Five easy picnic ideas for the perfect summer day at the park, beach, or even backyard … from picnic food suggestions to packing it all up in a cute picnic basket!
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There is nothing I enjoy more than hanging out in the park on a beautiful, sunny day. Talk about relaxing!
My husband and I love to picnic as much as possible, and we try to keep things simple. You really don’t need to put a lot of work into the perfect picnic … it’s all about food, sunshine, and great company.
So if you’re wondering what to pack for a perfect picnic date, keep reading!
Easy Picnic Ideas
Whether you’re planning a fun summer date or hanging with friends, these easy picnic ideas are just what you need to spend the day in the park, at the beach, or even in your backyard.
I’m covering everything from easy picnic food ideas (including homemade and store bought picnic food) to how to pack it all up.
1. Make a Some Delicious Picnic Food
Okay, we can’t talk about a picnic without mentioning food! For me, picnic food just tastes better than regular food … it must be the sunny weather!
So what kind of food do you take on a picnic? There are so many tasty options!
My personal favorite picnic food is a yummy tomato-basil sandwich which also happens to be super easy to put together. Just layer sliced tomatoes (drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper), fresh mozzarella, and basil on good bread (I like to use focaccia or crusty french bread). You could also replace the basil with pesto for even more flavor.
This sandwich tastes like summer … especially if you can get garden fresh tomatoes. It also packs really well. Don’t have the ingredients? Simply pack a knife, stop at the store on the way to the park for the ingredients, and make it once you get there. So easy!
Speaking of store bought picnic food, here are a few other easy picnic ideas:
- Pick up two or three different kinds of cheese, plus a loaf of delicious bread or crackers.
- Hit the salad bar and stock up on fresh salads and cut fruit.
- Stop by your favorite sandwich shop for sandwiches, chips, and drinks.
- Grab a couple slices of pizza and a salad from your fave pizzeria.
Would you like to make something homemade instead? Here are some of my easy recipes that make great picnic food:
- Brie and Apple Sandwich
- Tomato Avocado Sandwich with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
- Deviled Egg Salad Sandwiches
- Mexican Black Bean Wrap
- Watermelon Basil Quinoa Salad
- Tex Mex Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- Quick Chopped Salad
- Lemony Chickpea Salad
- Creamy Lemon Artichoke Spread
- Layered Greek Hummus Dip
- Caprese Salad Skewers
A picnic is also the perfect excuse to clean out your fridge. Anything that tastes good cold is fair game!
2. Choose Your Picnic Drinks
Next, you’ll need something to drink at your picnic, and I can’t resist a bottle of great wine.
A dry rosé is the perfect picnic wine! It practically screams summer. Anything goes though from crisp whites to fruity reds.
And of course, you can always stop at the store for refreshments if you’re in a rush.
3. Grab Something Sweet
For me, no picnic is complete without a sweet treat or two!
For my picnic, I packed my favorite brownies in the whole world … Adult Brownies from Andronico’s in San Francisco. These dense, fudgy brownies are simply amazing.
My husband and I used to live in San Francisco, and we love these brownies so much that we stocked up when we were there in May. There’s one left in my freezer. Thankfully, we are going back to SF in October, so I can stock up again. In the meantime, I’m trying to replicate the recipe, because I need these brownies in my belly more often!
I’m obviously partial to brownies, but anything sweet and portable works. My Mini Cherry Tarts would be delish, as would my Chocolate Covered Strawberry Parfaits (make them in a plastic cup). And of course, cookies make great picnic food, too!
Want something healthy? Pack a mixture of berries or a fruit salad.
4. Find a Picnic Blanket
Now that we have food and drinks covered, let’s talk about comfort.
Do not go on a picnic without a blanket! There’s nothing worse than sitting on the ground and getting a wet butt and grass stains! A blanket will keep you dry, provide a place to set your food, and add a little cushion to the ground.
Check out these cute, affordable picnic blankets (look for one that’s waterproof or water resistant), or do like I do, and grab an old quilt. Just make sure it’s big enough to stretch out on.
To make your picnic even more comfortable, pack a few pillows to sit on, a few folding chairs (beach chairs are compact and work great), and an extra blanket or two just in case the day stretches on and someone gets chilly.
5. Pack It All Up
Now that you have everything you need for your picnic, it’s time to pack it up.
A picnic basket is not required, but it does make life easier … plus, they’re so cute! I bought mine on a whim years ago, and I’ve used it countless times since. It has everything I need for a picnic, from plates to napkins to wine glasses and a corkscrew. Plus, it has a built in cooler, which is so handy.
If you don’t have a picnic basket, a big tote bag or two will work fine.
Make sure to pack plates, cups, napkins, silverware and serving utensils, a corkscrew if you’re drinking wine, paper towels, etc. You’ll want to pack any perishable food on ice or in a cooler, too.
And that’s it!
Now that you know my five easy picnic ideas you’re ready for a great day in the park, at the beach, or even in your backyard.
So don’t waste any more time … pack your picnic basket and get out there and enjoy the day!
How do you like to spend a lazy summer day?