My “Happy Place” Playlist

Last summer, when I told my colleague that I was going to the beach, the look on her face was one of shock. “But it’s so far away!” she lamented. DC is about 3 hours away from the coast, which to a native San Diegan might as well be a transatlantic flight to Portugal. For me, a Nebraska native, 3 hours was almost too good to be true. Growing up landlocked, any trip to the shore felt like I was on vacation because that’s the only time I got to see it. And now I can take weekend trips and even day trips to the beach anytime I need it. I love that my happy place is within reach and that I can take off and just go when I want to. All I need is a tank of gas.

Two years ago, when I was living in Nebraska, I spent a summer missing the beach. The best thing I had at my disposal was a pool with a pool chair– not complaining, but something about hearing waves crash and sizzle against the shore puts me in my best state of mind. Calm, present, content. So, I put together a playlist called “My Happy Place” with songs that remind me of sunny days with toes in the sand, a beer in my hand, and frolicking in the salty surf with the feeling of sun on my skin. Some of these tunes are chill and relaxing but still have a peppy island vibe, some are all-out beach party hits. Ahh, I can practically smell the funnel cakes and malt vinegar now.

Enjoy! And be sure to let me know what some of your favorite beach/poolside hits are.

My Happy Place Playlist

  • For starters, pretty much anything on Kenny Chesney’s “Be As You Are” album. My favorites:
    • “Somewhere in the Sun”
    • “Soul of a Sailor”
    • “Guitars and Tiki Bars”
  • Other Kenny Chesney hits:
    • “Live Those Songs”
    • “Key’s in the Conch Shell”
    • “Beer in Mexico”
    • “I Go Back”
    • “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”
    • “Anything But Mine”
    • “When the Sun Goes Down”
    • “Pirate Flag”
  • Zac Brown Band
    • “Island Song”
    • “Knee Deep” (feat. Jimmy Buffet)
    • “Castaway”
  • The entire “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” soundtrack (trust me)
  • “Ocean Avenue” Yellowcard
  • “Island Feeling” Clear Conscience
  • “Cake by the Ocean” DNCE
  • “Lights Out” Santigold
  • “Island in the Sun” Weezer
  • “12:59 Lullaby” Bedouin Soundclash
  • “I Like It” Enrique Iglesias
  • “Paradise” Ana Serrano van der Laan
  • Anything by Bob Marley (obviously!), but especially:
    • “Jammin'”
    • “One Love/People Get Ready”
    • “Stir It Up”
    • “Could You Be Loved”
  • “Cruel Summer” Blestenation
  • “You’ve Got the Style” Athlete
  • “Wildfire” John Mayer
  • “Middle of Nowhere” Hot Hot Heat
  • “Sleeping With a Friend” Neon Trees
  • “She’s Mine” Brett Dennan
  • “Darlin’ Do Not Fear” Brett Dennan
  • “Lost” The Mary Onettes
  • “Forever” Matt Hires
  • “St. Croix” Family of the Year
  • “Smoke Detector” Rilo Kiley
  • “Harvest Moon” Neil Young (and Poolside has a good remix)
  • “Love Is Strange” Lady Saw and Shaggy
  • “If I Ever Feel Better” Phoenix
  • “Soak Up the Sun” Sheryl Crow
  • “Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel” Tavares
  • Basically any country song about having a good time, my favorites:
    • “Yeah” Joe Nichols
    • “It’s 5:00 Somewhere” Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett
    • “Let’s Ride” Easton Corbin
    • “Summer Thing” Troy Olsen
  • Anything from the Beach Boys
  • “Dancing on the Shore” Tropical Flavor Steel Drum Band
  • Other classics, like:
    • “Shambala” Three Dog Night
    • “Under the Boardwalk” The Drifters
    • “In the Summertime” Mungo Jerry
    • “Copacabana” Barry Manilow
    • “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” Rubert Holmes

My favorite beach photos from over the years:

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