One of the best ways to take advantage of beautiful summer days in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is by heading outdoors with a perfectly packed picnic. While taking your picnic seaside is probably your first choice when you’re in Myrtle Beach (we have 60 miles of uninterrupted shoreline), there are tons of locations great for al fresco dining. From Conway’s Riverfront park to one of our state parks to Brookgreen Gardens, picnicking options are endless along the Grand Strand.

My husband and I planned a picnic lunch date on the beach recently and left our little one at home with a sitter. Not only was it a fun change from our ordinary date night plans, it was nice to be able to leave the cooler full of juice boxes and kid snacks at home and pack a grown up picnic for two. Here are a few tips if you want to plan a picnic lunch date of your own:

  1. Plan ahead: As with any proper date, you should do a little planning. Check the weather forecast, so you don’t head out with your lunch right before an afternoon storm. Look up the laws where you’ll be picnicking. Alcohol isn’t allowed in many public parks so keep that in mind when choosing your beverages.
  1. Pack smart: My picnic basket was a wedding gift and came with plates, utensils, napkins, a cutting board and more. But even without that you can pack smart. Here are some things you won’t want to forget: plates, napkins, utensils, glasses (or plastic cups), ice packs, moist towelettes for cleanup and, of course, a blanket. And depending on your picnic location, sunscreen or bugspray might be smart additions to your picnic basket.
  1. Keep things cold: If you’re using a traditional picnic basket like we did, bring along a few ice packs to keep sandwiches and drinks at a cooler temperature.
  1. Keep food safe: Make sure all food is chilled in the refrigerator prior to packing it up, and don’t eat anything that has been left out in warm weather for longer than a couple hours.

Heading outdoors for breakfast, lunch or dinner can be a lot of fun. While we packed chips, sandwiches, salads and strawberries with chocolate, don’t be afraid to get creative with your menu! Everything tastes better outside.