Summer entertaining is all about heading outdoors, and we’re determined not to limit ourselves to the backyard or patio over these next few months! What better way to celebrate the start of the season than with a beach picnic? If planning this sort of shindig for a group of people sounds like a lot of work, fear not—we’re sharing some tips for simplifying the process so you can focus on relaxing and having fun!
1. Gather up your friends and decide on a location. Our editor Abby invited friends Christine and Hannah for an afternoon on the beach in Orange County. Be sure to pick a spot ahead of time near a recognizable landmark or entry point so that it’s easy for everyone to find each other.
2. Plan ahead. Make a list of things you want to bring beforehand. Since you’re entertaining outside of your home, you don’t want to forget anything! Enlist the help of friends—ask them to bring items like extra coolers, ice and their own beach chairs.
Wood trays: The Duo Studio
3. Create a beach-friendly menu. Finger foods are easiest for the beach and eliminate the need for utensils. Keep things simple by making (or buying) sandwiches, preparing several different types of kabobs and putting out fruit, veggies and fun snacks.
Package everything in Tupperware containers, and be sure to bring food tents or tinfoil to protect your food from the elements.
4. Don’t forget the shade. Be sure to bring plenty of umbrellas to cover your food, plus extras for guests who need to escape the sun!
Juices: Project Juice
5. Keep your guests hydrated. Have plenty of water on hand. A multi-gallon drink dispenser may not be the most glamorous option, but it’s portable and practical for a big group. Make sure to have some non-alcoholic beverages (like juices!) available as well. Pre-mix your cocktails so everyone can easily serve themselves.
Cups: Oh Joy for Target
6. Pack properly. Don’t forget to bring trash bags for clean up, several heavy rocks to hold down napkins and hand wipes in case of messes or spills. Extra coolers can be used as tabletops for food if you’re not interested in lugging a card table to the beach. And you don’t want to forget a corkscrew and a bottle opener!
7. Don’t forget the music! Set the mood by playing your favorite summer tunes. We’re big fans of the “Summer Hits of the 2000s“ station on Pandora.
Paddleball set: World Market
8. Pack in as much fun as possible. Bring equipment for beach games and activities like frisbee, bocce ball or even volleyball!
Sunscreen & sea spray: Sun Bum
9. Stay protected. Bring an extra stash of cheap sunglasses and sunscreen for guests who may have forgotten their own. Experts recommended reapplying sunscreen every two hours!