How to Plan a Perfect Picnic

How to Plan a Perfect Picnic

Well it's finally Spring, and let me just say, I could not be happier to hear the birds singing and see the sunshine, shining. 
However, at the time of writing this, we are in the middle of a pandemic, so it has been hard to enjoy the days as we should be able.

Anyhooo, with the time stuck inside we have plenty of time to daydream of nice days to come and the fun we will have once we gain some fresh air freedom!

So with all my free time, I thought I'd share a post giving a few quick tips to one of my favorite Springtime activities: Picnics.

Now I know you might be thinking, really?  What's to plan here? Pack food and go.
And I mean, essentially yes, that is the whole premise of a picnic.
But missing a few little details could have your picnic giving you more pain than pleasure.

Let's get started!‚Äč

Picking the Perfect Spot
A mix of sun and shade that is accessible is the first thing you should look for.
Weather depending, you want to be able to shift to the more comfortable zone should it change.
Having access to a picnic table is always great as well.

Something else to consider; are you hoping for secluded or do you mind being around other families.  Check out your local areas and see which setting will work best for you.

Food
Alright, so 2 very important steps with planning out the perfect picnic meal.  Well, actually 3…

1) Plan a small menu a few days ahead of time
2) Prep food a day or two prior to picnic
3) Less is more – seriously
From the many times I have packed up for a road trip or picnic, I believe food is the one thing we tend to go overboard with.
You can still get the most out of a perfect picnic going the easy route!

A simple pasta, green, or potato salad.
A few marinated olives, sliced veggies and some dip
A fresh loaf of bread with some olive oil, herbs and balsamic vinegar mix
Maybe a nice pate with crackers.
Finger foods like sandwiches and "pinwheels" make for delicious picnic foods that are both easy to pack and eat!

You want to add in a bit of variety, yet things that are easy to kick back, relax and enjoy some light conversation over.
A quick "picnic foods" or "Easy appetizers" search on Pinterest will pull up a World of easy, tasty, dishes.
Don't forget a few crunchy snacks, such as pretzels or chips!

Refreshments
Thermos for hot coffee or tea, cooler bag with an ice pack or two for frosty beverages.
If you are bringing hot beverages and enjoy cream, milk or sugar; make a quick reminder to pack those items too!
Nothing like a nice big cup of disappointment without your favorite flavorings. 
If you're thinking of bringing a bottle of wine, or another form of alcohol, make sure it is permitted on the location you will be going.

Coolers, Containers and Baskets…Oh my!
Now the perfect 'visual' picnic would contain all the goodies we generally see in movies and pretty photos. 
A lovely wine and cheese spread, fresh bread and a chilled bottle of wine, all somehow packed into a beautiful red and white checkered lined wicker basket.

Due to the amount of food, beverages and any extras we will need (such as condiments), that most likely isn't going to happen.

So back to reality we go:

Let's remember here that there is packing for the picnic (including packing up the car), unpacking once we've reached location, packing back up after the picnic, then unpacking once home again.  It's a lot of work and we want to make this process easy breezy!

Take a look at the reusable to-go containers you own. 
Visualize the menu you have planned (pasta salad etc) and see what containers you will need.

TIP: Pull out your cooler and pack up those dishes for a quick trial run.

Remember you'll have to leave room for a bag of ice or ice packs that you may be stacking in the cooler to keep food chilled.
Pack those up too between your dishes to see how everything will fit.

Do not overcrowd your coolers, as you need to make sure the food stays at a safe temperature and your drinks stay nice and chilled.
With that said, don't leave too much space or you chance having the ice melting quickly and food perhaps spoiling.

I like to bring one cooler with food, and then a more convenient cooler bag for the beverages.
A larger canvas tote is a great way to bring the additional stuff that doesn't need temperature regulation; such as tumblers, paper (or reusable) plates and utensils, paper towels, wet ones and any snacks like chips or crackers. 

Activities
Will you just be going out for a picnic and to soak up a bit of sun, or will you be spending a few hours in the park?
Light activities can be a great way to enjoy your day:

Catch
Frisbee
Yardzee
Reading
Badminton
Card Games (if you're not in a windy area)
…There are tons of outdoor Spring fun activities to choose from!

 

Clothing
Light clothing is always best; think lounging.
You don't want to feel restricted or uncomfortable, especially since you'll be sitting on the ground, and perhaps enjoying a few outdoor games. 
Shorts and a tank, or even a flowy sundress work perfectly, and don't forget to take footwear into consideration.
Remember to pack a sweater or jacket in case it starts to cool down.

Important Extras to Pack:
Blanket
Sunscreen
Bag for garbage
Coat or Sweater
Hat and Sunglasses
Utensils / Plates / Bowls
Paper towels and Wet Ones
Condiments and seasonings such as Salt and Pepper
** If you'll be enjoying your picnic in the traditional sense (on a blanket), you might consider packing a pillow or two to sit on.

QUICK TIP:
Pack up your "extras" tote the night before.  It is a great way to save time and cut down on things to do in the morning.
It also  leaves room for any reminders of something you may have missed.
All you'll need to do now the next day, is load up those coolers with your delicious lunch and snacks, and head out the door! 


I hope you've enjoyed these quick tips to helping plan the perfect picnic…
Let's hope we can get out there soon to enjoy this beautiful Spring weather
!

Chelsea Springtime Tree Signature