At Maxine, we’re huge fans of loading up the beach bag with all the essentials like beach swimwear and sunscreen, but we also love to have access to the perfect playlist for those days on the beach. What better music to add to your packing list than the best summer hits of the 70s?
We’re about to share our top 20 favorite beach songs from the 70s that you can jam to on your way to the beach, and while you’re relaxing by the waves in Florida or Mexico. Get ready to be transported straight to paradise with these hits you can sing along to.
If you’ve been feeling like your beach packing list was missing something, this is the post for you. We all know the songs that come to mind. Think “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers, “Surfin’ U.S.A.” or “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys, or anything by Jimmy Buffett, and you get the gist. Before we jump right into the best beach songs for your playlist, we want to make sure you’ve got everything else you need.
The Makings of a Great Beach Trip
With a beach trip comes a packing list, and we’re here to make sure you’re set to go. Think of all the practical and fun things you can throw in your suitcase for your sunny days ahead. Here’s a list of what we’re sure to bring on each vacation.
- Beach cover up
- Speaker for music — you can pick one of these up locally or on Amazon if you don’t already have one
There are the obvious things you don’t want to miss too, like a toothbrush and pajamas, but you get the idea. These are just some essentials that are fun to put in the suitcase. And of course, you’ll need to make a playlist to keep the moods high. Feel free to add these next songs. We know you’ll hear the name and already want to sing along.
Our Top 15 Favorite 70s Beach Songs
Don’t you have some favorites from this time that have been playing in your head ever since? We sure do. There are some songs from the 70s that scream summertime and easy living. Why not ride that wave to calm thoughts and fun times? Making a playlist of your favorite songs that will set the tone for the road trip or sunbathing sessions this summer.
We’ve put together a list of 20 of the hottest summer songs from the 70s, and we think you’re going to love it. Add these to your summer playlist, and feel free to add many more! Without further ado, let’s get right into some catchy hits.
School’s Out by Alice Cooper (1972)
Can you blame us for adding this song first to the list? This song sounds like surfing the waves and is everybody’s favorite song to jam to when summer begins. Start your trip off with a rocking bang by listening to this rock hit. You’ll feel like a kid who just got let out for summer when you hear the words, “school’s out for summer.” Who wouldn’t have this classic on their beach playlist?
Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts (1972)
With a title like that, you know we had to put this song on the list. Summer Breeze is a feel-good song with gorgeous guitar parts that will have you swaying along. The calm tone of this song along with the key changes feel hazy and happy all at once. Summer breezes do make you feel fine, so turn this song up and bask in the daylight. Throw on your Joyful Blooms Princess Seam Swim Dress One Piece and prepare to relax.
Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffet (1977)
Wow, this song is a no-brainer, isn’t it? Margaritaville will leave you wanting to make a batch of cold drinks for yourself. Pour yourself a salt-rimmed glass and recline that beach chair. This song was a huge hit for Jimmy Buffet, and rightfully so. The breezy sound and lyrics encapsulate everything about a fun adult summer.
Lean on Me by Bill Withers (1972)
Lean on Me is a staple for any playlist, not just a beach playlist. If you’re wanting to feel sentimental and uplifted, this is the best song to add to your list. The lyrics to Bill Withers’ song are the sound of friendship and closeness. This song is also a great one to add to give your playlist a little variety since it has an easy-listening melody.
I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash (1972)
1972 was clearly a great year for summertime hits. This song by Johnny Nash should enhance everyone's mood for the whole summer. The lyrics say, “it’s gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day” and we think it’s best to put it on repeat, rain or shine. Play this song and dance along to its mellow, upbeat sound.
Hotel California by The Eagles (1977)
A six-minute jam session, Hotel California is probably already on your playlist. When we hear this song, we immediately imagine ourselves sitting under an umbrella on a hot summer day in a princess seam swim dress with a cool drink and not a care in the world. The Eagles outdid themselves with this smooth song full of cool electric guitar solos. Though the lyrics are full and meaningful, you’ll definitely hear this and feel relaxed.
Dreams by Fleetwood Mac (1977)
Dreams is one of those surfer and stoner anthems that’s popular no matter what age you are. Fleetwood Mac’s sound in this song is a blissful mix of soft rock and catchy harmonies. We can’t help but sing along to this one. Dreams fits perfectly on our beach playlist with its calm melody and the fact that you won’t be able to help but bop along the whole time it’s playing.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee (1976)
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is a Billboard chart-topping classic in the world of duets, and we’ll be jamming to it all summer long as we soak up the sun. This song is so well known to us all that it makes the perfect sing-along choice for a beachy set. You’ll play this song on the beach and probably have strangers singing along, too. This is a feel-good song with a catchy beat and fun lyrics. Sing this one loud and proud with your friends and family.
Ventura Highway by America (1974)
A 1974 hit, Ventura Highway starts with the sounds of a beautiful guitar and quickly goes into lyrics that talk about heading to the sunny west coast. This is a great song that truly does make you feel sunny and free. Let everything go while listening to this classic rock favorite. We can feel the heat of the sun just by listening to Ventura Highway.
Summer Nights by John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John (1978)
From the movie Grease, this song will put you in the mood for driving with the windows down, straight to your favorite sandy location. We all know the words to this favorite by now, right? Summer Nights, written by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, really hits the nail on the head with its lyrics about nights of summer romance. Add this to your playlist for a fun switch-up.
You’ve Got a Friend by James Taylor (1971)
Throwing it back to an acoustic mood, James Taylor really makes you think about the ones you love, as always. Every playlist needs some easy-going, slow-down types of songs. Just picture yourself, eyes closed in the sand somewhere, humming along to this song. This song is so good it won a Grammy Hall of Fame award, so it should automatically be on everybody’s list of favorites.
Live and Let Die by Wings (1973)
Wings has a lot of great hits, but we put this one on the list because it has such a different sound. You’ll know this song by its constant change of tempos and music styles, and that’s exactly why we love it.
After all, the whole playlist can’t be lazy, can it? Wake up the crowd with this fun and beloved song. Wings wrote this song in ‘73 and it quickly became loved by many who are fans of the symphonic rock genre.
Got To Give It Up by Marvin Gaye (1977)
Yet another ‘77 favorite, Marvin Gaye went all out with this long and upbeat song, and we’re still lovin’ it to this day. You’ll be dancing and singing in no time when this one comes on. Just go ahead and drop the drink and start a dance party in the middle of the beach.
If that’s not you, this song is perfect for reclining and zoning out. The sound of instruments and voices truly just feels like summertime. Not only does it have the perfect tone for a beach day, but it’ll also last minute after minute.
Feels Like The First Time by Foreigner (1977)
Take yourself back to when this love song first came out and just let the good times roll. This hit by Foreigner is known by pretty much everyone, and for good reason. It has a crisp sound and makes you feel like a fool in love. What more could you want when sitting around feeling good with friends? Everybody knows this classic, but you’ll feel like it’s the first time you’ve ever heard it because of how good it is. Turn up the volume and sing loud and proud in your Exotic Jungle Faux Skirtini One Piece.
Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley and The Wailers (1973)
How could we create an entire beach playlist without adding a hit by Bob Marley and The Wailers? It’s true, the reggae genre is associated with easy living beach life, and we’re glad it is. There’s nothing better to sit back and jam along to than the popular beat of Get Up, Stand Up.
Get Down Tonight by KC and the Sunshine Band (1975)
Get Down Tonight, released in ‘75, is one of those songs you know and love. Everyone around will recognize this hit and be ready to sing the words. Grab another drink and listen to this funky, disco-sounding jam. You’ll be instantly transported to the 70s while you listen to all the different instruments and the voices of this iconic band.
Island Girl by Elton John (1975)
Another Elton John favorite is Island Girl. Released in the middle of the 1970s, this song is bright, fun, and great for those sunny beach days. We also think this is the perfect road trip song. Can you blame us for wanting to add a song that has island in the title? Lose your thoughts and think only of the lyrics and beachy beat.
Heat Wave by Linda Ronstadt (1975)
We added Linda Ronstadt’s hit, Heat Wave to the list for a fun, bouncy option. This song is also perfect for the ride to the ocean. While listening, you’ll be able to smell the salty air and hear the waves crashing instantly. There’s nothing more summery than this classic. You won’t be sorry you added this one to your list as it really is a fun addition.
Beach Baby by First Class (1974)
First Class released this great hit in ‘74 and we think it’s the best for this list. It fits right in with its playful, springy beat and fun lyrics. It also doesn’t hurt to call a song Beach Baby. You’ll automatically want to add it to every summer playlist, ever. Dance along to this awesome tune while watching the waves roll in.
American Pie by Don Mclean (1971)
We’ll end this list of best beach songs with a super hit. This is one of those songs where everybody will drop what they’re doing and have a full-on karaoke session together. Another one of those “everybody knows this” songs, American Pie, in our opinion, is a huge classic.
It has everything you could want in a folk-rock/pop song with incredible lyrics that we’re sure you know every word to. Some beach songs are meant to make everyone give a collective nod as if to say they get it. There’s just something special about this one.
Beach Songs From Across the Decades
If you’re still looking for additional songs for your playlist, check out the following:
- No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem by Kenny Chesney: For those times when the sun goes downat the beach and you just want to listen to country music. “Some Beach”
- Island in the Sun by Weezer: An iconic beach song for your next getaway. While it might not come from the 70s, this alternative rock anthem is certainly a classic.
- Escape (The Pina Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes: You might have heard singer/songwriterRupert Holmes’ track in the Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy, and it’s as catchy as can be.
- Some Beach by Blake Shelton: Another country song that no beach trip is complete without, this Blake Shelton track fits right in on a beach country playlist. Tracks by Jake Owen and the Zac Brown Band pair well with this one.
- California Gurls by Katy Perry is a pop and hip-hop hybrid that has big beach vibes. It had an unforgettable music video that was one of the best of the 2010s.
(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding: This classic has good vibrations without a doubt. It’s a laid back song to enjoy while you’re knee-deep in the water — or literally sitting on the dock.
- Under the Boardwalk by the Drifters is a 60s tune that is just as timeless as the 70s classics on this list.
- Cake by the Ocean by DNCE is a modern and sensual beach pop song with a super danceable bassline.
- Wipe Out by the Surfaris is another classic surf song from the 60s that you’ll love.
If you want to jam all summer long, you need more than just Jack Johnson and Sheryl Crow. While these modern easygoing artists are a blast to listen to while you’re beachin’, we’re about the classics. So, throw on your twist-front one-piece and enjoy some 70s tunes while you’re at the beach this summer. You won’t regret it!