10 Genius Ways to Feed a Weekend Crowd at the Beach
1. Set up a Hearty Breakfast Taco Buffet
More: Delicious Brunch Ideas
Go big with our DIY taco spread—big enough to feed the whole crew and to please picky palates and adventurous eaters alike. Start with griddled flour tortillas and creamy scrambled eggs, and then let guests customize with spicy chorizo, jalapeños, and other classic Tex-Mex components like homefries, avocado slices, hot sauce, bacon, and black beans.
2. Craft a Build-Your-Own-Bloody Bar
More: Brunch Cockail Recipes
At the beach, everyone is up with the sun, which means happy hour comes just a little earlier in the day. Make the morning Mary-er with a house-made mix, infused vodkas, and garnishes galore. Get our ultimate guide to the best Bloody Mary bar ever, right here. Not a Bloody fan? We’ve got your alt morning beverage up next.
3. Make It A Michelada
Put together Mexico's best—and easiest—beer cocktail in three effortless steps:
1. Crack open a can of Mexican-style lager (such as Tecate or 21st Amendment's El Sully), and take a pull.
2. Add 1 tsp. each of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Maggi Seasoning (or soy sauce), and the juice from half a lime.
3. Rub the rim of the can with a lime wedge, and sprinkle with kosher salt and chili powder. Cheers!
4. Craft a Midday Sandwich Buffet …
The beach is calling, and the kids are anxious to get back outside. Don't even think about entertaining a dozen different lunch requests! Instead, stock up on an arsenal of savory sandwich fixings and encourage everyone to stack 'em high.
Veggies: Romaine, tomatoes, onion, fresh herb mix (dill, parsley, basil), slaw
Cheese: Provolone, sharp Cheddar, pepper Jack, pimiento cheese, feta
Spreads: Mayo, grainy mustard, hot honey, sriracha, pepper jelly, peanut butter
Meat: Smoked turkey, black forest ham, mortadella, roast beef, tuna salad
Crunch: Potato chips, bacon, hot cherry peppers, pickles, giardiniera
Bread: Pullman loaf, Kaiser rolls, sourdough, rye, ciabatta
5. … and Don’t Forget Our Sammie Cheat Sheet
Our signature sandwich combinations layer bright flavors, toothsome textures, and creative fillings.
Pictured here, the Moby-Dick: Kaiser roll + roast beef + pepper jelly + slaw + barbecue potato chips
6. Pack a Can-Do Cooler
Even on public beaches with liberal open-container laws, glass remains off-limits. Thankfully, everyone from craft brewers to wine-cooler revivalists has jumped on the aluminum-can bandwagon, meaning you can pack a cooler guaranteed to be the life of the party.
And here’s your stock-a-perfect-cooler math:
5 (750-mL) bottles or 15 (250-mL) cans of wine per 10 adults
1 case or 4 six-packs of beer per 10 adults
1 can of water per alcoholic beverage
7. Set up a Sunny Hangout Spot
You're on vacation—the last thing you want to do is spend all your time lingering in the kitchen. Instead, take the party outdoors with string lights, some good tunes, and a few well-placed Adirondack chairs.
Our Favorite Grill-and-Chill Gear:
1. Icon 401 Kamado Grill, $1,099
2. highwood Classic Westport Adirondack Chair in Whitewash, $244; Enter code COASTAL for 15% off through Labor Day
3. Buldano Turkish Peshtemal Fouta Bath Towel in Yellow, $35
5. Serena & Lily Seagrass Wrapped Glasses, $30 for a set of four
7. B&O Play Beolit 15 Speaker in Natural, $599
8. Terrain Stargazer Globe Lights, $34
Welcome to open-air bliss!
8. Fire up a Grill-It-All Dinner
Cater to a crowd by loading up your dinner table with grilled cuts from land and sea—elevated by one of our three versatile marinades.
Meat: beef, pork, poultry 10 minutes per ounce
Firm Fish: swordfish, salmon steaks 15 minutes max
Delicate Seafood: shrimp, snapper 5 minutes max
9. Don't Forget the Fast & Fiery Sides
Cherry tomatoes? Check. Corn? Absolutely. Everything benefits from a turn on the grill
Recipe: Minty Grilled Summer Squash
10. Finish with a Sweet Float
Wind down with this winning formula: fizzy soda plus big scoops of ice cream (and a little booze for the grown-ups!).
Recipe: Campari Orange Cream Float
Recipe: Chocolate–Black Cherry Float
Recipe: Pistachio-Elderflower Float
Recipe: Coffee-Bourbon-Cola Fizz
Know the Answer to “What Can I Bring?"
Here's how some of our favorite coastal hosts respond to guests who offer to help:
"A bottle of your favorite bubbly. We'll steal off and split it while we fix our lipstick!"
—Kelley Lilien, designer and cocktail book author
"Dividing up meal-planning duties gives weekend menus more personality. I normally cook each dinner, so guests can come in from the beach and relax with a cocktail. I love it when friends bring their favorite versions of lunch foods like pimiento cheese and chicken salad."
—Rebecca Lang, cookbook author
"It's always nice when guests bring essentials like ice or sparkling water, but my friends have great taste in bourbon and cigars. So that's what I ask them to bring when I'm having people over."
—Michael Cimarusti, chef/owner of Providence and Connie & Ted's
"Wine and tulips. Always! I prefer little to no gifts—unless it's something we can sit around and enjoy together."
—Renee Erickson, chef/owner of The Walrus and the Carpenter
"Something locally made and loved, like a fish dip, a pound of pecans, or a freshly made pie. As a host, I always appreciate something that represents the town we're in, or the vacation we're on."
—Lucy Buffett, cookbook author and chef/owner of Lulu's
"Bring yourself and your dancing shoes. I host so often that my guests know they are coming over to be exactly that—guests—which means they have zero responsibility except to dance until the wee hours."
—Calder Clark, event designer and planner
Say Thank You With …
A Bottle of Wine
"Because the host deserves a toast. Pair the bottle with a handsome monogrammed leather wine tote from Mark & Graham; $39.
Because You Want the Memories to Grow. Send a trio of succulents in a ready-to-display planter from Lula's Garden, which lets you embellish gift boxes with a message; from $35.
Because Some Wine-infused Selfies are Worth Saving
Commemorate the evening with a photo gift from Framebridge, which will print and custom frame pictures straight from your smartphone; From $39.
And then, don't forget the note!
Three simple steps to a heartfelt, handwritten note:
Start with thanks.
Get right to the point with the obvious, but always appropriate, "Thank you for _______________."
Add an anecdote.
Follow that up with a favorite memory from the gathering.
Finish with future plans.
Close out the note with a suggestion for when you'd like to see the host next.