It may be an idea you like to enjoy as often as possible during the summer months, but if you donít make any effort to mix up the menu from time to time, having a picnic can start to feel like an idea whose time is long past. Thatís when developing a list of fun and varied picnic ideas comes into play. From picnic lunch ideas for travelers to romantic picnic ideas for couples, this article has what you need.
1. Middle Eastern Mezze
Whether youíre nibbling in the desert or simply enjoy the flavors of Arabia, Middle Eastern mezze makes fabulous picnic fare. If you donít feel like cooking and donít live near an appropriate ethnic takeout restaurant, then you may want to consider some of the grab and go options at Costco. They have bake and dip falafel balls and multi-item trays with rolled grape leaves, hummus, eggplant spread and cucumber dip. If you are feeling like being creative however, you could try making your mezze items such as homemade hummus from chick peas.
2. Hiking Date
Hiking dates are the perfect source of inspiration for picnic ideas, because you can choose a different location to dine with each new hike. Itís a great way to jazz up your repertoire of cheap dates, and a chance to make fresh new memories with every trail. Explore fun new locations like Shenandoah National Park or the railway trail in Bermuda.
3. Go Retro
Thereís a reason wicker baskets with red checkered linings are so iconic. They represent a classic image that conjures feelings of nostalgia and cravings for all things picnic related. Retro picnics make great classy dates and work well with romantic picnic food items such as pumpkin snack cake, grissini, pressed Italian artisan sandwiches and sparkling wine.
4. Urban Lunch Break
One of my favorite easy lunch ideas for work is to pop outside with a simple brown bag lunch and have an impromptu picnic. Packing ideas include pre-cooked chicken tenders with dipping sauce, vegetable sticks and flavored water. If youíre watching your carbon footprint, try using your own zero waste lunch kits to reduce the number of items you need to throw in the trash.
5. Southern Charm Plan
No list of picnic ideas would be complete without a classic Southern menu. Items like spicy-breaded fried chicken, red velvet cupcakes and jalapeno cornbread paired with a tumbler of Makerís Mark combine to create a classic al fresco meal suitable for the deepest of Southern locations.
6. Sandwich Buffet
If skipping soggy sandwiches is your idea of a great picnic, then you might want to try keeping all of your ingredients separate and setting up your own sandwich buffet when you arrive at your location. There are a number of different sandwich ideas you could incorporate such as Italian subs, vegan wraps and a selection of mixed filling options with add-ins like banana peppers, crispy onions and flavored mayo.
7. Rolling Ice Cream Ball
Nothing says family picnic like homemade ice cream, and those brightly-colored rolling balls available at camping stores get kids into the food prep game in a way theyíll enjoy. Craft homemade coconut-almond ice cream for outdoor picnic-themed family reunions and make memories your children will have for a lifetime.
Renting a pavilion at a park, beach or botanical garden for your picnic provides shade, and often additional party support such as seating, electricity, barbecue facilities, trash receptacles and sometimes water faucets. This strategy can even work for small weddings, provided your chosen venue possesses adequate elegance.
9. Roadside Rest Areas
If youíre prone to canine road trips or simply enjoy breaks during long drives where you can enjoy some road trip snacks or a light lunch, then roadside rest areas can be remarkable resources. In addition to restrooms and outdoor water supplies, many roadside rest areas provide free Wi-Fi for checking email, picnic tables, tourist brochures provided by the local convention and visitorís bureau and free-to-use grilling resources for the BYO charcoal crowd. Thereís usually room to run around for kids needing an energy release, and off-leash dog areas so Rover can run too. Itís the canine-friendly rest areas that are among my favorite pet hacks for traveling with dogs.
10. Asian Flair
Asian food fans have many items at their planning disposal when coming up with picnic ideas. From peanut noodle salad to sushi with the fixings, thereís lots to enjoy. Thai takeout, leftover egg rolls and fresh spring rolls with homemade peanut sauce make my short list of faves.
This list of picnic ideas provides a launching point from which you can begin to develop your own menus and recipes. When all is said and done, picnic food is a personal thing. Choose items that you and your significant others enjoy for a successful outdoor eating season.
Photo Credit: David Stanley