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The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a California Backyard BBQ Party
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The Ultimate Guide to Throwing a California Backyard BBQ Party

Host the perfect California backyard BBQ party with our ultimate guide on décor, menu, cocktails, and entertainment! Team


2 min read

May 04, 2023

When it comes to hosting a backyard BBQ party, there's nothing quite like the laid-back, sun-soaked vibe of a California-inspired celebration. With its emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, vibrant flavors, and effortless style, a California BBQ party is the epitome of outdoor entertaining done right. In this ultimate guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to throw a California backyard BBQ party that will have your guests feeling like they've just stepped foot into the Golden State.

A backyard party is perfect for the warmer months in California.

California Style Décor

To set the stage for your California backyard BBQ party, incorporate West Coast-inspired elements into your décor. Choose coastal-inspired colors, such as blues, whites, and sandy beiges, to create a serene and inviting atmosphere. Potted succulents, palm leaves, and driftwood accents can be used to bring a touch of nature to your space, while boho-chic textiles like macrame and woven rugs add texture and warmth.

Lighting is key to creating a cozy ambiance for your California backyard BBQ party. String lights draped around your dining area, lanterns placed strategically in your backyard, and clusters of candles on tables will add a warm glow to your outdoor gathering as the sun sets.

Take advantage of California's access to fresh ingredients when planning the menu.

Fresh and Flavorful Menu

A California backyard BBQ party wouldn't be complete without a fresh, locally-sourced menu featuring vibrant flavors. Start with a selection of mouthwatering grilled dishes, such as Santa Maria-style tri-tip, marinated in a blend of garlic, salt, and pepper, then grilled to perfection over an open flame. For a coastal twist, offer grilled fish tacos, topped with cabbage slaw and a squeeze of lime. And for the veggie lovers in your group, serve up some colorful veggie skewers, featuring bell peppers, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and red onions.

No California backyard BBQ party is complete without an array of vibrant side dishes. A zesty avocado and corn salad, loaded with cherry tomatoes, red onions, and cilantro, is a surefire hit. Or, opt for a citrus slaw, combining crunchy cabbage, zesty lime, and a hint of spice for a refreshing side dish that pairs perfectly with your grilled mains.

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Signature California Refreshments

Don't forget to cater to your guests in the hot weather by offering delicious beverages. Infused water stations with fruits and herbs, like cucumber-mint or strawberry-lemon, are a simple and elegant way to keep your guests hydrated. Additionally, homemade lemonade, garnished with fresh berries or a sprig of lavender, is a delightful alcohol-free choice for your California backyard BBQ party.


Setting the right mood is crucial for your California backyard BBQ party, and a well-curated playlist featuring iconic West Coast artists will do just that. Include classic tunes from legends like The Beach Boys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tupac Shakur, as well as modern hits from artists such as Lana Del Rey and Kendrick Lamar. This eclectic mix will evoke the laid-back, sun-soaked vibe of Southern California and have your guests grooving all day long.

Entertainment doesn't stop with music. Organize fun outdoor games to keep your guests engaged and entertained throughout the party. Set up a beach volleyball net, horseshoe pits, or cornhole boards for some friendly competition. If you have access to a pool, consider adding pool floats and poolside games like ping-pong or water basketball.

Take the opportunity to get together with friends and family with a California theme.

Eco-Friendly Party Tips

In keeping with the environmentally-conscious spirit of California, consider incorporating eco-friendly practices into your backyard BBQ party. Opt for reusable dinnerware and cloth napkins instead of disposable options, and provide clearly labeled recycling and compost bins for guests to properly dispose of their waste.

When planning your menu, choose locally-sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible. This not only supports local farmers and businesses but also reduces the carbon footprint of your party. In addition, consider offering plant-based menu options, as this is a sustainable and health-conscious choice that is growing in popularity among Californians.

By incorporating these elements into your California backyard BBQ party, you'll create an unforgettable event that captures the essence of the Golden State. From the coastal-inspired décor and fresh, flavorful menu to the sun-soaked entertainment and eco-friendly touches, your guests will be transported to the West Coast for a day of relaxation, fun, and mouthwatering cuisine.

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