Each Vacation Rental Home comes equipped with a kitchen capable of whipping up some amazing picnic meals!
The arrival of Spring weather on the Outer Banks seems to send everyone racing to the nearest beach, park, or patch of grass, with a gingham blanket and basket in hand. A picnic menu requires skill: the food must be prepared ahead of time and packed correctly so as to not make things soggy, it needs to also be robust enough to survive the journey, and delicious at room temperature.
All of the Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates Vacation Rental Homes on the Outer Banks have kitchens where you can create your own fabulous picnic so much easier than trying to navigate a tiny hotel room with just a dorm fridge and microwave.
From the quick and easy to the more involved glamorous feast here are some great ideas for meals and some scenic suggestions for that perfect OBX picnic location!
Enjoy quick picnic foods perfect for grabbing on the go and heading to the beach.
When it comes to the most basic of beach picnics the theme is often quick, easy, and cold. Check out these suggestions for simple beach picnic foods to pack.
Fruit: When sandy fingertips are involved, whole fruits are preferable to cut up fruits. Apples, peaches, and bananas (which can become soggy in the sun, so keep them in the cooler) are all good options. A tub of watermelon or cantaloupe slices, cut from the rind, is also perfect for the beach. Almost all of these foods are also hydrating, which is a plus!
Nuts: It’s a perfect way to get some protein in a rush. If you think you can eat this without crunching on sand (struggle!), make a trail mix of dried fruit and nuts.
Chips or Crackers: If you need to bring some snacks, crackers and chips are a nice choice. If you prefer whole-grain crackers, they would be less salty and healthier for you.
Wraps: The star of the show down on the beach. A sandwich filling like tuna or chicken salad is more enjoyable to eat when it’s wrapped in anything other than two pieces of bread, whether it’s a tortilla or your favorite gluten-free plant. Kids may also eat a wrap with one hand, leaving their other hand free to keep their sippy cup upright. Wraps are a lot easier to make. Protect the bottom half with a cloth napkin or even a paper towel to keep the sand out.
Drinks: These can be whatever you want as long as they are cold and refreshing and fit in the cooler. But please do not bring glass to the beach, that is a huge NO-NO!
*** Please remember to use recyclable silverware, paper straws, and other items that are beach and marine life friendly while on your beach picnic. Also, it is important to note that all OBX beaches are carry-in carry-out so remember to pack a trash receptacle in your picnic basket to carry any trash off the beach. Leaving your best beach picnic place as clean as you found it.***
Choose one or all of these suggested beach spots to have your best beach picnic:
- Jockey’s Ridge State Park. The park is known for its towering sand dunes, which stand between 80 and 100 feet tall and appear to belong in a desert region rather than a coastal beach town.
- Nags Head Town Park. A scenic 1-mile hike through sand dunes and maritime forests leads to a remote, quiet sound side beach at the nearby Nags Head Woods Preserve nature trail.
- The beach right outside your door. If you are lucky enough to secure one of our oceanfront vacation rentals in the Outer Banks then just throw open your door and head down to the beach where you are staying!
Sturdier dishes and sides are perfect for the in-between or impromptu picnic spots all over The Outer Banks.
Unlike a quick beach picnic the inland outdoor dining experience can be a little more creative and fun. Dishes that can be prepared together for a bit more grown up and sophisticated feel are perfect for these types of Outer Banks picnics.
Sandwiches with a little flair can start to come into play with these picnic levels. Think panini’s and cubanos wrapped tight to stay warm. Triple decker club sandwiches stacked high with all the toppings come to mind as main attractions for these basket dinners.
You can also think of pairings such as chicken on the bone whether it is fried, grilled, or baked all three taste great with some rice and beans and salad. Maybe even some fish tacos with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob would be a delicious treat. These foods can still be eaten with your hands if you wanted or since you will have put a little more thought into this meal and you had plenty of room in your vacation rental homes kitchen they can be placed on some reusable plates and eaten with utensils.
Foods on a skewer can be added to these types of picnics. They are still in the wheelhouse of convenience but also lend themselves to the diversity of multiple flavor profiles all in one meal. Kabobs of steak and peppers or chicken and tomatoes come to mind.
Finding one of these fun sites or Outer Banks parks to dine outside along the coast this Spring will make your vacation feel exciting and eventful!
- Lighthouses. Although you will not be allowed to actually eat at the top of the lighthouse you could voyage up to the top and come back down to work up your appetite and then have your picnic nearby with the stunning view of the lighthouse as your backdrop.
- David Paul Pruitt Jr. Multiuse Path and Park. It’s a family-friendly community playground with play equipment for both young and older children inside a fenced-in area and picnic tables near the parking area on the outside. Perfect for that mid-range meal with friends or a special someone.
- Dowdy Park. There is a fitness trail for adults to work up a healthy desire to eat. For everyone else, there are picnic pavilions, covered tables, and grills.
Fancy portable meals that are easy to unpack but still feel glamorous like crab legs and charcuterie boards are a great fit for places that set the mood just right.
If you really want to create a posh picnic that will make memories to last a lifetime it starts in the prep work.
The key to really going all out during this process is planning. It’s also crucial to resist the sack-lunch mindset and instead opt for dishes that need more participation and collaboration. Choose recipes that you don’t make very often or that use higher-end ingredients for the most enjoyable picnic. This can be difficult to envision, so here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Meal ideas like crab legs, lobster, oysters, and filet mignon come to mind as the culinary experience unfolds. These are decadent but also easy to eat in the picnic setting.
Something else to include is a charcuterie board. Not only are these beautiful to look at but you can get as fancy and visually creative as you want. You can add nuts, cheeses, fruits, meats, jams, honey, crackers or bread, and more. All of those ingredients travel well and make customizing your picnic flavorful and fun.
This is also where you can break out the higher-end drinks, a good bottle of wine or champagne. Maybe a pre-mixed themed beverage that can be made ahead of time and brought in a large thermos or tumbler.
(FUN IDEA: you both take turns trying to name the drink based on some of the memories already made on this vacation, like the “Lighthouse Lemonade” etc…)
While you are back in the kitchen putting this basket of goodies together put some thought into the presentation as well. Use real silverware, bring the good china, use the coziest blanket. This is not the picnic to skimp on the details. This is one for the record books!
(Do Not Forget The Flowers!)
When you have the meal portion of the picnic planned it’s time to think of a location here is where Spring on the Outer Banks really shines because you can go to one phenomenal spot and have an outstandingly romantic experience.
Say hello to Historic Corolla Park! Here you can cozy up to each other on the lush green lawn of the Whalehead Club, a stunningly restored Art Nouveau-style mansion on the National Register of Historic Places from the 1920s. You can marvel at the beauty all around you while dining on your carefully curated Outer Banks Spring Picnic!
Any way you slice your sandwich, Spring is a wonderful time to start taking advantage of the incredible outdoor areas the Outer Banks has to offer.
The Outer Banks is known for its regularly breezy days, blooming trees, and daily temperatures perfect for outdoor opportunities in the Spring.
We have plenty of wonderful vacation rental homes with well-equipped kitchens that are excellent for prepping any type of picnic you choose to go on around the barrier islands. Spring brings plenty of chances to start taking advantage of all the incredible outside activities and areas available to you in the Outer Banks.
So reach up to the top of your cabinets and dust off that old basket and throw the super plush extra-large blanket in the washing machine because it is Spring Picnic Season on the OBX!
Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates is one of the most trusted vacation rental managers in the local area by growing into a market leader in the Vacation Rental and Sales Industry. Joe Lamb Jr. and his family have played a vital and intricate role in the Outer Banks Community for decades.
Over the past 50+ years, Joe Lamb Jr. & Associates have worked diligently to help promote the Outer Banks for the amazing beach and family vacation destination that it is, helping to increase tourism in the area and grow our beautiful community.