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10 Tips to a Perfect Picnic

Kelsey Olson, Interpretive Naturalist at Sibley State Park

Picnicking in parks is a Minnesota tradition. Here are ten tips to help you pull off the perfect picnic, whether it's your first or you are an old pro!

  1. Where do you want to go? A formal state park picnic area with picnic tables, or a quiet spot on the beach? Shady spot under the trees, or scenic overlook? Your location will drive what you pack and how you carry it. 
  2. Most state parks have picnic tables, but it can be nice to pack a blanket and just sit on the ground. Choose a blanket that rolls up easily and is water resistant, that you don't mind getting dirty. Or sit in style and pack your own lawn chair!
  3. A picnic doesn't have to be fancy. Crackers, cheese and fresh vegetables are a simple snack that you can enjoy on the go.
  4. Pack that picnic right! Always pack food—especially sandwiches—in hard reusable containers so your food doesn't squish. If you are packing your picnic in a bag or backpack, try putting a light cutting board between stacks of containers. This will create a shelf in your bag and keep your picnic from falling over and getting messy.
  5. Put aside a set of spoons, knives and forks for picnicking. Wrap them in a cloth napkin with a rubber band and you'll never have to eat with your fingers again!
  6. Freeze your drinks and use them to keep your food cool. Nothing ruins a picnic faster than food that has gone bad. As the day warms up your ice packs will thaw into refreshing cold drinks.
  7. While digging in the dirt for bugs can be fun, eating them is not. Pack a travel-sized hand sanitizer to clean up with before you eat, or pack wet wipes for a quick clean-up and an extra plastic bag to carry out any garbage.
  8. Don't forget about Fido! If your four-legged friend is coming along, make sure to bring an empty container and water so he is well hydrated too. A dog bone treat will keep your friend busy while you enjoy your picnic.
  9. Bringing children? Make your picnic family time by bringing a few easy games like penny toss (toss pennies into a container) or Frisbee.
  10. Invite your neighbors! A picnic is a perfect excuse to sit down and catch up with a friend under a blue summer sky. Afterwards, go for a hike or enjoy a swim. Who knows, maybe you'll create new tradition or lasting memories.

Take a deep breath, pack a snack, find a quiet spot and enjoy a picnic this summer.

"Dirty hands, iced tea, garden fragrances thick in the air and a blanket of color before me, who could ask for more?" - Bev Adams