Whether you live by the beach or are planning a vacation, there is nothing more enjoyable than sharing a picnic on the sand. Whether you want a fun outing with the entire family, or a romantic evening getaway with your sweetheart, it will require a little planning. Here are some things to consider as you make your plan to help you have the perfect beach picnic happy hour.
Check Your Local Laws and Ordinances
The reality is you can probably get away with having a beach picnic happy hour discretely even if alcohol is prohibited at your preferred location. However, it makes it WAY easier if you aren't constantly looking over your shoulder to make sure a police officer or life guard isn't coming your way.
Think About Timing
Timing can be what makes or breaks your beach picnic experience. You will contend with the most intense heat of the day if you go too early. However, wait too late, and you’ll be dining in the dark. When thinking about timing, consider whether you’ll need something for shade. How will you transport it? Do you want it already set up when you arrive, and how will you make that happen? Try to scope out the perfect location in advance, and consider other options if someone else is there before you. Next, consider what you will sit on. Will you take folding chairs, or go with the traditional beach blanket? If you choose a blanket, make sure it is big enough so that you’re not sitting on top of each other. For romantic picnics, do you also want pillows or anything to accompany you on the blanket? Sometimes you get more by keeping things simple. Remember, everything you plan for will need to both be hefted to the beach, and taken back afterward. Draw the balance in what will make it enjoyable without having to make trip after trip of stuff.
Consider Your Food Options
Now it’s time to think about the main feature of your picnic aside from drinks, the food! The same concept applies to your food in that you need to get it all to the beach in the first place. This is why simple is again a great rule for your food. The more you can stick to finger foods, the easier it is to eat on a picnic in general. On the sand, these tend to do well because you don’t have to worry about trying to keep things from spilling off the plate. With finger foods, you can enjoy a little at a time, and easily get more when you're ready. This approach also reduces the plate size you need, keeping the weight down to help save your back. As you think through your food, consider how it will handle the heat. For instance, hard cheeses like cheddar get very oily in the heat, and may not be enjoyable. On the other hand, something like French brie gets runny, so be sure to check the weather and plan accordingly. Also, think about how you’ll keep the food cold until it's time to eat. Will you try to put everything in a traditional picnic basket, or will you opt for a cooler? This will certainly affect the ambiance of your excursion.
Beverages Are An Essential Part Of Any Happy Hour!
While we're here to enjoy some adult beverages, alcohol can dehydrate you. So, plan to take several bottles of half-frozen water to give you something refreshing. When it comes to alcohol though, discretion is often the key to a successful beach picnic happy hour.
Having drinks in a cooler and sipping out of plastic solo cups may bring back fond memories of college parties, they certainly lack on the cultured side of picnics. They are also a huge red flag for anyone who might be watching. Simply put, the Red Solo Cup might be iconic but it's also easy to spot from a distance. Instead, look for mugs or glasses that are you fill before hand that are indistinguishable from what might just be sports drinks. The ideal format here is an steel insulated tumbler or water bottle though you'll want to avoid drinks with high levels of acid since the reaction can release undesirable substances into your drink.
Additionally, you will also want to be careful of glass on the beach setting. If the glass breaks, it is exceptionally difficult to clean up in the sand and poses a significant safety hazard to both people and animals. If wine is part of the plan for a romantic picnic, consider something like Copa di Vino. These are one of the coolest innovations in the wine market over the past few years. They are pre-poured plastic cups with your choice of wine. While there are canned wines on the market today, these cups just add a more classy element that popping the tab on an aluminum can just simply can't.
Copa di Vino has several perfect varieties for picnics, including chardonnay, Riesling, Moscato, and Pinot Grigio. They also have a White Zinfandel, which is essentially a Rose. You can find Copa di Vino in most major grocery stores as well as many package stores around the United States.
Have a Plan Beyond Food
Now think beyond the food for your picnic. Will you simply enjoy the sunset and conversation, or do you want something to add to the memory? If you are with your special someone, consider making it an impromptu photo session, especially during the golden hour of sunset. Don’t worry about getting an expensive camera, most modern cell phones will take incredible pictures. Just be sure you have a clean lens before you try to take the pictures. For family excursions, think about an inflatable beach ball or a Frisbee. This gives the kids something to enjoy and get energy out while the adults relax a little, and are easy to carry.
Don’t Forget Cleanup
Finally, don’t forget to plan for the cleanup afterward. Will everything go back in the basket, cooler or backpack, or do you plan to dispose of everything when you’re done? Consider bringing a garbage bag to collect your trash to easily deposit it in a waste receptacle. Be sure to follow the golden beach rule of leaving it just as beautiful as it was when you arrived.