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Pack the Perfect Picnic: Tips For the Campground, Beach, or Anywhere Else You Roam

Last Update: June 28, 2024

Eating al fresco takes on a whole new meaning when you turn your lunch into a picnic. There’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors this summer than by sharing a meal somewhere scenic, whether that’s at the beach, the park, or even the top of a mountain after a long hike. 

We put together a few kits to inspire your summer picnicking, including snacks, drinks, suncare essentials, and other handy picnic basket additions to make cleanup a breeze.  

The Campground Picnic

Whether you’re hiking to your dining spot or car camping, the main thing to keep in mind for a campground picnic is the old outdoor adage: Leave no trace. Things like easy-to-pack cutting boards, reusable napkins, and low-waste snacks are all great ways to stick to these tenets while camping. 

  1. A cutting board
  2. Reusable cloth napkins
  3. Reusable utensils
  4. A reusable water bottle
  5. Tinned meat and seafood meals (like this shredded beef or this Moroccan-inspired salmon)
  6. Dried fruit or nuts
  7. S’mores supplies (like graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows)
  8. Bug spray 

The Paris-Inspired Picnic 

Can’t make it to Europe this summer? Create a picnic inspired by the City of Lights with French favorites like red wine, a crusty baguette, and cheeses galore. You may not be picnicking under the Eiffel Tower, but you’ll still feel très chic

  1. A French baguette
  2. A selection of French cheeses (like brie, camembert, or comté)
  3. Your favorite French wine (we recommend Domaine de Roquemale Les Terraces 2020)
  4. A selection of charcuterie (the French word for cured meats) 
  5. Dark chocolate 
  6. Crème brûlée (like this healthier homemade recipe)
  7. A classic wicker basket or tote bag 
  8. A beret, of course! 

The Beach Party Picnic

Simple snacks with minimal cleanup are the way to go when it comes to a beach picnic. Hats and sunscreen are also a must for sun protection, especially if you’re planning on spending the whole day in the sand. 

  1. Pre-made sandwiches (think classic turkey or a veggie-packed sammy)
  2. Compostable or reusable sandwich bags 
  3. Better-for-you potato chips
  4. Cold beverages (like probiotic sodas or sparkling water)
  5. A cooler with ice
  6. A protective hat
  7. Sunscreen spray

The Family-Friendly Picnic

Picnicking with young kids invites a bit more mess, but also a whole lot more fun. Here are the essentials you’ll need to keep little ones full and help make cleanup a bit easier on the grown-ups. 

  1. Veggie sticks 
  2. Apple sauce pouches
  3. Wholesome PB&Js (homemade, or these frozen options)
  4. Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables
  5. Fresh-baked cookies
  6. Sustainable paper towels
  7. An easy-to-carry backpack
  8. A soft blanket
  9. A kid-friendly sunscreen

The Romantic Couples’ Picnic

A romantic sunset with the one you love makes the perfect backdrop for your picnic. This couples’ picnic kit contains all the Mediterranean classics — like olives, spritzes, and dates.  

  1. Medjool dates
  2. Olives
  3. Smoked oysters
  4. Crackers
  5. Marinated artichokes 
  6. A refreshing spritz (either alcoholic or non-alcoholic
  7. Playing cards
  8. A cozy blanket

The Game Day Picnic 

Tailgating for your favorite team? If you have a setup with a grill, you can create a pretty serious spread to help you fuel up for a day of fandom. 

  1. High-quality burger patties (whether beef, turkey, or plant-based)
  2. Burger buns
  3. Your favorite toppings (like lettuce, sliced onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo, or cheese)
  4. Chips and dips
  5. Beer or non-alcoholic hops beverages
  6. Nostalgic ice cream
  7. Compostable plates and cutlery
  8. A folding table and chairs

More family-friendly summer tips: 

Wondering How to Entertain Your Kids This Summer? We Asked Our Brand Founder Parents for Their Best Tips

25+ Recipes to Help You Do BBQ Your Way This Summer

Beginner’s Guide to Grilling

Take Thrive Market on Vacation with These Travel Hacks

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Amy Roberts

Amy Roberts is Thrive Market's Senior Editorial Writer. She is based in Los Angeles via Pittsburgh, PA.

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