Most vacation rental homes have a full kitchen so that you can prepare meals for your family while you are on vacation. We’re sharing the best vacation dinner ideas that will get dinner on the table in a hurry. We will tell you exactly what to serve for dinner on family vacation so that you can relax. This dinner guide is great for big families or families with children.
Key to Success #1 – Choose Dishes that Cook Quickly
An important point to consider when choosing dinner recipes for your vacation is how quickly the food will cook.
When you are on vacation, you are not going to want to stand around in the kitchen cooking a bunch of food.
Dinners that cook in about 30 minutes are a great option to serve while on vacation.
Another consideration is what cooking supplies are available at your vacation rental.
If the owner or management company does not make clear what is available in the description online, be sure to inquire so that you will have a good idea of what type of pots and pans will be available.
A few of the recipes on our list can be made in a Crock Pot or an Instant Pot, but they can all be made in the oven or on the stove top.
If you have room in your vehicle, you can bring a small appliance to assist in your meal prep but that is not required for any of these recipes.
On our last trip, I brought my Instant Pot and made Pulled Pork in it and also a small batch of BBQ chicken breasts.
It worked great because both meals cooked much quicker in the Instant Pot.
Key to Success #2 – Choose Dinners that Have Few Ingredients
Another thing to consider is how many ingredients are needed to make your dish.
You will have to bring all the ingredients with you or purchase them near your vacation rental home.
Save money, time, and space by choosing meals that don’t require a lot of ingredients.
If you have a dish that requires certain spices for a rub or a marinade, you can place all the ingredients into a zip-top plastic baggie at home and then label it and pack it in one of your bags for the trip.
We did this with the pulled pork. I put the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper into a baggie then spread it over the pork when it was time to cook.
Speaking of spices, make sure you carry salt and pepper shakers with you to your beach rental.
You can use an unbreakable shaker set or you can often find disposable picnic sets at the local grocery store.
Also consider which ingredients can serve double-duty in your menu.
For example, you can buy tomatoes that can be sliced for hamburgers, but the leftovers can also be diced for tacos.
Key to Success #3 – Use Grocery Pick Up or Delivery
A few weeks before your trip, make a list of all the meals that you will need to eat while on your vacation.
If you have certain nights that will have you away from your vacation home during mealtime, make those on your list.
The remaining meals are what you will need to plan for before you leave for your trip.
As you start choosing meals, add the necessary grocery items to your grocery shopping app on your phone.
If you are going to be on vacation for more than a few days, consider splitting up your grocery pickup into two or more trips.
Add the items that you will need the first few days of your vacation to your cart. Save the other grocery items for later.
About 1-2 days before you leave for vacation, go ahead and schedule a grocery pickup or delivery at a convenient time.
The grocery stores near many popular tourist destinations will be very busy during the typical check-in times for the vacation rentals.
Let Us Help You Plan Your Vacation Menu
Having trouble coming up with a menu for your family vacation?
We can help!
Our blog posts about vacation meal planning are a great place to start.
- Vacation Breakfast Ideas for Families
- Vacation Lunch Ideas for Families
- Vacation Dinner Ideas for Families
- Vacation Dessert Ideas for Families
If you have more questions, leave us a comment and we will help you out!
Find out which beach toys you need for your little kids.
Save this Vacation Dinner Roundup to your Family Vacation Ideas board or your Easy Dinner Ideas board.
Vacation Dinner Ideas for Families
Fajitas are a great dinner option if you're serving a large crowd.
You can make fajitas with chicken, beef, or shrimp.
Add in some onions and peppers and you have a meal that the whole family will love.
Most vacation rental homes have a skillet or two that would be perfect to use to cook your fajitas.
If you want to save on slicing and chopping, you can find fajita meal kits in many supermarkets that would be perfect for your vacation.
BBQ Pulled Pork can be served in several different ways on your vacation.
If you are having hamburgers with buns another night, you might serve your pulled pork on baked potatoes.
You can bake a bunch of potatoes in about an hour in the oven then top them with pork, BBQ sauce, shredded cheese, sour cream, or any other toppings that you like.
Pulled pork makes great leftovers for lunch the next day.
Fried chicken tenders are one of my favorites for dinner on vacation.
We often grab a package of chicken tenderloins and bread and fry them ourselves.
But if you want to avoid frying, you can easily pick up a package of breaded chicken tenders in the deli section of many supermarkers.
Or you can grab a bag of Tyson chicken in the frozen foods section and bake them in the oven.
Serve them with mashed potatoes for an elevated meal that is less like kid food.
When you're traveling, it's a great opportunity to use this Mashed Potatoes hack.
Follow these tips to make mashed potatoes that taste like homemade from a box of potato flakes.
Skeptical? Don't knock it until you've tried it.
Open Face Tacos is a family-favorite Mexican dinner recipe that allows each person to customize their taco salad with the toppings that they enjoy.
We're starting with a bed of tortilla chips then layers of chili, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and any other toppings that you like.
The ability to customize your plate makes this an ideal choice for your vacation dinner menu.
The tortilla chips are also multi-purpose so they can be used with other meals as well.
Hamburgers are a great idea for vacation dinner, especially if your vacation rental home has a BBQ grill out on the porch.
Just grab some buns and toppings and you'll have dinner on the table in no time.
You can bake french fries to go with your burgers or serve them with chips.
Spaghetti and meatballs is a quick meal that you can make in pretty much any kitchen.
Pick up some spaghetti noodles, a jar or two of sauce, and a bag of frozen meatballs and you're ready to cook.
Grab some garlic bread to go with it and that's all you'll need.
Sloppy Joes can be cooked on the stovetop in about 30 minutes or you can cook the filling in the slow cooker all day long.
Sloppy Joes are traditionally served on buns, but you can get creative and serve them on baked potatoes or even mashed potatoes.
This recipe is a great option because you only need a few ingredients to make a great meal.
Fettuccine Alfredo is a surpringly quick dinner option that is easy to make for a large family.
It only takes a few ingredients to make a big batch of alfredo sauce.
And almost all vacation rentals have a large pot to cook the fettuccine noodles in.
You can add chicken breast to go with it or top it with sliced smoked sausages for a unique twist.
Don't discount a pizza for a quick meal at your vacation rental.
Most vacation destinations have a pizza place that will deliver directly to your door.
This is our preferred dinner option on our arrival day just because it takes some pressure off with our grocery pick-up and our arrival time.
We can get pizza delivered in 30 minutes to an hour and dinner is taken care of for the night.