Summer is the best season for outdoor dining, which is why summer picnics are so much fun. From June through September, you can plan a sandy picnic by a lake or at the beach, a grassy picnic at the local park, or even your own backyard. Getting together with friends, family, or even going solo with your pup and enjoying tasty treats in the sunshine can easily make for some of the best memories of your summer.
To plan the perfect summer picnic, you’ll want to first check the weather and pin down a few days that have a warm, clear forecast. Next, run those dates by the group you want to go with (although, if you’re going with your pup, we think they’ll trust you to make the best call) and set a plan from there. And finally, the only thing left to do before you feast in the great outdoors is to pack up a bag or two with all of the picnic essentials you’ll need to have the best day ever. Read on for some tips for doing just that.
Okay, sure, what you wear to the picnic doesn’t technically count as a thing you’ll bring, but the most important thing you need to bring anywhere is yourself, right? If we’re in agreement on that, then we can start here. A summer picnic is also a great excuse to rock your very favorite summer looks, so be sure to pick your outfit in advance.
One effortless, comfy, and cute option here is to wear your best summer dress. Your summer dresses only feel the love for a few months each year, so opt for a breezy material and an in-theme nautical or beach umbrella print. Pair your dress with your go-to summer sandals or comfiest sneakers and you’ll already have a complete and perfect look.
Whether you’re planning a picnic lakeside or on a grassy knoll in your local park, you’ll need something to both sit on and arrange your spread on. If you’re going somewhere sandy, bring a large beach blanket in a summery print like tie-dye or multicolor stripes in addition to your beach towel. If you’re going somewhere grassy, then a classic gingham bed sheet can be a great option.
Depending on the number of people you’ve invited, you might want to ask people to bring this own towels or sheets as well, just to ensure everyone has a comfy place to lounge and enjoy the food. And before deciding what to bring for this purpose, keep in mind that it might get some food or liquid on it. Don’t worry if this happens, it just means you’re having a fun day, and that’s what stain remover is for after all.
Sun protection is key year-round, and this is definitely the case when it comes to outdoorsy summer activities. Since your picnic will likely be in the early afternoon when the sun is out and about, you’ll want to think about protecting your skin in addition to your general comfort. That’s why it’s so important to fill your backpack with sun protection essentials.
If you’re wearing short sleeves, we recommend bringing along a light women’s cardigan sweater in a shade that complements your outfit. This can provide an extra layer in case it gets a bit too breezy while also keeping your arms protected from the sun. Additionally, bring along extra sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a packable sunhat if you have one. This may seem like a lot, but a summer picnic implies lots and lots of sun exposure.
While a summer picnic may be about enjoying the weather and the company of your friends, family, or doggo, it’s also all about the food. The best way to have a successful picnic is to handle the food and beverage portion potluck-style, so coordinate with the other attendees to ensure you have a balance of savory and sweet. If you don’t have a proper picnic basket, you can definitely carry your goodies in one or two canvas tote bags, and if there’s something you really need to keep chilled, simply pack it in cooler.
In addition to all of the tasty treats, you’ll want to ensure there will be eco-friendly plates, cups, and cutlery and that you have enough water to stay hydrated. This is especially true if someone is bringing some wine or champagne. Plan on filling your reusable water bottle up and chilling it before you head out, and if you don’t have one that’s big enough, simply pack two!
This is your sign to go out and have the best summer picnic yet! With your style on point, your cute blanket or sheet ready to go, all of your sun protection locked in, and a full spread of treats and beverages, we know it’ll be a summery success.