Beach picnic ideas
If you’ve got endless beach picnics planned for this summer, you’ll need a cooler filled with fantastic food every time you head out. Below you’ll find easy-to-make, packable foods that will keep you satiated while you lounge on the beach and splash in the waves.
32+ Beach Picnic Food Ideas for Kids and Adults
Are you headed to the beach this summer? Some fun in the sun and waves is relaxing, but you sure can work up an appetite while you’re there. Instead of packing up your chairs and umbrellas to go to a restaurant or food stand, why don’t you make a few of these Beach Picnic Food Ideas to pack for a delicious lunch instead?
You’ll get to enjoy the beach longer and satisfy your food cravings all at the same time.
Beach Picnic Food Ideas
We’ve got over 30 yummy beach picnic food ideas below that we think you’re going to love. From salty snack mixes to yummy sandwiches to sweet treats, you’ll find everything you need for a memorable meal by the seaside.
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Picnic Lunch Ideas for the Beach
Healthy Fruit Wraps from naturalbeachliving.com: Kids and adults alike will love these yummy and healthy fruit wraps filled with a sweetened cream cheese spread, blueberries, kiwi, and sliced strawberries. You could add a drizzle of honey as well to amp up the sweetness of the fruits.
Buffalo Chicken Wraps from easyfamilyrecipeideas.com: Get all the flavor of chicken wings in a portable, much less messy wrap. Make this picnic lunch idea even easier by purchasing a rotisserie chicken and shredding it rather than cooking chicken breasts yourself. With bottled buffalo wing sauce, onions, tomatoes, and ranch dressing, these wraps come together in just a few minutes.
Turkey Cranberry Sliders from easyfamilyrecipeideas.com: Enjoy a bit of Thanksgiving even in the middle of summer with these easy peasy turkey sliders made with deli turkey, jellied cranberry sauce, and yummy mozzarella cheese. You’ll love every bite of these tasty sandwiches while you’re lounging on the beach.
Picnic Charcuterie Board from aussiehomecook.com: This is the ultimate beach picnic food idea! Add loads of meats, cheeses, crackers, pretzels, nuts, and more into a portable tackle box (or “snackle box”) for a charcuterie board that can go anywhere.
Main Dishes for a Beach Picnic
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans from barleyandsage.com: Ditch ordinary sandwiches and make this gourmet version instead. Hearty chicken salad made with crunchy grapes and pecans is piled high on bakery-fresh bread. Don’t you want to take a big bite right now just looking at that picture?
Shrimp Wanton Cup Appetizers from ourwabisabilife.com: When you’re at the beach, seafood definitely needs to be on the picnic menu. These bite-sized shrimp appetizers are perfect. They’re light, easy to make, and tasty whether they’re served hot or cold.
Chicken Bread from bakecellence.com: If you’ve never tried this before, you’re in for a treat. This dish pairs chicken with fluffy bread, and it’s easier to put together than you think. Slice it up and put it in Tupperware before you head to the beach so you don’t have to fuss with slicing and serving it there.
Cucumber Cream Cheese Sandwich Rolls by christinascucina.com: Want some lighter fare for your beach lunch? Try these sandwich rolls made with fresh cucumbers, cream cheese, and lavash bread. It holds up better than regular bread in the cooler.
Green Goddess Wraps from strengthandsunshine.com: Pack some green goodness into a yummy wrap filled with broccoli, hearts of palm, and lima bean spread. These wraps are perfect for your vegan beach pals, but they’re good enough for everyone to eat.
The 23 Best Foods To Bring To The Beach That Will Last All Day In Your Cooler
Fact: Food eaten at the beach just tastes so much better.
By Mackenzie Filson Updated: May 03, 2023 10:00 AM EST
PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: MAKINZE GORE
Having a picnic at the beach is the ultimate way to dine al fresco. We don’t know quite why this is true, but food eaten near the ocean always just tastes so much better? It’s easy to see how the salt, sand, and sun from a day at the beach can make you work up quite the appetite. But you shouldn’t have to compromise on what you bring along in the cooler, or lose your prime spot to head to the snack bar. No need to sweat, though; these 23 packable recipes for your beach cooler will keep you well-fed all day long (and go perfectly well with a cheeky beach cocktail too!).
Packing food for the beach can be a little tricky, though. After all, you’ve got a bunch of different factors to consider with beach foods like the heat, cooler space, whether you actually feel like packing utensils, and sand, which has the amazing ability to end up, well, everywhere. Wraps are our go-to sandwiches for packing for the beach since they are so easy to eat, without getting sand where you don’t want it. We also love freezing Prosecco grapes for a cheeky afternoon treat, mixing up a non-mayo based pasta salad, and packing plenty of everything snack mix. Packing them all securely in your favorite sturdy food containers (rather than plastic bags) will help keep your snacks safe and sound.
We are never too far from anything sweet, and your beach day should be no different. Brownies and Rice Krispie treats are great packable desserts, since there’s no risk of melting and they don’t need to be chilled. Whatever you choose, we have tons of easy cooler hacks to help you keep you (and your beach foods) cool all day long.
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PHOTO: ANDREW BUI; FOOD STYLING: MAKINZE GORE
These pinwheels are easy to assemble, look great on a platter, and are ideal for an Easter party. To make them, you’ll layer flour tortillas with ranch-flavored mayonnaise, sliced cheese, deli meats, and lettuce. All that’s left to do is roll them up tightly and slice. See, simple!
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Greek Orzo Salad
PHOTO: RACHEL VANNI; FOOD STYLING: SIMON ANDREWS
Move aside plain ol’ pasta salad—orzo is here to shake things up. While we love it in comforting, warming dishes (we’re looking at you, creamy Tuscan orz0), it also makes for a great salad base. This easy, fresh recipe is filled with bright Mediterranean flavors and mix-ins, but feel free to swap in and out your faves.
- Watermelon Limeade
- Vegan Chickpea and Orzo Salad
- Spicy Chex Mix
- Shrimp Salad from Ina Garten
- Charred Corn Salad
- Cacio e Pepe Potato Chips
- Tandoori Chicken Wraps
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
- Beach Picnic FAQs
- 8 Beach Picnic Food Ideas Recipe
I’d be the biggest beach lover if it weren’t for three things: sun, water, and heat. I can’t stand them.
It’s not that I don’t like sunshine. I do. But I like it over there…away from me. I prefer to be in the shade, under an awning, a tree, or a beach umbrella. The ocean contains living creatures that consider me lunch. And heat? Well, does anyone like drowning in their own sweat?
The One and I couldn’t be more different. He adores the beach with its ocean and, especially, sun.
When we first got together, he was a human sundial. On weekends in Barryville, NY, he’d slather on baby oil, lie in a lounge chair on the deck, and move with the sun from the east to west. Me? I was in the kitchen painting cabinets, sewing gingham table napkins, and baking cakes in my first feverish wave of domestic bliss.
Years ago, I learned to bring supplies when we decamped for the shore because we’d stay for millennia. While he lay there in the sun moaning a bit too loudly with pleasure, I was wrapped in dark gauzy fabrics sporting sunglasses and a floppy hat as if I were in mourning for my life.
By day’s end, has was a giant hot-pink Coney Island hot dog, me a landlocked great white Moby Dick.
One thing we could always agree upon were provisions: a colossal cooler of drinks, sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
Being the only son of a carpenter father and a saintly mother, I possess the same ability as that other guy before me; I, too, could feed the whole Hamptons–from South Hampton to Amagansett–out of that one cooler.
Below are some of our best beach picnic ideas: cooling fruit ades, vegan salads, carbalicious snacks, Ina’s famous shrimp salad, wraps, desserts, and more.
Oh, and that old tale of waiting 30 minutes to swim after eating ? That’s a bunch of horse dookie, according to the Mayo Clinic.