Dreaming of vacation? Here are 15 songs for your Florida summer road tripping playlist, hand-selected by me, Solo Travel Girl!
As a second-grader, I wanted to be a postal delivery person when I grew up, because I loved mail. In sixth grade I wanted to be a veterinarian because I loved animals. When I was 16, my heart was set on becoming a disc jokey to rival Casey Kasem and Rick Dees because I loved music. More than three decades later, music continues to be an important part of my life. For those jumping in the car and heading out on the road to explore Florida this summer, here’s a road-tripping playlist including some of my favorite tunes and includes some iconic Floridians.
“Live Like You Were Dying,” Tim McGraw (Album: Live Like You Were Dying, 2004)
As the proverbial saying goes, life is short and make the most of it, or as Tim McGraw sings, “live like you were dying.” Nuff said.
Find “Live Like You Were Dying” on Amazon.
“Good Feeling,” Flo Rida (Album: Wild Ones, 2011)
Everyone’s gotta a good feeling when hitting the road for vacation and this song has a great beat to set off on the highway. I’m a little slow. It took me a bit to realize Flo Rida is “Florida.” The talented artist was born Tramar Lacel Dillard in Carol City, Fla.
Find “Good Feeling” on Amazon.
“Runnin’ Down a Dream,” Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (Album: Full Moon Fever, 1989)
Elvis Presley rolled through Ocala in 1961 and Tom Petty, born in Gainesville, shook the King’s hand. The world should be thankful for that moment because it inspired a young Petty to pursue a musical career. I chose this song because vacations are about new experiences and living out dreams.
Find “Runnin’ Down a Dream” on Amazon.
“I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar (Album: VOA, 1984)
Well, the state speed limit is 70 but it’s important to obey posted speed limit signs. If you are heading to Daytona, Homestead, or Sebring, this song is a must in your playlist.
Find “I Can’t Drive 55” on Amazon.
“The Tide Is High,” Blondie (Album: Autoamerican, 1980)
The Jamaican group The Paragons originally performed this reggae song in 1966 but it was the American band Blondie, fronted by Miami-born Angela Tremble, who took it to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1980. You haven’t heard of Angela Tremble? Her stage name is Debbie Harry.
Find “The Tide is High” on Amazon.
“Key Largo,” Bertie Higgins (Album: Just Another Day in Paradise, 1981)
“We had it all. Just like Bogie and Becall…” you’re welcome for the earworm. C’mon, I know you’re humming this tune right now. Surprisingly, “Key Largo” only peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 but it’s timeless and has outlived many other one-hit-wonders.
Find “Key Largo” on Amazon.
“The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” Lynyrd Skynyrd (Album: Second Helping, 1974)
Curtis Loew is not one specific person but a composite of people who lived in bandmember Ronnie Van Zant’s Jacksonville neighborhood. In the song, a country store referenced is based on what was called Claude’s Midway Grocery. Today, it’s called Sunrise Food (5406 Plymouth St., Jacksonville).
Find “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” on Amazon.
“Thunderstruck,” AC/DC (Album: The Razors Edge, 1990)
Let’s face it. If you’re out and about in Florida during the summer, you’ll most likely encounter an afternoon thunderstorm. And although the band is from Australia, lead singer Brian Johnson takes up residence in Sarasota.
Find “Thunderstruck” on Amazon.
“No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems,” Kenny Chesney (Album: No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems; 2012)
“No boss, no clock, no stress, and no dress code.” Need I say more?
Find “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” on Amazon.
“Summer Nights,” John Travolta and Olivia Newton John (Album: Grease: The Original Soundtrack from the Motion Picture, 1978)
Travolta is an Ocala resident and Grease is one of my favorite movies. This playful tune, which is great for group karaoke, is a reminder there will always be fond memories of summer nights.
Find “Summer Nights” on Amazon.
“Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell (Album: Ladies of the Canyon, 1970)
“Took all the trees, put them in a tree museum. And they charged the people a dollar and a half just to seem ’em…That you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Paved paradise, put up a parking lot.” Driving through Florida, I’m amazed at all the undeveloped land but I see it slowly creeping in and changing the landscape. Please be smart about it, Florida.
Find “Big Yellow Taxi” on Amazon.
“Good Day Sunshine,” The Beatles (Album: Revolver, 1966)
Driving through the Sunshine State should have at least one song with “sunshine” in the title but I selected this because it was part of the final morning playlist for the space shuttle program. During each space shuttle mission as well as aboard the International Space Station, a morning song is played. On Flight Day 8, July 15, 2011, the STS-135 crew aboard Atlantis welcomed the morning with “Good Day Sunshine,” sung by Paul McCartney. The song was also played during STS-121 and STS-128 missions.
Find “Good Day Sunshine” on Amazon.
“Outbound Plane,” Suzy Bogguss (Album: Aces, 1991)
Okay, this song is not about road tripping but I’m a fan of Suzy Bogguss and during my Yellowstone days of the early ’90s, the Aces CD was one of a handful in my car and I’m surprised I didn’t wear it out. I played it as I drove cross-country and while driving through the park for years.
Find “Outbound Plane” on Amazon.
“Hit the Road Jack,” Ray Charles (Album: Ray Charles Greatest Hits, 1961)
Although born in Albany, Georgia, Ray Charles grew up in Greenville in Florida’s Panhandle and a bronze statue of him sits in Haffye Hays Park. As for “Hit the Road Jack,” well, get going and plan that road trip!
Find “Hit the Road Jack” on Amazon.
“When the Sun Goes Down in Charlotte Harbor,” Jim Morris (Album: Another Day at the Office, 2007)
This one is for those who live in and around the Charlotte Harbor area in Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast. When you’re returning home after your road tripping through the Sunshine State, this song by the beloved and greatly missed trop rocker Jim Morris should be playing.
Find “When the Sun Goes Down in Charlotte Harbor” on Amazon.
Whether you’re driving a pink Cadillac, little red corvette or a Deuce Coupe, happy and safe road tripping through Florida.