Beach Picnic Essentials

Picture-perfect products for a stylish summer picnic at the shore

When I’m packing up my beach bag, I cover the basics first; sunglasses, a good supply of SPF, and plenty of water are must-haves for the sand and surf. But when it comes to picnics, the beach can be a bit of a bully. Away from the comfort of a well-furnished kitchen, outdoor eating is only fun until a toddler on a rampage kicks sand into your sandwich, or a gust of wind sends your umbrella out to sea.

Whether it’s a casual luncheon by the lake or an all-day oceanside fête, coming prepared makes all the difference. The right supplies combine function and style, and together can take your beach picnic from hot sandy mess to a spread worth sharing. (And worth ‘gramming!) From the perfect picnic blanket to a must-have self-anchoring umbrella, I’ve picked a few favorites to do just that.

Kate Spade green grass picnic blanket

"Grass is Greener" Picnic Blanket

This blanket from Kate Spade brings a verdant burst of greenery to your beachy oasis, not to mention you’ll have no trouble picking it out of the crowd. It has a durable cotton surface with a waterproof underlining and rolls up neatly into a compact bag. $45, Kate Spade New YorkKate Spade New York
Food52 handwoven picnic tote

Handwoven Picnic Tote

These picnic baskets are hand made in Thailand from woven sea grass and are lacquered for durability, so they can stand up to salty sea spray (or an inadvertent sunscreen explosion). They come in two sizes: a smaller one perfect for a picnic-for-two, and a larger one to help feed your friends. $50-$100, Food52James Ransom
airtight stainless steel food containers

Airtight Food Containers

These lightweight stainless steel containers come in an assortment of sizes. They’re perfect for everything from salads to dressings, and their clamping tops create an airtight seal that puts leaky Tupperware and flimsy Ziploc bags to shame. $16-100, The Tickle TrunkThe Tickle Trunk
Susty Party compostable biodegradable plates

Compostable Plates

Vibrant natural dyes bring flair to these sturdy, biodegradable plates so you can snack in style. They’re available as 10” dinner plates and 7” dessert plates. $5-7, Susty PartySusty Party
Susty Party birch wood fancy cutlery

"Fancy" Wood Cutlery

This antique-inspired wood cutlery from Leafware in India blends vintage style with modern eco-consciousness for a stylish disposable option. $25 for 100, Susty PartySusty Party
abc home neon piping napkins

Neon Stitching Napkins

Save yourself (and the beach) from a tornado of disposable napkins by investing in some reusable cloth ones. These hand-made cotton napkins come in an array of colors with fluorescent pink stitching to brighten up your beach day. $36, abc homeabc home
govino shatterproof wine glasses

Shatterproof Wine Glasses

Real stemware at the beach could be a disaster, but these “glasses” are made from a BPA-free flexible polymer, so you get the elegance of crystal without the risk of broken glass. Plus, they’re stemless so they’ll rest easily in the sand. $15 for 4, govinogovino
MiiR stainless steel insulated growler

Vacuum Insulated Growler

Even in the summer sun, this double-walled growler will keep two bottles of wine (and then some) chilled for up to 24 hours – and its clamp-style lid means beer or sparkling wine will stay safely sealed too. $59, MiiRMiiR
PortaBrella portable beach umbrella self-anchoring

Self-Anchoring Umbrella

I’m always amazed at anyone who can keep their beach umbrella upright. But this portable one has a built-in anchor that twists into the sand to keep it secure, and the classic nautical stripes never go out of style. Problem solved. $40, Shade USAShade USA
Reusable Revolution solar-powered portable speakers

Solar-Powered Outdoor Speakers

A good playlist will step up your beach picnic game (that part’s up to you), but these solar-powered speakers will make sure it lasts all day long. Forget about unreliable batteries or the terror of forgetting a backup; just let it charge in the sun and you’ll be good to party well into the night. $67, Reusable RevolutionReusable Revolution