Planning a beach picnic involves more than throwing on a bathing suit and flip-flops, packing towels, and filling a cooler with deli sandwiches and adult beverages. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with going that route, but to make your beach picnic shine, we’ve put together this checklist for supplies and a special menu featuring delicious seafood salad sandwiches and caprese kebabs.

Beach picnic checklist:

a photo of beach picnic with friends at a beach picnic
  • Picnic basket or market tote
  • Large beach blanket and towels
  • Cooler filled with ice, bottled water, soda, beer, perhaps a hard seltzer or two, and wine
  • Portable speaker (make sure it’s charged!) and beach tune playlists
  • Beach umbrella and/or tent
  • Beach chairs
  • A variety of finger foods, such as cheesefruitcrackersjamsdips/spreads, honey, baguettes, nuts, olives, cookiessnack mix, bruschetta
  • Plates, napkins, glasses, cutlery, a few cutting boards, platters, and small bowls
  • Volleyball and net, paddle ball, football, Frisbee
  • Beach hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray
  • Portable grill and charcoal, grilling tools
  • Hand wipes, trash bags, recycling bags, paper towels, hand sanitizer, first aid kit

Swim hard, eat light

I love supplementing a beach picnic with lighter fare, including wine and cheese, charcuteriefresh fruit and vegetablesnuts, crackers, dips and spreads, and a baguette, all served on platters and boards. It’s an easy way to feed a group of people chilling at the beach. Plus, no cooking is required, which means more time for swimming, relaxing, and having fun.

Two of my favorite recipes to make for a beach picnic are seafood salad sandwiches and caprese kebabs. They’re both super delicious and easy to make (and pack!), and they look great displayed on a platter.

Seafood salad sandwiches

The seafood salad is made with wild artisan blue shrimp sautéed in Greek extra virgin olive oil and mixed with fresh lump crabmeat, and then tossed in a light, creamy dressing. It’s served on Wolferman’s 1910 Original English Muffin Bread; the thickness of each slice makes this the perfect bread for sandwiches that have to hold up in a picnic basket or cooler at the beach.

Seafood Salad Sandwiches

Servings 8 sandwiches



  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and season with seasoned salt and pepper to taste. Cook shrimp until bright pink and opaque, about 2 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add lemon juice. Continue cooking for another minute or two, remove from heat, and set aside to cool.
  • Once cooled, coarsely chop the cooked shrimp into pieces and place in a large mixing bowl with the lump crabmeat.
  • Add the scallions, celery, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, seasoned salt, and additional black pepper to taste. Stir together to combine.
  • Place a lettuce leaf on the bottom of the muffin bread and top with a half cup of seafood salad and another slice of bread. Slice sandwiches in half and serve on a platter.
Author: Kristen Hess
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Caprese kebabs

These caprese kebabs are delicious and easy to prepare, and make a light and healthy snack, too. The main ingredients are fresh basil leaves, bocconcini (fresh mozzarella balls), and cherry tomatoes, which are threaded onto small wood skewers, drizzled with balsamic glaze and extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to finish.

Caprese Kebabs

Servings 12 kebabs


  • 12 appetizer wooden skewers
  • 24 cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 24 fresh mozzarella cheese balls
  • 24 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Geoffrey Zakarian Greek Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper


  • On each of the appetizer skewers, alternately thread tomatoes, mozzarella cheese balls, and fresh basil leaves.
  • Place skewers on a platter and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic glaze. Season with sea salt and pepper to taste.
Author: Kristin Hess
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean

Kristen Hess is a freelance food stylist, photographer, content creator, and recipe developer for many high-profile food and beverage brands, restaurants, and celebrity chefs. She's also the author of The Artful Gourmet food blog.

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