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I wish I was one of those go-with-the-flow girls who just throws on a bathing suit and heads to the beach. I could literally never. Instead you’ll catch me packing 2 coolers (one for snacks, another for drinks), 4 different kinds of sunscreen for different body parts and times of day, at least beach chairs, 5 towels, a pail and shovel (I’m a child), and probably at least 4 books to choose from throughout the day. ICYMI: I’m not a light packer.
But, I really do think that how you pack your snack cooler says a lot about you. Do you have something salty? Sweet? Are there enough substantial items to get your through lunch time? Will you be staying on the beach for happy hour? Or, are you just completely unprepared in all aspects of life? Well, lucky for you I’ve spent about 23 weekends a year since I was 11 packing snacks for the beach and not to brag, but I’m pretty sure my cooler is near perfect.
Start With a Good Cooler
Let’s start with the vessel… You need a great cooler. Here are three solid options that’ll keep everything as cool as a cucumber.
If you’re going to spend the big bucks and invest, Yeti is the way to go. We got this for my father-in-law a few years back and if I’m being honest, it was really a gift for us. We back this full with our drinks for the day and they’re ice cold after a hot AF day in the sun.
A cooler that both your stomach and wallet would be proud of. While it doesn’t have the cold-power that a Yeti has, this backpack cooler is budge-friendly AND has so many pockets for fun snacks. On top of all that, it’s easier to carry than weight of being the most prepared person on the beach, plus it has a fun attached bottle opener incase you do stay for happy hour.
This cooler is the epitome of “small but mighty” with room for 36 cans, 4 cup holders, an easy open top, and as if it couldn’t get better, it also has wheels to make getting on the beach a hell of a lot easier. I’ve been seeing this thing blow up on TikTok so I’d suggest getting one before they’re gone.
Now For The Main Event
Just like showing up to a sporting event, let’s get down to what we’re really here for — the snacks. I’m about to let you in on a huge secret so, like, don’t fuck this up. There’s something I’ve coined during all of my trial (and errors) of packing snacks for the beach called “the scared combo.” And it’s exactly what you think it is… an elite combination of things kind of like Salt Fat Acid Heat, but like, better obviously. Here it is: Fruity, Crunchy, Satiating, and Sweet. As long as you pack one from each category, you’re golden. Here are some of my faves you can totally copy:
Tell me a better beach snack than frozen grapes rolled in strawberry jello powder. I’ll wait. If you’ve never heard of this, get ready for your mind to be completely blown. Essentially, wash your grapes, throw them in a ziploc, pour in a packet of strawberry jello, and then freeze. Voila… an ideal hot girl summer treat.
If you’ve never heard of Tajin (pronounced ta-heen), now you have. It’s a legit magical Mexican seasoning that was invented by Horacio Fernandez and inspired by his grandmother’s cooking. Add the salty, spicy, and sour seasoning to pretty much any fruit, but my favorite is mango. But, don’t sleep on cucumber too!
You can’t go wrong with a classic. Cut up some watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, and maybe even some pineapple and throw it into a contain like this for a ~chic~ charcuterie vibe.
Specifically the salt and vinegar ones. Maybe it’s the fact that the flavor kind of reminds me of the sea, or maybe it’s the fact that I just like to singe my tastebuds with extreme acidity. Either way, an excellent choice.
I don’t think it’s a beach day without goldfish. And yes, the colored ones are necessary because, well, nostalgia. Pro tip: Get the individually packed ones so you’re you don’t soak the entire bag with sea water when you inevitably grab a handful the minute you get out of the ocean
If you crave a true crunch, these little morsels are the best. Plus, the ingredient list is legitimately just corn, salt, and sunflower oil so it basically like eating a salad.
Shop it: Love, Corn Snacks, $3.49, Target
Idk what it is about hummus, but it’s scary reliable when it comes to curing hunger cravings. The protein in chickpeas combined with salty pretzels is a win for a long beach day.
Tell me you went to the beach in Jersey, without telling me you when to the beach in Jersey. As if the hoagie needs any introduction. That said, a cold-cut sandwich really just hits different on the beach in the summertime.
Say what you want about protein bars, but they do keep you full and feel more like a half-meal than a snack. It’ll keep the hanger at bay while you get your tan on.
Nothing quite like something sweet after you’ve swallowed what felt like a gallon of salt water when getting pummeled by a wave. Keep these tucked in the ice of your cooler and it’s the end-of-the-day treat you never knew you needed.
Your raisin infested trail mix (sorry to you raisin lovers) could never. I would give a first born child to eat this trail mix on a daily basis, but because I don’t need to inflict a weekly sugar coma I wait for special occasions to eat it — like a beach day.
Okay, so maybe these are better suited by the pool where you have easy access to an actual freezer but, come on, how could I NOT include them.