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!
- 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.
- 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!
- A picnic doesn't have to be fancy. Crackers, cheese and fresh vegetables are a simple snack that you can enjoy on the go.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bringing children? Make your picnic family time by bringing a few easy games like penny toss (toss pennies into a container) or Frisbee.
- 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