Picnics are one of my favorite things to do in the spring and summer. From spur-of-the-moment sandwiches on the lawn to well-planned feasts with friends—what’s not to love about spending time outside, among the trees and butterflies, enjoying great company and a plate (or three) of delicious food? Whether you pick the standard afternoon time slot or a breakfast-themed bash, eating outdoors is always rejuvenating and relaxing.
The question is, where do you want to picnic? Yes, you could do the classic park lawn location, but why not change it up, and try a different setting with a fresh vibe? See a new part of town, meet some new people, and find other landscape perspectives for your Instagram feed. There are a million reasons to look for someplace new to picnic. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Under the stars (headlamps recommended)
- At an airport, to watch planes land on the runways (bring a windbreaker and maybe earplugs)
- A hike away, to a mountain or secret lake (especially if you have recently found a treasure map in your attic)
- The beach (bring towels)
- At a public art gallery or sculpture park that allows food and sparkling lemonade (a picnic must-have)
To make the most of the fine weather, you could ride your bike or walk to any of these spots to get in some extra heart beats. Eating your delicious spread will be your reward. Pack a basket, cups and cutlery (try these compostable ones), a blanket, cold beverages and don’t forget dessert. I like to bring a portable music player and a game to play, as well as books and an umbrella for shade. And if you are bringing your dog, don’t forget a water dish and a snack for him or her.
Need more suggestions? Try these Luvo Picnic Hacks. And here are a few more tips to plan the perfect picnic:
- I like to bring easy to prepare and re-wrap foods like cheese, cured meats, pre-cooked sausages or the kind you cook on a portable BBQ, bread and other finger foods. I think of foods that can easily be eaten on a plate sitting on my lap (i.e., no spaghetti) or hand-held in a wrapper. Gazpacho is another great option—poured into re-useable cups for simple, environmental sipping. Don’t worry if cooking isn’t your thing, you can easily find tasty and healthy store-bought items.
- A dessert picnic is another fun idea. Try tarts or macarons from a local bakery, homemade cookies and, of course, fruit.
- Remember ice packs or a cooler to keep perishables at the right temperature. Try to make your cooler healthier with these five steps.
- Don’t forget the other essentials: insect repellant, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, condiments, baby wipes, paper towels, and a good sun hat.
- Plan your cleanup. I bring plastic bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for leftovers if I don’t have enough containers and lids. And don’t forget garbage bags so you leave the picnic area nicer than you found it.
- Use a mason jar to store your simple homemade salad dressing, such as balsamic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Just shake and pour.
- Put ice cubes in a Thermos flask, so you can keep your drinks chilled and not worry about them melting.
- Bring chilled juice, wine, beer or cider. Homemade flavored water is another great option—and it’s sugar-free.
- Pack homemade hummus or a yogurt dip and chopped-up crudités of whatever vegetables you have in the fridge for a healthy snack. This can help feed a crowd.
- Prep a large tray of roasted vegetables with garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and oil. These can be eaten on their own or mixed in with quinoa or another grain.
- A homemade slaw is a million miles better than shop-bought. Check out these slaw recipes on the Luvo Fresh Blog.
Share your favorite picnic spots in the comments section and with us on Twitter @Luvoinc.