From Picnic Day to TGFS and Whole Earth Festival, we have had plenty of opportunities to go on picnics lately. With the fresh air and blue skies calling, who can say no to relaxing and eating in the sunshine? Find out some of our tips for packing a picnic and soon you too can be enjoying a stress-free afternoon of blissful cloud-watching!
Choose a Location
Backyard – Picnics don’t need to be an exhausting excursion. They can, in fact, be as close to home as your own backyard! String up some tea lights and invite family and/or friends outside to enjoy a sunset picnic.
Park – For a change of pace from home, explore parks in your hometown. Parks can provide scenic views and plenty of space to lay out your picnic. If you do some research, fellow locals may already be coordinating a group picnicking event. For instance, Davis has Picnic in the Park in Central Park every Wednesday evening, featuring a live band and the Farmers Market.
Beach or Lake – If you’re feeling adventurous, take your picnic shore-side with a day trip to a beach or lake. Swimming, hiking, or building sand castles are fun, easy activities that require minimal planning. Local options are Lake Berryessa in Napa County and Ocean Beach in San Francisco.
Prepare the Menu
In general, follow these three simple rules:
(1) Go light
Save heavy dishes for Sunday dinner and choose light foods that allow easy digestion in the hot heat of spring and summer.
Examples: Fruit kabobs, local vegetables, fresh bread, fruit spreads, cheese, salad, etc.
(2) Go wide
A wide variety of choices will keep your picnic interesting and provide everyone a chance to taste test a little bit of everything. Picnics are also a great time to experiment with and try a new food item, like fruit or cheese.
Example: Try radishes and salted butter like Kinfolk Magazine did at their Picnic in Paris.
(3) Go easy
Make cleanup easier (and more eco-friendly) by serving finger foods in reusable containers.
Examples: Quickly assemble some delicious bruschetta or cut mini cucumber-and-cream-cheese sandwiches into fun shapes with a cookie cutter! As for a reusable container option, check out LunchBots.
Pack the Picnic
In its simplest form, all you need for a picnic is a big blanket, delicious food, and some good company. But even then, a picnic is still a picnic if you’re relaxing by yourself on the grass. (Food is always a must, however, even if it is just a PB&J sandwich or an ice cream cone).
Our three favorite tips:
(1) Pack the heaviest items at the bottom of your bag/basket, then place a cutting board on top, followed by the rest of your lighter items. The cutting board not only works as a shelf, it also provides a level surface for precarious objects when picnicking like drinks or a deck of cards.
(2) Camping dishware can do double duty for picnics. Sturdy and reusable, they can truly make your picnic a meal outdoors without the worry of breaking anything.
(3) Include some garbage or plastic bags to carry dirty dishes home and/or pack out other trash.
Download our handy Picnic Packing List below. Click the image below to see it full-size, then right click “Save Image As”:
– Always keep food sealed and stored in the appropriate conditions. Avoid eating it if it looks spoiled.
– Respect the rules of your picnic location, whether it is in a National Park or your neighborhood one. Do not wander off trails, eat in un-designated areas, feed wildlife, or litter.
Once you’re there…
Unpack and enjoy!