Good friends and good food? Count us in. It may be hot outside, but that doesn’t mean we’ll pass up the opportunity for al fresco dining. (Besides, that’s what portable fans are for.) 

With these six essentials, we’re packing up the fun for a party to go.

 

Large basket

It can be canvas, wicker or plastic, brand new or thrifted. The most important requirement? That it’s big enough to hold the picnic gear and save us trips back and forth to the car. 

 

Oversized blanket 

Avoid messes and stay comfortable with a throw or tablecloth. Plus, it provides an Instagram-worthy background for meal pictures.

 

Fresh fare

Now for the star of the show. No picnic is complete without delicious food. Stock up on local favorites like pimento cheese from Porch Swing Farms, available at the Hillcrest and Little Rock farmers markets and free Saturday delivery in Little Rock.

 

Hydrating drinks

Stay cool in the rising temperatures with beverages like bottled or fruit-infused water and lemonade, thrown in with an ice pack or placed in a small cooler.

 

Dining supplies

Plates, utensils and napkins are a must (bonus points if they're eco-friendly). And in the off chance of leftovers, to-go containers are never a bad idea. 

 

Sunscreen

Skin protection is a necessity when outside, especially in the peak of summer. Prevent skin cancer and painful burns by packing a tube of SPF 30 or higher.

 

We refuse to let the heat keep us from spending time outdoors, even if it's only long enough for a picture-perfect picnic. A basket full of these essentials — and a good shade spot — will allow us to indulge in meals outside all summer long.