Now that summer is here and the kids are out of school many of us will be spending more time outdoors at the beach, park, lake, and other outdoor venues.  Some folks will be hitting the highways for that annual family road trip.

Picnic EssentialsWe’ll be swimming, camping, hiking, and really just enjoying the warm summer sun in the great outdoors.  Whatever activity you choose to do it won’t be complete without a picnic!  Picnicking is definitely one of my favorite outdoor activities, one I indulge in every chance I get.

It doesn’t take a lot of planning to throw a picnic together, we’ve done it in less than half and hour by emptying the fridge and pantry of cold cuts, breads, cheese, and chips; or even stopping by the nearest KFC for a bucket of chicken and fixings.

Almost anything can be picnic food, except maybe your Thanksgiving turkey, although I’ve known someone who actually brought a roast turkey to the beach for a Thanksgiving Day picnic; very messy and I wouldn’t recommend it, the turkey was not only cold it ended up covered in sand.  Perhaps turkey sandwiches would have been a better choice!

There are many kinds of picnics:  family reunion picnics that involve every member of the family you can muster, picnic with just hubby and the kids, play date picnics, girls day out picnics, romantic picnics with your significant other, and more.  Whatever the occasion you can turn it into a picnic!

Other than food there are other picnic essentials for a great picnic.  Here are a few ideas, recipes, and tips for your summer picnics.  Just remember the most essential part of a picnic is to have fun!

Picnic Essentials:

Picnic EssentialsA picnic basket, cooler, or sack to carry food and beverages.

You can pick one up at Pier 1, TJMaxx, Walmart, or any other home goods store.  Or you can make your own like these pretty baskets made from apple crates by Style Me Pretty.

Click here for instructions! [spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsA picnic blanket.

We use an old large quilt. You can use any kind of blanket or sheet you have at home, buy one at any discount store, or make your own with this video tutorial from Design Love Fest.  A pillow or two will make the picnic more comfy, great idea for a romantic date night picnic!

Click here for tutorial!

Here’s a tip:  Stitch on a cheap plastic shower curtain to the back of your blanket to keep it dry.  If you don’t sew just lay the shower curtain under the blanket when you set up the picnic and use clothes pins to attach it to the blanket to keep it from slipping.

Picnic EssentialsNapkins and eating utensils.

You can keep them neat and clean in these DIY pouches made from brown lunch bags from The Gunny Sack.

Click here for instructions! [spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsMusic sets the stage.

Load your smart device with appropriate music and plug it into an external speaker.  If you or someone in your party is musically talented ask him or her to bring an instrument and provide everyone with live music, fun! [spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsFor evening picnics lighting and mosquito repellent are must haves.

Combine both with this DIY Summer Citronella candles from Adventures in Making.

These simple to make dual purpose candles keep the bugs at bay while providing romantic lighting.  They’re easy to transport, just screw the lids on the mason jars and drop the candle in before you use them.  Don’t transport them with the candle in the water, the wicks will get wet and won’t light up.  Click here for instructions!

Don’t forget hand wipes to clean up after the meal and trash bags for all your disposables.[spacer height=”-20px”]

Food & Beverage Ideas:

You can of course pick-up a bucket of chicken or deli sandwiches on your way to your picnic venue, but for and extra yummy picnic here are some ideas.

Picnic EssentialsOne of the easiest things to prepare are sandwiches.

Wrap them individually in parchment or wax paper to make them look pretty.

Here are a couple of ideas from Delish.com!

You can make wraps instead or sandwiches. [spacer height=”-20px”]

 

Picnic EssentialsFor lighter fare try this salad in a cup by 247 Low Carb Diner.

Perfect portion size and easy to take on a picnic! [spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsFor an early morning picnic bring breakfast in mason jars.

Try this Granola, Jam & Yogurt parfait from By Stephanie Lynn.

Picnic EssentialsYou can pack your favorite pasta salad, or any other food in mason jars too![spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsDon’t forget dessert, that’s the best part!

You can make these no bake cheesecakes by Family Feedbag, or make your favorite dessert in a jar.

Click here for recipe![spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsYou can even pack your favorite beverages in individual jars.

Chin Deep has some yummy recipes![spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsDIY drink pouches like She Knows does.

You can fill small ziploc bags with your favorite summer beverage and freeze them until ready to go, makes for cool slushy drinks.

For a drink with an adult kick try She Knows’ Vodka Lemonade.

Click here for recipe![spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsRe-purpose egg cartons to neatly transport deviled eggs, filled strawberries, and other small goodies.

Here’s a recipe for picnic deviled eggs from Recipes.com![spacer height=”-20px”]

Picnic EssentialsWatermelon is a great addition to summer picnics.

Keep them neat and easy to eat with this idea from Tidy Mom.