Summer is almost here! That means warmer weather, longer days, and summer BBQs! The great thing about a summer BBQ is you can throw one in so many different places and have a unique party and a total blast. Of course, each location will have its own challenges for the host of the party to hurdle. You've probably got a great spot to host in mind, but remember: each location comes with its own unique set of requirements so everyone has a fun and safe time. For some locations you will need to think of things like towels and entertainment, while with others you will need shade and bug spray.
While keeping your BBQ bash small is simple and fun, you can definitely get creative and host a huge summer bash to make it that much more memorable.
Need ideas for locations? Here are 8 of the best places to throw a summer BBQ bash, as well as some tips to help make your party a success!
1. Local Park
The park is a great place to have a BBQ…you just need to do a little bit of homework first! We have a small backyard, so relocating from our house to a nice big park nearby is awesome. There is plenty of space for all of your guests, and usually a playground or two to keep the little ones entertained. Depending on where you live, you might want to be sure to have some bug spray to ward off those pesky insects. It is summer, so be sure to have plenty of water for everyone too! Scope out the park you have in mind beforehand and see if you need to provide seating or blankets, and if you need to bring your own grill or if the park has some available.
Having grown up in a beach town, this was the number one place my family and I always had our BBQs. We would load up our portable grill, pack up the cooler and grab the Frisbee and some towels. If you are lucky enough to be able to BBQ at your beach, there are a few things to remember. Please don't forget the sunblock! That sun can sneak up on you and burn you and the kids in no time. Also be sure to have some fun sand toys and buckets for the kids to stay busy collecting sea shells or building sand castles. But most of all, remember the food! A word to the wise: try and keep your sand activities away from the food. You would be surprised how quickly your hot dogs can get sandy.
Sometimes the backyard is just not big enough for us to have as big of a BBQ as we would like. But if you have a large enough yard, go for it! It is super convenient for you as the host, as having everything a few feet away in the house is pretty helpful. There are a few things to keep in mind if you are hosting the BBQ at your place, though.
Seating is the first one! I never seem to have enough chairs and stools for my guests. If that is an issue, pull out a few blankets for your friends and family to sit on with their grub. It is a BBQ afterall, so there's no need to be formal! Depending on the time of day, you may want to invest in a couple of outdoor umbrellas to provide shade. That sun can get hot really quickly! After you finish making the burgers, keep the grill going and make some s'mores for dessert! It's the small and fun things that people will remember and love about your backyard BBQ.
There are few things in this world I love more than a BBQ pool party. They are the best! If you are lucky enough to have your own pool, then you are good to go! But most of us do not have that luxury. There are plenty of local public pools that would be perfect for a BBQ. Just scout the pools out, see if they provide grills or if you can bring your own. I have yet to come across a public pool that doesn't allow you to bring in your own food. Most pools have pavillions that you can reserve for your party, which is really nice. Some things to remember if you host your BBQ bash poolside: first and foremost, towels. People always forget their towels! Bring some extras to make for a more pleasant party for your guests. Make sure to bring enough plates, cups, etc. It's a bummer to run out of something like that at a BBQ. If there will be little ones, bringing some floaties or beach balls is always a good idea. And as I mentioned before, sunblock! Having fun splashing in the water is great, but the sunburn that can follow if you neglect the sunblock is not so fun.
Last summer we drove to a local lake for a little BBQ picnic and it was amazing. The "beach" at the lake was perfect for a BBQ! The kids loved splashing in the shallow water and the adults had a great time hanging out around the grill. A huge bonus with lakes is that most of the larger lakes are state owned and have grills and picnic benches there waiting to be used. It's great! Do some research before hand to see if you need to reserve the space, just to make sure things run smoothly. The same basic things to remember apply for a lake BBQ setting as well. But another thing to think of are the muddy feet. Sand and mud get everywhere after a trip to the lake! Bring a gallon or two of hose water from home to clean off dirty feet before piling back into the car at the end of the party.
I have personally never had a BBQ at a drive-in, but a few weekends ago we were there as a family, and there were at least 10 cars that were all together having a BBQ before the movies started. It was genius! They had a small portable gas grill, beach chairs, and the normal supplies that go with hosting a BBQ. Not every drive-in in the country will allow you to bring in a grill of course, so make sure to call in advance to see! If not, you could always grill the food beforehand and bring it with you. Keep an eye on the kids and make sure to bring lots of blankets and pillows! I would also recommend bringing plenty of bug spray. The bugs get awful at sunset!
7. Tailgate Party
If there was ever an America sporting tradtion, this is it. Getting together in our jerseys and throwing a BBQ before a big game is so much fun! It can be hard to remember all of the things you might need to bring, but so long as you have the food, drinks, ice and the grill, you should be alright. If you are cooking burgers (how could you not at a tailgate party?) I would suggest a meat thermometer. It's a great and easy way to make sure the meat is done without having to supervise it too long. Because let's face it, there are other things you want to be doing at a BBQ than monitoring the meat every two seconds.
8. Block Party
A block party is one of my favorite ways to BBQ, because at a block party you generally don't have to provide everything for the whole block. It's more like a pot luck where everyone brings something. It's so much easier than trying to think of every little detail on your own! We went to this awesome block party two years ago that the city actually put on. It was huge! It was a lot of fun walking around the neighborhood checking out what grub was grilling at different houses and meeting new friends and neighbors. If you happen to be hosting a block party BBQ yourself, don't forget to have some entertainment! If you're looking to entertain adults, an iPod DJ or a local band is a great idea. Keep your cooler stocked with plenty of water and other drinks to keep your guests hydrated, and if the party will be taking place in the evening, be sure to have enough lights around your home to keep it well lit.
What are your best summer BBQ tips? Weigh in in the comments!