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Top 10 California Beach Songs

Updated on June 23, 2011

California Beach Songs

Great California beach songs are as bright and mellow as sunshine itself.

The perfect beach song should be as easy to enjoy as a beach blanket or a clear, coastal sky. It should be simple and catchy, with plenty of soothing repetition, just like the pounding of the surf.

The perfect California beach song should also sum up the California state of mind.

California is sunny and westward facing, immersed in the joys of the moment and always unprepared for the cold, cold fog that inevitably rolls in and shrouds the sunset. But not to worry. The right California beach melody will have the state ready to surf and shimmy again in the warm rays and high waves of tomorrow.

Here they are: 10 perfect California beach songs.

California beach / E. A. Wright 2005
California beach / E. A. Wright 2005

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1) Californ-i-a

"California Calling," Beach Boys

  • The beach: Find the ultimate wave out west in 'Frisco or Malibu.
  • From the song: "Now there's a touch of Californ-i-a in everyone who's ever been this way."

2) Heartbreaking waves

"California," The Kooks

  • The beach: It's what you'll miss most if you leave.
  • From the song: "California, say that you love me... I miss the ocean when I go to sleep. Oh, man, it's gonna break my heart."

3) Shimmy!

"California Sun," The Ramones

  • The beach: It's where to shimmy out on the coast.
  • From the song: "We're out there having fun in the warm California sun."

4) Bright lights

"California," Atherton

  • The beach: Every beach along the way from San Francisco to Hollywood.
  • From the song: "Come back home to California, the lights they shine so bright, shine for you tonight, so come on baby, come home to California."

5) Gotta get a nice tan

"California," Bag of Toys

  • The beach: One with "fresh waves, hot babes," tan lines and parking fines.
  • From the song: "California's got the nudist beach, the freak show for the world to see, 
Haight Street, bare feet, Democrats (they own this state), divorce rate (sounds great, unless you've got yourself a mate), rocks stars, cool bars... Come once, you're never far from California, California."

6) A good, adopted home

"California," Lenny Kravitz

  • The beach: Venice Beach, with a surfer girl.
  • From the song: "I was converted to the other side from the day I'd gotten there... I was young, I had no cares when I moved to California."

7) Oooh, California!

"California," The Simpletones

  • The beach: One with some "really wild" surf.
  • From the song: "They say chicks are really nice in California. And the cars they go so fast In California... I wish that I could stay there all my life."

8) Ain't like anywhere else

"California," Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

  • The beach: It's sundown, with red skies...
  • From the song: "California's been good to me, hope it don't fall into the sea. Sometimes you got to trust yourself, it ain't like anywhere else."

9) C-A-L-I...

"California," The Weekend

  • The beach: If you're swimming to California, you'd have to end the journey on a beach, right?
  • From the song: "I'm gonna cry myself a river so I can swim back to my sweet California... Anyone could tell you that I got it bad."

10) Surf's up!

"Surfin' Safari," The Beach Boys

  • The beach: Malibu, Laguna or Huntington.
  • From the song: "Lets go surfing now, everybody's learning how, come on and safari with me..."

Beach in Orange County, California / E. A. Wright 2008
Beach in Orange County, California / E. A. Wright 2008


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    • Tygher41 profile image

      Megan Carroll 

      6 years ago from Boynton Beach, FL

      I live on the coast of Florida and listen to all of these songs, too! California dreamin' I guess, ha!

    • profile image

      Sabrina Messenger 

      9 years ago

      Totally awesome page here. I lived in So. Cal from '79 to '88 and was happy there ... most of the time. Oregon's been "home" now for over 20 years, but I gotta admit there are times I'd love to move back to California but I know the reality vs the fantasy. So I make do with the occasional vacation there...usually to Malibu! I wrote a song about the California dream vs reality called "If You're Going to California." It's at my youtube page if you're interested.

    • dohn121 profile image


      10 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      One of these days, you're going to make me move out there, E.A. Wright! Thank you for sharing with me all of these wonderful songs. There certainly is a reason why so many songs were written of and about California. Thanks.


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