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Memorial Day 2022: What’s In Your Cooler?

Every boater knows there’s a great deal of responsibility that comes with packing the cooler — from choosing snacks and drinks the whole crew will love, to keeping the contents cold all day long. Here are our top five foods and drinks to fill your boat cooler this Memorial Day.

Beach Picnic Boat Food

Above: A group of friends picnicking on an empty beach on a sandbar accessible only via boat. Photo via Pond5.

DIY Craft Cocktails

There’s nothing better than a relaxing cruise to celebrate happy hour. Why not kick it up a notch with unique craft cocktails? Make sure to bring boat-friendly glassware and bar tools, along with your homemade syrups, small-batch bitters, pre-sliced lemons and limes, and decorative garnishes. You can even opt for tropical or Prohibition-era themes for extra personality. 

Deconstructed Charcuterie Board

Complement your craft cocktails with an assortment of cheeses, charcuterie meats, crackers and veggies. You’ll want to pack plenty of toothpicks for food handling.

Pasta Salads Jars

Make your pasta salad the night before for an easy grab-and-go meal. In the morning, toss with the dressing and divide into mason jars or cups with lids for easy transport.

Veggie & Protein Kabobs

Finger food is always a safe bet when you’re spending the day on the water. Mix it up from the usual sandwiches and chicken nuggets with simple veggie and protein kabobs—easy to prep, pack and enjoy.

Popsicles & Prosecco

Sure, kids love popsicles on a hot day, but this combo is for adults. Pack organic, real-fruit popsicles and a bottle of Prosecco. Then stick the popsicle in your Prosecco for a bubbly treat!

Bonus: Ice Cubes with a Twist

After you pack the cooler with ice, set aside a pair of ice tongs with a separate bag of ice for your beverages. Score extra points by freezing your own in Tupperware molds with blueberries or strawberries and lemon or mint.

When you’re ready to pack all of your Memorial Day goodies, make sure to start with a chilled or room-temperature cooler. Some larger coolers have inserts or bins that protect your food from cans and bottles so they don’t get soggy. You can also secure your food in Ziploc bags and then wrap with a towel for extra cushion.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on in May 2020.

Written by Jennifer Burkett

Written by: Jennifer Burkett

Jenny is an avid boater who has worked in the marine industry for years. She developed a fondness for trawlers during her tenure at Kadey-Krogen Yachts and has an affinity for life-on-the-water, contributing articles regularly to Boat Trader, YachtWorld and Originally from Chicago, she made her way to Maryland to escape the bone-chilling winter temperatures of the Midwest and to be close to the coastline. She's made Kent Island her home—a location that makes enjoying the Chesapeake Bay a part of her daily life.


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