What To Pack For The Perfect Summer Picnic

Maybe it's the warm nights, the lightning bugs, or my desire to ALWAYS eat al fresco but I LOVE a good picnic. I'm not sure about you all but for some reason, I always think a picnic sounds like a great idea until I have to try to figure out a menu; all of a sudden the idea seems daunting! What do I pack? Will it be enough? Is there enough variety? Will it withstand the elements? Well B & I {and Oakley} found ourselves with a free night this week and I knew that a picnic would be the perfect way to spend it! I started thinking about what I've packed in the past for our basket full of goodies; what worked, what didn't and realized that if I was looking for a great resource for picnic approved foods/snacks I bet others are too so I decided to create one!

Today I'm breaking down the perfect picnic set-up in 3 major themes: charcuterie spread, lighter affaire, and traditional Americana...of course these lists can be mixed and matched but I always like my picnic packing to feel thought out and harmonious! I hope this becomes an easy to navigate resource for you to pack the perfect summer picnics from here on out! Each theme is broken down by the "big players" (in bold) and the sides I pair them with for what I think makes the perfect bite.

Charcuterie Spread: this is what I think of most when I think of packing a picnic. I would put most of this all on one board and then things like olives and berries on the side in smaller dishes/bowls for grazing. This is the kind of basket I'd pack for a casual weekend afternoon spent fishing, on the lake, or hangin in the park with friends and our pups! **Pro Tip: be sure to keep an ice pack in your basket so the meat and cheese stays cool.

  • Brie

  • Apple slices

  • Grapes

  • Candied/praline pecans

  • Aged white cheddar

  • Multigrain crackers

  • Stuffed olives

  • Dried salami, pepperoni, or soppressata

  • Genoa salami + provolone rolls

  • Fresh berries

  • Bottle of cold chardonnay

Lighter affaire: this is the perfect option for those hot summer nights...it's a healthier and lighter option for a romantic dinner al fresco. This basket can be whipped together quickly when you're short on time or when the mood strikes you for an impromptu date night!

  • Baby spring mix salad {top with strawberries, feta cheese, chopped candied nuts, rose' balsamic dressing}

  • Genoa salami + provolone rolls

  • Grapes

  • Red cherries

  • Garlic stuffed olives

  • Veggie sticks/crudite {think carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, cucumber slices}

  • Ranch or dill dip

  • Fruit dip {mix sour cream and brown sugar to your desired sweetness}

  • Strawberries

  • Madelines

  • Bottle of chilled rose'

  • Lemonade

Traditional Americana: this is your bang out, fourth of July style, full meal type picnic! This is everything that a picnic should be but is probably best for the whole family or amongst friends and definitely takes a little bit of preparation and planning! (I'd probably also take an extra picnic blanket so there's plenty of room for the full spread.

  • Pulled pork sandwiches OR fried chicken OR California club sandwiches

  • Potato salad

  • BBQ beans

  • Assorted chips

  • Watermelon OR watermelon salad

  • Spring salad

  • Lemonade, sweet tea, or your favorite beer {or all of the above}

  • Chocolate chip cookies or rice crispy treats

Do you have any picnic food go-tos that you swear by? Let me know your favorites in the comments! Happy picnicking friends!!

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