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How to Host the Ultimate Outdoor BBQ: 5 Must-Have Essentials

Summer has officially made its debut and if you’re anything like us, you’ve been awaiting the warm weather! Winter has seemed incredibly long and we’ve been longing for the days where we can spend the majority of our time outside.


During the summer months, we love sitting outside and enjoying meals with friends and family. To make the most of our time, I always like to plan ahead and prepare some great snack options as well as some games to play!

As you welcome the summer months, we encourage you to do the same and at The Wandering Tourists, we want to make it simple for you to do just that. 

Keep reading for our 5 outside summer BBQ must-haves that will make you feel like the coolest house on the block!


5 Outside Summer BBQ Must Haves

1. Snacks 🥕

Having great snacks is the key to hosting a successful barbecue with friends and family. You can start the BBQ by serving snacks. When the snacks are out, the drinks, music, and entertainment can follow!

Finding food for children to eat at a party can be frustrating, so it's a good idea to have a variety of vegetables, whole wheat crackers, and pita chips or pretzel thins with dip as a healthy snack for everyone to enjoy before the main meal. In addition to having several dips, you can offer cut-up veggies, pretzels, almonds, fruit snacks, trail mix, and anything else your guests bring. 

Offering many dipping options is a great way to give your guests various options. This can alleviate the pressure of when to start making the dinner meal, and everyone can enjoy the party without worrying about hunger.

Top 5 Dips to Serve at your next BBQ

2. Outdoor Fun and Games / Entertainment 🏸

Looking for some fun outdoor activities to keep your guests entertained during summer BBQs? Why not set up some outdoor games like badminton, cornhole, or giant Jenga? These games are not just for kids; adults can also have a great time playing them. 

Trampolines, sprinklers, and tee-ball stands are always hits with kids. You can also set up a portable volleyball net or grab extra chalk to draw on the pavement. 

PRO TIP: When entertaining outdoors, it's important to not overwhelm kids and adults with too many ideas or games. Instead, focus on what is necessary, and your guests will have a great time. We recommend choosing 2-3 games or entertainment forms and having fun!

Check out our summer favorites here

3. Burgers and Salad 🥗

Nothing says a summer barbecues quite like burgers and side salads! If you really want to take  your BBQ up a notch, opt for a burger and salad bar in your kitchen. With this, you can put all the toppings out so everyone can pick what they want for dinner. Not only is this a fun way to serve dinner, but this will also keep the bugs away. 

PRO TIP: Use paper plates to avoid doing dishes afterward!

4. Make it a Theme!🌴

Consider having a themed BBQ! Who doesn't love a themed party? Our favorite party theme is Hawaiian, which has many easy-to-find decorations. Sticking to having a fun and easy-to-prepare BBQ, choosing a Hawaiian theme makes it easy for everyone to come dressed up and for the host to find the perfect decorations. For instance, you could get an inflatable Palm tree cooler on Amazon!

PRO TIP: One of the best ways to save money on party decorations is to purchase a few theme-related items, such as banners, balloons, or centerpieces. Then, you can supplement these with solid-colored tablecloths, napkins, and paper goods, which are usually less expensive than themed items.

This approach saves money and allows you to reuse leftover items for future parties or in your home. Mixing and matching themed and solid-colored decorations can create a cohesive and cheerful atmosphere that your guests will love without spending a fortune.

We rounded up our favorite Luau themed decorations here.

5. Good Music 🎶

When you're having an outdoor BBQ, it's essential to have some good music to set the mood. A wireless Bluetooth speaker is necessary for quality sound. Don't rely on your phone's speaker. Before the party, choose a great station on Spotify (or another streaming service) that fits the theme or vibe you're going for. Choosing music during the party can be time-consuming and take away from the fun, so be prepared beforehand. 

PRO TIP: Before your BBQ, ask your guests for a few of their favorite songs and add them to the playlist.

Don’t have time to create your playlist? We’ve got you covered with our Summer Fun Playlist, which you can follow! 

Overall, summer is the perfect time to host friends and family and enjoy the outdoors together! Get creative with your summer BBQ’s and make your events one to remember. And if you need a little extra help, we've compiled a list of must-haves that you can refer to for your BBQ party!



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