The weather is beautiful and the beach is whispering, “Come!”
Seize the moment with 9 EASY tips for a simple beach picnic that will be the perfect setting for fun and memories.

Life's A Picnic - Sponsored by Wayfair on AnExtraordinaryDay.net9 Easy Tips for a Simple Picnic on the Beach -


While standing in line at the checkout counter I opened up a popular magazine.  My eye was drawn to pictures of people picnicking in a meadow. There were heaps of food and beverages and pillows and lanterns and so much more.  So much goodness that by the time the picnic was set up I’d be too exhausted to enjoy it.  Summer is the time for a simple picnic on the beach. Don’t become overwhelmed with trying to make it perfect or Pinterest-worthy.  Come up with an easy do-able plan by following my proven tips.


Tip 1 – Keep it Simple

If the beach is whispering to you… go!  Pull out a pad of paper to jot down the things you want to bring and remember the acronym KISS… Keep It Super Simple.  Beach life is casual and carefree and yes… simple.


Blue and white rolling picnic cooler on the beach near the lighthouse -


Tip 2 – Tote your Food in a Cooler

Food can heat up quickly in the hot summer sun.  A picnic cooler purchase is a great investment in your summer fun.  It might even be the key to helping you take more picnics. I’m smitten with this Trellis Rolling Picnic Cooler from Wayfair.  It’s super stylish but even more, so practical.  It has a great removal base so I can wheel it easily… perfect for a picnic in the park.  Plus it has carry straps and a shoulder strap… terrific for a picnic at the beach.

Be sure to add several ice packs like those you use in your family’s lunch bags to the top of your cooler before you close it up to keep your food chilled.  Don’t choose to fill your cooler with loose ice… that can become a melty mess.  If you get a meal delivery service, save a few of the large sealed ice packs that come with your order for your picnic cooler.


Simple Beach Picnic TIP #3 - Choose Finger Food - Veggies and Dip and a Wrap -


Tip 3 – Choose to Serve Finger Foods

When planning your beach picnic menu… think light.  Forgo the standard picnic fare of heavy mayonnaise-based salads and bun sandwiches. Make it easy on yourself,  your family, and friends by serving finger foods like sandwich wraps and fresh veggie spears and whole fruits.

Everyone likes veggies with a dip.  Hummus is a great choice for warm weather.  Take along some short clear beverage cups… add a few dollops of hummus to the cup and top with veggie spears or slices. Everyone will love you for it!

Sandwich wraps are lighter and usually neater and wrapped in parchment paper, much less prone to dripping.

You could make up some fruit skewers, but serving whole fruit like grapes and cherries and plums is less messy.

Fruit is usually our dessert choice at the beach.  If you choose to bring a sweet treat… stick with cookies like snickerdoodles rather than melty chocolate chip cookies.


Bottle water and picnic cooler - Simple Picnic TIP #4 - Hydrate -


Tip 4 – Hydrate with Water

With all the sun and breeze at the beach, it’s especially important to drink water and plenty of it.  Most parks don’t allow glass containers or alcoholic beverages and sodas and juices are sticky and don’t hydrate the body as well as water, so plastic water bottles and acrylic glasses are the best way to go.  My cooler has a beverage insert with easy access from the top of the cooler.  It’s great because I don’t have to disturb the food in order to grab a drink and stay hydrated.  Keep everyone cool and comfortable by bringing partially frozen bottles of water so they stay cold longer.


Sandy Beach Picnic -Embrace the Sand - TIP #5 -


Tip 5 – Embrace the Sand

Picnic tables can be a premium at the beach. Take your picnic to the sand, close to the water where the breeze is cooler and plan for the sand and embrace all those sandy toes.  Large moisture resistant ground cloths or blankets make an ideal base for your picnic and help reduce the sand around the food.  Large bedsheets can work… but they are hard to control especially if it’s breezy.  However, you’ll love my tip to help keep your blanket or tablecloth in place on those breezy days… make your own disposable sand weights.  Simply pack several extra plastic bags… quart-sized or larger to fill with sand when you reach your site and you’ll keep everything in place.


Simple Beach Picnic with Finger Foods and Fabric Napkins and Melamine Plates -


Tip 6 – Skip the Disposable Plates and Paper Napkins

Paper plates flip over in a breeze… paper napkins often go dancing down the beach…  Don’t let these simple disposable products ruin your picnic… splurge on melamine plates and platters and fabric napkins.  My cooler came with both luncheon-sized plates and cloth napkins which have always been my preference for our picnics.  I also purchased a couple of square melamine dinner plates to keep in my cooler to use as handy serving trays or platters.  They serve as a larger stable surface for serving and holding drinks.  Bring along a few extra plastic shopping bags to stow your used plates at the end of the meal.  It’s so easy then to drop your dirty tableware in the dishwasher when you get home and your cooler stays clean, too.


Simple Sandy Beach Picnic TIPS and Ideas -


Tip 7 – Don’t Forget the Tablecloth

Spread your picnic on a tablecloth, even if you didn’t get a table.

Whether you use a large sheet, a quilt, a ground cloth, or blanket on your picnic area at the beach you’ll want to top it with a tablecloth. This cute yellow and white polka-dotted cotton tablecloth here is one I made from a yard and a half of sale fabric that I hemmed with the sewing machine. After the food has been devoured, you’ll want to be able to relax on your blanket without the crumbs and food droppings.  A tablecloth can be gathered up and stashed away so you can enjoy your beach blanket for relaxing.

Tip 8 – Hand Wipes are a MUST

Let’s face it… even with the best choices in foods and planning… fingers will get sticky and spills may happen.  Bring along a package of hand wipes. Or… or you can do what I do… lightly wet washcloths or dishcloths, fold, and slip into zipper topped sandwich bags. I also pack an extra dish towel or two for wiping condensation off beverages and other impromptu uses.


Stylish blue and white picnic cooler with utensil and food storage -


Tip 9 – Be Spontaneous

If you live within an hour of a lake, keep a cooler stocked with the essentials so you can grab and go.  On hot summer nights, we especially enjoy impromptu beach picnics followed up by a swim or stroll along the water’s edge. I love that this handy rolling cooler has a pocket in the front for plates, napkins, glasses, and flatware, making it easy for us to be spontaneous. Your supermarket deli is the perfect last-minute picnic partner.  Grab your cooler and ice packs and run in for all the finger foods and drinks you’ll need for your picnic.


Easy Finger Food for a Simple Beach Picnic - 9 Tips for Success -


After spending a few hours at the beach picnicking, digging in the sand, making sand castles, swimming, or just watching the waves our bodies and minds are rested and our spirits restored.  Summer is already flying by.  Look at your calendar and be purposeful to plan a simple beach picnic.  And remember it doesn’t need to be perfect… seize the moment to refresh and make memories.

How often do get to the beach?

Do you have a favorite beach activity or food?

I’m so grateful to have been chosen as a Wayfair Homemaker this year.  You’ll want to watch for more posts from me featuring inspiring ways to make your home and lifestyle more beautiful with products from Wayfair.


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  1. Oh, Diane! Your beach picnic looks so lovely, relaxing, and tasty! That bag is wonderful. I have a regular old picnic basket I purchased at a thrift store but I like this one so much better. Thanks for sharing such great tips and congratulations on being a Wayfair Homemaker. xo

    • Thank you Mary Beth! It was delicious! A regular picnic basket still has a place, but this one is fantastic, especially for two to four people.

  2. Gwen says

    I want to take off for the beach. It seems like something’s stopping us. We used to love to go. Several times we hit all the beaches on the Central Coast in one day!! It was fun!! I love this picnic idea. My patrents used to take us on picnics to Yosemite as kids. It was so nearby where I grew up. Picnics make happy memories. What a great reminder.

    • Oh Gwen, I hope that you and Curt are able to take some time to go to the beach together sometime this summer. It’s amazingly restorative for the soul. Tonight… for the first time this summer… we dashed down and arrived just 5 minutes before the sun set for the day. It was gorgeous! Such a deep pink with a tinge of orange… and because there was humidity on the horizon the sun liked egg-shaped. There was something special about breathing in that warm humid air with a bit of chill in the breeze while wiggling my toes in the sand. I feel rested from the 20 minutes we spent there.

  3. Minnie says

    Oh how lovely you make everything look!
    The beautiful picnic you have for us on the beach looks nothing like the ones I remember as a kid,
    Me full of sand so everything else was too. Lol…
    I always get excited when I see you have popped in to visit me. You have super keen ideas, sweet thoughts, beautiful pictures and somehow you send me on a short trip down memory lane.
    Thanks for it all.
    Blessings to you!

    • Minnie… you just put the biggest smile on my face!! I loved hearing about you filling your family’s picnic with sand and how the post sent you on a trip down memory lane. That just touched my heart.
      Hope you’re having a better week and having time to enjoy your flowers and birds. xoxo

  4. Debbi Saunders says

    I love your Picnic Cooler on wheels Diane! and your tips for a ” Keep it Simple picnic”!! …. your set up is beautiful and so inviting….. I need to take off for the beach before summer is over!

    • How far are you from the beach, Debbi? I hope you really do, grab a friend and take some time to walk the water’s edge and breathe in all that wonderful ocean air.
      Thanks for stopping by and for you always encouraging remarks! xo

  5. Vika says

    Ohhh this is nice I need this cooler as in yesterday, where can I get it?

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