Planning a Perfect Spring Picnic for Your Family

picnic

Yes, spring is almost here, so let’s plan ahead and think positively!

A family picnic is the perfect opportunity to get everyone out of the house and into nature. When planning your first family picnic, there are a few factors you should keep in mind. Make sure you consider an appropriate picnic location, picnic-friendly food and the necessary gear to guarantee a great time. Here are some tips that will help you prepare the perfect family picnic:

Location

Do some research about the local parks in the area. Most cities have a parks and recreation department, which has a website with information about nearby parks. Some parks are reviewed through online forums, which will include important factors to consider — i.e. bees, large geese population, high winds or muddy terrain. You can also venture further away from your urban or suburban neighborhood, into a more rugged and rural environment. There are a variety of national parks that will provide the perfect, natural setting for your outdoor meal. Keep the location close, as you don’t want the majority of your picnic hours spent in the car.

Food

Make sure the food you bring along is picnic-friendly. You don’t want a huge mess in your basket or cooler, or a struggle with the logistics of your meal over the picnic blanket. This doesn’t mean you’re limited to sandwiches and carrot sticks, though. With a little creativity, you can whip up some decadent picnic provisions that travel well. Weck jars and Mason jars are your best friends when you need to transport good eats. They are ideal vessels for foods like savory salads, desserts and beverages, as they are perfect for individual portions and have strong sealants. They’re also BPA free, which means you won’t expose your food to any toxins. Be creative with the theme of your picnic cuisine. If you want a french-style picnic with your family, include baguettes, savory tarts, nicoise salad and pot de creme. For a southwest-style picnic, create a combo of pulled pork sandwiches (which you can assemble on-site), succotash, potato salad and strawberry trifle. For more picnic food ideas, check out the book “A Perfect Day for a Picnic.”

Necessities

You’ll need some picnic gear for a successful outing. First, make sure you have a cooler, so you can keep your perishables at a safe temperature. Don’t skimp on quality. Choose one that is durable, airtight and can maintain its cold temperature for hours, like a YETI cooler. Make sure you also bring all the necessary cutlery and dinnerware. The most eco-friendly option would be to bring silverware and plates from your home, which can be washed, versus disposable options. As far as dining textiles, you’ll need a picnic blanket or tablecloth, cloth napkins and a few dishtowels. Choose a picnic blanket textile that is durable; wool is an excellent material for a blanket that can be used for frequent picnicking.

Other Considerations

Check ahead on weather and road conditions before you embark on your picnic. It would be a shame to not enjoy the location you carefully chose. Check conditions three days to a week ahead of time.

Once you’re finished enjoying your picnic, make sure you leave no trace behind. You don’t want to leave any food scraps around, as they draw animals to the park and make them reliant on human food. Any rubbish that has resulted from your picnic should also be disposed of in the proper receptacles or taken back home with you. Bring along the necessary bags — trash, recycling and compost — so you can properly pack it in and pack it out.

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