Days spent on the sand are on the horizon, but your packing list isn’t complete without the best summer songs to set the mood.  

The thing is, beach songs can sound like anything you want. Ukuleles and steel drums might come to mind first, but those aren’t the only sounds that invoke seaside fun. Summertime songs can be driven by synth sounds, gospel piano, classic ’80s songs, and even EDM beats. Similarly, the lyrics can be varied—a beach song can be carefree, dance-y, wistful, or just plain catchy. Whether you’re spending your seaside time with a significant other or a group of friends or by yourself, the right soundtrack will transform a summer getaway from a quick weekend to forever paradise. 

If you’re looking for some reggae, a bit of salsa from your favorite Latinx artists, chart-toppers, throwback jams, or some lo-fi beats to swim to, this summer playlist includes some of the best songs for your trip. (Landlocked this summer? Let this mix mentally take you to the shore.) 

Hop on the aux and enjoy the escape. Here’s the best summer songs 2022 has to offer.

1. “If It’s Lovin’ That You Want” by Rihanna 

With reggae undertones and an accompanying island-themed music video, this Rihanna throwback is perfect for a beach getaway.

Favorite lyric: “I won’t push too hard or break your heart, ’cause my love’s sincere.”

2. “Vacation” by Dirty Heads

Put this one on your summer party songs playlist as you finally use those vacation days that collected dust over the past year.