How to Make the Most of Your Next Outdoor Picnic

woman in gray sweater sitting beside man in black and white stripe shirt

Picnics are a perfect opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors while sampling some of your favorite foods. It’s even better if you bring your family or a few friends along for the experience. But if you want to make the most of this event, you’ll need to be prepared.

Choose the Right Setting

First, you need to understand that the setting can make or break your entire picnic. If you choose a location that’s enjoyable and conducive to picnicking, your entire group is going to have a better time. But there are plenty of bad locations for your picnic, and you need to be aware of them.

Consider the following:

  • Natural scenery. How much natural scenery is there? The ideal scenic landscape for a picnic is one that’s filled with trees, bushes, and possibly wildlife. If your view is marred by a construction site or a busy street, you’re not going to have as much of a pleasant experience.
  • Flat, even space. You’ll also want to look for a flat, even space with plenty of openness so you can see your surroundings unobstructed. If you’re going to lay down a blanket and picnic on that, this becomes even more important; otherwise, you may not have a comfortable place to sit.
  • Access to amenities. Don’t neglect the importance of having access to amenities. If you want to sit down at a table, you need to make sure your picnic area has tables and/or pavilions available. If you plan on doing at least some cooking on your picnic, you’ll need to make sure there are fire pits or grill locations available. You’ll also want to choose a spot with access to restrooms, in case anyone in your group needs to use them, and preferably, an area with water fountains.
  • Minimal crowds. Also, consider the number of people that are usually around this area. Is this a crowded location? If so, you may find it hard to grab a spot, and you may not enjoy the experience as much. Try to find someplace quiet that doesn’t give much foot traffic.

Come Prepared

Next, come to the picnic prepared.

  • Storage and portability. One of the most difficult parts of planning a picnic is figuring out how you’re going to store and carry all the things you need. You can start with a fashionable leather backpack, which can hold your utensils, a small blanket, plates, napkins, and other necessities for eating. You’ll also want to bring a cooler, which will keep all your cold foods cold on your way to the picnic.
  • Food and drinks. What foods are best to bring to a picnic? That depends on the crowd you’re trying to please and your goals for the experience. Some people prefer bringing easy finger foods, such as small sandwiches, hard-boiled eggs, fruits, and raw vegetables. Others prefer to fire up the grill, bringing uncooked meats and plenty of fixings for them. No matter what, you’ll want to bring plenty of bottled water, so nobody runs the risk of getting dehydrated.
  • Packaging. You’ve got the food – now how do you pack it? Consider wrapping your pre-prepared food individually in convenient packaging so it’s easy to unwrap and enjoy.

Look for Other Activities

Picnics are great by themselves, but they’re even better if you have other activities to make them more interesting. These are just some of the ways you can complement your picnic experience:

  • A concert. Somehow, food tastes better when you’re enjoying good music while eating it. Consider throwing a picnic while there’s a free concert at the park going on.
  • A festival. You might also choose to have a picnic during a festival, so before or after your meal, you can walk around and explore.
  • A scavenger hunt. Consider planning a scavenger hunt for the park or nearby areas. It’s a great way to keep the kids occupied and excited about the experience.
  • Fishing. If you’re already in the wilderness, you might consider fishing as an afternoon pastime, before or after your picnic.
  • Camping. The picnic can turn into a small part of the experience if you choose to go camping.
  • Hiking. Hiking is a great form of exercise and an amazing way to get in touch with nature. It’s even more valuable if you’re using it to burn off the extra calories you ate.

Clean Up After Yourself

Finally, make it a point to clean up after yourself. You’re probably picnicking in a shared, public area, and that means you have a responsibility to keep that area as clean as when you found it. Throw away any disposable goods you’ve brought and bring everything else back with you when you leave.

These are some of the best secrets for making the most out of an outdoor picnic. The more familiar you become with picnicking, the more you’re going to want to experiment on your own. There’s no real “wrong” way to have a picnic, so feel free to try out any ideas that cross your mind.