Easy, Breezy Beach Meal Ideas Perfect For a Stress-Free Vacation
Southerners love a trip to the beach like a grandpa loves naps. Something about spending lazy days walking along the shore or lounging in a chair—toes in the sand and whatnot—just hits differently than any other type of vacation. Other than packing the essentials like pimiento cheese and Wickles, it always bodes well to have a low-key meal plan that means less stress and more sun. We're talking portable pasta salads, hand-held sandwiches, easy seafood recipes (shrimp tacos, anyone?), and other fresh recipes to make your beach trip feel footloose and fancy-free. Here are 27 super delicious beach meal ideas to make all summer and beyond. We love a beach trip year-round, after all.
Creamy Avocado Dip
Recipe: Creamy Avocado Dip
Like a creamier take on guacamole, this dip is the perfect snack to replenish tired beachgoers after a long day.
Recipe: Shrimp-and-Corn Succotash
This dish basically screams summertime, from the fresh corn succotash to the herby mayo mixture that coats shrimp.
Maque Choux with Sausage
Recipe: Maque Choux with Sausage
This classic Louisiana dish makes the most of all of the summer veggies like corn, okra, and tomatoes. Sausage is just an extra perk.
Lemon Vinaigrette Pasta Salad with Field Peas
This freshest-ever pasta salad is gearing up to be your go-to side with any meal. A lemony vinaigrette tops it off in the most refreshing way.
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
If we can put it in the slow cooker and forget about any worries while having a stroll on the beach, we're happy. These carnitas make taco night oh-so easy.
Kardea Brown's Okra Soup with Shrimp
This Gullah-inspired family recipe features the most mouthwatering broth you'll ever taste. Shrimp shells are a gold mine for flavor.
Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Recipe: Creamy Broccoli Slaw
This makes the most dependable sidekick for any casual lunch or dinner during the summertime. Pair with grilled fish or a classic turkey sandwich—your choice.
Sheet Pan Fajitas
Recipe: Sheet Pan Fajitas
We've transformed more time-intensive fajitas into a family-friendly recipe you can pop in the oven and have ready in just 20 minutes.
Buttermilk Alfredo Pasta with Chicken and Spinach
Fact of the matter: Everyone loves this easy one-pot supper (made with rotisserie chicken for ultimate ease), adults and kids alike. Whip it up on any hungry but lazy night.
Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip
Recipe: Hot Crab-and-Artichoke Dip
There is always a place for creamy crab dip on the snack spread during the summer—or any season, really. Beach trip notwithstanding.
Fried Chicken Sliders with Pimiento Cheese
If these don't become an instant family favorite, we're not sure what tree they're barking up. It calls for store-bought chicken tenders, which means you can assemble them in seconds.
Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad
Recipe: Bacon-Ranch Pasta Salad
Bacon and ranch always make a dynamic flavor duo—including in this hearty pasta salad that is begging to be paired with your burgers.
Recipe: Steak-and-Potato Kebabs
Fire up the grill to make these perfect kebab skewers. All you need is a side salad and crusty bread to complete the meal.
Southern Fried Corn
Recipe: Southern Fried Corn
Introducing the newest all-star side dish to make year-round. It's skillet-fried and packed with buttery flavor.
Egg Salad Sandwiches
Recipe: Egg Salad Sandwiches
We couldn't forget this classic sandwich spread you can make ahead and snack on all week.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
A marriage of two of our most favorite portable things: tuna salad and pasta salad. This will cover your lunch bases all week long.
Slow-Cooked Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches
A little brown sugar, Coca-Cola, and bourbon (optional) are the secrets to this slow-cooked chicken that can be served over cornbread, like seen here, or on sandwich buns whenever hunger strikes.
Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Recipe: Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Summer tomatoes have never looked so delicious. Serve on a slice of bread for the kiddos who haven't gotten on the 'mater train yet.
Recipe: Creole Burger
We upped the ante on everyone's basic burger by adding the bold flavors of Creole seasonings (hello, Zatarain's) and a tangy sauce.
Recipe: Shrimp-Tomatillo Tacos
Tasty shrimp tacos in just 20 minutes? Yeah, that'll do.
Recipe: Shrimp-Okra-and-Sausage Kebabs
This recipe is basically jambalaya on grilled skewers, which we never knew we needed—but totally do.
Easy Creamy Chicken Spaghetti
Recipe: Easy Creamy Chicken Spaghetti
It's hard to beat this family-friendly casserole that you can make ahead to take on vacation. It makes your life way easier from the get-go.
Potato Salad with Dijon and Scallions
Classic potato salad gets a major upgrade with fingerling potatoes, tangy Dijon mustard, and scallions.
Sweet-and-Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl
Recipe: Sweet-and-Spicy Salmon Rice Bowl
Just a half hour is all that's needed to turn out this hearty one-bowl meal. Salmon is topped in a super delicious honey-Sriracha sauce.
Farro, Heirloom Tomato, and Peach Salad
Tomatoes and peaches make up this side salad that's perfect to serve with any meal. Farro makes it hearty enough to keep everyone full and happy.
Greek Grilled Chicken Pita
Recipe: Greek Grilled Chicken Pita
These hand-held pitas are the ideal travel lunch for days spent on the beach. Throw in a bag of Zapp's potato chips for good measure.
Deviled Crab Melts
Recipe: Deviled Crab Melts
Melty, toasty, and wonderfully crabby (get it?), these melts are a seafood supper just waiting to happen.