Summer is in full swing, and we’re soaking it up as much as we can! We can agree it has been weird to navigate with little socialization and distancing being the new normal, but we want to encourage you during this time. Luckily, the weather is beautiful and with a little intention, there are ways to host intimate gatherings this Summer with those you love: All you need is a tasty menu, a small group of friends, and a day of fun in the sun. Be prepared with our must-have Poolside Entertaining Essentials from our favorite store, Target!
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may earn a commission (at no cost to you!) should you choose to make a purchase using our links. It’s okay – we love these products, and hope you will too!!
20 Poolside Entertaining Essentials – Target Summer Finds
- Blush 10.5″ Plastic Dinner Plates – There’s nothing worse than the sound of glass breaking. Have you ever sat in a restaurant or in someone’s home and witnessed a cup or plate dropping and shattering? Us too, and it’s not fun. Play it safe this Summer with these 10.5″ Plastic Dinner Plates. Not only are they great for outdoor use, they’ll coordinate with many themes for future gatherings! The best part? They’re less than $1 EACH!
- 24oz Plastic Floral Embossed Beverage Pitcher – Filling a pitcher of water and refrigerating it overnight is one of our most used #HostfulHacks to date, and this Floral Embossed Pitcher takes it to the next level. Mimi and Nana have always taught us the importance of keeping guests from having to get up from the table during dinner to refill their glasses, and hosting a poolside gathering is no different. Allow your guests to refresh and quench their thirst with ease by chilling water overnight and placing it on a table outside.
- Metal Beverage Tub & Ice Holder – Recently, we shared how we used a metal beverage tub for ice and beer at our Father’s Day Jerky & Beer Paring Party, and friends, this tub is a must have for all outdoor entertaining. Fill with ice and offer your guests a variety of drinks that are cold and ready to drink. *Tip: Moms! These work great for storing juice boxes and mini water bottles at a kid-friendly pool date as well!
- 15.7″ Steel Food Dome – Flies. Need we say more? Keep your food fresh and bug free by using a Steel Food Dome on top of serveware. We love the white dome because it can be reused with any table decor!
- Lemons Table Runner – Bring the indoors, out. Every time we host guests for some fun in the Sun, we set a simple tablescape and/or buffet on our back patio. This Lemons Table Runner is the perfect pop of color and can be repurposed to your dining table! Table linens are a great way to elevate any table design and helps bring some warmth and coziness to an outdoor space. Don’t be afraid to use the ‘good’ stuff outside! If it’s your favorite, use it!
- Sunscreen – Be prepared and treat your guests to an afternoon of no worries! Always have a bottle of sunscreen available to guests while hosting a gathering poolside. We like to store these in a decorative basket inside, and simply grab the basket when we’re having friends over and display it easily for guests to grab and go. *Tip: Keep a variety of SPF options for adults, children, and babies.
- Wastebasket – Decide whether or not a large or smaller wastebasket is best for your space and/or type of gathering. We want to remind you to NOT skip this step! Having a place for trash near your pool is a must! Your main goal while hosting a party poolside should be to have everything within reach to eliminate guests from going in and out of your home (hello, wet bathing suits and AC bill!) We love this Wicker Wastebasket because it has a plastic liner inside for easy cleaning.
- 18oz Plastic Tall Textured Tumbler – We love choosing drinkware that is sustainable. How many red solo cups have you thrown away in your lifetime? TOO MANY. These tall plastic tumblers are our favorite affordable option to reuse all Summer long!
- Cabana Striped Beach Towel – Keep in mind not every guests will remember to bring a beach towel to use after a day of swimming. Be prepared with these bright Cabana Striped Beach Towels! Keep a few extra beach towels stored away specifically for gatherings. This will keep them fresh and long-lasting.
- String Lights – We love a daytime pool party that turns into an evening backyard gathering. There’s no need to rush guests home when you’re having a good time, right? Transition easily by hanging a set of outdoor string lights to set a relaxing and intimate ambiance to end the night on a high note.
- Rectangle Woven Tray with Leather Handles – Want to reduce the amount of trips out of the pool to grab a snack or serve an hors d’oeuvre? Use a woven tray with handles to serve snacks while in the pool. We place these near the steps and encourage guests to sit back and relax!
- Linen Napkins – Easy clean up is always a WIN in our books! These white linen napkins are easy to toss in the washer with towels at the end of the night and reuse over and over again!
- Plastic Serving Bowl – This large plastic serving bowl is great to serve chips, fruit, pasta salad, Uncrustables, and so much more! Tip: Pre-plate recipes and/or food inside the bowl if they need to be served cold. Refrigerate inside the bowl overnight.
- Small Pool Floats – We may be adults but we all still have our inner child inside us! We like to disperse small pool floats inside our pool before guests arrive. Guests can sit or hang on these while floating around soaking up good conversation. Tip: Choose smaller pool floats rather than large ones. This is great for storage, as well as safety. If you’re hosting multiple children at once, you may consider not using pool floats altogether to ensure a safe day and clear sight of all children. Want to keep these floats in good condition? Remove air and fold up into plastic storage containers (out of the sun/weather) to reuse in the future!
- Mini Refrigerator – This was a game changer for our back patio and poolside gatherings! Like we said above, the less trips inside the home, the better. Stock a mini refrigerator with water and a variety of drinks and say goodbye to wet floors, open doors, and a cluttered refrigerator inside your kitchen!!
- Lightweight Throw Blanket – Now, we know you’re wondering why we’re including a throw blanket as an essential for entertaining poolside, and friends, this is a must have. We love bringing the same comfort we treat our guests inside, out into our outdoor spaces. If a guest stays through the evening, encourage them to get cozy on a couch under the moonlight and indulge in great conversation.
- Basket with Leather Handle – We love to use a variety of decorative baskets for storing items easily near our pool. Think rolled up beach towels, sunscreen, disposable serveware, extra trash bags, paper towels, etc. Use these baskets to help simplify hosting outdoors!
- Hand Sanitizer – It’s 2020. Need we say more? Stock up on quality foam hand sanitizer to help your guests enjoy snacks and meals with little worry this Summer! Opt for a fragrance free hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of allergens.
- Citronella Candle – Depending on where you live, if your home has mosquitoes as bad as we do here in Florida, stocking up on Citronella Candles is the best way to be prepared. We love this wooden candle from Hearth and Hand. Who knew bug protection could still be beautiful?
- Oversized Round Pillow – We’re always looking for ways to add cozy seating near the pool. These large oversized round pillows are a great option for guests while they’re not in the pool. Comfort is everything, and these are the perfect way to help your guests feel right at home near your pool!