Whether you have a favorite picnic spot in the shade of a tree or on a grassy hill, a picnic is the perfect way to take advantage of beautiful summer weather. A little planning will help make your picnic an enjoyable outing. We’ve got 10 easy ideas and recipes for perfect picnicking, and no matter where you decide to spread your picnic blanket, this guide will get you started.
1. Pick a spot
Location matters when it comes to packing your picnic. Are you headed to the beach, the park, or a mountain vista? Wherever you go will help you know what you need to pack in your basket. If a picnic table awaits, you won’t need to pack a picnic blanket. For hiking up a mountain trail, you’ll want to pack light. If you hit up a music venue, keep your glassware at home.
2. Check the weather
A quick peek at the forecast also helps you pack smart. If temperatures will rise about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll want to bring along spoil-free foods, or pack everything in a chilled cooler with plenty of ice. If rain is on the horizon, add a waterproof vinyl tablecloth or picnic blanket to your basket to ensure comfy, dry eating.
3. Plan your picnic gear
Now that you know where you’re going and what the weather will be like, it’s time to decide what goes in your basket.
If you’ll be hiking to your destination, bring a backpack for food and supplies. Pack plastic cups and containers to keep the weight down. If you picnic at a wooden table with benches, you can use a picnic basket packed with either plastic or glassware. Food can be stored in mason jars or plastic containers. For a picnic in the grass, you’ll need a blanket that’s light and portable, and one that fits everyone at the picnic. For foods that require cold storage, pack an insulated bag with cold packs.
4. Check the checklist
No matter where you decide to picnic, prepping a checklist ahead of time keeps packing on track. Looking for a basic place to start? Our Smart Picnic Pack Checklist covers the most important essentials:
• outdoor dishware
• extra water (for cleanup)
• refrigerated menu items
• pantry items
• trash bags
• hand wipes
• bug spray
5. Prepare your menu
Perhaps the most important way to pack a perfect picnic is: choose foods that travel well. This isn’t a time to bring sloppy, messy food. Look for menu ideas that are portable, easy to make, and totally delicious. Here are five of our picnic-approved favorites:
There are several things to love about this BLT pasta salad. First, it has bacon in it, and everyone loves bacon. Second, it’s a low-cal salad, so you can still rock your short shorts. Third, it tastes incredible, and that’s what really matters!
Kale Salad in a Jar
Source: Healthy Happy Life
Kale is your best bet for picnic greens since they won’t wilt. Pack this sunny kale kruncher salad in mason jars and you’ll have fresh, tasty salad for your picnic spread.
Quick Italian Subs
Source: Seasons and Suppers
Skip the deli and carry along these scrumptious pressed Italian sandwiches. They make the perfect no-mess dinner.
Blueberry Hand Pies
Source: The Italian Dish
These blueberry hand pies keep dessert from becoming a messy disaster. Choose fresh, in-season berries, and you’ll have a to-die-for dessert!
Source: Bliss at Home
Don’t forget drinks! For an elegant and refreshing drink, simply add fresh fruit to water. Lemonade is also a great thirst-quencher on a hot day.