30 Things You Need for the Best Family Picnic Ever

By Adrienne McIlvaine
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Whether it’s an impromptu affair or a more elaborate gathering, a picnic at the park or beach with your family leads to a good time. Snacks, drinks and good weather are really all you need, but seasoned picnic-planners know all the best tricks for taking their outdoor dining to the next level. Here’s a guide to all the gadgets, games and accessories you need for the best family picnic ever.

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Picnic Anywhere, Anytime

Laguna Beach Picnic & Outdoor Blanket

One of the most crucial things you need for a picnic is the perfect blanket, like this gingham gem from Laguna Beach. It’s ideal for picnics at the beach, in the park or even in your own backyard — the possibilities are endless!

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Cozy, machine washable fleece with a waterproof underlining means you can picnic pretty much anywhere, and the blanket comes in its own packable bag for easy travel and storage. It measures a generous 72 inches by 57 inches.

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A Full-Service Setup

Scuddles Premium Extra-Large Picnic Basket for Four

If you keep putting off a picnic because it’s too much trouble to get organized, you need this ingenious cooler from Scuddles. It comes with all the necessities, so you can relax and focus on having fun with friends and family.

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The soft, insulated cooler keeps sandwiches and drinks cold for up to 12 hours and has a compact design that makes it easy to carry just about anywhere. Even better, it comes with a full dining setup for four people. Simply unzip the front compartment to reveal silverware, flatware, glassware, plates and more.

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Pump Up the Volume

Zosam Portable Bluetooth Speaker

No picnic is complete without music, and this portable Bluetooth speaker from Zosam delivers crystal-clear sound no matter where you are. It’s small enough to toss in a bag or backpack on a moment’s notice but powerful enough to keep everyone grooving for hours.

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It’s also waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about a sudden storm or rain shower, and the rechargeable lithium ion battery lasts for up to 10 hours (charging cable included). The Bluetooth 4.2 system provides a stable connection, so you’ll never lose a second of your favorite song. A pair of high-performance drivers ensure deep bass and distortion-free sound.

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Relax in Style

ONIVA Portable Chair

Picnics are a great way to enjoy a beautiful day with family, but sitting on the hard ground for a long time can get uncomfortable. Next time, pack the cleverly designed ONIVA portable camping chair, and everyone else will soon wish they were as smart as you.

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The strong but lightweight aluminum frame folds for easy storage and travel and can support up to 300 pounds, thanks to the canvas seat and padded armrests made of durable poly material. There’s a fold-out sliding table for food and drinks, multiple insulated beverage pouches and an accessories organizer for your phone, books, magazines and more.

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Keep Cool

Igloo Portable 16-Quart Cooler

Whether you’re picnicking at the park or the beach, an insulated cooler is an absolute must. This 16-quart style from Igloo is designed to do a lot more than just hold soda and sandwiches. The lid has two built-in cup holders and a media slot to hold phones, tablets and more.

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The cooler stores up to three 2-liter bottles of your favorite beverage or up to a dozen cans with some ice. It’s ideal for quick trips and picnics and can easily be carried, even when it’s fully packed. The handle lies flat for easy storage when not in use.

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Be a Hero

Anker PowerCore Multiport USB Charger

It’s a modern-day horror scenario: You and your family are enjoying an epic picnic when everyone suddenly realizes their phones are running low on power. But not you, of course, because you remembered to pack the portable Anker PowerCore charger, which has enough ports for everyone to plug in and charge up.

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Although it looks small, this battery packs a powerful punch, with a 26800 mAh capacity that can charge most phones up to six times on a single charge. A trio of high-speed USB charging ports allow for quick and efficient charging of multiple devices at the same time.

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No More Bugs

Collapsible Mesh 16” Food Tents

You spent all morning making a few side dishes for your big family picnic, but after an hour or two, you’ve lost your appetite because of the flies. Next time, don’t forget to take these portable mesh tents for a quick and easy way to protect your food from ants, bees and other unwelcome guests.

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Three deluxe-sized, pop-up tents have sturdy but lightweight frames and include an extra layer of mesh on the bottom for total protection against mosquitos and other creepy crawlies. Each tent measures 16 inches by 16 inches by 11 inches, and the set comes with a travel bag for easy storage.

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Picnic for Two

Picnic at Ascot Original Insulated Wine and Cheese Bag

There’s nothing more romantic than a leisurely picnic in the park with someone you love, and the Picnic at Ascot insulated cooler offers the perfect solution for packing wine and cheese. The messenger-style design makes it easy to carry without feeling bulky, and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns so you can picnic in style.

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The inside holds two bottles in a fully insulated interior compartment that has enough additional room for two acrylic wine glasses, plus a divider to keep the bottles safe and secure. Also included are a cutting board, corkscrew wine opener, napkins and cheese knife. The rugged canvas exterior is easy to wash and durable enough to withstand years of use.

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Ditch the Plastic

Biodegradable Paper Straws

Straws are something you probably don’t think about most of the time, but the little tubes of plastic are a big environmental problem because of how long they take to break down — about 500 years! Do your part to help by breaking out these colorful, biodegradable paper straws at your next picnic. You can still sip in style with no environmental fallout.

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The eco-friendly straws are made of high-quality, BPA-free paper and are colored with food-safe ink that won’t run. They’re actually durable enough to use more than once. Use them for water, soda, frozen drinks and other beverages without sogginess.

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It’s Smoothie Time

Portable Smoothie USB-Powered Blender

Take your picnic game to the next level with the portable smoothie blender from Kurso that will have you whipping up custom drinks in just seconds. The powerful motor can handle icy and frozen drinks in a flash, and the whole unit weighs less than a pound, so you can take it just about anywhere.

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Made of durable, BPA-free materials, the single-serving blender makes creating single juices, smoothies and other beverages a breeze. Simply fill the cup, attach it to the base and blend. The blender won’t work if the cup isn’t attached properly, and the device even has an internal mechanism to prevent overheating.

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Stylish and Practical

Insulated Expandable Double Casserole Carrying Case

Sure, most people think of cold food and coolers when it comes to picnics, but with this insulated double casserole case, you could totally reinvent the picnic wheel. Potato au gratin instead of potato salad? Sauteed spinach casserole instead of a salad? If you can bake it, you can take it!

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The thick poly material has a double insulated interior that keeps hot foods hot a longer amount of time. You can fit up to a 5-quart dish in the larger lower compartment. If you need more room, simply unzip the expandable upper compartment. The exterior zippered compartment is perfect for storing utensils, napkins and more.

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Bugs Be Gone

Bug Soother Natural Essential Oil Spray Repellent

Nothing kills the vibe of a picnic faster than bugs, so the next time you head into the great outdoors throw some Bug Soother all-natural bug repellent in your purse. It’s the safest and easiest way to protect your family from mosquitoes, fleas and other unwanted pests during your al fresco adventure.

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Bug Soother is made with a safe, non-toxic blend of lemongrass essential oils that repel all manner of creatures, both flying and land-based. Because it’s made without the use of chemicals like DEET, it’s safe for children and pets alike. And best of all? The fresh lemongrass scent has a touch of vanilla, so you won’t mind applying it.

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No Kitchen? No Problem

Crock-Pot Portable Food Warmer

The Crock-Pot portable food warmer is another one of those game-changing picnic items that will leave you wondering how you ever survived without it. You can put chili, spinach-artichoke dip, rice and more on the (picnic) table when you pack this rechargeable cooker that is also easy to clean.

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The compact interior keeps 20 ounces of your favorite foods hot for hours, thanks to the dishwasher-safe insulation. Even when the food inside is boiling hot, the exterior stays cool to the touch. The cord wraps neatly into the case, and the outer lid handle locks down for storage.

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Fly Sky High

Easy Fly Delta Kite

Feel like a kid again with the Easy Fly Delta kite in your hand. Guaranteed to be a hit at your next picnic, the kite is easy to assemble and fly and has a 60-inch wingspan and colorful tails that look especially impressive from the ground.

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Made of a colorful, durable poly material that won’t rip apart in the wind, the kite includes an extra-long, tangle-resistant line that is easy for kids to handle. It also comes with spare struts and a handy carrying bag.

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Made in the Shade

Beachbub All-in-One Beach Umbrella System

Protect yourself and your family at your next beach picnic with the Beachbub all-in-one beach umbrella system. Designed to shield you from the sun and harmful UV rays while never blocking fresh air and good company, the umbrella features a unique anchor system that is endorsed by the American LifeGuard Association.

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The umbrella stands 7.5 feet tall and is lined with a UV-resistant coating that offers SPF 50 sunscreen protection. The specially-designed, four-piece hub frame is built to withstand wind gusts of up to 46 mph, but the entire unit only takes minutes to install. Simply push the pole into the ground and pile sand into the unique, U-shaped anchor.

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Good Game

Elite Outdoor Games Ring Toss

Every family picnic needs a fun, low-impact lawn game, and this ring toss set from Elite Outdoor Games fits the bill perfectly. It takes just minutes to set up and delivers hours of entertainment for both kids and adults. Ideal for team play, the game gives you the perfect opportunity to pit siblings against parents, girls against boys or any other challenging combination.

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The rings, pegs and wooden stand all come in a handy canvas travel bag and can be set up just about anywhere outdoors. Five of the rings are made of tough rope; the other 10 feature thin, lightweight plastic, making it easier for little kids to play. Keep score using the handy printed guide, or simply take turns seeing who can land the most rings.

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Start Slapping

Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza

Card games are a great answer to the inevitable "What we do now?" question. The game known as Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is easy to play and loads of fun for everyone. The result of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, the game takes about 10 to 30 minutes to play through and is too much fun to stop after one round.

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Here’s how it goes: Two players take turns repeating "Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza" while laying down cards. Whenever the word matches a card, everyone jumps in to claim the card, and whoever’s last takes the pile. It’s harder than it sounds, and the more players the merrier.

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B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Bowl)

Komax Biokips Mixing Bowl Set

Planning a picnic often results in a mad dash to find containers for storing and transporting food. The Komax Biokips mixing bowl set features locking lids that are ideal for packing picnic foods. Make sure the lids are secure before packing the containers in the car or picnic basket, and you won’t have to worry about any messy cleanup.

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The set of four bowls comes in a range of sizes to hold everything from salads and veggies to sauces and dips. BPA-free plastic means they are safe for you and your family. They are also scratch-proof, leak-proof and non-absorbent. When you get home from the picnic, simply remove the lids and toss the bowls in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.

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A Picnic Must

Sunnydaze Outdoor Drink Holder Stakes

It happens every time — that full glass of wine you only put down for a second got knocked over onto the blanket. If you’re not sitting at a table, managing drinks at a picnic is a challenge, but the ingenious Sunnydaze drink holder stakes offer a solution to the problem. They keep your drinks safe from accidental spills (not to mention bugs) with an elevated cup holder design that’s as stylish as it is practical.

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The set of six stakes comes in a variety of colors and features thick steel that is durable and weather-resistant. Use the triangular foot press to dig the stake deep into the ground for a more stable fit.

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Open Up

Tikit Bottle Opener

Is there a worse feeling than pulling out your favorite bottled beverage at a picnic, only to realize you forgot to pack a bottle opener? Never be caught off guard again when you add the sleek Tikit bottle opener to your picnic supplies. The opener makes short work of pesky caps standing between you and an ice cold beer.

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What makes the Tikit bottle opener special is its slim design, which fits on any key chain for convenience. They come two in a pack, so you can also keep one in your picnic bag or car for last-minute adventures.

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Bubblin’ Over

1byone Automatic Bubble Machine

Bubbles at a picnic? Why not! Even if it’s just in your own backyard, picnics feel a world away from the stress of everyday life. Eating snacks on a blanket while the 1byone portable bubble machine gently covers you in a shower of bubbles is sure to make the experience even better.

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This model runs on six C batteries and delivers hours of enjoyment with two modes: low speed of 800 bubbles a minute or high speed that churns out 1,500 magical bubbles in 60 seconds. A bottom drain helps keep the bubble solution away from the moving parts, and the retractable handle makes the machine easy to carry anywhere.

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Stay Classy

Simple Modern Insulated Tumbler with Lid

Next time you’re at a picnic, ditch the plastic cups and whip out a set of insulated tumblers from Simple Modern. They come in a variety of stylish colors and patterns, and the slim design makes it easy to pack them in a bag or tote. The flared bottom helps keep the tumbler stable on any flat surface.

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Made of high-quality stainless steel, the interior is double-walled and vacuum sealed with a copper insulated layer that keeps beverages hot or cold for hours. Push down on the clear lid to lock it into place and avoid spills and leaks. Both the lid and tumbler are dishwasher-safe.

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A Handy Helper

Silicone Cutting Board

Even if you try to make everything ahead of time, there’s often something that needs to be cut or chopped at a picnic. These lightweight, portable silicone cutting boards are easy to take along to handle last minute cutting, dicing and slicing. Give fizzy drinks a fresh garnish, chop herbs for a salad or just use it as an extra cheese board.

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The whole set is easy to pack, even when you don’t have a lot of room. The silicone is food-grade, BPA-free and non-absorbent, and the cushioned mat won’t dull your knife blade. Skip the dishwasher when you get home, however. Hand washing is recommended to maintain the boards’ flexibility.

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Making Memories

Polaroid Mint Instant Print Digital Camera

This digital camera from Polaroid has a secret — it’s also a printer! Document your picnic in real-time with the Polaroid Mint, which uses an innovative design to print glossy color photos seconds after you take them — without needing expensive ink or toner cartridges. It’s a fun addition to any picnic as well as a perfect gift for teens who are starting to take an interest in photography.

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The vertically-oriented camera takes 16-megapixel photos and prints them immediately. You can either treat them like any other printed photo or peel off the adhesive overlay on the back and post them like stickers. There are several filters to choose from, plus an automatic flash and selfie mirror. The Mint is microUSB rechargeable and uses a microSD card.

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Always Be Prepared

Insulated Wine Carrier Tote

This slim and stylish insulated wine tote is perfect for carrying your favorite wines to picnics when you don’t want to carry a larger wine and cheese cheese tote. The durable poly exterior protects an insulated interior that holds up to two bottles of wine and keeps them chilled for hours.

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Trimmed in stylish faux leather, the bag can be worn over the shoulder or across the body, thanks to an adjustable strap that is easy to remove to create a streamlined look. An exterior zippered pocket is perfect for keys, wallets and the included corkscrew wine opener.

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Keep Everything in Place

T-Antrix Tablecloth Clips

It’s a gorgeous day for a picnic, but the wind just won’t let up, and it’s turning your picnic table into a mess. T-Antrix stainless steel tablecloth clips can secure your tablecloth or other covering to the table in seconds to make sure the party never stops.

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The pack of 30 clips is enough to securely clip a standard table, and the rounded edges keep the clips from ripping or tearing the fabric. Once they are in place, the clips won’t slip or move around until it’s time to go.

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For Your Furry Friends

PetBonus 4-Pack Collapsible Dog Bowls

Your dog goes everywhere you do, so it’s only natural that your canine buddy would join you on a family picnic — good luck trying to make sure he doesn’t eat everything in sight! Be sure to pack PetBonus collapsible pet food bowls for your dog’s food and water.

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Made of premium, food-grade silicone, the bowls are 2 inches tall when fully opened and hold up to 1.5 cups of water, food or other treats. The included carabiner clips make it easy to attach the bowls to a bag or leash so you always have them handy.

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Leave No Trace

Coghlan’s Pop-Up Trash Can

With food being one of the best parts of the day, picnics can generate a lot of trash. Of course, most parks and picnic spots have trash cans, but they might not always be nearby. This pop-up trash can from Coghlan folds flat for easy storage but holds a 30-gallon trash bag with ease when open. After all, you want to leave your picnic area just as you found it.

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The spring-loaded design makes assembling a breeze, and the fully zippered lid keeps trash and odors inside the can. It’s made of tough, weather-resistant polyethylene and can double as a recycling container. The max height is 19.5 inches; when folded, the can is less than 2 inches tall.

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Take the Kitchen with You

Trekology Portable Aluminum Table

With a lightweight design that makes it easy to carry, the Trekology portable camping table is perfect for picnics. It requires zero tools for setup. Just pop out the aluminum frame, set the table in place and you’re done! Play games on the table, or use it to hold food and drinks — you’ll wonder how you ever picnicked without it!

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The table can support up to 200 pounds of weight, and the rubber feet offer stable support on different types of terrain.When you’re ready to call it a night, just fold the table and store it in the included carrying case.

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Stay Organized

Mindspace Mesh Utensil Holder

Tired of digging in the picnic bag every time someone needs a fork or spoon? Keep all your cutlery and napkins organized and easily accessible in the Mindspace portable mesh utensil caddy. The sturdy unit won’t slip or blow over in the breeze.

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The three main compartments are ideal for storing cups, knives, forks and spoons, while a smaller section is great for condiments and seasonings — like all those mustard and ketchup packets that have mysteriously taken over your kitchen drawer. The lid swings down for easy storage, and the whole unit can be easily wiped clean.

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