California - Phantom Planet
Yes, that song from The OC that undoubtedly will be stuck in your head from the moment you touch down in the Golden State... Just embrace it!
San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair) - Scott McKenzine
Written and released in June 1967 to promote the Monterey Pop Festival, this great song takes you takes right back in time to the Summer of Love.
California Soul - Marlena Shaw
This song is total Motown bliss and is exactly what it says on the tin, summing up the soul of California and the swinging ‘60s.
Surfin’ USA - The Beach Boys
You may be asking, why not California Girls, surely that’s the obvious choice? Well, to be honest, I find that song a bit creepy in the modern #MeToo era so have opted for Surfin’ USA which totally encapsulates to carefree surf culture of the golden coast.
All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
Pure, unadulterated fun, with the wind in your hair and sun beating down. Again, I think this just sums up the carefree attitude of the the Golden State. Make sure you play whilst on Santa Monica Boulevard for extra effect!
Born In The USA - Bruce Springsteen
Perfect for driving along those vast open roads with the windows down. ‘Nough said!
Life Is A Highway - Tom Cochrane
Again, turn it up, put your foot down and just drive! It’s cheesy but a classic for any road trip.
Save Me, San Francisco - Train
Another feel-good tune about the Golden City.
The Mowgli’s - San Francisco
A great, feel-good song which acts as a love letter to this amazing city.
Big Sur - The Thrills
Conjuring up the end of warm summer days and losing love across the Atlantic. Chilled and beautiful.
California Gurls - Katy Perry
An obvious one but a good'un.
American Dream - MKTO
Bittersweet song, full of nostalgia and about taking a moment to check in with your surroundings.
California Dreamin’ - The Mamas & Papas
No California playlist is complete without this classic. Check out the various covers too - from Sia to Meatloaf; Wilson Phillips to Davis Hasselhoff!
1973 - James Blunt
I know James Blunt divides people, but this is some a nostalgic, beautiful song!
Bright Side Of The Road - Van Morrison
This is a bit of a personal one as I just loved listening to this whilst we were navigating the windy Californian roads.
Proud Mary - Tina Turner
I defy you not to be smiling and dancing / air guitaring by the end of this song…
Are there more you'd recommend? Please comment in the section below!
For a suggested California road trip itinerary, please click here