Basic Picnic Checklist

Food and drinks

  • Pre-made finger foods usually work best and give you more time to relax at the picnic.
  • Avoid dishes that use mayonnaise because it has a tendency to spoil.
  • Consider easy to eat, ripe and in-season fruit or easy to grab cookies or brownies for dessert.
  • Pack the basics: ketchup, mustard and salt and pepper. Find small picnic sized containers or make your own.
  • For children, bring what you know they like to drink best. Adults should be happy with soda or beer. Just be sure to have enough bottled water for everyone. Try to avoid any drinks that come in glass bottles.
  • Unless you plan to use an already provided grill or bring your own Hibachi.

Tableware

Storage containers

Seating

Clothing

Fun activities

Miscellaneous

Treating your family to a picnic in the great outdoors is an inexpensive form of entertainment.  Your children will have lots of room to play, you get a little relaxing time to breathe fresh air, and even Fido will reward you with serious tail wagging. A picnic is also a romantic way for couples to spend time together if they choose an out-of-the-way spot without a lot of foot traffic.  Not only do you get to enjoy the relaxing sounds of nature, but you can also reconnect with your spouse over a well chosen bottle of wine or learn more about an interesting new, and budding relationship. One thing about a picnic that can diminish the experience is if you forget to bring something important along. In most picnic settings, running to a nearby store is not an option. While some people like to throw what they can find in the refrigerator into a basket and then run out the door, even a simple picnic experience will go smoother with a little pre-planning and organization.

Tips

One of the most common items left at home can quickly turn into the most important should you find ants walking across your table or mosquitoes are feasting on your arms and legs, so don't forget the bug repellent. If the weather is really hot never underestimate the importance of having enough ice.  Another strategic detail is finding the right picnic location. If you choose a park operating on a first-come basis, then getting there early ahead of the rush means you will not be stuck sitting in the sun all day at the table no one else wanted. You may even have to book ahead if you are planning a special event requiring the use of a pavilion or other picnic area facilities.