How to Have the Best Picnic Ever

Photo by Mubarek Hussen, Tracy Fuentes

By Tracy Fuentes

As the weather gets warmer and our schedules become freer, a picnic is just what we all need. I’ve planned a couple of picnics and now consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic. Here’s my guide to hosting a picnic worthy of Instagram feeds and your core memories. 

  1. Check the weather and pick your venue accordingly.

As a Vegas native, planning an outdoor event without consulting the Weather Channel is a fatal mistake. No one wants to be in the middle of a field at 2 PM when it is 110 degrees out, or get stuck in the mud when it starts pouring. Attempting to eat while 20-mile winds blow your hair into your face is less than ideal. Indoor picnics are always an option for rainy, windy, and sunny weather! If you’re adamant about spending your time outdoors, pick a time when the sun isn’t the highest in the sky, such as closer to sunset. An incorrect weather forecast may make it seem like all hope is lost – but do not despair! Simply reschedule for the next sunny but not burning day.

  1. Curate your guest list.

Think carefully about what you want for your picnic. If you believe that the more the merrier, go for it. If you want it to be a special date, or even a solo affair, that’s cool too. My advice is to ponder your friends’ preferences carefully. One of your friends may not be into the outdoors or eating on the ground, which is perfectly understandable. Skip their invite but make sure to invite them to something more to their taste in the near future.

  1. Prepare your menu.

My friends and I always do our picnics potluck style. It’s only fair, IMO. In our group chat, we all send what we plan on bringing a couple of days beforehand. I always tell people no desserts because otherwise, all we have are sweets (it’s too easy to pick up a tray of cupcakes at the grocery store). This also helps us to figure out what utensils we need to bring. 

On the day of the picnic, we head to our favorite spot, Brew Tea, to grab ourselves some drinks before we head to the park. No need to bring other drinks or cups! Once our picnic blanket is set up, people reveal their creations (or purchases). Pasta, sandwiches, wraps, and wings have been staples at our picnics. 

If you and your friends want to make things as easy as possible, there’s zero shame in heading to your favorite fast food place right before the picnic and everyone getting what they want. Easy and delicious. One time we all went to the grocery store beforehand and picked out a few premade things to enjoy at the park. Whatever works.

  1. Create your itinerary. 

Your picnic can be more than just eating and chatting – but that’s perfectly fine too. Lots of people paint on their picnics, which I’ve never done, but you’ll need the right supplies if you want to paint the next Van Gogh. Other people like to do coloring pages or bring their Switch to do some gaming. 

When I picnic with my friends, we usually play games. A pack of playing cards is essential. Other card games such as UNO, Phase 10, Taboo, and Monikers work well too. I think it would be hard to play a full-on board game unless you’re at an actual picnic table or completely flat ground! Games that don’t require any supplies like Concentration and Paranoia work great as well. If you have some badminton racquets, a volleyball, or football, now’s the perfect time to bring them to the park.

  1. Pack accordingly.

Beyond the food, utensils, and activities, there are some supplies you absolutely need for your picnic. Picnic blankets of course. Wipes for messy, sticky fingers. Plastic bags to easily transport your trash. Hand sanitizer. Water. Speaker for your tunes. Hats. Sunglasses. Sunscreen!!!!!!

An absolute essential are cameras! Whatever you’ve got – Polaroids, disposables, film cams, or your trusty iPhone – make sure you bring it. No, you don’t have to (and shouldn’t) photograph your every move, but having some nice pictures to remember the moment doesn’t hurt.

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