The pursuit of finding the perfect spots for a delightful beachside barbecue is always at the top of my summer to-do list. Although the options may not be as extensive as you might think, there are still plenty of places where you can grill, cook, or barbecue while enjoying the soothing ocean breeze. The key is to keep it simple, allowing you to embark on a spontaneous culinary adventure by the waves at any moment.
Where to Find Grills Near the Beach in Orange County
Let’s explore some suggestions, starting from south county to north county:
- Pines Park in Capo Beach
- The main picnic area at Doheny State Beach
- The grassy area near Baby Beach at Dana Point Harbor
- Lantern Bay Park overlooking Dana Point Harbor
- West Newport Park
- Peninsula Park near Balboa Pier
- South end picnic areas (17D and 12E) at Bolsa Chica State Beach
Before heading out, I always recommend scoping out the location to ensure it meets your expectations. Keep in mind that these places usually have only a couple of grills, so arriving early is crucial to secure a spot.
Essential Items for an Outdoor Barbecue Picnic
To ensure a successful beachside barbecue picnic, make sure to come prepared with the following:
- Charcoal (preferably the type that can be easily ignited without lighter fluid or starters, like the Kingsford BBQ Bag)
- Grill brush or a grill mat for cleaning the existing grill grate
- Lighter or long matches
- Long spatula and/or tongs
- Olive oil spray (such as Pam)
- Tablecloth and towels for the picnic table benches
- Mess kit and cloth napkins for each family member
- Paper towels and wipes
- Pie tins or serving plates
- Cooler stocked with food: main course for grilling, pre-prepared side salads or fruit, s’mores ingredients, and drinks
- Roasting sticks for making delicious s’mores
Delicious Grilling Ideas for Your Beachside Barbecue
When it comes to cooking on the grill near the beach, the possibilities are endless. Here are some delectable options to consider:
- Grilled vegetables
- Grilled fruits
- Pizza on the grill
- Foil packets filled with potatoes and/or vegetables
- Corn on the cob
- Burgers, hot dogs, steak, chicken, brats/sausages, carne asada, kebabs, and fish
Recipe Ideas for the Grill:
- 7 Chicken Marinades for Flavorful Chicken Breasts
- Grilled Ratatouille Sandwich (Vegan)
- Bacon and Blue Cheese Potato Salad (prepare at home and bring along)
- Easy Chicken Fajitas in Foil Packets
- Grilled Pineapple
- Simple, No-Cook Dinner Dip (inspired by my favorite recipe from TJs)
- Grilled Bacon Sriracha Meatball Skewers with Coconut Rice & Asparagus
How to Enjoy a Beachside Barbecue (or Anywhere With a Grill)
Follow these simple steps to have a fantastic barbecue experience by the beach or wherever there’s a grill:
- Adjust the height of the grill to your desired heat level (lower for high heat, middle for medium heat, highest level for low heat).
- Place the charcoal bag in the grill and ignite both ends (only if the bag is designed for this purpose). A small bag is usually sufficient.
- Start grilling once the coals start to glow and the active flames have died down.
- When you’re finished cooking, use tongs to spread out the coals, allowing them to die out individually (unless you’re making s’mores). If you’re in a hurry, extinguish the coals with water.
And remember, parks inland from the beach offer even more barbecue options. There are countless parks with designated grill areas waiting to be discovered. Make this beachside barbecue outing a cherished family tradition every weekend.
Originally published in May 2013.