Pacific Coast Highway – The 15 BEST TOP SONGS & PLAYLIST for Your Road Trip

Pacific Coast Highway Soundtrack - Best Songs

The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most scenic roads in the world. If you’re planning a road trip along this iconic route, then you know that music is a crucial part of any adventure. Whether you’re cruising through the winding roads or enjoying a beach sunset, the right playlist can make all the difference.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best songs and playlist for the Pacific Coast Highway road trip. From classic rock to indie hits, we’ve got you covered with a mix of old and new tunes that will make your journey unforgettable. So buckle up, roll down the windows, and let’s hit the road!

1. California Sunrise – Dirty Gold

California Sunrise - one of the best song on my playlist - PCH

I’ll start with a lesser-known track! “California Sunrise” is a dreamy, indie-pop track by the band Dirty Gold. Released in 2013, the song captures the essence of a California morning, with its sun-kissed melodies and shimmering guitars. The lyrics evoke a sense of nostalgia and yearning for a simpler time, as the singer muses about the beauty of the Golden State. With its infectious chorus and hazy production, “California Sunrise” is a perfect addition to any road trip playlist along the Pacific Coast Highway.

2. Saturday Sun – Vance Joy

Pacific Coast Highway Songs - Road Trip - Saturday Sun by Vance Joy

We are sticking with lesser-known Pacific Coast Highway songs for now. Another great track for your summer West Coast drive is “Saturday Sun” by Vance Joy. “Saturday Sun” is an upbeat indie-folk track by Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy. Released in 2018 as a single from his second studio album “Nation of Two,” the song’s infectious melody and sing-along chorus make it a perfect addition to any summer road trip playlist. The lyrics tell a story of escaping to a carefree weekend getaway with a loved one and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. With its joyful energy and feel-good vibes, “Saturday Sun” is sure to put a smile on your face and make your West Coast drive even more memorable.

3. California Dreamin’ – Amason

California Dreamin by Amason - one of the best Pacific Coast Highway Songs

“California Dreamin'” is a cover of the classic hit by The Mamas & The Papas, performed by Swedish indie-pop band Amason. Released in 2015, the cover is a fresh take on the timeless song, with Amason’s signature dreamy vocals and atmospheric soundscapes. The band stays true to the original’s melancholic lyrics, which express a longing for the warmth and sunshine of California while being stuck in cold, wintry New York. The cover has a slower tempo than the original, adding a contemplative, introspective feel to the track. “California Dreamin'” by Amason is a beautiful rendition that captures the essence of the original while bringing a new perspective to the beloved classic.

4. Malibu – Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus - Malibu. Perfect song on my playlist - Pacific Coast Highway Songs

When you find yourself in Malibu during your Pacific Coast Highway road trip, be sure to play “Malibu” by Miley Cyrus. “Malibu” is a pop ballad by American singer Miley Cyrus, released in 2017. The song was inspired by Cyrus’ relationship with her then-fiancé, actor Liam Hemsworth, and their shared experiences in Malibu, California. The lyrics express a sense of newfound love and freedom, as Cyrus sings about the joys of being in Malibu and the healing power of the ocean. The song’s mellow, acoustic sound and Cyrus’ emotional vocals make it a perfect track for a relaxing drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. “Malibu” is a heartfelt tribute to a beautiful location and a special moment in Cyrus’ personal life.

5. California Gurls – Katy Perry, Snoop Dogg

Famous song on my playlist by Katy Perry. Must have on your playlist California Highway.

I simply can’t leave out this mainstream classic from my top Pacific Coast Highway Songs playlist! It’s none other than “California Gurls” by Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg. “California Gurls” is an upbeat pop song by American singer Katy Perry, featuring rapper Snoop Dogg. Released in 2010, the song is a playful ode to the laid-back California lifestyle and the beauty of its women. The lyrics mention several famous California locations, including Venice Beach, Palm Springs, and San Francisco. The catchy chorus and playful melody make “California Gurls” a perfect summer anthem, and its music video, featuring Perry and Snoop Dogg in a candy-colored, beach-themed fantasy world, became an instant hit. “California Gurls” is a fun and infectious song that captures the spirit of the Golden State and is sure to get you in the mood for a sun-soaked drive down the Pacific Coast Highway.

6. Pure Shores – All Saints

Gert ready for the music on your Pacific Coast Highway trip.

Another classic that makes it onto my playlist of Pacific Coast Highway songs is “Pure Shores” by All Saints. This song was even featured in the popular video game, Grand Theft Auto. “Pure Shores” is a pop song by British girl group All Saints, released in 2000. The song was written specifically for the soundtrack of the movie “The Beach,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and was later included in the group’s album “Saints & Sinners.” The dreamy, electronic sound and ethereal vocals of “Pure Shores” create a serene and relaxing atmosphere, making it a perfect track for a coastal drive. The lyrics express a desire for escape to a place of peace and tranquility, where one can leave behind the worries of the world. “Pure Shores” is a beautiful and calming song that captures the beauty of nature and the need for inner peace.

7. California Soul – Marlena Shaw

Classic song California Soul by Marlena Shaw on my PCH playlist along the West Coast

Let’s continue with another classic song for our playlist! It’s none other than “California Soul” by Marlena Shaw. “California Soul” is a soul and funk song by American singer Marlena Shaw, released in 1969. The song was written by Ashford & Simpson and features lively horns and a catchy beat, making it a perfect tune for a road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway. The lyrics celebrate the carefree and laid-back California lifestyle, with Shaw’s soulful vocals expressing the joy of living in the Golden State. “California Soul” has been covered and sampled by many artists over the years, and its upbeat, feel-good vibe continues to be a favorite among music lovers of all ages. This classic tune is sure to put you in a good Pacific Coast Highway mood and get you grooving along your coastal drive.

8. I’m Always Here – Jimi Jamison

Baywatch is a great song from a TV series. Enjoy your Pacific Coast Highway PLaylist. Top best songs!

Have you ever watched Baywatch? If so, you’ll recognize this next song, which was featured on this iconic series! I’m talking about “I’m Always Here” by Jimi Jamison. “I’m Always Here” is a rock song by American musician Jimi Jamison, released in 1993. The song is best known as the theme song for the popular television series, Baywatch. The upbeat and energetic melody of “I’m Always Here” perfectly captures the lively and carefree atmosphere of the show, making it a great addition to any summer road trip playlist. The song’s lyrics express the idea of being a reliable and steadfast friend, always there to offer support and encouragement. “I’m Always Here” has become a cult classic and a favorite among fans of the show, as well as those who appreciate its catchy tune and uplifting message. If you’re looking for a song to boost your Pacific Coast Highway mood and get you singing along, “I’m Always Here” is the perfect choice.

9. Hotel California – Eagles

Hotel California - a famous song about California.

“Hotel California” is a song by the American rock band Eagles. Released in 1977, it quickly became one of their most famous and beloved songs. The song features a haunting melody, intricate guitar work, and thought-provoking lyrics that have inspired countless interpretations and debates. It tells the story of a weary traveler who stumbles upon a strange and alluring hotel, only to become trapped in a surreal and nightmarish world. Despite its mysterious and often ominous tone, “Hotel California” remains a beloved classic and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Eagles.

10. California Blue – Roy Orbison

Old but still an amazing song on my list - Best song for a Pacific Coast Highway trip.

Your Pacific Coast Highway experience would not be complete without the iconic song ‘California Blue’ by Roy Orbison. The song, released in 1989, perfectly captures the spirit and essence of California with its lush instrumentation and Orbison’s haunting vocals. It has become a beloved classic, often played on road trips and as a tribute to the beauty of the Pacific Coast Highway.

11. San Francisco – Scott McKenzie

San Francisco - Scott McKenzie, play this song when you will be in San Francisco , PCH.

One of the most famous songs associated with the Pacific Coast Highway and the city of San Francisco is “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” by Scott McKenzie. The song, released in 1967, was written to promote the Monterey Pop Festival and quickly became an anthem for the counterculture movement of the time. Its mellow folk-rock sound and catchy chorus make it a perfect addition to any Pacific Coast Highway road trip playlist. The song captures the spirit of San Francisco with its lyrics about peace, love, and the city’s famous landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

12. Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

Pacific Coast Highway best songs and playlist.

“Walking on Sunshine” is an upbeat pop song by Katrina and the Waves, released in 1985. Its catchy melody and feel-good lyrics make it a great addition to any Pacific Coast Highway road trip playlist. The song’s upbeat tempo and lively energy capture the feeling of driving along the scenic coastal highway with the sun shining and the wind in your hair. “Walking on Sunshine” has become a classic party anthem and remains a beloved hit to this day. Whether you’re cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway or simply need a pick-me-up, this song is sure to bring a smile to your face and get your toes tapping.

13. My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit

Get ready with this ultimate Pacific Coast Highway playlist.

“My Silver Lining” by First Aid Kit is a folk-pop song that was released in 2014. While it may not be an obvious choice for a Pacific Coast Highway playlist, it is a great song with beautiful harmonies, thoughtful lyrics, and a haunting melody that can make for a unique addition to a road trip playlist. The song’s introspective nature and acoustic instrumentation make it well-suited for a more relaxed and reflective part of the drive. While other more upbeat and energetic songs might be more commonly associated with a road trip, “My Silver Lining” offers a different perspective that can help you appreciate the journey as much as the destination.

14. Big Sur – Jack Johnson

Music - California Highway One.

“Big Sur” is a song by singer-songwriter Jack Johnson that was released in 2013. The song is named after the coastal region of California that is known for its rugged beauty and scenic drives along the Pacific Ocean. The song features Johnson’s signature laid-back acoustic sound and captures the essence of Big Sur’s peaceful and idyllic nature. Its simple yet evocative lyrics, coupled with Johnson’s mellow vocals, create a sense of calm and serenity that is well-suited for a relaxing drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. “Big Sur” has become a fan favorite and remains a popular addition to road trip playlists that showcase the beauty of the California coastline.

15. Hollywood Nights –  Bob Seger

Last song on my playlist with songs perfect for Pacific Coast Highway trip.

“Hollywood Nights” is a song by American rock artist Bob Seger, released in 1978. The song tells the story of a young man’s wild and adventurous night in Hollywood, filled with parties, music, and romance. The upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a perfect addition to any road trip playlist, including one for the Pacific Coast Highway. The song’s energetic rock sound and vivid storytelling capture the excitement and allure of Hollywood’s nightlife, making it an anthem for anyone looking for adventure and a good time. “Hollywood Nights” has become a classic hit and remains a popular song that embodies the spirit of rock and roll.

If you’re also curious about the top attractions along the Pacific Coast Highway, feel free to check out my latest blog post: Pacific Coast Highway – The 20 BEST STOPS Along the West Coast – Must-see places!

Pacific Coast Highway Playlist:

Soundtrack - Pacific Coast Highway Playlist

👍 Find out more:

Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide - 202 Best Stops

Discover the best stops along the PCH in my travel guide, “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops”, which is available on Amazon. This is the ultimate travel guide and pocket reference for anyone wishing to experience the adventure and wonder of THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY! MUST-HAVE for all West Coast travelers. Visit 202 places on the PCH with “Scan QR and go” for easy navigation.


Mark Watson is a California-based member of a Los Angeles motorcycle club and an avid traveler. He has completed seven full journeys along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway on his Harley-Davidson and is passionate about promoting this historic drive to others. Mark has also explored the Alaska Highway and Route 66, and has authored three bestselling travel guides on Amazon: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places,” “Alaska Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops,” and “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops.”

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