There's nothing we look forward to more through the long winter months than the prospect of a nice, relaxing (and preferably tropical) vacation. And luckily, there's no shortage of great country songs to take along with you, no matter your vacation destination.
From songs about fun at the beach, to tunes that talk about relaxing on the water with some good friends, most country vacation songs seem to have a common theme: drinking. Because let's face it, if you were in the mood for a nice cup of coffee, they'd let you have that at work.
Get the vacation fun started early with our list of the Top 10 Country Vacation Songs.
When he's not writing some of the most serious, all-time classic songs of the last several decades of country music, Jackson likes to unwind and kick back just as much as the next man. This No. 1 hit from 2008 describes the perfect vacation scenario: "Shot of tequila, beer on tap / Sweet southern woman set on my lap." What's not to like about a song that references both Hank Williams Jr. and Brooks & Dunn?
Bentley knows how to have a good time. The second single from his fourth album is all about letting off steam at a club, and trying to hit on some attractive girls in the process: "And it's hey now, here we go / DJ don't you play nothing slow / Keep those girls out on the floor / Gotta make 'em wanna come back for more." The fun track, written by Bentley and Jim Beavers, was a huge hit in 2009, becoming the singer's seventh No. 1 single and earning a spot in the Top 10 Country Vacation Songs.
Probably nobody in country music is more laid-back than Chesney. The singer has practically turned the beach bum lifestyle into a cottage industry with his numerous hits on the subject. But none of them is quite as great as "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems," which he released in 2003. The tune is a clever play on the old "No shoes, no shirt, no service" signs, describing an idyllic way of life: "The sun and the sand and a drink in my hand with no bottom / And no shoes, no shirt, and no problems."
Shelton scored a big career single with this clever tune from 2004. Written by Rory Lee Feek (of Joey + Rory) and Paul Overstreet, the lyrics describe the everyday frustrations of modern life in the city, while the narrator pictures himself far, far away from his tensions in a perfect vacation paradise: "There's a big umbrella casting shade over an empty chair / Palm trees are growing and warm breeze is blowing, I picture myself right there / On some beach, somewhere."
Paisley had some different ideas about fun with "Time Well Wasted." The title song of his fourth studio album was never released as a single, but that doesn't stop it from placing as one of the Top 10 Country Vacation Songs. Not about alcohol as the title might imply, the song reminds us that even the simplest things, like fishing with your dad or just kicking back and watching movies with your partner, can make life a vacation without leaving home: "No, I didn't get a thing done / But I sure soaked up every minute of the memory we were makin' / And I count it all as time well wasted."
Sometimes genius lies in recognizing the obvious. Rock scored one of the biggest hits of his career with "All Summer Long," which juxtaposes elements of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" with parts of Warron Zevon's "Werewolves of London." Though the track is borrowed, the lyric reminiscing about youthful summer fun is pure Rock: "And we were trying different things, we were smoking funny things / Making love out by the lake to our favorite song / Sipping whiskey out the bottle, not thinking 'bout tomorrow / Singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all summer long."
Turns out you can cause a controversy just by going on vacation. This hit from 2009 wound up being released to country radio in an edited form that replaced the line, "I got my toes in the water, a-- in the sand" with "toes in the water, toes in the sand," and also edited out the line "roll a big fat one." But the track's good-time vacation vibe wasn't hurt by the changes; it still reached No. 1 in the country charts -- despite Brown's stated dislike of the changes made to the single.
Vassar knows exactly how to enjoy a great vacation day -- with plenty of beer, of course. The fourth single from his first solo album extols the joys of simple summer pleasures: "Got the sails up, iced down a cool ambition / Just to relax and let the six-pack summer roll." That sentiment sure caught on with country fans, who took the song all the way to No. 9 in 2001.
Little Big Town scored the breakthrough hit of a lifetime with "Pontoon," which dominated the airwaves in 2012. The song's unique production, along with the group's exceptional four-part harmonies, made it stand out from anything else on the radio. But it is the feel-good lyrics that make it one of the Top 10 Country Vacation Songs: "Makin' waves and catchin' rays up on the roof / Jumpin' out the back, don't act like you don't want to / Party in slow motion / Out here in the open, mmmmm-motorboatin'."
Half of the other songs on this list would have never been written if not for "Margaritaville." Buffett's career-defining hit from 1977 scored across all genres. The song's universal lament of drinking away a failed romance while on vacation has propelled it to a spot as one of the most recognizable popular songs of the past several decades, while Buffet has ridden its success to open a chain of restaurants and bars. Buffett is routinely name-checked in other chillaxed country songs, earning him the undeniable top spot in the Top 10 Country Vacation Songs.