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

27 Healthy Picnic Recipes

Hosting a picnic or hitting up the neighborhood party circuit? Keep things light and healthy by making one (or a few) of these healthy and delicious recipes.

7 Foods Not to Take to a Picnic

Don’t bring these seven picnic foods on your next picnic.

Picnic Foods Nutrition Experts Avoid

We asked expert dietitians from around the country which barbecue and picnic foods they tell their clients to avoid.

How to Pack a Healthy Picnic — Summer Soiree

Follow these 5 picnicking tips for a healthy and portable outdoor feast.

The Top Picnic Mistakes to Avoid, and How to Fix Them If They Happen, Plus Boozy Bubbles to Pack in the Basket

Plan the perfect summer outing with The Picnic, written by the masterminds behind the Portland Picnic Society.

Pantry: Hungry Girl's Guilt-Free Essentials

Want to pack your pantry the H.G. way? Here are Lisa Lillien's 10 Hungry Girl staples.

Food Network Stars' Top Eats Across the Country

Check out Food Network stars' top restaurant picks from their travels across the country.

The Ultimate Packable Picnic for Memorial Day [INFOGRAPHIC]

Plan your next picnic with our essential list of totable foods that are easy to eat sprawled out in the sun, plus some handy gear for serving it.

Latest Stories