Florida, the land of beaches, sunshine, and beautiful women, has inspired many throughout history to write music. Penned by many from Rick Ross to Lana Del Rey, these are the best songs about Florida ever.
“Miami” by Will Smith
Song Year: 1997
Is there any song about Florida more iconic and infectious than Big Willy’s “Miami”? It’s the perfect snapshot of the late 90s party lifestyle wrapped up in a catchy, feel-good melody.
Will’s lyrics mainly focus on the diversity of fine-looking women that frequent Miami’s nightlife hotspots, even integrating a bit of Spanish into the song to spice things up. It’s an irresistibly fun hit that makes you want to get up and dance nearly three decades after it dropped.
“Seminole Wind” by John Anderson
Song Year: 1992
Southern rock classic “Seminole Wing” is a favorite of every native Floridian, and it peaked at number two on Billboard’s Country.
This song opens with a gorgeous piano and violin duet that evokes the beauty of oak trees and Spanish moss.
Its lyrics detail the lives of the Seminole tribe of Native Americans who once inhabited Florida’s lands—and continue to do so to this day.
The song is from the perspective of Chief Osceola, whose ghost pleads for the halt of industry and a return to simpler times.
It’s a hauntingly beautiful song that is sure to inspire.
“Florida Boy” by Rick Ross ft. T-Pain and Kodak Black
Song Year: 2018
This song is about how hard it is to grow up in Florida—and the singers would know. Rick Ross, T-Pain, and Kodak Black are all native Floridians with tons of experience living and learning in the Deep South.
Florida Boy was the first single on Ross’ 10th studio album, Port of Miami. The song pays homage to the nuance and complexity of Florida, a gritty and beautiful place.
The music video for this song features the artist’s lavish lifestyle and many of Florida’s hip-hop legends, including Rozay, Flo Rida, and DJ Khaled.
“Florida Kilos” by Lana Del Rey
Song Year: 2014
With Lana Del Rey’s iconic breathy whisper-singing, “Florida Kilos” envelops you in its irresistible allure. This sultry track transforms Miami’s dark side into an unexpectedly romantic setting, where you might stumble upon a chance meeting with a rugged, tattooed bad boy.
Like Lana Del Rey herself, the song is a mesmerizing blend of beauty and danger, alluring you with seductive vocals that tell a captivating story of the darker side of the Sunshine State.
“FloriDada” by Animal Collective
Song Year: 2016
Warning: Video not safe for work.
This song was allegedly inspired by the band’s collective dislike of the trend of hating native Floridians. The song is an ode to the Sunshine State with its breezy vocals and psychedelic beach band sound, and it challenges many of the misconceptions people associate with Florida. The lyrics discuss the beaches’ beauty and the people’s kindness in Florida.
The band maintains that Florida symbolizes a land of strangeness and oddity—and that’s how they like it.
“Orlando” by XXXTentacion
Song Year: 2017
Despite its title, this song is actually about heartbreak. The singer laments the years he spent (or wasted) with an ex-girlfriend, wishing he could return to the past.
XXXTentacion, also known as Jahseh Dahyne Ricardo Onfroy, was a young singer, songwriter, and hip-hop artist in the tradition of artists like Lil Peep and Juice Wrld. He was initially from Plantation, Florida, and wrote many songs about the state. He was unfortunately killed in 2018 at the young age of 20.
“Floridays” by Jimmy Buffet
Song Year: 1986
Jimmy Buffet has never been a stranger to writing sun-soaked songs about vacation destinations, and “Floridays” is no exception. It has all the breezy charm and bongo drum backing tracks we’ve come to know and love about Buffet’s music, topped off with a healthy dose of nostalgic escapism.
While it’s not as upbeat as other tracks like “Margaritaville” or “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” it’s still the perfect musical accompaniment for a quiet evening on Delray Beach or enjoying drinks on your back patio while you watch the sun sink below the Gulf.
“Key Largo” by Bertie Higgins
Song Year: 1982
Depending on what decade you were born in, you either consider this Bertie Higgins banger one of the greatest love ballads of all time, or you’ve asked your parents to turn it off during a summer family road trip to Destin. Higgin’s velvety voice drips into your ear canals as the lilting rhythm and sand-swept lyrics tell the tale of two lovers on the outs.
While it’s not my top choice for a boat party or lounging by the pool, Higgin’s melodic voice is enough to convince me to crank the volume when it comes on shuffle.
“Ocean Avenue” by Yellowcard
Song Year: 2003
This song is the quintessential teen angst anthem—and it’s a song everybody knows. It has all the ingredients for an early-2000s hit: teenage romance, an infectious melody, and a punchy bassline.
The song’s lyrics detail the singer’s relationship with Ocean Avenue, a main thoroughfare in Jacksonville, Florida—and the young woman he fell in love with there. He mourns her loss and desires to return to the days of his youth.
While it’s all pretty cringe-worthy in hindsight, something about this punk-pop classic—complete with soaring violin riffs—makes listeners yearn for the good old days.
“Swimming in Miami” by Owl City
Song Year: 2007
Owl City is an electronic music project by Adam Young. Originally from Minnesota, Young’s song, “Swimming in Miami,” is among the best songs about Florida.
This song is about finding serenity in times of crisis and hardship. In the music, the protagonist climbs a stairway to the sun, enjoying the beauty of the earth below.
In classic Owl City fashion, it features clean, airy vocals and a beautiful instrumental backtrack. It’s the perfect song for, well, swimming in Miami.
“St. Petersburg” by Supergrass
Song Year: 2005
From British rock band Supergrass comes a beautiful song about Pinellas County, the magical inlet in Tampa Bay.
The song is about the desire to leave one’s mundane, exhausting nine-to-five job behind in search of brighter horizons. The lyrics detail the singer’s urge to ditch his tired life and head down to the white, sandy beaches of Western Florida.
In the classic style of Supergrass, this song features an upbeat rhythm with gritty and haunting vocals—the perfect combination.
“Florida” by Modest Mouse
Song Year: 2007
Despite its name, this Modest Mouse cut has more to do with leaving the state than celebrating it. The distinctive voice of Isaac Brock carries a rather sad tale of a man who has lost sight of his purpose and direction in life.
Even more compelling than the lyrics are the way the song shifts from upbeat and sunny to more melancholy, further emphasizing the narrator’s slow realization that they would never escape themselves no matter what state they called home.
“Gator Country” by Molly Hatchet
Song Year: 1978
“Gator Country” is a hit song by the southern hard rock band Molly Hatchet. This song is about the unmistakably Floridian experience of running into an alligator. The gator calls the protagonist by the name, warning him to return to his native land of Florida.
This song propelled Molly Hatchet to fame, making them the frontman of Florida’s 1970s hard-rock movement. Although the band had broken up, they reunited for the release of this song, making it legendary in local lore.
The song ultimately touches on an experience everyone can relate to—the itch to go home after a long travel period.
“The Everglades” by Waylon Jennings
Song Year: 1967
“The Everglades” by Waylon Jennings presents a vivid portrayal of the iconic Florida wetlands. The lyrics paint a captivating picture of the untamed beauty and mysterious allure of the Everglades.
Waylon’s deep voice weaves a tale that embodies the spirit of this unique ecosystem, showcasing its marshes, alligators, and the legendary Skunk Ape. The song captures the essence of Florida’s natural wonder, drawing listeners into the enchanting world of the Everglades.
“Miami, My Amy” by Keith Whitley
Song Year: 1985
This is one of the best songs of 1985.
This country-pop classic is about the singer’s first visit to Miami to see a woman he had fallen in love with. But Amy always returns to Florida and remains far from him despite his pleading.
Although Keith Whitley performed the song, it was originally written by Dean Dillon, Hank Cochran, and Royce Porter.
Whitley’s vocals have often been compared to Merle Haggard’s classic country croon, and the resemblance in this song is eerie.
“Mainline Florida” by Eric Clapton
Song Year: 1974
Although this song has definite undertones of Clapton’s infamous drug use, it’s actually about the Mainline—the main Floridian thoroughfare.
Clapton wrote this song while living in Golden Beach, Florida, and he named his album after his address on Ocean Boulevard. Whether his lyrics detail a romantic relationship in the Sunshine State or refer to the state itself is unknown.
Although the album received a lukewarm reception from critics, it remains a favorite among Clapton fans for its sentimentality.
“West Palm Beach” by Palace
Song Year: 1994
There aren’t many songs about West Palm Beach, but if there were, this would be the best. It features a bizarre narrative about a young man who seems to have taken over the life of someone else. He lives with his girlfriend and frequents the other man’s grandmother’s house. It’s all strange and beautiful, with sultry vocals and a classic indie-pop sound.
Palace is a British alternative rock band that includes members Leo Wyndham, Rupert Turner, and Matt Hodges. Although they are an alternative rock band, their sound verges on indie—and is fantastic.
“Talk Me Out of Tampa” by Joe Nichols
Song Year: 2003
Joe Nichols is a lesser-known but beloved country rock singer known for his old-school sound and contemporary lyrics.
His song, “Talk Me Out of Tampa,” is about a young man flying to Tampa to see his ex-girlfriend. In the song, he addresses a flight attendant, hoping that she will talk him out of going.
This song is the classic country-boy anthem with a twist—it isn’t about sandy beaches and beer but about a decision all of us have made at least once. Despite its sad undertones, it’s the perfect song for any Florida playlist.
“Tallahassee Lassie” by Freddy Cannon
Song Year: 1959
“Tallahassee Lassie” by Freddy Cannon paints a lively picture of a vibrant and energetic girl from Tallahassee, Florida. The song exudes a sense of youthful excitement and celebrates the lively spirit of the state.
As the catchy beats and energetic melodies unfold, the lyrics evoke the essence of Florida’s lively music scene and the carefree atmosphere. Through its upbeat tempo and infectious chorus, “Tallahassee Lassie” captures the vibrant and dynamic essence of Florida, serving as a musical testament to the spirited nature of the region and its people.
“Deep Down in Florida” by Muddy Waters
Song Year: 1977
Muddy Waters was a classic blues singer and musician known for heavily influencing the post-war Blues scene in Chicago.
His song, “Deep Down in Florida,” chronicles the classic Floridian experience of bringing a beautiful woman down to the beach. The singer also mentions Gainsville—everyone’s favorite college town.
Although it’s about Florida, this song features Muddy Waters’ classic Delta Blues sound, making you feel like you’re in the bayous of Southeastern Louisiana.
“All Signs Point to Lauderdale” by A Day to Remember
Song Year: 2011
This song speaks to an experience we can all recognize: teenage angst. It’s a metal-rock anthem from the hit band A Day to Remember that touches on growing up different in a town where everyone is the same.
The theme emerges in the music video, where the band is portrayed as pantsless and mocked by their classmates. It’s hard to be an emo kid in South Florida.
A Day to Remember was initially formed in Ocala, Florida, and consists of guitarist Tom Denney and drummer Bobby Scruggs. They are known for mixing metal, punk, and pop.
“Florabama” by JJ Grey & Mofro
Song Year: 2013
J.J. Grey & Mofro is a Southern rock and soul band from Jacksonville, Florida. JJ Grey is known for his blue-collar lyrics and soulful sound.
This song is about learning how to relax and enjoy the ups and downs of life. The lyrics touch on the small plot of land between Florida and Alabama, where the heat is thick, and the women are beautiful.
If you’ve ever been to the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll understand this song’s upbeat, sultry character—and it will make you long to return to Florida.
“Tampa to Tulsa” by The Jayhawks
Song Year: 2003
The Jayhawks are an alternative country rock band known for their Midwestern sound and classic country roots.
However, one of their best songs isn’t about the Midwest, it’s about traveling to the Sunshine State. The protagonist sits in the back of a plane on his way to Florida, dreaming of the woman he plans to meet in Tampa.
The song is a timeless classic about a theme we can all relate to long-distance relationships and traveling far and wide for love.
“Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce” by Elvis Presley
Song Year: 1965
This artist needs no introduction. One of the most beautiful and playful songs about South Florida comes from the world-famous King of Rock. The song was initially made for the movie Girl Happy, but it stands well on its own.
The song is about the riches of Fort Lauderdale, generously provided by the Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
The music video is a classic 50s clip featuring Elvis spying on a beautiful woman jumping into a crystalline pool. It’s a narrative clip about how he wins the young woman over by serenading her.
“Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone
Song Year: 1969
The summer of 1969 was all about sunshine, peace, and love—and this song embodies the spirit of the flower children.
From classic ‘60s band Sly and the Family Stone, this song chronicles the hot summer days when kids skip school and lovers reunite at the county fair.
It’s the perfect song to start the summer off right—or any season if you live in Florida, where it’s always hot and the sun always shines.
“Miami 2017” by Billy Joel
Song Year: 1976
In the 1970s, New York was in disarray, and many speculated about its impending downfall. This song predicts what would happen if an apocalypse hit the town, taking on a whole new meaning after 9/11.
Joel describes a fleet of New Yorkers taking off for brighter shores in the song. Headed to Miami, they hope to leave the crumbling city behind.
Billy Joel is known for his highly political songs that are heavily grounded in the cultural spirit of his time, and this song is no different.
“Pensacola” by Joan Osborne
Song Year: 1995
This is one of the few songs about Florida’s panhandle—but it’s one of the best songs about Florida as a whole.
The song chronicles a young woman’s journey searching for her father in Pensacola. She meets him with a picture of him in her hand, reflecting on the themes of legacy and heritage.
The haunting and beautiful song details one young woman’s search for meaning.
Joan Osborne is a multi-genre artist known for her musical ability and hit song “One of Us.” She wrote this song about her search for her father.
“Orange Blossom Special” by Johnny Cash
Song Year: 1965
Johnny Cash was primarily known for his gruff vocals and bluesy sound, but he plays the fiddle in the song “Orange Blossom Special.”
This song was first written and recorded in 1938, but Cash’s version is most famous for its ‘50s rock influence.
The song is about a train that once ran the length of the East Coast, delivering Northerners to the sunny shores of Florida. The Orange Blossom Special began on November 21st, 1925, and only lasted several years before it was eventually terminated.
“Florida Room” by Donald Fagen
Song Year: 1993
A Florida Room, also known as a sunroom, is a residential space added onto a home’s backside. Such rooms are popular in Florida, and this song is a play on words that touches on the contrast between a sunny Florida and a gloomy Florida room.
In the song, a young woman with depression cannot leave her Florida room, dreaming of brighter shores.
The song reflects the metaphor of weather and how prevalent it is in popular music, and it’s the perfect addition to any Florida playlist.
“Everglades” by Kingston Trio
Song Year: 1960
The song is about a young man from Jacksonville who gets involved in a jealous fight over a woman. He runs away and escapes to the Everglades, attempting to survive independently.
Although the song’s lyrics are dark, the tune is playful and acoustic, setting up a sharp contrast between the two.
Kingston Trio is a pop-folk group known for contributing to the late 1950s and 1960s folk revival. Although the group is from California, they frequently sang of the Everglades.
“Keys in the Conch Shell” by Kenny Chesney
Song Year: 2008
Kenny Chesney is a known American country music artist who has released over 20 albums, many of which have ended up on the Billboard charts.
His song, “Keys in the Conch Shell,” is one of his lesser-known tunes—but it is no less attention-worthy than others.
This song is about a young man who meets a woman in Florida and invites her into his home. He tells her to pick up the keys in the conch shell by the door and enter his house, and he asks her to get comfortable.
The song is a cutesy, down-home vibe, and it’s the perfect love song for a romantic trip to the sunny South.
“The State of Florida” by Less Than Jake
Song Year: 2008
Although the ska genre gets a bad name, this song is among the best on this list.
This song is about Florida’s eventual demise as it steadily sinks into the ocean. The singer laments how much Florida has changed since the economic boom of the 1990s. It’s about resistance to change and adherence to tradition—a theme everyone can relate to.
Less Than Jake is a ska-punk band from Gainesville, Florida. The band comprises Matt Yonker, Chris DeMakes, Buddy Schaub, Roger Lima, and Peter Wasilewski.
“Gulf Coast Highway” by Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson
Song Year: 1990
This song is about the daily stresses of a young couple trying to make ends meet. They live along Gulf Coast Highway, the highway that runs alongside the Gulf through Florida, Louisiana, and Texas.
The song touched the hearts of millions with its relatable message and soulful sound—and with Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris on vocals, it was born to be a hit.
Emmylou Harris is a songstress with a whopping 14 Grammys behind her name, and Willie Nelson boasts similarly impressive credentials. Together, they form the power duo of the century.
“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett
Song Year: 1977
Although Margaritaville was originally a small, locally owned restaurant in Sandusky, Ohio, the singer Jimmy Buffet began opening his restaurants under the same name. The rest is a legend.
Today, there are Margaritaville locations around the world, the most famous of which is in Key West, in Florida.
Buffet’s song, “Margaritaville,” touches on the magic of the place. It describes a place where people eat nothing but cake and cocktails and watch the sunset over gorgeous Florida beaches.
“Don’t Let Me Die in Florida” by Patty Griffin
Song Year: 2013
With Patty Griffin’s timeless guitar solos and her stripped-down songwriting style, this song was set up for success.
It’s a bluesy folk song that details the singer’s profound hatred of Florida. Although it isn’t exactly a ballad to the Sunshine State, it’s a beautiful song nonetheless.
The song is told from the perspective of a World War II veteran who returns to the United States. The lyrics explain the protagonist’s distaste for Florida and his wish to die elsewhere in the South.
“Move to Miami” by Enrique Iglesias
Song Year: 2018
This song represents the 12th collaboration between Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull—one of the most famous and productive relationships in music history.
The song is about a young woman who makes men fall in love with her and move to Miami. The music video features both artists in fancy cars and, shockingly, scantily clad models.
It’s a classic, upbeat, pop and hip-hop tune that will remain Miami’s anthem for a long time.
“Florida Man” by Blue Oyster Cult
Song Year: 2020
Thanks to the infamous Sunshine Laws, it’s hard to scroll through a news site without seeing some story about the Florida Man.
This song draws on the headlines for inspiration, citing such classics as the cat lady, the drug addict, and the notorious boa constrictors and ball pythons living in the Everglades.
The song also references Florida’s early history, chronicling the arrival of the conquistadors. It’s a reflection on the state’s complicated history and nuanced past.
Blue Oyster Cult is a rock and roll band from Stony Brook, New York. They have sold over 25 million records worldwide and are known for their grungy sound.
Top Songs About Florida, Final Thoughts
Florida is a complicated place. It is gritty and sunny, Southern and Northern, historic and modern. The songs on this list capture that nuance to the best of their ability.
From Elvis Presley to Owl City, the many artists on this list are among music history’s most famous.
Use this guide to make a playlist or listen to each song individually. No matter your choice, you’ll find yourself wishing to be in Florida forever.