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The Perfect Beach Picnic

Published on January 18, 2019

It’s another beautiful day in sunny Santa Monica, and you’re looking to get out for a picnic on the beach. There’s nothing better than spending a few hours with your feet in the sand, picking on finger foods and spending time with your closest friends in the sun. As much fun as it sounds, picnics do still require some planning if you want to make your outing a memorable one.

Planning the perfect beach picnic isn’t hard, but details do matter.  When making a list of what to pack and bring to your beach picnic, there are a few tips that we suggest.

  1. Bring lots of finger food: Avoid plates and silverware with easy-to-eat prepared food
  2. No Mayo: You got that right. Mayo goes real bad, real fast in the heat. Pick a different condiment for your sandwiches!
  3. Sunscreen: With warm weather year-round, beach picnics are popular from January through December. Don’t forget that you still need sunscreen in the winter too!
  4. Snacks, snacks, snacks: In addition to your finger foods, bring some snacks along that are easy to eat and clean up.
  5. Don’t forget your umbrella: Protect yourself from the sun and bring some shade to the picnic with a big beach umbrella.
  6. Clean up items: Baby wipes and trash bags to take all of your waste off of the beach once your picnic is over.
  7. Water: It’s hot & sandy, you’re going to need some water to keep you cool and hydrated. Partially frozen water bottles can help keep water cold longer, too.
  8. Bottle opener: If you’re planning on having a glass of wine or bottle of beer, you’re going to want to make sure you have an opener handy. Check the rules at your local beach before bringing alcohol.
  9. Tablecloth: Bring a tablecloth along to lay out in the sand. It’s lighter than a blanket, and easier to wash!
  10. The cooler: Any foods or drinks that you want to keep cold should be in a cooler. Keep in mind that you have to get this to your beach picnic spot – so don’t make it too heavy.
  11. Toys: Bring a frisbee or volleyball to keep yourself entertained. There are plenty of fun beach games that are easy to play for the entire family.


Once you have your food and belongings packed, it’s time to head to the beach. Don’t worry too much about getting a great parking spot – make sure you get a great spot on the beach instead!

Setting Up

You did it! You remembered to bring everything on your checklist – now it’s time to get setup. The first thing that you should do next is set up your tablecloth as a beach blanket, and get your umbrella set up to shade the spot. This way, any kids or elderly family with your picnic party can get out of the heat after their trek from the car.

Now your party can play games in the sand or enjoy some food in the shade while you relax and enjoy the ocean views. Santa Monica State Beach is one of the most popular spots for a beach picnic because of the amazing scenery, combined with a convenient location next to the Pier and surrounding downtown area.

Packing Up

To keep Santa Monica beaches beautiful, all visitors are encouraged to bring all of their belongings and trash with them when leaving the beach. All wrappers, bags, cans, bottles, etc. should be put into your trash bag and brought to a public garbage can or back to your car when leaving. This ensures that others can enjoy the same clean beach when they come for their picnic, too!