pull on your bell-bottoms and satin shirts and get down to the 1970s definition of groovy.
Favorite Lyric: The clean up woman, she’ll sweep him off his feet / She’s the one who’ll take him in when you dump him in the street
Perfect for: proving to your kids that you’ve still got it.
9. JACKSONVILLE TO JACKSON HOLE BY THE WILD FEATHERS
If you’re a little too old for summer flings, this folk rock jam will remind you of the days you’d sneak off with your love to the nearest swimming hole and just drive around with no place to go. So maybe your summer these days is a little less spontaneous trips and a little more chauffeuring your kids to tennis camp, but there’s nothing wrong with reminiscing.
Favorite Lyric: We couldn’t keep our hands off each other / Couldn’t stop singin’ Redneck Mother / We were third-rate romance low-rent rendezvous
Perfect for: keeping spirits high on a long road trip.
10. U.S. STRONGER BY FLORIDA-GEORGIA LINE
This new release from country music duo Florida-Georgia Line is the feel-good song we could all use right about now. Sometimes we need a reminder of our compassionate, resilient roots, and this soulful Southern ballad delivers.
Favorite Lyric: We lean on love and love to lean on one another / ‘Cause what don’t take us, bend us, break us makes us stronger
Perfect for: when you’re feeling down because this summer might look a little different than usual.
11. MOVE TO MIAMI BY ENRIQUE IGLESIAS FEAT. PITBULL
We’ve all heard Miami referred to as the 305 or the Magic City but how about the booty shakin’ capital? Leave it to Pitbull to bestow such an honor on his hometown and for giving us this gem of a party anthem.
Favorite Lyric: ‘Cause when you see her dance there’s a chance you might not come home from vacation
Perfect for: a girl’s weekend in the 305!
12. OCEAN AVENUE BY YELLOWCARD
Jacksonville locals might know it better as Ocean Boulevard but either way, this song was inspired by the pop punk band’s Atlantic Beach stomping grounds. Relive the carefree days of your teenage years with the single that shot Yellowcard to stardom.
Favorite Lyric: There’s a place on the corner of Cherry Street / We would walk on the beach in our barefeet / We were both 18 and it felt so right / Sleeping all day, staying up all night
Perfect for: riding your bike along the beach.
13. SOUTHERN WAYS BY LYNYRD SKYNYRD
We had to round out this list with arguably the greatest band to ever emerge from the Sunshine State. Sure, there are the classics like Tuesday’s Gone and Free Bird but we have a soft spot for this track about the sweet subtle pull of the South—not to mention the shoutout to the creaky cabin in Green Cove Springs where Lynyrd Skynyrd crafted their sound.
Favorite Lyric: Me and my boys started a band / Practiced everyday out on the Hell House land / Played every honky tonk and this ol’ bar
Perfect for: playing cornhole at a backyard barbecue.