Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credits: Far Out / Sophia Simoes / Tobias Weinhold)


Far Out 40: Travelling the West Coast of America in 40 songs


If you’ve ever attempted the now-iconic California road trip, you’ll be very aware of just how magical it is. Driving along the ocean, watching the sunsets, stopping at the beaches, cities, and sights along the way? It’s enough to make anyone want to drop everything and skip town for the golden coast permanently.

Whether you’re actually planning a West Coast road trip extravaganza or you simply want to plan it out in your head for whenever that summer rolls around when you can get to it, one of the most important questions for any road trip is what music to play as you make your way to your destination.

And let me tell you, there are plenty of songs about California. If you wanted to build a playlist out of the songs that explicitly mention California or the West Coast in their titles, you totally could (and there are plenty of them in here, don’t worry). However, that is far too easy and might not do a lot for your listening pleasure.

To road trip the West Coast in the best way, you need a playlist actually meant for listening and enjoying—for singing along with the wind in your hair. No matter the destination, there are so many great songs that you can kick off your playlist with to do California right. There are classics that go with the folky angle and new, dreamy bedroom pop to take us into the modern era—and just about everything in between. We have Dayglow, Arlie, and Smallpools. We have Lorde, Blood Orange, Tanlines, and Bloomsday. But we also have Mazzy Star and The Velvet Underground. You basically can’t go wrong.

Here are some of the best California road trip songs that you can blast while you cruise the golden coast.

Travelling the West Coast of America in 40 songs:

  • ‘Ooh La La’ – Faces
  • ‘Where’d All the Time Go’ – Dr. Dog
  • ‘Gold Day’ – Sparklehorse
  • ‘Hey Ya’ – Surfer Blood
  • ‘Shampoo Bottles’ – Peach Pit
  • ‘Preoccupied’ – Mac Demarco
  • ‘Going Gets Tough’ – The Growlers
  • ‘Avant Gardner’ – Courtney Barnett
  • ‘big fat mouth’ – Arlie
  • ‘Can I Call You Tonight?’ – Dayglow
  • ‘Passenger Side’ – Smallpools
  • ‘Meet Me In the Woods’ – Lord Huron
  • ‘This Year’ – The Mountain Goats
  • ‘Fight Test’ – The Flaming Lips
  • ‘Young Folks’ – Peter Bjorn and John
  • ‘California Sunrise’ – Dirty Gold
  • ‘Feeling Ok’ – Best Coast
  • ‘It Only Takes One Night’ – Dum Dum Girls
  • ‘Floating Vibes’ – Surfer Blood
  • ‘Young Adult Friction’ – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
  • ‘Ignore Facts’ – Computerwife
  • ‘Kiwi’ – Harry Styles
  • ‘Green Eyes’ – Waves
  • ‘Sweet Jane’ – The Velvet Underground
  • ‘It Never Rains In Southern California’ – Albert Hammond
  • ‘All the Young Dudes’ – Mott The Hoople
  • ‘Jenny’ – Spang Sisters
  • ‘California’ – Lorde
  • ‘West Coast’ – Coconut Records
  • ‘Car Crash in G Major’ – fanclubwallet
  • ‘Sedona’ – Houndmouth
  • ‘The Bottom of It’ – Fruit Bats
  • ‘I Saw You Close Your Eyes’ – Local Natives
  • ‘West Coast’ – Lana Del Rey
  • ‘I Want You to Love Me’ – Fiona Apple
  • ‘Fade Into You’ – Mazzy Star
  • ‘Pitch the Baby’ – Cocteau Twins
  • ‘All of Me’ – Tanlines
  • ‘Phase’ – Bloomsday
  • ‘Champagne Coast’ – Blood Orange