Take advantage of a gorgeous afternoon and have a picnic that’s fun for the whole family. It’s as easy as 1-2-3 with this picnic planning guide.
First, pick a location.
Parks provide the perfect backdrop for a family picnic, but they aren’t the only places you can have one. Try something different this time around, like an apple orchard, picturesque college campus, lawn of a museum or beside a monument. Just be sure to call ahead to confirm that picnicking is permitted at your desired location, and check the weather forecast before you decide on a day.
Tip: Picnics aren’t just about eating! Plan activities, too. For instance, if you’ll be in a large open space, fly kites. Or if you’re closer to the woods, help kids create a nature journal.
Second, plan your menu.
To avoid last-minute food snafus, choose recipes that can be prepared ahead of time or that require little to no cooking once you get to your picnic site, like cheese and crackers. Mix and match these recipes for a scrumptious, low-stress picnic:
- Sandwiches: Give your family’s favorite sandwiches a fresh twist by using a different type of bread, like soft and airy ciabatta bread or kid-friendly pretzel rolls.
- Salads: Rather than lettuce-based salads, opt for ones that won’t get soggy on your way to the picnic site. Our Moroccan Carrot Salad and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Dijon Vinaigrette actually taste best made ahead, because the flavors have time to meld.
Quick Tip: Savor mealtime, knowing you have help with clean up. Cascade Complete Pacs scrub away tough foods, no pre-rinse required. So you can spend more time around the table with loved ones.
- Muffins: If you’re planning to take a hike after your picnic, try our energy-packed Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Glaze, which taste even better the day after they’re made.
- Fresh Produce: Fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderfully portable, and nutritious to boot. Rinse and cut both beforehand (if necessary), and pack raspberry dip to dunk fruits in, and hummus for vegetables.
Tip: Pre-pack individual lunches, and there’s less divvying up to do when you get to your picnic site.
- Homemade Soda: Make our Simple Ginger Syrup up to one week in advance, then pick up club soda and ice on your way to the picnic site and make your own ginger ale when you get there.
Third, pack up supplies.
Gather essentials like a blanket, flatware, cups, plates and paper towels. Next, go through recipes one-by-one to figure out what you’ll need, if anything, to serve them. Then, pack it all up. No picnic basket? No problem. A wooden crate, tote bag or backpack works just as well.
Tip: In addition to picnicking supplies, don’t forget to take sunscreen, portable stain remover and bug spray, just in case.