10 Easy Ideas for a Great Picnic

Yes, the warm season is here, so picnics are in! If you look back to your previous picnics and don’t really have good memories, it could be because the way you organized everything wasn’t the best one. Don’t despair, we have a few ideas that will ensure a guaranteed success.

First of all, you have to think seriously about the food, the place where you’re going and the exit strategy. But let’s take it step by step:

1. Choose a good spot

Yes, try not to choose a busy park when your backyard looks like a piece of heaven! Also, you may want to steer away from places where people like to walk their dogs (for obvious reasons!).

Practically, the perfect picnic has to be: secluded, quiet, green, safe (as little bugs as possible!), away from traffic (you don’t want to hear cars passing by, do you?) and preferably not on someone’s private property- don’t laugh about it, it can happen… Oh and one more thing: make sure the ground is not humid or you will not feel comfortable one bit!

2. Pack efficiently

Sure, typical baskets are cute and all, but are they really practical? How about a nice tote that’s waterproof, big enough to fit all the food and cute to wear? The only inconvenience could be the fact that putting things back in it is going to take you a while, but nobody says you have to rush back home.

Here’s what you need to pack: forks, spoons, knives, paper towels, a blanket, an umbrella, your food, some garbage bags, and an extra sweater. For your drink, you may want to bring plastic bottles and Dixie cups.

3. Go for healthy food

Try not to prepare something that’s too complicated, so no intricate recipes! Start with a fruit salad (slice and dice apples, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangoes and pineapples then place everything in mason jars) and then move on to the main course (sure, you can go for casseroles, but I’m not sure how that is going to work with the transportation phase of the picnic): choose a nice side dish like mashed potatoes/ grilled vegetables/ tortillas/ Serbian rice to go with the steak, fried chicken or sausages.

However, probably the best idea would be to combine everything, so prepare yourself to bake a meat pie, for example. If this is too much work for you, make some sandwiches: egg sandwich (omelet, jalapenos, parsley, salt and pepper, cheese), cucumber sandwich (cottage cheese, oregano, cucumbers, onions), pork sandwich (pork pastrami, onion rings, mustard, tomatoes, bell peppers) or a nice beef sandwich (beef, parsley, radishes, salt and pepper, with some green lettuce).

For dessert, you have so many options: chocolate-stuffed strawberries, milkshakes, regular cookies (check this article for all the recipes), some watermelon or just Nutella biscuits. When it comes to drinks, pretty much everybody goes with lemonade, but there are other drinks you can prepare at home: Green Apple (the juice from ½ green apple, some almond extract, ice cubes, cinnamon, honey and peppermint leaves), Vitamin C Cocktail (strawberries, grapefruits and oranges blended, water, ice cubes, lemon extract, corn syrup) or Nutrition Nut (a blend of mangoes, pineapple, mangoes, water, honey and vanilla extract).

4. Choose a great blanket

Your picnic blanket needs to be: thick enough to make you feel comfortable, easy to clean in case it gets dirty and a light color. In fact, some picnic blankets have a waterproof back that will be perfect for you: no grass strains, humidity and so on! Plus, easier to clean!

Most people choose the thinnest blanket because it fits better in the basket, but the truth is that if the ground is not leveled, you’ll feel all those little rocks!

5. Mason jars and plastic bottles

Mason jars are great, but very heavy, so try to compromise a little bit: prepare your mason jar desserts, but use plastic bottles for your drinks and plastic containers for your food. If you feel that this is not looking very classy, buy some paper plates and cups and you’ll be all set. Also, the mason jars may break, leak and the list continues.

6. Prepare desserts in a mason jar

Preparing mason jar desserts is the easiest thing you can do. For the first recipe, you will need to put in a mason jar the following ingredients: some cookie powder (smash a regular chocolate chip cookie), a layer of buttercream, a layer of sliced strawberries, another layer of buttercream, then some cookie powder again and so on until you fill up the jar.

The second recipe consists of layers of chocolate, pineapple slices and rolled oats and the third one is a peanut butter and jelly tribute: one layer of peanut butter, one of cake dough, then jelly, then dough again and repeat. If you have an ice box, you can make popsicles (using this recipe) and bring them with you.

7. Maybe play something?

You don’t have to eat and then go home. Who says you can’t have a little fun while you’re out?

Try scrabble, a regular board game or a game of hit the bottle (you’ll have to throw a circle on a designated bottle- by color or by number), bucket ball, spoon tail (you’ll tie a rope to a spoon and then tie your wait with the other end of the rope to make it look like you have a tail that ends in a spoon.

You will try to place a small ball onto the spoon without using your hands or arms. In fact, you can only use dance moves. Whoever wins, gets to sit around and watch while the other ones are clearing the “table”).

8. Be prepared for rain

Don’t believe the weather man! Just be prepared, especially during spring when it can start raining out of the blue. So here’s what to do: don’t wear sandals (maybe a pair of flats with a thick bottom, if you don’t want to put on your rubber boots), pack an extra sweater and an umbrella. If there’s room for a raincoat, even better.

Of course, rain could very well rain on your parade (see what I did there?), but be prepared and that will never happen. If you happened to bring a plastic tablecloth with you, you can create your own shelter and keep enjoying the meals.

9. Think about using the bike instead of your car

The reason for this is that you probably take the car to work and back every day and tend to associate it with things that you don’t really want to do. Plus, if you live in a busy city, the traffic will only put you in a bad mood (and you haven’t even started your picnic!). So leave your four wheels at home, hop on your bike and don’t let anything or anybody bother you!

Plus, you can take any shortcut you want. Just make sure your basket is secured in the trunk and you’ll be more than OK! Enjoy both the bike ride and the delicious food you’ve made!

10. Don’t leave a mess behind

Seriously, you should bring a few trash bags with you. Did you like the fact that the place was nice and clean when you got here? Then you better leave it nice and clean behind you as well! Throw all the paper plates, leftovers, Dixie cups and only keep the blanket, sweater, bag, umbrella, sweater etc.

I know many people like bringing pillows, but that’s really difficult to carry around, not to mention that in case of rain you are definitely going to regret your choice.

Preparing for a nice picnic with your friends and family or just thinking about taking your date on a picnic? Well, keep in mind these 10 ideas and things will turn out great: enjoy your foods and quality time with the loved ones! And protect the environment so other people can enjoy picnics as well!

Oana Schneider :Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.