10 Picnic Ideas, Tips & Tricks

One of the folks I follow, Life Is A Party had this article on having a great picnic, so here it is just for you too. 

Top 10 Picnic Do’s and Don’ts: easy picnic ideas that will help you plan the perfect picnic and avoid all the mistakes.

Picnics are such a fun activity.  Today we’re sharing all our favourite picnic ideas and best picnic tips and tricks to help you have the best picnic ever.  Nothings better than fresh air and great food, enjoyed with great company.  Any warm day is the ideal time to have a picnic. 

1. Picnic Activities

Don’t forget a few fun activities to do at the picnic besides of course eating great food.  Games like bocce ball, ladder ball, corn hole, or even a Frisbee or a kite are great picnic ideas.  Activities like these are an especially good options to keep young children happy if they’re with you.  

Swimming is such a favourite picnic activity.  Bring a picnic to the beach, and enjoy the water, build a sandcastle, and enjoy the sun.  Water sports or boating are a perfect picnic activity too if you have the opportunity.

Not a fan of playing a picnic game or sports activities?  How about bringing a good book or a magazine for the perfect leisurely picnic activity?  Another quiet activity for a picnic is painting or sketching.  Since you’re hopefully in a lovely spot with gorgeous scenery, it’s a great time to pull out the sketch book, or try a little watercoloring.  Kids love this too.

Lots of people love to bring a music device to enjoy some tunes on a picnic too.  If you are bringing music though be sure you don’t disturb others who are trying to enjoy the outdoors also, and might not love your choice in music.  If you’re off on your own though, some music can be a great addition.  

2. Food Packaging

Do take care in how you package your food.  There’s nothing worse than  squished or soggy sandwiches, or a salad that leaks salad dressings all over everything else, unless of course it’s food poisoning.  Make sure to keep hot foods hot and cold foods.  Keep cold foods cool with ice packs and a cooler.  Throw out any leftovers you’re worried about.  Remember food safety especially for items like potato salad with mayonnaise.  If you’re worried about having issues, then choose foods that are safe at room temperature.  Frozen water bottles are a great way a cool bag cold on a hot day, without the dripping mess of ice cubes as they melt.  If you are using ice cubes, make sure to pack them in ziplock plastic bags to avoid a mess of water at the bottom of the cooler when the ice melts.

To avoid the leaking issue with foods, choose containers like mason jars, or plastic containers that seal well.  When you’re packing your picnic basket, be sure to put heavy items on the bottom, and lighter things like food items that you don’t want to get squished or crushed on top.  Fresh fruit is great for a picnic, so take care to make sure it doesn’t get crushed.

And when you’re packing up your picnic foods, don’t forget that you also are going to need some things like trash bags for after the picnic.  Throw some paper towels, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes in along with the garbage bags for easy picnic cleanup when you’re all done.

3. Colour Scheme and Decor 

Do remember to think about your colour scheme and some flowers even for a picnic.  It’s amazing how adding a few special touches as picnic decor can take the festivities to a whole new level.  Things like real china dishes, glasses, a small cutting board and cloth napkins are a little trickier to transport, but make your picnic feel super luxurious.  I don’t recommend these items for a backpack hike, but if you’re parking your car nearby, some of these extras can take your picnic experience to the next level.  

If you do need a lighter more easy to transport option, there are lots of beautiful disposable products too.  Beautiful paper plates, napkins, and cups with coordinated colors and patterns are a beautiful option.   

Choose whatever works best for you, but remember to try and co-ordinate it for a pulled together look.  You don’t have to be a food stylist to make it look great.  Go the extra mile with a few special touches, and you will create a successful picnic full of special memories.  Although things like coordinated accessories aren’t necessary for a wonderful picnic, they really do make your picnic extra special.  They’re especially great if it’s a romantic picnic and you want to show someone special that they’re worth going to some extra trouble for.

4. Bugs and Avoiding Them

Do remember to bring some insect repellent and look out for ants.  As cliche as it might sound, ants at a picnic are no fun, especially if they’re the biting kind.  Bee stings can dampen the mood too.  Remember to look for insects when you pick your picnic spot and avoid them if you can.  

I once accidentally set up a gorgeous, elaborate picnic right on top of an ant hill.  Needless to say we had to move everything and re-set up in a new area.  Lesson learned.  Always check your picnic area before setting it up.  You might also want to keep a small first aid kit on hand, just in case.  And take extra precautions if anyone is allergic.

Mosquitoes or black flies can be a real pain at a picnic too.  The best way to keep mosquitoes away is bug spray, or something like a citronella candle or coil can help keep them away from your picnic area too.

5. Sun and Shade

Do find some shade.  Too much sun in the great outdoors can be a bad thing.  A sun hat, or an umbrella are great options.  You could also look for a shady spot to set up your picnic blanket.  Lots of parks have an outdoor sheltered picnic area.  If you’re picnicing on the beach a shade umbrella or shade tent is a great idea on really sunny days.  If you’re a sun lover, it’s a good idea to bring some sunblock, so you can enjoy the sun safety.

6. Take Out

Do remember that a great option for a picnic, especially if you’re not so into packing up all the food yourself, is takeout.  My favorite picnic hack is to pick up food at your favourite restaurant.  Bring a blanket and find somewhere in the great outdoors with great views to enjoy your meal.  Even a take out pizza is a great option for easy picnic food.

It’s not only restaurants, many grocery stores have a great grab and go food options.  Look for things like ready made sandwiches, a fruit tray, veggie tray, dips, fresh bread, cheeses, even ready made charcuterie boards to enjoy.  In the deli section you could find ready made salads, like pasta salads, fruit salad, and others.  These ready made picnic classics make preparing a picnic much easier.

7. Three Season Picnicking

Do picnic in spring, summer, and fall.  As soon as the weather is warm enough to enjoy being outside, and until it gets frosty can be picnic season.  In the spring and fall especially a waterproof plastic backed picnic blanket is one of my picnic essentials.  During those times of year, you may be more comfortable at a picnic table, rather than sitting on the ground.  Camp chairs are also a great option.  As well, a thermos with a hot drink, like tea, coffee, or hot chocolate is a great addition to a spring or fall picnic to warm up if you’re feeling chilly.  

8. BBQ or Campfire

Do bring a portable bbq on your picnic.  An inexpensive mini bbq that uses charcoal or a small portable gas bbq are a great addition to any picnic.  Some parks even have built-in bbqs where you supply the charcoal.  

This can take a picnic to a whole new level. In some areas you can also light a fire, which is great for roasting hot dogs or making s’mores too, or staying until it gets dark.  BBQs and campfires are prohibited in some areas, so be sure to check your local rules before starting one.  

And if you’re in an area that allows it, a campfire is one of my favorite ways to add a little warmth to spring and fall picnics.  In many picnic areas you can buy firewood.  Use an old school stick from the woods for your marshmallow roasting.  Don’t forget to pack your portable camp chairs to sit around the fire.

9. Rain Rain Go Away

Do check the weather forecast.  One of the few things that can really ruin a picnic is rain.  Check the forecast before you head out, and if you’re meeting friends you might want to consider a rain date or some other backup plan.  Some parks have pavilions with a roof, which can be great if there’s just a sprinkle.  If it’s really raining though, even under a pavillion things often feel very damp and just aren’t as much fun.   A unexpected picnic in your living room has a certain charm too, if you get rained out.

10. Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner?

Don’t forget that picnics are great any time of day -breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  A breakfast picnic is a great way to start off the day.  There’s lots of fun portable breakfast foods like pastries, muffins, fruit and a thermos of coffee.  A sunrise picnic is just as special as a sunset picnic.  So be sure to think of all the possibilities when you’re planning your next picnic.  

Picnics are so much fun.  They’re the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors, along with delicious food, and wonderful company.  Picnic’s are one of my favourite ways to entertain.  Find a great place, pack some great food, and enjoy yourself.  With these great picnic ideas and top tips and tricks, you’re sure to have your best picnic ever.

What’s your best picnic tip? Share in the comments.

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