Ah, Florida. My home state. It is known for a lot of things, both good and bad. From some of the best beaches in the world to the legendary Florida Man of modern mythology or the swampy Everglades to Walt Disney World. Not everyone loves the Sunshine State, but it remains one of the best places to live in the entirety of the US. In this article, we’ll look at the 35 best songs about Florida to get you ready for your next vacation.
1. Kokomo – The Beach Boys
There are several different cities named Kokomo in the US, though none are actually located in Florida. The subject of this memorable The Beach Boys song was an imaginary island just off the coast of Key Largo in Florida instead.
It’s one of their biggest hits, coming long after they got their start, and describes running away to numerous island paradises with a woman. They pretty much island-hop throughout the track around the Caribbean, an incredible vacation journey that many have tried to pull off in lieu of this song.
2. Key Largo – Bertie Higgins
Bertie Higgins was made into a one-hit wonder in the 80s thanks to his song Key Largo. A native of the Sunshine State, he wrote this sweet romance track in an attempt to try to win back a woman who had left him. It’s got plenty of Florida references in it, but it’s more famous for the lines referring to the 1942 hit film Casablanca. And while the couple did eventually get back together in the aftermath of the hit song, they would later get divorced, adding a sad twist to an otherwise adorable story.
3. Gainesville – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Gainesville is actually an outtake from Tom Petty’s 1998 album, and had it been included on any of his albums, it would have probably been a hit. Gainesville is home to the University of Florida and is one of the biggest college towns in the state. Petty’s song about the city—which happens to be his hometown—is a reflective ballad full of nostalgia for a time before he became the big star his music would eventually turn him into.
4. The Everglades – Waylon Jennings
The Everglades is a tale of murder, escape, and eventually succumbing to the elements. Florida has some harsh swamps, full of alligators and mosquitos—not to mention pythons now—that can turn deadly.
This song is about a man born in the Jacksonville area who eventually gets into a fight, killing the man he was jealous of. Rather than turn himself in, he runs as far south as he can, hiding in the Everglades swamplands. In such a vast area, it’s likely something else will kill him before the cops can find him, but this is a fate he resigns himself to as it’s better than going to jail.
5. If I Could Do It Again – Corey Smith
The Panhandle region of Florida is one of the most popular Spring and Summer break destinations in the world. It’s got a non-stop party scene and has some of the most beautiful white-sand beaches you can find anywhere across the globe. Corey Smith sings this vacation anthem as an ode to the Panama City Beach area and the panhandle as a whole, telling the story of a fun vacation and how—despite doing some things he definitely shouldn’t have—he wouldn’t change a thing about the trip.
6. The State of Florida – Less Than Jake
Less Than Jake hails from Gainesville, Florida, and both their best-selling album, and this single are odes to the state. It discusses several of the issues that plague life in Florida, metaphorically talking about them drowning in quicksand as the state slowly sinks into the ocean—thanks, global warming. The state used to be beautiful, but they feel that concrete and real estate have taken over, dampening the natural beauty of the Sunshine State.
7. Seminole Wind – John Anderson
John Anderson’s Seminole Wind was a massive hit in 1992 on the country charts. It’s full of the spirit of the Native Seminole tribe that calls Florida home, describing the initial meeting of white settlers with the tribe and the way they’ve been misplaced and mistreated in the years since. The song mainly decries the treatment of the Seminole tribe and the destruction of the Florida environment for the sake of economic progress.
8. Miami, My Amy – Keith Whitley
Keith Whitley’s Miami, My Amy is a fun play on words that ended up being a big hit in 1986. The narrator is a man from California who falls in love with a woman in Miami. He continually calls her, but she wants him to be sure of his feelings before settling down in Florida with her. Eventually, he leaves, but she calls and asks him to come back to her. It was Whitley’s first hit on the country charts and was about to make it big, but he would unfortunately die only three years after releasing this single.
9. Florida – Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse is an artist that wants nothing to do with Florida, as his song Florida sees him telling listeners that he wants to be as far away from the state as possible, but nowhere is far enough to be comfortable. He describes the state as a symbol of complacent luxury, lamenting the petty and indifferent lives of many who call the state home. While I disagree with several points in the track, I can see where he’s coming from.
10. Florida Time – Bob Seger and the Last Heard
Florida Time is a lot like Island Time, the people who stay relaxed and live their life by it will rarely be on time, and they may spend hours hanging out with you once they do finally arrive. Bob Seger’s Florida Time discusses how excited he is to get to Florida and live a little bit of his life on Florida Time, hopefully meeting a fun-loving woman to enjoy all the great things the state of Florida has to offer.
11. Florida Kilos – Lana Del Rey
Florida is known for a lot of things, but cocaine use is the dark not-so-secret of the state. Lana Del Rey wrote Florida Kilos after watching the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, a film focused on cocaine smugglers in Miami. She uses quite a lot of metaphors for cocaine in the song, and the vibe of it turned it into a fan favorite. So, while the drug is prevalent in Florida, this track makes it almost seem like a positive thing with how great it is.
12. Ocean Avenue – Yellowcard
Ocean Avenue is a legendary pop-punk and emo song, but few people know that it’s actually talking about a specific street in Jacksonville, Florida, where Yellowcard comes from. The original streets were named Ocean Boulevard and Beach Boulevard, but it sounded better as “Avenue” and was changed for the track. You can also hear them mention Cherry Street, a road only a few miles from where they went to high school together.
13. Florida Man – Blue Öyster Cult
The term “Florida Man” has become something of an internet sensation thanks to wacky and wild news reports about the crazy people in the state doing unhinged things—I would know, I’m from there. This has largely built up a reputation for people from Florida around the continent, but Blue Öyster Cult was in on the joke long before it even started.
Their song Florida Man turns the stories of Florida Man into legend, personifying him as almost a deity or a mythic creature rather than any individual person. And for the most part, it’s an honest description; we’re wild down here.
14. Move to Miami – Enrique Iglesias feat. Pitbull
Move To Miami is a love song, but it’s a different one. Enrique Iglesias becomes absolutely enthralled by a woman at a party. And whether she is from Miami or he knows women like this are abundant in the Miami party scene is irrelevant. Her beauty and his desire make him question how much of his life he would upturn to be around her—or more women like her—more often, even to the point of moving his entire life to the city of Miami.
15. Floridays – Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffet knows a thing or two about enjoying the sunshine and saltwater. In his song Floridays, he discusses the ups and downs of life but tells listeners that it’s easier to find the silver lining of life in Florida.
16. Summer Nights – Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts sure know how to enjoy a night in the state of Florida. Summer Nights mainly describes them enjoying wearing flip-flops and staring at women in tiny bikinis while pulling cold drinks out of a cooler. I can’t say it’s an inaccurate description of a summer evening in the state, it’s a rather common occurrence and a great way to pass the time.
17. Alligator Stroll – Josh Turner
Josh Turner’s deep voice is always a welcome sound in my home. His song Alligator Stroll is a fun take that sees the narrator of the track actually be an alligator, born along the Kissimmee River that struts around the Everglades. It’s a glorious little jam that captures the fun side of the state of Florida.
18. Deep Down in Florida – Muddy Waters
Deep Down In Florida is an incredible blues song coming from Muddy Waters’ Hard Again album. While Florida isn’t home to the blues and there are very few good blues tracks about the state, this is easily one of the best songs describing the Sunshine State and the world is better for hearing about it through the unique vocal tones of Waters.
19. Florida – Luke Temple
Luke Temple’s Florida is a great vibe for when you’re out on the boat and wasting the days away. Drawing on the sounds of the 70s, he put together one of the most fun yet overlooked jams on our list.
20. Florida Blues – Ricky Skaggs
Florida Blues is an upbeat and fairly happy song. Completely instrumental, it’s meant to make you feel as though you’ve spent the day on the beach and are walking along a sandy shoreline to finish out an amazing day. While it carries no description of Florida, the vibe from it is very evocative of the general feeling you get when you’re in the state and would likely be the style of blues music native to the state.
21. Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season – Kenny Chesney And Jimmy Buffett
Jimmy Buffet’s music in general captures the beach vibes of the state of Florida, and this is one song that I can attest to the validity of. Hurricane season is always a big deal in the state, as every year we prepare to face down one of those massive storms.
And while many people do get nervous about an incoming storm as Buffet discusses in the song, more people get irritated when they have to flee the wrath of a hurricane—to the point that many ride it out, regardless of how dangerous it is. He takes to drinking Bloody Marys to cope with having to get out of town, while others will sit in a basement to ingest more alcohol than the state of Wisconsin as the hurricane passes overhead—yes, shots fired, Wisconsin.
22. Panama City – Mark Wills
Panama City is one of the most exciting places in the Florida Panhandle, and it gets some of the best weather in the state. While only a city of 30,000-ish people, over two million visitors come each year for the amazing beaches and happening party scene. Mark Willis wrote Panama City in 2008 as an ode to the town’s white beaches and late-night shenanigans.
23. Old Folks at Home – Stephen Foster
Florida has a reputation for being the place many people choose to retire, with retirement communities and old folks’ homes all over the place. But this track isn’t on the list for that reason. Stephen Foster’s Old Folks At Home was the official state song of Florida until 1953.
24. The Florida Song – Ricky Sylvia
There may not be a track more dedicated to the sights, sounds, and events of Florida than Ricky Sylvia’s The Florida Song. It talks about everything the state has to offer, from the beaches to the sunsets and the basketball players to the cities. Overall, it’s got the perfect island vibe to chill out to as you drink a cold beer in a hammock on the beach, one of the best Florida vacation tracks out there.
25. Swimming In Miami – Owl City
Swimming In Miami is probably the second-most famous song by Owl City and continues a trend of them describing geographic locations. While it isn’t particularly an easy track to understand by casually listening to the lyrics, the song describes the dreamy atmosphere of swimming at the beaches in Miami at night. The real highlight of the track is the pop-music soundscape that they crafted for it, and it’s an awesome song about Florida nonetheless.
26. Rhode Island – The Front Bottoms
Rhode Island may have a title that evokes another state, but Florida is definitely involved in this song. The Front Buttons basically describe one of their fans, a person that told them he was going to ride a bike all the way from Rhode Island to Florida, carrying a backpack full of drugs.
And while I do love my home state, there isn’t really anything more Florida than a person that seems crazy being a drug mule and making the trip as hard as they possibly can on themselves for a cool story. According to them, he made it to South Carolina but had to turn back for an undisclosed reason.
27. Don’t Let Me Die in Florida – Patty Griffin
While many people would love to move to Florida permanently and people often end up staying when they visit, Patty Griffin had a completely opposite reaction to the state. Her song Don’t Let Me Die In Florida is all about how she has no desire to spend her life there and how she can’t wait to get home. If you spot her dying, throw her on a train headed out of the state, so she can rest peacefully.
28. Mainline Florida – Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton describes Mainline, Florida, as a pretty boring place, but he had quite a fun romantic adventure there with a woman. He lived in Florida for a while when he was recording the album Mainline Florida is featured on, spending time in both grand and boring places but focusing primarily on the love interest he found there more than the charms of the actual town.
29. Miami – Will Smith
Miami is a fun dance track from Will Smith’s album Big Willie Style. It ended up being a pretty solid hit single, rising to number 17 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
30. Celebration Florida – Chumbawamba
Celebration, Florida, is a city just outside of Orlando and is located very close to Walt Disney World. The first residents of the city had to be chosen through a lottery, as everyone wanted to live near the theme parks when it was established. Chumbawamba describes it as the happiest place on earth, devoid of the problems that plague society like war and poverty, as you’ll never see those things in Celebration.
31. Place Out on the Ocean – Jamey Johnson
Florida is one of the best vacation spots in the world, no matter whether you’re taking the family with you or going solo. The beaches and booze are the perfect way to get over heartbreak though, as captured by Jamey Johnson in Place Out On The Ocean. He copes with the end of a relationship and a lack of direction in life by sitting on a beach, something that does truly help a bit.
32. Flora-Bama – Kenny Chesney
The Flora-Bama is a small area of beaches where Florida and Alabama meet. It’s a melting pot of cultures, where the beautiful beaches of the Florida Panhandle meet the more traditional Southern US. It’s a place near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts, including the legendary Kenny Chesney.
33. Talk Me Out Of Tampa – Joe Nichols
Joe Nichols spends all of Talk Me Out Of Tampa going over a pros and cons list of whether or not he should head down to one of the best cities in the state of Florida. He tries to find reasons not to go, from the chances of being hit by a hurricane to his ex-girlfriend being located there, but things like Busch Gardens and beautiful scenery are keeping him from letting the cons keep him from going. It’s a bit of a funny song that sees the singer sick with love but unsure of what to do next.
34. All Signs Point to Lauderdale – A Day to Remember
A Day To Remember sure does hate Fort Lauderdale. All Signs Point To Lauderdale isn’t just a song about wanting to escape your hometown, it’s the emo and pop-punk equivalent of a track that absolutely despises your hometown. They think being stuck there is the worst luck possible and all the good things about it have faded away. They get out fast and with their description of it, I frankly can’t blame them for doing so.
35. Beautiful Every Time – Lee Brice
Lee Brice’s Beautiful Every Time is a love song about how some things retain their beauty, no matter how many times you see them. The sunset in Key West is one of those things for him, which for the record, is a sunset like no other. It was a solid country track about the small moments of life that gave a shout out to Key West and ended up making our list.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.