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15 Ideas How to Plan the Perfect Picnic

What is the most classic summer dining experience? It’s a picnic. Let’s look at 15 ideas how to plan the perfect picnic for summer.

There’s something truly magical about picnics. They allow us to slow down, savor the moment, and reconnect with nature’s simple pleasures.

Picnics are an excuse to step away from the hustle and bustle, spread out a cozy blanket, and indulge in delicious food and drinks surrounded by fresh air and scenic views.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just craving a relaxing day outdoors, picnics have a way of making even the most ordinary moments feel special.

Why We Love Picnics

For one thing, picnics get us out of the house. Whether it’s on a summer afternoon, a weekend, or taking a day off from work, a picnic creates an excuse for relaxing and entertaining in a new environment.

There’s a certain charm to unpacking a basket full of your favorite dishes, popping open a bottle of crisp wine or a cold beer.

A gentle breeze and warm sunshine makes for a delightful time. .

Picnics also offer the perfect opportunity for quality time with family and friends.

Away from screens and distractions, a Punic encourages you to be truly be present, engage in lively conversations, play games, or simply enjoy each other’s company.

It’s a chance to create lasting memories filled with laughter and great conversation.

Where to Have a Picnic

Depending on where you live, the locations for gathering for a picnic can be varied, adventurous, or as close as your own backyard.

Here’s a brainstormed list of places to host the perfect picnic:

• local Park
• botanical garden, arboretum or nature preserve
• vineyard or winery
• lakeside or riverbank
• hiking trail
• beach or coastal area
• orchard or fruit farm
• historic site or landmark
• outdoor concert
• mountaintop or scenic overlook
• secluded meadow

This picture was taken at a picnic that Sweet Shark and I had at the Dallas Aboretum. I remember that we stopped and picked up fried chicken and all the fixings. I bet it was over twenty years ago. The hair color is a give away!

picnic outdoors at arboretum

If getting out of the neighborhood isn’t possible, you can plan a fun picnic on a rooftop or balcony (for urban picnics) or your backyard or neighborhood green space.

Although the location is important to set the tone of the event, what makes a picnic successful is the company, the camaraderie, and the cuisine.

What Do You Bring to the Perfect Picnic?

Certain items are essential to bring to a picnic for the comfort and enjoyment of guests.

Here are some essential items to bring for a successful picnic:

  • picnic blanket or outdoor mat – this provides a clean surface to sit on and keeps food off the ground.
  • cooler with ice packs – to keep perishable foods like meats, dairy products, and beverages chilled.
  • utensils, plates, cups, napkins – disposable, reusable, and non-breakable options for serving and eating the food.
  • trash bags – for collecting any waste or leftovers. You want to leave your picnic spot as clean as it was when you arrived.
  • baby wipes – useful for cleaning up messes and sticky fingers.
  • sunscreen and bug spray – to protect against sun exposure and insect bites while outdoors.
  • portable table or tray – provides a flat surface for setting out food and drinks.
  • bottle/wine opener, bottle stopper – if you are bringing wine or bottled beverages.
  • cutting board and knife – for slicing any fruits, vegetables, or meats.
  • portable games or activities – such as frisbees, balls, or corn hole for entertainment.
  • a bluetooth music speaker for background ambiance.
  • for an evening picnic, bring candles or battery operated lights and matches/fire starter.

The key is packing enough food, drinks, seating, and accessories to ensure everyone stays comfortable, hydrated, and has an enjoyable picnic experience.

NOTE: Like any party, you can plan and host the picnic all by yourself. Or you can do the planning, but ask friends to each bring a dish or an essential from the list above.

Extra Items for the Perfect Picnic

A picnic can be simple and spare or more elaborate. These extras can raise the bar to luxury picnic style.

Fresh Flowers and Greenery

Adding fresh flowers to your picnic setup can give it a vibrant, summery feel. Use fresh flowers, potted plants, or faux greenery as table centerpieces or accents around the picnic area for an outdoor garden party feel. 

This adds a whimsical, natural element. You can decorate with wildflowers picked yourself or have a florist create beautiful floral arrangements. Place flowers in vases on the picnic blanket or scatter petals around for a romantic touch.

Plush Pillows, Rugs, and Blankets

Comfy seating is key for an enjoyable picnic. Decorate with lots of plush pillows and patterned blankets or quilts for a cozy, bohemian vibe. You can even set up a low table on an outdoor rug for an elegant picnic dining experience.

Shade Structures

Providing proper shade is crucial for any outdoor picnic. Get creative with shade structures like shade cloths, elaborate umbrellas, or even a small tent. This protects guests from sun exposure and allows you to customize the look to match your picnic theme.

Balloon Garlands

If your picnic is a celebration of a special event, such as a birthday, a bridal shower or a graduation, balloon garlands add a celebratory aesthetic. They make great photo backdrops. A balloon garland or banner can match your picnic’s color scheme and theme for an extra festive touch.

Traditional Picnic Items

Incorporate classic picnic items like mason jars, picnic baskets, red and white checkered tablecloths or picnic blankets into your decor for a nostalgic, traditional vibe.

Candles and Lighting

For a romantic evening picnic, use candles (battery-operated for safety) or string lights to create a warm, cozy ambiance.The key is layering different textures like pillows, blankets, and rugs along with natural elements like flowers and greenery to create an inviting, comfortable picnic oasis.

Welcome to Bluesky Browsing #138.

In case you are new to Bluesky at Home, what fabulous finds do I share at Bluesky Browsing?

  • ideas to help you in your home decor efforts
  • fun holiday decoration ideas
  • ideas for better organization and efficiency
  • a yummy recipe or cocktail
  • fun DIY projects
  • the latest trends in home decor
  • a quirky new find or two
  • outdoor decorating and gardening

Planning the Perfect Picnic: 15 Ideas and Tips

These picnic preparation ideas include suggestions for kids, families and grownups.

The images I’ve chosen for picnic ideas show just one small aspect of these resources. Be sure to check out each one to see the fun suggestions and tips.

NOTE: I didn’t focus too much on food and drink in this post. Look for those picnic essentials in another post.

Have fun and happy summer decorating.

bicycle with picnic blanket on grass

Essentials for the Perfect Picnic

Daina of Life Lived Curiously shares her list of essentials to make sure you have everything you need for the perfect picnic outdoors.

bicycle with picnic blanket on grass

Plan a Dreamy Picnic

Maya of By Maya Z shares a dreamy picnic scene for a romantic date in a meadow.

luxury picnic table set on beach with pink pillows and pink flowers

Luxury Picnic

Have you heard of a luxury picnic? Paola of My Blissful Corner shares what that is and how to create it. How perfect for a rehearsal dinner or bridal shower.

picnic basket on red and white check picnic blanket

Picnic Ideas for Two

Amanda Seghetti shares what you need for a small picnic for two. Love the wildflowers and re check blanket.

picnic table set with dishes by a lake

The Ultimate Picnic Guide

Ashley of The Well Dressed Table shares this pretty table set on the lake for a group of friends.

young boys at picnic table

Easy Family Picnic Ideas

Even kids love picnics. Nothing fancy, just simple snacks and activities for the kids to enjoy in a natual setting. Jenn of Take Them Outside

picnic appetizer with cucumber and radish

New Twists on a Classic Picnic

I couldn’t resist this pretty appetizer perfect for a picnic from Kim of Thrifty Little Mom

pink flower on plate on picnic blanket

Perfect Summer Picnic

You have to see this lovely picnic setting from Nina of Sharing a Journey. One for the older crowd who appreciate the fine things.

food on picnic blanket for picnic date

Planning a Picnic with Friends

A gathering of friends is the perfect reason to plan a picnic. Sandy of BySandyVilce shows you how to make it a successful time for all.

overhead view of people sitting at a picnic table

How to Plan a Picnic

Jeannine of Sweet Humble Home gives you a list of steps to plan a picnic for young and old.

how to plan a picnic with food on a blanket

Tips for a Stress Free Picnic

Planning any type of party can be a little stressful. Mariah of Giggles Galore gives you a list of ideas for staying cool and collected.

girl on picnic blanket with basket of apples

Family Picnic Ideas

Brandi of The Sweetest Part shares ideas for treating your family to a simple family event. This is the stuff that family memories are made of.

charcuterie board on picnic blanket for picnic date

How to Plan a Picnic Date

Stephanie of Diary of a Debutante wanted to surprise her fiance with a romantic date. See how she planned a picnic in a romantic setting featuring his favorite foods.

bicycle with picnic blanket on grass

Tips for a Picnic Party

Jennifer of Busy Being Jennifer shares her ideas and tips for creating a fun picnic party.

how to plan a picnic with food on a blanket

How to Plan a Picnic in the Backyard

What to do when your picnic location possibilities are limited? Leah of Freutcake shows how she hosted a picnic in her backyard for some mom friends.

Look at these Picnic Essential Tools

Want to keep all these summer decorating resources? Be sure to PIN to keep these ideas handy. You might want to check my Pinterest Board, Summer Party Ideas and Party Ideas.

Use some of the wonderful ideas and tips for how to plan a picnic for summer. You’ll be ready for summer partying in no time.

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plan the perfect picnie
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