Outdoor activities remain popular with Americans, with around 50 percent of people ages 6 and up participating at least once a year. Of course, for some, that one time per year is the only time, but many individuals and families make outdoor activities a key part of their lifestyles.
One extremely popular option is the venerable picnic. After all, most picnics don’t require excessive physical effort. Plus, you decide on your menu.
Even so, picnics can become ho-hum affairs. Looking for ideas to keep things fresh? Keep reading for five picnic ideas that will spark your imagination.
1. Themed Picnic
Most of the time, a picnic consists of a picnic basket, picnic food, and a nice setting. For example, you can go to a local park or just head to your own backyard for a garden party.
One easy way to boost the fun factor for adults is with themed picnics. Let’s say that you wanted to throw a themed adult picnic.
One way you could go is with an era-themed picnic, such as a flapper picnic. Everyone can dress up in period-appropriate clothing or the next best thing that they can find. You can even whip up some period food, such as duchess potatoes and tea sandwiches.
If you or your friends are less historically inclined, you can go with an old standby like a sports theme. Summer is baseball season, so there’s a good chance you can even find a game to have on in the background.
If you pick your setting appropriately and everyone is inclined, you might even get a small game going. Just keep it friendly. No one wants a hypercompetitive game at a picnic.
2. Beach Picnic
Let’s say that you live near a coast or even near a decent-sized lake. That opens up the possibility of a beach picnic. A beach serves as its own theme and includes some built-in entertainment.
Everyone can take a swim to cool off. You can even throw up a temporary volleyball net if the beach allows for that. If not, there is always the time-honored Frisby to keep everyone occupied.
Of course, beaches do pose some challenges to keeping the food cool. A cooler will do the job until people start wandering around with drinks. If you’re throwing a big beach picnic, consider these wholesale coolie options.
If it’s a big family event or an annual event for friends, you can even get the coolies customized. They can say something like Smith Beach Picnic 2023, which will also help people keep track of their drinks.
3. Nighttime Picnic
It’s very easy to fall into the trap of treating picnics as only good for big gatherings. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
In fact, a nighttime picnic date can make for a great change of pace from restaurant dining. If you choose your location with care, it can enhance your level of privacy. A nighttime picnic beneath the stars can also boost the sense of romance.
You should plan your meal with care, though. Stick with finger foods that minimize the chances of dripping or making a mess. If you can’t get away with pure finger food, look for food options that a basic plastic fork can handle with ease.
If you are going for the romance factor, though, consider packing a bottle of wine into your basket. If you think you can get them to the destination safely, mix things up with actual wine glasses. They add a touch of class to the whole event.
4. Kids Picnic
For the parents out there, picnics are one way to get your kids interacting with the outdoors without simply ordering them outside. It’s especially effective if you reserve certain favorite foods for picnic events.
If you want to keep things fun for the kids, you can with a superhero-themed picnic. If you’re going to brave the insanity and invite some of your kid’s friends over, you can even make a costume picnic. Just warn the other parents that it’s a picnic, so they don’t pick up an expensive costume.
You can keep the fun going with the food. Whip up a concoction you call Superman Punch. Top it all off with an Iron Man cake or some Captain Marvel cupcakes.
In terms of actual substantive fare, though, sometimes simpler really is better. Consider getting a few of those oversized submarine sandwiches with different meat options or even a meat-free option. That cuts down on your workload and gives everyone something easy to snack on.
5. Games Picnic
If you know you’ll have a lot of guests for most of an afternoon, you can only rely on food and drink to occupy them for so long. It’s important to have some entertainment planned out in advance. The good news is that there are lots of picnic-friendly games that will work even in a backyard setting.
If your backyard is big enough, you can set up a volleyball or badminton net. Horseshoes are another popular picnic game. If you’ve reserved a space in a big area like a park, you can set up three-legged races or sack races. Those also serve double-duty to help tire out kids who might have gotten a bit too much sugar.
Picnic Ideas and You
When it comes to picnic ideas, imagination is often the only limiting factor. If you’re in a rush though, the ideas listed above can serve as excellent starting points.
If you’re friends like history, a historical picnic with period-appropriate food will often hit the right note. Looking for something sunny with built-in entertainment, a beach picnic is a great option. For a kid’s picnic, it’s mostly about the food games.
For a romantic date, a nighttime picnic is hard to beat.
Looking for more outdoor activities? Head over to our Lifestyle section for more ideas.