With Memorial weekend coming up I know many of you are looking forward to spending time at the beach, park or lake. Whenever my family does this, I like to pack a picnic. We love to have unscheduled eating and playing time so my 5 Tips for the Perfect Beach Picnic are geared towards stress-free, easy planning!
1. Atmosphere ~ well other than the obvious atmosphere that Mother Nature will provide, you do want to be prepared for everyone to relax and get out of the sun when needed. First, the structure for shade. We really like our Beach Cabana. It’s light and easy to carry and provides perfect shelter at the beach, park or lake. It’s a snap to set up (which my husband appreciates) and is roomy enough for a few people at a time. Bring along a few large tablecloths – I like to use tablecloths instead of blankets. They are much lighter to carry and easier to toss in the washer once we are back home. You can get some pretty large tablecloths at discount stores. Always check the clearance area! I also like to bring along some cushions or pillows if we are going to spend many hours at the beach or park because someone will eventually get tired and want to take a break. Why not be comfortable?
Will you be staying into the evening? Be sure to bring along enough lanterns and outdoor lights so everyone can see easily.
2. Food and Drink ~ for some reason my family seems to be extra hungry whenever we are at the beach or playing at the park or lake. I like to bring along easy-to-grab foods great for adults and kids. Here are some of my favorites:
Grapes, strawberries, cherries and small watermelon slices
Baby carrots, snap peas, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and hummus
cheese and crackers
sub sandwiches that do not contain mayo. We go for the mustard or oil and vinegar as our condiments.
Tortilla chips and salsa
Goldfish crackers & Sharkbite Fruit snacks (water themed makes for extra enjoyment for little ones)
partially frozen water bottles and Capri Sun drinks
For the adult beverage I like to bring a Dirty Arnold Palmer in a mason jar for easy transporting and drinking. Here’s the recipe:
2 oz unsweetened tea
2 oz lemonade
1 oz good vodka
Pour the ingredients in the mason jar and shake to mix. Add ice when ready to serve. Enjoy!!!
We transport all of this in a picnic basket for the non-refrigerated items and a wheeled cooler for the stuff that needs to keep cold. Be sure to add plenty of ice to your cooler.
3. Necessities ~ I like to call these the extras that make your picnic more enjoyable; easier. By all means, bring your iPod stocked with fun, beachy music along with an iPod speaker so everyone can listen to the music. I like to bring Eco-friendly plates, bowls, and flatware so there’s no eating food with sand or dirt on it…yuck. Take along a good supply of wet wipes, sunblock, bug spray, trash bags-one for recycled items and the other for regular trash.
4. Games ~ everyone will want to play something at some point in the day. One of our favorites is paddle ball. We all have fun playing this; right down to the littlest guys trying their hand at it. Our Geyser Football and Geyser Scoop Ball are popular when it starts to get a little warm. These toys spray water on the players while tossing the football or scooping up the ball; keeping everyone nice and cool. When we have enough people in our group, we always get a game of beach volleyball going. For the little ones I always bring along a good supply of sand toys and buckets. That will keep them occupied for hours!
As the day wears down and we’re still hanging around, often we will get a game of cards or some other board game going. Bring along a few of your favorites!
5. Relax!!! Sometimes we go to the beach just to lie there, soak up the sun and read a good book! Take along your favorite magazine, book or e-reader or just lie back and listen to some music. Above all – just sit back, relax and unwind!!!