11 Picnic Recipes for the Ultimate Day at the Beach

Beach towel, check. Umbrella and sunscreen, check. Stack of magazines, check. Now add to your beach packing list these 11 recipes, perfect for toting in the car and snacking on in hot, sunny weather. They’re portable, filling, and will improve even the most gorgeous beach day.

1. Seven Layer Dip

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This classic party dip – layered with cheese, guacamole, beans, and plenty of spice -- makes a perfect accompaniment for raw vegetables and pita chips. You can prep it the night before, and let’s face it, it’s a lot more fun than hummus. Get our Seven Layer Dip recipe.

2. Chicken Quesadillas

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These cheesy, oozing quesadillas are the ideal beach food: easy to pick up and just a little indulgent. Use prepared rotisserie chicken to make them even quicker to whip up the night before. Get our Basic Chicken Quesadillas recipe.

3. Strawberry Basil Lemonade

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Take your hydration up a notch with this sophisticated drink. Pink and refreshing, it uses fresh strawberries and basil in a lemonade base. Pack extra ice, and you’ll be the envy of the boardwalk. Get our Strawberry Basil Lemonade recipe.

4. Soft Pretzels

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Skip the snack bar line! Bring your own chewy, buttery soft pretzels – they’re surprisingly simple to make (and seriously fun to shape). Don’t forget the spicy mustard. Get our Soft Pretzels recipe.

5. Pineapple and Grape Kebabs

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Food on a stick says summertime to us. Thread pieces of juicy pineapple and sweet red grapes on a stick and take your fruit salad to go. If you want to get fancy, add some fresh mint or a drizzle of simple syrup. Get our Pineapple and Grape Kebabs recipe.

6. Summer Berry Salad

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A classic combination of fresh strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries helps beat the heat. Douse it all in a sweet orange syrup and chopped fresh mint. Use the ripest fruit here – with so few ingredients, the sweetness will shine. Get our Summer Berry Salad recipe.

7. Marinated Bocconcini

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Cold, creamy balls of mozzarella are marinated in garlic, thyme, parsley, and olive oil. A few tablespoons of capers give a wonderful briny acidity to the cheese. You’ll be snacking on them all afternoon into the evening. Get our Marinated Bocconcini recipe.

8. Mint and Lime Iced Tea

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Your new summer drink has arrived. A minty, refreshing riff on sweet tea with a bright dose of citrus, this is the perfect libation to keep you cool and happy all day in the sun. Get our Mint and Lime Iced Tea recipe.

9. Thai Snap Pea Salad

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Hit the kitchen with your farmers’ market haul. This salad combines raw snap peas, cucumbers, and carrots in a spicy Thai dressing. The kicker? Roasted, salted peanuts add crunch and make this an addictive summertime side. Get our Thai Snap Pea Salad recipe.

10. Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

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All that sun and sand can have you craving some sugar. Pack a bag of these vegan chocolate chip cookies and prepare to be the most popular person on the beach. Margarine and molasses give them a crisp snap and deeply caramelized sweetness. Get our Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

11. Watermelon Margarita

Long beach days stretch into warm beach evenings, and those call for booze. Our watermelon margarita hits all the high points: fresh fruit, tangy citrus, and sweet peach liquor. Make a big batch ahead and raise a glass to summer. Get our Watermelon Margarita recipe.

Posie Harwood is a New York City-based writer and photographer. She grew up on a farm and likes raw milk, warm bread with butter, and plenty of fresh air. Follow her on Instagram, and her blog 600 Acres.

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