watermelon margarita

Beach towel, check. Umbrella and sunscreen, check. Stack of magazines, check. Collapsible wine glasses, picnic basket, and environmentally friendly plates and napkins? Check, check, and check. Now add to your beach packing list these recipes, perfect for toting in the car and snacking (and sipping) on in hot, sunny weather by the sea. They’re portable, filling, and will improve even the most gorgeous summer beach day.

Seven Layer Dip

seven layer dip

Chowhound

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.

Crab Salad

crab salad sandwich

Chowhound

Seafood salad is totally on theme, but crab is a little more special than your standard tuna. For a more budget-friendly option, you could pack dilled salmon salad (or even fancy yet easy smoked salmon rillettes) instead. All of them are easy to whip up the night before, and perfect with crackers, flatbread, or potato chips. Get our Crab Salad recipe.

Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Vietnamese summer rolls with shrimp, vermicelli, and peanut dipping sauce

Chowhound

Another beach-appropriate main course that’s more unexpected yet just as fitting: shrimp-filled summer rolls with noodles, crunchy veggies, and peanut dipping sauce. They’re make-ahead, portable, easy to eat with your hands, and light yet satisfying. Get our Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce recipe.

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

strawberry basil lemonade

Chowhound

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 maybe some Pimm’s to doctor it up), and you’ll be the envy of the boardwalk. Get our Strawberry Basil Lemonade recipe.

Chilled Avocado Cucumber Kefir Soup

chilled avocado cucumber kefir soup

Lauren Volo

Soup may not be an obvious picnic food, but a chilled version that packs in green vegetables and probiotic-rich kefir is just the thing for a refreshing lunch break on the beach. Get the Chilled Avocado Cucumber Kefir Soup recipe.

Soft Pretzels

homemade soft pretzels

Chowhound

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.

Pineapple and Grape Kebabs

pineapple and grape fruit kebabs

Chowhound

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.

Summer Berry Salad

Summer Berry Salad

Chowhound

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.

Marinated Bocconcini

marinated bocconcini

Chowhound

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.

Mint and Lime Iced Tea

mint and lime iced tea

Chowhound

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.

Thai Snap Pea Salad

Thai snap pea chopped salad

Chowhound

Potato salad is a classic summer side, but at the beach, you probably want something lighter and fresher. So 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.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

vegan chocolate chip cookies

Chowhound

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 gives these a crisp snap and deeply caramelized sweetness. Get our Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe.

Watermelon Margarita

watermelon margarita

Chowhound

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.

Related Video: What You Must Know When Packing a Picnic

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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