What else should you do in the spring but go on a spring picnic? As the weather warms up and people start emerging from their winter hibernation, nature calls us all outside to show off her new spring look. A great way to spend time out in this emerging season is to have a picnic. Whether you make it a party or just bring your family, you do have to do some planning to ensure your picnic is a success. Here are four tips to make your spring picnic a wonderful experience.
A picnic in a dirt lot is technically a picnic, but it probably wouldn't feel like one. Choosing the right location for your picnic is important. You want somewhere with beautiful scenery where you and your guests can relax. When you're quiet, can you hear the birds chirping or the waves crashing? Or is the freeway nearby providing its own soundtrack?
Maybe it isn't the cars but the crowds that you hear. Sometimes that can lend itself to picnic ambiance, the laughter of children, or the barking of dogs. On the other hand, if you can hear the conversation of the people next to you a little too clearly, the spot you're considering may be too popular.
Also consider the parking situation and how far you'll have to walk to get to your location. Are there paths or are you hiking? Are there older people joining you who may need help if you choose this place? Sometimes the perfect place needs to be saved for a certain set of guests if logistics are against you. If you're picnicking at the beach or near a river, consider water shoes. They protect your feet from the hot sand and sharp rocks around tide pools, and you can get them wet! What a combo!
Food is a critical component of any picnic. Make sure you devote time to planning your gastro-strategy so you're ready on the big day. The first question is what kind of food do you want to bring. At first, the question seems staggeringly broad. However, you're working within more limitations than you think.
One limitation is transportation. Can the food you want be premade and packed well enough to be transported? Or should you attempt to make it on-site? Keep in mind, you can only fit so much in your car, and you probably can't bring an oven or a refrigerator. Some things work better for picnics than others. For example, a beautifully frosted cake may be difficult to bring to your location. Should it survive the drive, it may look a little less appetizing after a hot car ride, a walk to your picnic spot, and several hours in the sun while you play and eat the main courses. You get the picture. There's a reason sandwiches are a famously classic picnic food.
Another limitation is your abilities. A picnic is supposed to be a pleasant outing for all, including you, the host. Choose things you are confident in making so you can have a good time, too. Again, sandwiches are a pretty easy option.
One last thing to pay attention to is how you all are going to eat the food. Will you need utensils? Bowls? Plates? Are these things you'll need to bring back and wash or should you choose disposable alternatives? Maybe finger food is a better choice to keep things simple. Remember, cleaning up is another important part of a picnic. No one wants to be the group walking away from a trashed picnic site. Consider a beach bag to help you carry everything to and from your site. They are usually big enough to hold a lot of things without being too hard to carry.
Can you have a picnic without a picnic blanket?
Whether you lay your blanket out on the grass at a park or on the sand at the beach, blankets help us and our food stay clean in potentially messy situations. Because you don't want a wet experience or a ruined blanket, make sure you pick a blanket (or two) that can handle your location. If you're on grass, make sure your blanket of choice is resistant to stains. Some materials even repel dirt for those who appreciate cleanliness. If comfort is something you want to prioritize, choose a double-sided blanket, with one side for soft, cozy reclining and the other side weather-resistant to keep the outdoors where it belongs.
It's worth noting that extra blankets will rarely be regretted. In a pinch, they can ward off the chill if the picnic fun goes a little later than you were planning. Weather can change when you least expect it, particularly at the beach. Consider beach cover-ups or an extra beach towel. Blankets are great, but towels and cover-ups fold smaller and are easier to pack.
Friends! Family! Games! Be sure to plan a little fun in the sun for your picnic. If your location has a play area, like a jungle gym or a basketball court, or if you go to the beach for a little swimming, activity might be built right in. That's all well and good, but a little variety probably wouldn't go amiss either. Even if it's just taking along a frisbee or a volleyball as an alternative.
If you're playing around in the sun, especially around water, remember to protect yourself and your family with sun protective swimwear. Keep your picnic memories beautiful by being proactive against sunburn with rash guards and sunscreen.