Jennifer Schmid

Whether a picnic takes place on a grassy meadow near a river or at the beach, it’s the company that makes the difference.

Sania Shaukat, Editor

Picnicking is the pinnacle of social activities in the Sunshine State. From casual lunches and barbecues with close friends to long days out for family reunions, picnics provide an easygoing environment to catch up and entertain all kinds of company. When it comes to planning the perfect picnic, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Many different factors influence the decisions you need to make, including weather conditions, the number of attendees, cost, and even dietary restrictions.

So planning ahead is clearly a must. Luckily, here’s a helpful cheat sheet from a fellow picnic enthusiast. You’ll find everything you need to know following these picnic pointers to plan the perfect picnic for family, friends, and fellow foodies.

  • Location Surprisingly, the venue picked can be more important than the food. You should start by choosing a suitable, if not perfect, location. Your choice when it comes to this element will greatly affect the food and drinks you’ll be preparing.
  • Weather – Most people associate picnics with sunshine. The truth is that these picnics are filled with sweat and heat. Rather, the perfect weather for a picnic is a bright, cloudy, and moderately windy day.
  • Company – Depending on who you’re planning on inviting, whether your outing is for two or 20, this element can also impact the food and drinks you’ll be preparing. For example, if your picnic is intended to be a date for your significant other, less is more. Splurge on special treats like chocolate-covered strawberries. On the other hand, if you’re feeding a large family gathering, then you’re most likely better off packing and preparing food that is suitable for many people like sandwiches, salads, and pasta.
  • Food – When the occasion for a picnic is a bit special — a concert on the grass, a date under the stars, fireworks in the park — it seems fitting that the food matches. Stick to the basics: appetizers, entrees, and deserts. Some of my favorite delicacies include caramel-covered Cheez-Its, sandwiches, and Oreo truffles.
  • Utensils – Do not pack your finest china, but do bring real dishes and find other ways to reduce trash. Paper cups and Styrofoam plates are not the only option. Depending on your location, reusable plates can be cleaned off and washed. Don’t forget to bring plastic bags to dispose of any trash. Littering is an instant turn-off for legitimate picnickers.
  • Other Picnic Pointers
    • Bring a sheet or large blanket to sit on. Pack it last, so that you don’t have to paw through your things to unpack it and spread it out.
    • Calculate the number of people that are likely to attend, just to make sure that you have enough of everything.
    • A picnic is not just a one person job — the more, the merrier! It can easily be a potluck where everyone shares ideas and food.
    • This may seem obvious, but bring ice to keep food and drinks cool.