Last year we made a cross-country move to North Carolina. I grew up in Virginia so moving back to east coast after living for 10+ years on the west coast feels like coming home.

We absolutely LOVE North Carolina and one of our favorite things about NC is it’s beaches. North Carolina beaches are peacefully serene with gorgeous views and amazingly warm water. We live just outside of Raleigh, NC – so lucky for us the beach is only 2 hours away!

2 hours away is the perfect distance for a day trip. I’ve gotten in a good routine packing for a beach day trip. When it comes to gluten-free food these are my 5 must-have for a gluten-free beach picnic.

Our favorite North Carolina beaches are Oak Island and North Topsail!



Pre-Make Sandwiches on Gluten-Free Bread.

Sandwiches are my go-to for the beach! I’m all about finger food and things that are easy to pack/eat. Nobody wants to worry about paper plates and utensils while sitting in the sand and playing with the kids. We usually make the sandwiches in advance and individually pack/label them to make them easy to sort at the beach.

Since everyone is always so tired after a long day playing at the beach, I always pack a few extra sandwiches for dinner. The kids are usually tired, sandy and ready to crash in the car on the way home. An extra sandwich is the perfect thing to hand them for dinner on the car ride home.

Pre-Cut Fruits and Veggies.

Chopped watermelon in big ziploc bags is our FAVORITE thing to pack for a beach day! My kids can’t get enough of it. I usually pack the sandwiches and fruits/veggies in a cooler so everything stays nice and cold. There’s nothing better than a cold slice of watermelon! My kids are also fans of carrots and cucumbers so I always pack a container of each.

Pack LOTS of Snacks!

You can’t have too many snacks for a beach day! I love bringing a bunch of gluten-free snack options. Enjoy Life Foods Protein Bites are full of plant-based protein and perfect for breakfast on the drive down to the beach. They taste like a chocolatey treat so my kids also love eating them throughout the day. My favorite flavor is the dark raspberry. Yum! I also like to bring our favorite chips, granola bars, crackers and pretzels in resealable bags to keep sand out.

LOTS of Wipes and Beach Blanket.

Wipes are for more than just diaper changing! I always pack 2 containers of wipes for cleaning off sandy hands before eating during the day. They are also great for getting everyone cleaned off before the drive home. I also love this beach blanket to sit on to keep everyone off the sand.

Fun Treats for the Kids!

A day of fun wouldn’t be complete without some treats! I always bring along some of our favorite soft cookies. My kids are crazy for these Enjoy Life Foods Cookies!

What are your favorite things to pack for a beach day/road trip?