Essential Picnic Checklist

Follow this outdoor dining checklist and you'll be the best-prepared picnicker at the beach or park.
Related To:

For Toting and Seating:

  • Picnic basket or canvas bag
  • Cooler
  • Picnic blanket (preferably waterproof on the bottom)
  • Picnic chairs (if anyone in your group is not happy on the ground)
  • Portable picnic table (if that's the kind of picnic you're having!)

For Serving:

  • Plates
  • Utensils (including serving utensils)
  • Napkins
  • Cups
  • Drinks (including lots of water)
  • Bottle opener
  • Cutting board (also useful as a level serving surface, perfect for drinks)
  • Sharp knife (even if you don't plan to cut things, it's still a good idea)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mustard, mayo, ketchup, etc., if needed (a great way to make use of extra packets from a takeout place)

For Cleanup:

  • Paper towels (and maybe wet wipes)
  • A couple of dishtowels (always handy, and useful to buffer and support dishes in transport)
  • Extra plastic containers or sturdy zipper-top bags for packing up dirty utensils, leftovers, etc.
  • Trash bags

Other Essentials:

  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Insect repellent
  • Flashlight (if you plan to be out into the evening hours)
  • Sport or activity equipment (Frisbees, balls, bubbles, water guns ... whatever the crowd likes)
Keep Reading

Next Up

Our Essential Summer Drink Cheat Sheet

With this handy chart, quickly whip up refreshing sips all season long.

Ingrid's Summer Cocktails

Cooling drink recipes, plus tips for making the best cocktails

How to Make Serious Iced Coffee

Coffee snobs will approve of this cold-brewed version from Food Network Magazine.

Old Fashioned Fruit Desserts

Know a cobbler from a crisp and a buckle from a Betty.

Shock Value: How to Keep Summer Produce Fresh

Food scientists think they've found a way to extend the life of fresh produce: Shock it in warm water.

Strategies for Packing a Fuss-Free Beach Lunch

Packing a meal for the beach or a picnic doesn't have to be stressful.

8 Juicy Ways to Eat Peaches Before They're Gone — Summer Soiree

We wait all year to bite into juicy peaches, and now is the time they're at their peak, just waiting for you to take them home by the truckload.

Go-To Ingredients for Grilling Season

What do you really need on hand for quick, easy summer dinners? Here’s our go-to list.

Buy These Fruits Now and Preserve Them for Later

Canning jam is easy enough and means you can be eating summer fruit long past their market-fresh appearances.

Latest Stories