Fresh Air and Fresh Food: Planning a Beach Picnic in San Diego

It’s summertime in SoCal, and that means one thing: getting out and enjoying the great outdoors. And what better way to soak up some sun than with a classic American picnic? There’s just something about putting down a blanket and laying out a spread of delicious food that really makes the day better. And as long as indoor dining is on hold, why not make the most of San Diego’s beautiful scenery? 

If you’re planning on heading to the beach with a basket, here’s now to make the most of your day. 

Pick the Perfect Spot

It’s hard to go wrong when choosing a picnic spot in San Diego. Given the city’s abundant public park space and endless stretches of beach, you’re completely spoiled for choice. Still, there are some locations that stand out. Ellen Browning Scripps Park, Mission Bay Park, and Torrey Pines State Beach have emerged as some local favorites. All have loads of space and gorgeous views of the Pacific. Of course, if you’d rather not venture too far afield, our hotel sits on a perch overlooking a perfect beach picnic spot, just steps from your room.

Plan Ahead

You’re going to want to make the most of those golden daylight hours. So make sure you get everything ready ahead of time. Load the blanket, lounge chairs, and a bag of other essentials (sunscreen, umbrella, etc.) into the back of the car the night before. And be sure to prep a basket with your favorite foods and beverages in the refrigerator, as well. That way, you can just grab it and go in the morning. It’s too easy to leave something out if you’re rushing to get out the door.

Plan Your Menu

The great thing about a picnic is there are no rules about what goes in the basket. Want to go the classic American route, with sandwiches, chips, and soda? Perfect. Feel like opting for something a little more European? Charcuterie, baguettes, cheeses, and wine travel well. You can even devise a themed picnic featuring international cuisine (e.g., pick up some kalamata olives, feta, and dolmades for a Greek-style lunch). Nearby spots you may want to check out are Wayfarer Bread and Pastry,  Gelson’s Market, and the local Sprouts. Just be sure to bring plenty of whatever you’re craving so there’s enough to go around. It’s also a good idea to throw some reusable cold packs in the basket to keep everything fresh en route.

The Guest List

Everyone loves a picnic — so you likely won’t have any trouble finding guests. Family outings can involve the whole crew. A cozy, romantic lunch for two is a great way to spend an afternoon. Or why not reach out to those friends you’ve been missing? Just be sure you get everyone’s dietary restrictions and preferences before you pack your basket in order to ensure that there’s something for everyone inside — cured meats and crusty bread may be picnic classics, but vegans and gluten-free folks shouldn’t go hungry.  

Leave Yourself Plenty of Time

You’ve got everything planned perfectly. The basket is packed, it all looks delicious, you’ve picked out a great wine — and even remembered the corkscrew. But sadly, you got stuck in traffic. The spot you picked out was full by the time you got there. And now your day is slipping away, and that great wine has gone warm. Avoid roadblocks by leaving yourself plenty of time to both arrive and enjoy your time once you get to your picnic spot.  

Enjoy Your Perfect Picnic

Everything has gone off without a hitch. The sun is shining, the food is delicious, and you’re enjoying your company. Don’t forget to live in the moment, make some memories, and relax! Summer is magic, and there’s still plenty of time to get out and experience it in San Diego.