How to Pack the Ultimate Beach Picnic

Not much tastes better than a lunch on the beach, unless said lunch consists of squished sandwiches and warm juice boxes. While they may be portable, typical beach fare options tend to be uninspired at best and pretty gross at worst. Luckily, there are some pretty easy ways to ensure that your seaside meal is easy to prepare, simple to transport, and absolutely delicious to eat. Here are 6 tips to make sure your next beach picnic is a success.

(Food) Safety First
The sun is shining, the sky is clear, nothing can ruin your day, right? Well, if you’re not careful, food poisoning can put a damper on things pretty quickly. In order to avoid cutting your fun short, think about whether or not the ingredients that you’re planning on using will be okay to go unrefrigerated for an extended period of time. Word to the wise: avoid mayonnaise.

Skip the Silverware
Proper cutlery weighs a ton, and plastic utensils aren’t great for the environment—consider focusing on making your menu based on finger foods. Cut up vegetables like celery, bell peppers, cucumber, and baby carrots pair wonderfully with non-dairy dips like hummus and baba ghanoush, as do crackers and breadsticks. If you’ve got room to spare, a fresh baguette is a fabulous option, and you can tear off pieces to avoid using a knife. For dessert, try cookies or squares—just try to avoid anything that might melt.

Just Add Bubbles
Thanks to home carbonation machines, making your own soda water or pop now takes considerably less time than brewing a cup of coffee. If you want a refreshing drink that will keep you hydrated but has a little more zest than plain water, try squeezing lemon or lime into the bottle before carbonating. Less sugar than conventional drinks and all of the hydrating benefits of h2O. What’s not to love?

Clean Up Made Easy
Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a chore if you plan ahead. When you’re at the grocery store stocking up on ingredients, stop by the baby aisle and pick up a package of wipes. These pre-moistened miracle workers are perfect for getting stubborn sand off your hands, wiping things down, and post-meal clean up. Just remember to reseal the package after use!

Multitasking Freezer Packs
Rather than contend with the added weight of conventional freezer packs, take a few water bottles and freeze them the night before. Pop them in your cooler and they’ll keep your food chilled while they defrost. When they’ve reverted back to their liquid state, you have extra hydration on hand. Your trip home will be considerably lighter and you can rest easy knowing you’re avoiding dehydration.

Don’t Forget Your Blanket!
Towels are great for laying on and do a bang up job drying you off. The problem is that by the time lunch rolls around, your towel is likely damp, sandy, and not up to the task of being used as a picnic blanket. Save yourself some hassle and pack a simple flat sheet in your basket. It’s lightweight, large enough to accommodate friends, and doesn’t occupy a lot of space. When you get home, just toss it in the wash, and it’s ready to be used again. If you’re feeling fancy, you can always pick up a special outdoor blanket designed specially for picnics. Skip Hop’s Central Park Outdoor Blanket + Cooler Bag does the trick quite nicely.

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