10 Ways to Make Your Picnic Better

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Your picnic packing list

Bring it to the blanket

Consider it a rebrand to your traditional picnic. Daydreaming about sunny skies and laying in the grass? Wanting to revamp the standard weekend afternoon? If you’re wondering what to bring to a picnic, we have the hot takes on how to bring more than just your favorite bites to the table (we mean blanket). With these picnic hacks, your Saturday afternoon session just got a whole new flavor to it. Or Sunday, or really any day. Heck, it’s summer, let’s get outside. How to make your picnic better: Order up!

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what to bring to a picnic

10 ideas for a picnic this summer

1. Make it a potluck

What’s better than snacks? Sharing them with friends, of course. This potluck picnic rendition includes getting to try all your friends’ latest fav snacks. Why is this great? There’s always that friend who finds the seemingly hidden shelf at Trader Joe’s with the new seasonal chomps. Then there’s the one with the vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free options to feed all. The one with the bag of chips who will never change a good thing. The mac n cheese fanatic. What’s your snack identity, and will your friends guess it? 

ideas for a summer picnic
Pro Tip: Make it a game! Everyone brings their snack (concealed, as best you can). Take turns setting food on display on the picnic blankets, while others are not watching. Guess who brought what. Do you know your friends’ tastes? 

Click to jump to our top foods to bring to a picnic below.

2. …Or a take-out party

An oldie but oh-so-beloved, turn it into a take-out party. Since you’re planning to take food outside anyway for the picnic experience… Opt for your favorite spot to order take-out from, head to the park, spread out the blankets, and have yourself a take-out party, picnic edition. 

3. Add pillows

what to bring to a picnic

Cozy is something you can never have too much of. Amplify, comfort-ify, and snuggle up when you set a puffy foundation of pillows atop your picnic blanket. Think big, floppy options to truly add the extra oomph of comfort to the scene. 

4. Choose canned over glass

Obvious reason: Avoid breakage. Also, it’s lighter in weight. Pick your (strength) battles. If there’s one area you can ease up on the weight you're carrying, let it be to the picnic blankets in the park.

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5. Keep cool with frozen water bottles

You know at the end of a picnic, when the cooler leaks and someone has to find the perfect spot to plant a new puddle? (Okay, not the biggest obstacle, but still). Avoid this, and prep drinks proactively, by freezing water bottles beforehand. Use these as ice packs to cool the food. As the ice melts, you’ll have a freshly chilled water bottle to cool down with. Aaah. 

6. Be gone, bugs

We love being outside, but we don’t always love the elements. How to keep the bugs out of your drinks? Cupcake liners. That’s right. Turn them upside down, plant onto the rim of your cup or can, stick a straw through, and relish your beverage. Sans insects. 

Pro Tip: Check out Tips for Hosting Outside to not be elementary when it comes to the ‘elements’

7. Ambiance

Whether its fairy lights, beach chairs, an umbrella for sun protection (or looks), hammocks to hang in the trees, you name it. Think about what mood you want to bring to your picnic, and how throwing in just a few items beforehand can really elevate the mood.

On the other hand—we’re also about keeping things simple. Think: Do you want the picnic set-up and teardown to be easy and low-lift? In that case, forget the extra additions. If you’re itching for the Tiktok worthy scene, carry on. 

8. Pack a shower curtain for wet grass

You know that sinking feeling the instant you sit down… and it’s an experience we can all agree on we’d likely prefer to avoid. Water seeping through a blanket to your bum. This shower curtain hack prevents you from getting in this well, soggy situation. Spread the shower curtain beneath the picnic blanket. Done deal. Sog-free zone. (Plus, it keeps your blanket clean!)

Pro Tip: Speaking of wet grass, which may have come from sprinklers but could come from rain, it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan in your back pocket. A rainy day plan, if you will. Whose garage is ready to clear out vehicles and welcome in picnic baskets? An easy trade to keep the fun happening. 

9. Pack the tunes (& a speaker)

There will be plenty of chatter to go around, but keep the vibes rollin’ with the tunes of the times. Who needs a campfire to sing around when you’ve got picnic blankets, snacks, and quality jams? Just be sure you charge your speaker before you go ;) 

10. Bring a trash bag

The end of every party inevitably rolls around, and this trick simplifies your clean-up, and takes care of the world around you. Rather than making individual trips to the garbage can, hands full of containers with food remnants, pile it all together in one trash bag. One lucky picnic attendee gets to make the trek to the trash, Santa-sack style. Carry in, carry out. Cleaning up after ourselves is just one small (responsible) part we can play in doing our part for the environment.

Top foods to bring to a picnic

But really, when it comes down to it, the most important part of a picnic (besides gathering together, of course) is the food. Here are our top ideas for fueling your afternoon outing in the sun.

Pro Tip: Throw in a few wooden charcuterie-style boards to easily display and pass the bites around.
best picnic snacks
  • Sandwiches: Take one down, pass it around…
  • Salads: Pasta, green, quinoa, fruit, just yes. 
  • Chips & dip
  • Veggies & hummus
  • Baguette & butter
  • Greek yogurt dip anything (add some spices & stir it around)
  • Chopped fruit
  • Cheese & crackers: Call it charcuterie, the picnic way. 
  • Hot dogs (if you’re going the grill route)
  • Chicken skewers: Prep them ahead of time, cool, and serve at room temp 
  • Cookies: Or literally any type of sweet. 

How ready do you feel for picnic season to roll around? No need for reservations, just another perk of why picnics are all-time. Consider this a sprinkle of fresh seasoning to your traditional picnic experience. Now go savor it. 

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