The 18 Best Songs About Florida

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Updated: June 3, 2023
© Andriy Blokhin/
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When you think of Florida, it’s hard not to imagine a land filled with sunshine, beaches, and alligators. But Florida is also home to bustling cities, vibrant culture, and a rich music scene. From Jimmy Buffett’s laid-back island tunes to Tom Petty’s rock anthems, the Sunshine State has influenced some of the most iconic songs in music history. So, if you’re ready to take a musical journey through the palm trees and ocean waves, then let’s look at the 18 best songs about Florida!

1. “St. Pete Florida Blues” – Ray Charles (1950s)

An incredible pioneer of soul music, Ray Charles etched his name into the music industry during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, jazz, blues, and gospel music into his iconic songs, along with the culture and nostalgia of his home state. However, this musical legend started out as a simple kid in Greenville, Florida, named R.C. Robinson. At only seven years old he lost his eyesight, and his mother decided to send him to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine where he could nurture his musical abilities. 

Later during his teenage years, Charles was living in a boarding house in Tampa Bay and fell head over heels for a girl. He wrote a love song about the experience, originally titled “I Found My Baby There”. He recorded the song sometime during the 1950s, and it became known as the “St. Pete Florida Blues”. 

Greenville is a Village in Madison County, Florida
While growing up in Greenville, Florida, Ray Charles learned how to use braille music.

©Jacob Boomsma/

2. “Mainline Florida” – George Terry and Eric Clapton (1974)

English musician Eric Clapton is by far one of the most influential guitarists in the realm of rock music and blues. His 1974 song, “Mainline Florida”, defies any traditional genre with its unique blend of pop rock, blues rock, hard rock, contemporary pop rock, and adult contemporary musical element.

However, it’s not just the genre-bending virtuosity that sets this song apart. Clapton’s iconic electrifying sounds are accompanied by a talk box, the Hammond organ, masterful guitar riffs, and gritty realism. The song transports listeners to life in Florida — highlighting both the passion and pain that come from surviving the harsh realities of life. 

3. “Margaritaville” – Jimmy Buffett (1977)

Another iconic song about Florida from the 1970s is “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett. Although he wrote much of it at a friend’s house in Texas, it was in Key West that he found the inspiration for this song. 

Taking its name from a margarita cocktail, “Margaritaville” is more than just a simple song — it’s a state of mind. The song reflects the tropical climate and easy-going attitude, relaxed lifestyle, and carefree spirit of Florida’s coastal regions. Buffett wrote many songs that reflect his love for the island culture in Florida. And he even named his resort chain Margaritaville after this iconic song!

Fresh cold tasty Margarita cocktail with lime and ice on a table at tropical white sandy beach
Jimmy Buffett fell in love with the laid-back, tropical Florida atmosphere and now lives in Palm Beach.


4. “Gainesville” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers (1998)

Tom Petty recorded many songs connecting back to his home state of Florida. In fact, it was while growing up in Gainesville that Petty developed and nurtured his love for music. Tragically, Petty died unexpectedly when he was 66 years old. However, even after death, his influence lived on, particularly in the posthumous release of the “An American Treasure” album. 

The album set featured four CDs and six vinyl records brimming with rare gems from Petty’s vast repertoire — including previously unheard tracks like “Gainesville”. This song had not been released after its recording in 1998 due to its breezy feel (which did not fit the album Petty was producing at the time). However, “Gainesville” demonstrated that Petty never forgot his roots in the Sunshine State. 

5. “The Florida Song” – Ricky Sylvia (2017)

Ricky Sylvia moved to Florida when he was 10 years old. He began performing hits from 1950s Rock N’ Roll when he was only 11 and has been belting it out ever since. In 2017, he released “The Florida Song”, a true testament to the Sunshine State and all the things that make it so appealing. Sylvia’s smooth voice and upbeat lyrics of this song craft an energizing vision of Florida’s friendly residents, beautiful warm weather, sunny beaches, and bustling nightlife.

Cocoa Beach pier in Cape Canaveral of Florida near Orlando
Almost all of Florida is somewhat close to the ocean, giving the state a subtropical and tropical climate.


6. “Move to Miami” – Enrique Iglesias (Feat. Pitbull) (2018)

If you’re looking for a catchy song about Florida for your next party, then you should definitely check out Enrique Iglesias’ “Move to Miami”, which features Miami native Pitbull. This song is a high-energy party anthem that is all about Miami and its vibrant culture and electrifying nightlife. The song is filled with lots of Latin-inspired rhythms that will make you want to dance until dawn, with pulsing synths, a catchy beat, and playful lyrics. The song was released in May 2018 and was one of the top five U.S. Dance Club Songs that summer. 

7. “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine (1985)

Another song about Florida with electrifying beats and a Miami party vibe is “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Written by the group’s drummer, Enrique Garcia, this electrifying song in the key of E minor seamlessly fuses an infectious beat with the soulful Cuban roots that are at the foundation of Miami’s cultural landscape. 

“Conga” was an instant hit — it put the Miami Sound Machine on the map and made Gloria Estefan a household name. The song climbed the charts in several different countries, including the United States. It is considered the ultimate anthem and signature tune for Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine.


Miami Beach, Florida, USA on Ocean Drive at sunset.
Miami has a rich and colorful culture. It is the second-largest U.S. city with a Spanish-speaking majority.

©Sean Pavone/

8. “Deep Down in Florida” – Muddy Waters (1977)

The iconic blues artist Muddy Waters started his career back in the 1940s. In the 1970s, he experienced a resurgence. It was during this time that he won his first Grammy Award in 1972, and then went on to win five more over the next eight years. Muddy Waters inspired and influenced numerous other musicians, including Eric Clapton, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Angus Young from AC/DC. Several wrote their own songs inspired by his lyrics. And the Rolling Stones even named their band name after his 1950 song, “Rollin’ Stone”. 

Muddy Waters released “Deep Down in Florida” in 1977. It is an iconic bluesy song with a rich and soulful sound. The song celebrates the highs and lows of living in Florida, with raw energy and authenticity that make it a timeless classic.

9. “Floridays” – Jimmy Buffett (1986)

A major fan of the Sunshine State, Jimmy Buffett has released many songs about Florida over the years. In fact, some argue that there are more Jimmy Buffett fans in Florida than anywhere else in the entire world!

Buffett’s song “Floridays” is a poetic anthem to life in Florida, conjuring sunny images of “better days” with “Blue skies and ultra-violet rays”. If you close your eyes while listening to this song, it’s very easy to imagine that you’re basking in the warm glow of the sun while swaying in a hammock. With a gentle tempo, undemanding melody, and acoustic guitars, the song has a laid-back and breezy feeling. It seems to embody the essence of an island attitude and the natural beauty of Florida.

Cape Florida Lighthouse, Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida, USA
Florida is known all across the world for its sunny skies, warm climate, beach resorts.

©Anna Abramskaya/

10. “Key Largo” – Bertie Higgins (1981)

Born in Tarpon Springs, Florida, Bertie Higgins often makes allusions to the Sunshine State throughout his various songs. However, probably the best example of this is “Key Largo”, a soft rock song with a strong tropical feel. 

The song’s nostalgic lyrics feature a speaker who is trying to remind his lover about all the good times they had. He compares their own love story to the iconic on-screen love affair of Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. The song borrows iconic lines from the film Casablanca, as the singer implores their lover to “say you will / play it again”. He even throws in the classic line, “Here’s looking at you kid” for good measure. He sings, “Missing all the things we did / we can find it once again, I know / Just like they did in Key Largo”. 

11. “Kokomo” – The Beach Boys (1988)

Another classic and indisputably iconic song about the Florida Keys is “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys. Released in 1988, critics often judge “Kokomo” rather harshly, but the public couldn’t get enough of it. The song became an instant number-one hit all across the country and was even nominated for a Grammy Award!

“Kokomo” is a classic tune that perfectly blends tropical vibes with classic rock. Think steel drums, bongos, and maracas mixed with traditional rock instruments like bass, guitars, and drums. The smooth vocals and romantic lyrics immediately capture your attention. The song transports listeners to the Florida Keys, which it paints as a heaven-on-earth paradise.

Sunrise on the beach and ocean waves on a tropical sea
Although many of the places mentioned in “Kokomo” are real, Kokomo itself is a fictional destination.

©Valentin Valkov/

12. “Florida Blues” – Ricky Skaggs (1975)

Country music legend Ricky Skaggs is the master of neotraditional country and bluegrass music. Throughout his career, Skaggs has continually awed and astonished audiences and critics alike. He has received tons of awards, including the prestigious National Medal of Arts, as well as several CMA, ACM, and Grammy Awards.

This incredibly talented musician uses many different and sometimes unconventional instruments in his songs. He commonly uses the banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and mandocastor (a type of electric mandolin). His first album, That’s It!, features the instrumental song, “Florida Blues”. This song is a lively bluegrass piece with lots of emotion and energy — much like Florida itself! 

13. “The State of Florida” – Less Than Jake (2008)

Hailing from the city of Gainesville, the American ska punk band Less Than Jake pays homage to their home state with their song “The State of Florida”. The song was released on their seventh album, GNV FLA (an abbreviation for the band’s hometown), which focused on some of the darker sides of Florida. 

The gritty lyrics of “The State of Florida” speak of the real estate boom that brought in “transplants and the foreign tourists”, but now the area is “Disintegrating”. And amid the glamorous facade of the vacation homes, they are just “latchkey kids from divorces”, and Florida is “turning into more than I can take / too much, too soon, too little, too late”. 

Downtown Jacksonville, Florida
Although pretty, Florida faces many environmental issues, such as climate change and carbon pollution.

©ESB Professional/

14. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” was very much influenced by the band’s younger years in Florida. In fact, the song’s story was inspired by many real-life folks from the same neighborhood as some of the members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

For example, the store in the song was based on a real place called Claude’s Midway Grocery. The name of the musician in the song, Curtis Loew, was borrowed from a famous theater called Loew Theater. In addition, Shorty Medlocke — the grandfather of Rickey Medlocke, the band’s drummer — influenced the song as well.

15. “Seminole Wind” by John Anderson (1992)

Another native Floridian, country singer John Anderson has been successfully entertaining listeners for more than 40 years. His 1992 song “Seminole Wind” was initially hidden away as a little bonus track on the B side of the single, “Straight Tequila Night”. However, Anderson later released “Seminole Wind” as its own single, and the song was a total hit! 

The song starts off with a gentle piano and a fiddle, then slowly builds momentum until it bursts to life with a country rock rhythm. Anderson wrote it in the key of E Dorian, which gives the song a very unique feeling and sound. The lyrics talk about how people are using and destroying nature just to make money. In the second verse, Anderson talks about how the Florida Everglades were drained, and how the Seminole War Chief Osceola fought for his people. “Seminole Wind” is a sad song, but it reminds us to take care of our environment and the people who call it home.

Everglades National Park Florida
Over 50% of the Everglade’s original area has been destroyed and turned into urban or agricultural areas.


16. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard (2003)

Another band from Florida, Yellow Card released their own song about Florida in 2003. The year before the band had moved to California, and the song was a musical tribute to their memories and the place they had left behind. The lyrics of “Ocean Avenue” describe the band’s memories in Florida. The speaker reminisces about how he and a friend used to sit and talk on Ocean Avenue and walk along the beach on the corner of Cherry Street. Now, however, the speaker has grown up and left their childhood home.

While the melancholic lyrics have a somber tone, this is juxtaposed with the uplifting and energetic overall vibe of the music itself. With hard-hitting percussion and gritty electric guitar riffs, “Ocean Avenue” has become a timeless classic for many fans who continue to rock out to it today.

17. “Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season” – Kenny Chesney and Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett wrote the song “Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season” back in the 1970s, but it didn’t make it onto the album he was working on at the time. In fact, it would be a few decades before “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” was recorded. In the end, Kenny Chesney (rather than Jimmy Buffett) ended up recording this song about Florida. Chesney collaborated with Buffett and released the song on his 2018 album Songs for the Saints. The album was inspired in part by the destruction of Hurricane Irma. The devastating storm wrecked many areas in the Caribbean Islands, including Kenny’s own home on St. John’s.

“Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season” is a plaintive and introspective song. The lyrics reflect on the destructive power of hurricanes and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of diversity. Gentle acoustic guitar, soothing piano, and understated vocals help create an atmosphere of contemplation and reflection in the song. 

A flooded street after catastrophic Hurricane Irma hit Fort Lauderdale, FL.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage and destruction across the Florida Keys.


18. “Florida Man” – Blue Öyster Cult

Rock band Blue Öyster Cult released a rather intriguing song called “Florida Man” on their 2020 album, The Symbol Remains. The song pays homage to one of the most infamous residents of Florida: the Florida Man. The Florida man began popping up on quirky internet memes back in 2013 when there was apparently an unusual trend of men doing crazy and weird things in the Sunshine State. People all over the U.S. began sharing links to news stories about these strange events. The headlines always started with “Florida man…” followed by whatever crazy thing the Florida Man had done. 

Of course, each of these wild events was caused by a different person, but the headlines created a unique image of a single “Florida Man” that appeared to be causing chaos all over the state. Blue Öyster Cult’s song mentions some of these unusual happenings, like how one guy “Found Elvis in a loaf of bread”, or how another man drove through a plate of glass because “Alice’s caterpillar made him do it.” But, as the song warns, “Don’t you laugh, it could be you… Any fragile soul can be a Florida Man”. 

The Featured Image

Seaside Beach, Florida.
Seaside Beach, Florida.
© Andriy Blokhin/

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About the Author

As a professional writer and editor for many years, I have dedicated my work to the fascinating exploration of anthrozoology and human-animal relationships. I hold a master's degree with experience in humanities, human-animal studies, ecocriticism, wildlife conservation, and animal behavior. My research focuses on the intricate relationships and dynamics between humans and the natural world, with the goal of re-evaluating and imagining new possibilities amid the uncertainty and challenges of the Anthropocene.

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