The sun is shining, the warm weather is here—that means it’s time for a family picnic. Picnics are great opportunities to spend quality time with your loved ones. It can be an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone involved—from children to grandparents alike!
There’s something magical about spending the day out in nature, exploring new places, playing games, and sharing delicious food. Whether you’re planning a picnic for an upcoming holiday or just for a lazy weekend, it’s important to get organized so that everyone can enjoy the day.
This post will provide you with some tips and ideas for planning the perfect family picnic. We’ll cover everything from what to bring, where to go, activities to do, and of course, food! With just a bit of preparation beforehand, you can create an amazing experience that your family won’t forget!
Bring the Family Together with an Adventure
Adventures from Scratch is an epic way to bring the family together. Not only does it provide activities and challenges to keep everyone entertained, but it also encourages quality time spent with each other. Take your adventure book out on picnics or family gatherings, and you’ll soon find yourselves bonding over exciting activities.
From hidden challenges to postcards that tear right out of the book, Adventures from Scratch is full of interactive tasks that are perfect for a family picnic. Pass around the adventure book amongst your kin and explore the 5+ categories such as ‘Explore’ and ‘Discover’ to uncover what surprises await this time.
Best Summer Picnic Locations to Set Up Camp
Exploring the great outdoors is a favorite pastime for many, and there’s no better way to enjoy nature than having a picnic. So whether you’re looking for an afternoon in the park, planning a family reunion, or booking an adventure camping trip with your family, summertime is the perfect time to find the perfect picnic spot.
Here are some of the best places to set up camp and enjoy a summer picnic:
1. Take the family to a state park.
State parks often have beautiful, secluded areas perfect for a family picnic. You can usually find trails, plenty of trees and greenery, and even spots on a beach or near a lake.
2. Head to the desert.
You may have easy access to stunning desert areas if you live in a western state. However, if you’re from somewhere other than that area and want to explore an area of the country that’s entirely different from what you’re used to, why not head to the desert? Many deserts offer breathtaking views and can make a perfect spot for some peace and quiet. Just remember to bring plenty of water and find shady spots.
3. Go camping in the woods.
If you want a more classic picnic experience, set up your tent and have all of your meals picnic-style. Pack up your camping gear and hit the trails. Remember to bring firewood, sunscreen, bug spray, and a first aid kit!
4. Check out a beachfront spot.
For those looking for something more luxurious, why not snag a beachfront spot for your picnic? Look up beachside resorts and campsites in your area to find the perfect destination. Enjoy morning swims and afternoon boat rides before settling down for a lakeside picnic lunch. Then, enjoy a meal with sand between your toes!
5. Visit an orchard.
Whether berry picking in the summer or apple picking in the fall, an orchard is a dreamy place for a picnic. Plus, you’ll be able to pick the fruit for lunch right off the bushes and trees. You can also snag some freshly-pressed cider or farm-made jams and jellies to take home.
6. Walk down the street to your local toddler playground.
If you have small children, you may just be looking for a quick and easy activity for lunch. Your little one can run around and explore while you relax under the shade of a nearby tree. Bring some bubbles and a kite for extra fun, or even just enjoy all the laughter from afar.
7. Visit a botanical garden.
Botanical gardens are unique places to explore the different plants and flowers of the world. Pack up your picnic basket with sandwiches and drinks, and enjoy lunch surrounded by lush vegetation and beautifully manicured landscapes. Bonus points if you get to catch a glimpse of some local wildlife!
8. Hike up a mountain.
Hiking is a great way to get in touch with nature, and having lunch at the top of a mountain will give you a fantastic view. Just make sure to bring plenty of water and food, as well as appropriate clothing and footwear for the terrain.
9. Visit a national park.
National parks are often full of fantastic picnic spots. You can find quiet coves, vast meadows, and scenic overlooks that make for perfect picnic locations. Plus, you can often get information about nearby landmarks or activities from the park rangers.
10. Play around at a splash pad.
If you’re looking for a fun way to cool off during the summer, head to your local splash pad or water park. Most of these parks have picnic tables and shady areas where you can enjoy lunch while the kids play in the fountains and slides.
11. Eat lunch in a vineyard.
If you’re a family with adult children, why not hit up a local winery for some lunch and tasting? Most wineries provide plenty of outdoor seating with beautiful views of the vineyards to eat your lunch around. And if you really like what you taste, you can buy a few bottles to take home!
12. Visit animals at the zoo.
The zoo is great for taking the kids on a family picnic. You can find plenty of shady spots to enjoy your lunch and then explore all the animal exhibits afterward. Plus, you can usually find some fun activities for the kids, like petting zoos and animal shows.
13. Visit an outdoor museum.
Outdoor museums provide a fun and educational way to spend the day. Many of these museums have outdoor seating and picnic spots, so you can take your lunch and explore different exhibits at the same time.
14. Eat lunch in your own backyard.
For a more low-key outing, host a family picnic in your own backyard. Set up a table and chairs or simply lay out blankets on the grass. And don’t forget the fun decorations like colorful paper lanterns and streamers! You’ll have everything you need to enjoy a cozy day with loved ones without any expensive pricing.
Picnic Games and Activities the Entire Family Will Love
Picnicking is just as much about the activities and games you play as it is about the food. Here are some fun, family-friendly picnic games to get everyone off their phones and into the spirit of summer:
15. Go on a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt.
On your next picnic, download the Let’s Roam app and see who can find all the items on your scavenger hunt list first. You’ll explore nearby parks, trails, and other outdoor areas while spending time with your family.
16. Gather up some outdoor instruments.
Bring some drums or harmonicas to create a jam session outdoors!
17, Get soaked with a water balloon toss.
A water balloon toss is perfect for getting everyone in on the action and a great way to cool down on a hot day. Set up teams and see who can last the longest without breaking their balloon.
18. Try your hand at frisbee golf.
Frisbee golf is a fun game full of creativity and skill. See who can get closest to the target or set up different “holes” around your picnic spot to make it more challenging.
19. Play the classic Swedish game Kubb.
Kubb is a popular Swedish game that’s similar to horseshoes and bocce ball. All you need are some wood pieces and a baton, and you’re ready to compete!
20. See who comes out on top with speedy sack races.
Compete in a classic sack race with your family and friends! You’ll need some large sacks for everyone’s feet, and then you’re ready to go. Snap some pics of the family “running” and see who can cross the finish line first!
21. Split into teams to Capture the Flag.
Capture the Flag is a classic game for any picnic. First, divide into two teams and set boundaries for each side. Then, have each time to hide their flag. When the games begin, try not to get tagged by the other team when you’re on their side.
22. Keep the balloons from popping.
This is a fun game for young children and adults alike. Gather everyone in a circle and hand out ten balloons to each person. Then, have everyone blow up their balloons and pass them around the circle until one person pops them. Whoever pops the balloon has to do five jumping jacks!
23. See how low you can go with a round of Limbo.
Limbo is a fun game that everyone can play. You only need some music and two people to hold the limbo stick. See how low each person can go without falling over. The person who goes the lowest wins!
24. See which team is the strongest with Tug of War.
Break into teams and see which one is the strongest. All you need is a rope, and you’re ready to go. Make sure everyone is far enough away from the rope that no one gets hurt, and have fun going head-to-head in a friendly competition.
25. Crown the cornhole champ.
Pick up a cornhole set or make your own with two targets and some beanbags. Players take turns trying to land their beanbag on the target for points. The person with the most points at the end wins!
26. Play Heads Up.
Bring your phones to the picnic and have everyone download the Heads Up! app for some hilarious guessing games. Then, all you need is a phone and an active internet connection, and you’re ready to go!
27. Test your skills in horseshoes.
Grab some horseshoes and set up two stakes in the ground. Then, have everyone take turns throwing their horseshoes around the poles. Whoever gets closest to the stake is the champion.
28. Go on a nature walk.
Take a break from the picnic games and explore your surroundings. See who can find the most interesting plants and animals as you wander through nature together as a family.
29. Keep the pieces from falling in Giant Jenga.
Giant Jenga requires a bit more skill than the classic game. Build up your tower and see how long it can stay standing as pieces are removed one by one. The last person to remove a piece without making the tower falls wins.
30. Do an old-fashioned egg race.
Grab some hard-boiled eggs and have everyone line up at the starting line. On the count of three, each person must race to the finish line without dropping or breaking their egg. The first one across declares victory as theirs!
31. Play lawn bowling.
Grab some plastic pins and a softball for a fun game of lawn bowling. Set up the pins in a triangle formation at the end of your picnic spot, and then have everyone take turns rolling the ball down towards them. See who can knock down more pins each round!
32. Try to make a Frisbee chain.
Grab some Frisbees and see how many you can connect together in one line. Have everyone take turns throwing the discs and connecting them until they reach the end of the line. The team with the longest chain wins!
33. Play croquet.
Set up a croquet course with hoops and wickets for an outdoor game of strategy. See who can make it through the course with the least amount of strokes, or have a tournament to see who will be crowned croquet champion!
34. Jump hopscotch.
Use chalk to draw your hopscotch course, and grab some stones for markers. Then, take turns hopping on one foot from stone to stone without stepping on a line to win.
35. Have an outdoor art session.
Gather some paper, markers, and other art supplies for an outdoor art session. Have everyone create their own unique masterpiece and showcase them at the end of the picnic.
36. Try balloon pop!
Grab some balloons and fill them with small prizes or treats. Blow up your balloons and have everyone take turns popping them until all of the prizes are gone. Whoever pops the most balloons is the winner!
37. Play three-legged racing.
Tie two people together with a bandana for a hilarious game of three-legged racing. The team that can make it to the finish line first without tripping wins the race!
What Picnic Food to Include in Your Picnic Basket
No picnic is complete without some delicious food to dine al fresco. Here are a few favorite food ideas that will please the entire family.
38. Grilled foods.
If you plan to have a barbecue during your picnic, you can include grilled food like burgers, hot dogs, and kebabs. Many picnic spots have BBQ grills available for public use. Plus, don’t forget the condiments and sides like ketchup, mustard, and Ranch dressing.
39. A fruit and veggie plate.
A high-quality vegetable plate is a great way to get everyone eating healthy. Fill a plate with various fruits and vegetables for everyone to share, along with some dip or hummus.
Fruit skewers are easy to assemble and make for a great snack or dessert. Simply thread various pieces of fruit onto skewers and enjoy.
40. Sandwiches and wraps.
Make sure everyone has enough food by packing sandwiches, wraps, or other handheld items like tacos or quesadillas. You could even make it a build-your-own sandwich station with various toppings and condiments.
41. A charcuterie board.
Charcuterie boards are perfect for picnics because they’re easy to transport and require no cooking. Fill your board with a variety of cheese, meats, nuts, fruits, and crackers. Learn how to make a simple charcuterie board.
42. Chips and dip.
No picnic is complete without a few salty snacks. Choose your favorite chips and dips for everyone to enjoy, or get creative and make your own!
43. Snack mix.
Mix together some popcorn, nuts, pretzels, dried fruit, and other goodies for a tasty snack mix. This is a great way to fill up hungry bellies without having to make a big meal.
44. A refreshing beverage.
Don’t forget the beverages! Pack a few pitchers of lemonade or iced tea for everyone to enjoy. Or, you can make a couple of coolers with some ice and cans or bottles of soda or beer for the adults.
Pack a few salads like quinoa, couscous, or green salad for a light and refreshing option. You can even add some proteins for a heartier meal, such as grilled chicken or tuna. Greek salads are an easy and particularly refreshing option.
46. Pasta dishes.
For something more substantial than sandwiches and snacks, bring along some pasta dishes that can be served cold, like macaroni salad or pasta primavera.
47. Cold-pressed juices and smoothies.
Cold-pressed juices and smoothies make for a great summertime snack that is both healthy and delicious. Make sure to pack plenty of straws so everyone can sip away!
48. Sweets and treats.
Bring some sweet treats to your picnic, like cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, or fruit salad. Jell-O shots are fun for adults too!
49. Frozen treats.
Nothing is more refreshing on a hot summer day than an icy-cold treat. Freeze popsicles or yogurt bites the night before and pack them in small paper bags to enjoy during your family picnic. Ice cream sandwiches are also a hit for all ages.
Your Ultimate Family Picnic Checklist
Now that you know what games to play and food to bring make sure you have everything you need for the best picnic with this handy checklist:
• Picnic blanket or tarp
• Outdoor pillows to sit on
• Picnic basket
• Reuseable silverware
• Reusable straws
• Cooler and ice
• Bottle and wine openers
• Bug spray
• Fly swatter
• Swimsuits (if necessary)
• Trash bags for cleanup
• Games (Kubb, sack races, capture the flag, limbo, tug of war, cornhole, etc.)
• Fruits and vegetables
• Sandwiches and wraps
• Charcuterie board
• Chips or pretzels
• Sweets and treats
• Refreshing beverage
You’re ready for your next family picnic!
With the right food, games, and accessories, you’re on your way to having the best family picnic ever. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can create an unforgettable experience for everyone to enjoy. So gather up the troops and get ready for some fun in the sun!
Try one of these “18 Outdoor Family Activities for Summer” to add to your special day.
Frequently Asked Questions
It really depends on the family. Some have a tradition of having a picnic once a year, while others are new to planning family picnics. It’s up to each family to decide what works best for them.
The main event of a family picnic is to have fun, relax, and spend time together. The focus should be on making memories rather than food or activities. That said, it’s important to plan accordingly.