How To Have The Most Perfect Beach Picnic Ever

Summer may be the season of barbecues for some people, but for many of us, the warmer weather means one thing: it's time to go to the beach. Why spend a gorgeous afternoon sitting in a buggy backyard eating grilled burgers when you could spend it lounging in the sand near the water? If you want to include delicious food into your plans, then it's simple — have a beach picnic.

Although beach picnics are amazing and magical, they can also be a bit annoying to pull off. You have to worry about sand getting into everything, you have to pack well enough so that it's easy to lug everything around, and you also have to deal with wind and saltwater. But don't let that stop you! Meals at the beach are easier to accomplish than you think, and they're so worth it.

If you want to have an Instagram-worthy beach picnic that will also be relatively simple to put together, read on. As someone who grew up on Long Island spending summers down at the ocean, I'm kind of an expert on this particular topic. Here are 10 tips on how to have the perfect beach picnic, and a night you will definitely want to repeat often this summer.

1. Pack an umbrella

If you're eating your picnic in the afternoon, this is imperative. Trust me — eating while you're also roasting in the sun is not the most pleasant thing in the world.

2. Avoid food that is difficult to eat or requires a lot of attention

Sandwiches, finger foods, and chips and dip are great for beach picnics. So are olives, hard cheese, chips, pretzels, crackers, and sliced veggies or fruits. You can also pack some salads, but don't go overboard. Soups or pasta dishes are difficult to eat when sitting in the sand.

3. Invest in a good portable table that sticks into the sand

You could rely on your hard cooler tops to place your food, but you're much better off with a portable wooden table that is made to be stuck into the sand.

4. Bring a giant blanket

Don't just bring beach chairs. A big blanket leaves more room to sit, and it's also a perfect place to spread out your food.

5. Make sure you have bug spray or bug candles at the ready

The beach can get buggy sometimes! Be prepared.

6. Pack wipes to help you clean up

This way, instead of running to the bathroom every time you need to wash your hands, you can clean up right from your seat.

7. Bring along some wine or beer, and cups just in case

I mean, obviously. Some beaches are strict about their no-alcohol policies, so just in case, bring plastic cups.

8. Pack pillows or chairs to stay more comfy

You also shouldn't just bring a blanket. Pack chairs and some old pillows for maximum comfort.

9. Use paper utensils

I've seen people bring nice tupperware, regular utensils, and even nice plates to the beach. Why? Just bring along plastic or paper so you can throw everything out when you're done. Super easy cleanup!

10. Don't get too fancy

I mean, yeah, these fantasy beach picnics on Instagram look amazing, but c'mon... you're at the beach. Don't try to be too over-the-top, or you'll end up with a super huge mess on your hands. Just have fun!

Images: Graham/Flickr; Instagram