How to Plan a Picnic

When the weather is nice and you’re looking for a fun outdoor activity, why not have a picnic? Eating outdoors with your family and friends will bring you closer and help you relax on a nice, sunshine-filled day. Picnics don’t have to be stressful; in fact, if they are, you might want to check out these tips to ensure your day is stress-free!


1. Scout a Good Picnic Location

The picnic location of our dreams is one filled with lush grass, tall trees and a bright blue sky. But when everyone has the same dream, picnic locations can get very crowded very quickly. You can still choose the park to have your picnic; just be prepared for other families and more company! A good rule of thumb is to look for a location with plenty of shade; even though you may want to spend the day in the sun, your food might not feel the same way! If you’re looking for creative ideas, why not host your picnic at the beach, along a hiking trail or even out of the backseat of your car?


2. Decide on a Time

Are you going to have a morning picnic featuring breakfast foods, or a later, dinner-esque picnic? Deciding on a time to hold your event will play a vital role in deciding what goes on the menu. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are three very different meals and each could be a fun and creative way to showcase your cooking and planning talents!


3. Check for Reservations

If you’re hosting your picnic in a park or other public area, you may need a reservation for picnic tables or grills, especially if you plan on bringing a large group along with you. Most government websites should have all the details that you need about reserving your dream spot for your picnic.


4. Plan Your Picnic Menu Accordingly

Going to be outside all day? Creamy foods and dips may not last in the sun, so avoid upset stomachs by planning a menu that features food that won’t expire in the sun. Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start. You should also think about foods that require little use of utensils; no one wants to carry around boxes of plastic forks! Finger foods like hamburgers, hot dogs and chips are classic picnic food that will leave guests satisfied and happy. Want more recipes? Check out our Pinterest board!


5. Don’t Overpack

Do you need three blankets, six packages of plates, coloring books, sporting equipment and a portable grill? With picnics, it’s best to go simple. Bring only the essentials; a blanket, a cooler, a Frisbee or football, and your guests! Depending on the location, many places will have grills ready for you to use.  Instead of carrying food in multiple plastic containers, why not make individual servings by stacking food in mason jars? For example, you can make a layered salad in individual serving portions and keep them in the jars until ready to serve. This cuts down on space and packing time, leaving you with less to do and more time to enjoy the day!


6. Don’t Forget the Details

What do you do when you realize Grandma is coming to your picnic and you forgot to bring her a chair? Don’t forget to consider the needs of your guests and the needs of the environment you’ll be traveling to. Always remember to bring along bug spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, an umbrella or tarp, and a first-aid kit. This will ensure that you’re prepared for just about anything.

For more picnic planning tips and ideas, go to the second page. You'll also find the link to our Pinterest board!


7. Make it Look Like You Weren’t There

The last thing you want is to be remembered as the family that couldn’t clean up after themselves. Bring trash bags to collect garbage as the picnic goes on, and make sure guests are clear on where they’re located. You can also bring along aluminum foil and plastic bags to collect leftovers when you’re ready to leave. Clean-up should be easier than set-up; you don’t want to get stuck there for an hour after the picnic cleaning up after everyone!


8. Enjoy Yourself!

Picnics are events that should be enjoyed by yourself, your family and your loved ones. There’s nothing quite like spending time outdoors with good food and good company. Enjoy the work that you’ve put into your picnic and relax as you watch guests mingle, eat and play!



Check out our Pinterest Board for even more ideas here!

Searching for the perfect spot for your picnic? Follow this link to the best beaches in Massachusetts and Rhode Island here


Be sure to leave your picnic tips and suggestions in our comments section!

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11 Jul 2014

By Mabel Sterritt