How to Prep for the Perfect Summer Picnic

August is National Picnic Month. And while you can picnic pretty much any time from the spring through the fall, we thought this was as good a moment as any to talk about how to prepare the perfect picnic.

From packing the right supplies to keeping your food secure, below are some tips to help you put together a picnic everyone in your family will love.

Choose a sunny day with little to no chance of rain

This sounds like obvious advice, but many a picnic has been ruined and soggied by the rain. Be sure to keep an eye on the forecast in the days and hours leading up to your outing.

Truth is, lovely weather is about ninety percent of what makes picnics so enjoyable. So, if it looks like rain on Dark Sky, definitely plan to reschedule for a sunnier summer day. We doubt you’ll have to wait too long :)

Pro-tip: Not gonna let a little rain put a damper on your picnic? Stay dry by using tarps to improvise a picnic rain shelter.

Pick the right spot

So, it’s a gorgeous summer day and you’ve found an idyllic park to enjoy your picnic. Now what? Now it’s time to find the exact perfect spot to set up your picnic. Ultimately, this comes down to two main things:

  • Shade: Set up under a tree for natural shade in case it gets too hot (it’s August, after all). You can also make your own shade by bringing a sun/beach umbrella.
  • Surface: You’ll likely be eating on the ground, so make sure the ground is level and relatively soft. You’ll also want to bring a portable table top to eat from.

Pro-tip: Remember to bring cozy blankets and throw pillows for a comfortable and picture-perfect eating experience.

Invest in some wallet-friendly picnic gear

A few key items can go a long way to upgrading your picnic game. Handy items like a small set of plastic picnic plates and utensils, as well as a portable tray and cutting board, will all be super helpful to everyone.

Keep it functional.

There are plenty of whimsical wicker baskets you can buy for a picturesque picnic...but we’d recommend going with something more functional. An insulated tote or cooler bag will keep your food and beverages nice and cold throughout on a sultry summer day, while being durable and easy to carry.

Pro-tip: Keep your food secure throughout the day and safe from animals. If you’re not eating dessert just yet -- read: that delicious home-made apple pie -- keep it in the cooler until the whole fam is ready to eat.

Bring the insect repellent & sunscreen

Ideally, you’ll find an ideal picnic spot with ample shade that isn’t too buggy. But let’s be real: it’s summer. The sun will likely be high in the sky and once the food and drinks come out of the cooler, those bugs will become super friendly.

To ward off mosquitoes, fleas, chiggers, leeches, and ticks, be sure to apply insect repellent to your clothes and skin before your outdoor adventure. And make sure the repellent contains 20 to 30 percent DEET. This will be your family’s best line of defense against bugs, and it’s highly effective. A little can go a long way with DEET, with a single application lasting for up to five hours.

To protect yourself from those UV rays, wear broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 15 SPF. Reapply every two hours and help a family member out to get those hard-to-reach places, like your shoulders and back. We don’t want any weird fingerprint marks :)

Pro-tip: Check yourself and your kiddos for ticks when you get home. Remember: nymphal ticks are very small, little bigger than the size of a period at the end of a sentence. The armpits, groin, scalp, and behind the ears are areas you will definitely want to check!

Plan on playing games and outdoor activities

Planning on spending a full day picnicking? Amazing. Bring yard games your kids will love playing in between trips back to the picnic table for snacks.

If you have a more active crew, you’ll enjoy breaking out all the classic games like KanJam, cornole, horseshoe, and Spikeball.

Do your kids play sports? You can kick around the soccer ball to get ready for the fall season, or throw around the baseball to get a sweat going. Is there a hike somewhere nearby? Build that into your agenda!

Prefer chilling at the picnic table and breaking a mental sweat? Bring a deck of cards to play games or pack those board games (like Code Names) for some healthy family competition.

Pro-tip: If you plan on being super active, remember to pack plenty of water. In states like Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Texas, hydration is key.

Choose your parking spot wisely

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You’ve got picnic gear (and potentially kids) to carry from your parking spot to the quaint picnic site. This can quickly become strenuous. Try to park close to your spot and keep your eyes peeled for trash cans and bathrooms within walking distance.

Pro-tip: Don’t see any trash cans around? No sweat. Bring two trash bags with you. One you can use for packing up any of your supplies: plates, utensils, and cutting boards. The other for any trash that you can throw out at home or toss into a dumpster as you leave the park. 

Remember to pack that bottle of wine

It’s a relaxing day of picnicking with your family, an opportunity to kick back and let go of formalities. If you’re not driving, feel free to enjoy that bottle of chilled rosé or beer you love.

Pro-tip: Invest in a winesulator to keep your wine conveniently chilled all day. 


As always, if you have any questions about your plan, services, or benefits, please reach out to the Friday Care Crew.

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