After 30+ years of beach trips, our family knows what we love and we stick to it. We try maybe one new recipe each trip, but we love to make our favorites year after year. I’ve put together our traditional beach meal plan for you to use to gather ideas for your own family beach vacation. One of the best ways to save money while traveling is to cook rather than dine out. This meal plan will help you save money without missing out on the fresh seafood flavors that make beach trips so amazing. Be sure to pin this post so you can find it later for your family beach vacation.
Family Beach Vacation Fresh Seafood Meal Plan:
Dinner 1: Peel ‘Em and Eat ‘Em Steamed Shrimp with Salad and French Bread
Keep it simple and grab dinner as you roll in to town. We stop by the seafood market (we love Joe Patti’s in Pensacola and Sexton’s in Destin) and grab their freshest shrimp – they steam them upon request, and a loaf of French bread and salad from the grocery store, along with milk and a few essentials for breakfast and lunch the next day. Go ahead and buy your shrimp for night 2 as well. This makes the arrival stress free and dinner is easy and delicious. Most seafood markets will steam the shrimp for you as you wait, or you can pick some Old Bay seasoning and do it yourself. You can also use this recipe for a fresh shrimp boil with corn and new potatoes from How to Have It All.
Dinner 2: Fried Shrimp with Roasted Broccoli
Fried shrimp is a crowd pleaser and is easy to do if you make it a team effort. We use Louisiana Shrimp Fry and milk or egg to batter the shrimp. Use peeled and deveined shrimp with tails for this recipe. Have one person dipping and battering the shrimp while the fry cook watches and turns them. They cook in 2-3 minutes and are ready as soon as they turn opaque or the batter turns brown. Click here to learn about how we make the best ever easy roasted broccoli. Even my picky toddlers eat it.
Dinner 3: Grilled Fish with Cous Cous and Grilled Asparagus
Head back to the seafood market and buy the freshest fish they have – we love amberjack, grouper, and red snapper. Buy the shrimp for tomorrow’s dinner while you are there to save a trip. Fire up the grill and season your fish with minced garlic, melted butter, and Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning. If you want it a little less spicy, use Cavender’s Greek Seasoning is delicious as well. If I could only use 2 spices for the rest of my life it would be those two. Use the same spices for your asparagus and grill them at the same time. Keep it simple by preparing boxed cous cous to go with the meal.
Dinner 4: Barbeque Shrimp with with French Bread and Salad
This recipe has nothing to do with actual barbeque sauce, but will knock your socks off. Buy shrimp unpeeled with heads on and wash them and dry them thoroughly. Once dry, spread the shrimp out on baking pans and top with one and a half sticks of unmelted butter per pound of shrimp. Sprinkle on black pepper, far more than you would think, until it is about 1/16th in deep covering the shrimp. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then turn the shrimp and bake another 10 minutes or until the turn opaque and firm. Don’t over cook them. If their shells get crinkly they are overdone. Dip your french bread in the sauce and laugh at the salad feeling sad and neglected in the corner while everyone devours bread and shrimp.
Dinner 5: Shrimp and Scallop Kabobs with Yellow Rice
This is another meal where a team approach will get your far. We set up an assembly line to create the kabobs. Buy peeled and deveined shrimp for this meal. Wrap peeled shrimp with their tails still attached in a half piece of bacon and add them to your skewer, with pieces of sliced onion, bell pepper, pineapple, and cherry tomatoes in between. You can also put the pineapple in the shrimp/bacon bundle and skewer the whole shabang. You can wrap the scallops in bacon as well or leave them alone. Season with a little bit of the aforementioned Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning and grill to perfection. This is my hands down favorite beach dish. With fresh shrimp it cannot be beat. Make a pan of yellow rice to go with it and enjoy.
Dinner 6: Grilled Fish with Salad and French Bread
Head back to the seafood market and try a different kind of fish, or some you caught yourself on your deep sea fishing exursion, using the same instructions from Dinner 3.
Dinner 7: Shrimp Scampi with Pasta
Boil a pot of spaghetti noodles while you saute fresh unpeeled (no heads) shrimp in butter or olive oil with garlic and lemon or lime juice for a simple shrimp scampi. The shrimp will cook quickly and are done when they turn pink or opaque and are firm.
Other Recipes for Fresh Seafood:
Shrimp and Grits are insanely delicious, but a bit labor intensive. I don’t have the recipe we use, but this one from Spicy Southern Kitchen looks similar.
These boiled hard shell crabs from Momma Lew look so tasty.
How much seafood do you buy per person? Our general rule is about a half pound per adult, and a quarter pound per kid if they are seafood eaters. That may seem like an outrageous amount of food per person, but we like fresh seafood more than the average beach bum and love to use the leftovers for lunches the next day. Shrimp quesadillas, fish sandwiches, and shrimp salads are our staple lunches. Buy more if you are purchasing them with the heads on.
Easy Key Limeade is a daily favorite at our house – at home and on the beach.
This No Bake Sand Cake from To the Moon and Back is about the cutest dessert ever.
We love to make this super easy Key Lime Pie recipe on every beach trip.
Don’t miss our other #BareFeetontheBeach posts:
The Best Beach Activities for Kids and Families
Bring Home the Beach – 20 Beach Inspired Craft and Decorating Ideas
Our Best Beach Tips + Great Resources for Family Beach Vacations
Follow Becca’s board Beach Inspired Ideas on Pinterest.