Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic

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There are many things I love about summer, and close to the top of the list is dining al fresco! Today, I thought I’d share a few picnic ideas along with tips for packing a lovely and functional picnic basket.

This post is loaded with suggestions for packing the essentials, choosing picnic foods, and adding a few special touches so you’ll be ready for a picnic at a moment’s notice. Let’s get started!

Pack the essentials.

To enjoy meals or snacks out in nature, you’re going to need plates, napkins, and cutlery. The Chinet® Classic White™ line is perfect for picnics! Dining outdoors can sometimes be a bit tricky, and the last thing you want to worry about is wimpy paper goods. These Chinet plates, bowls, and platters are designed not to bend, fold, or leak. Because of the thick and sturdy design, you never have to worry about a mess.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

For this particular occasion, I needed the Chinet Classic White dinner plate, Chinet Classic White bowls, Chinet Classic White napkins, and Chinet® Cut Crystal® cutlery. However, I’ve pictured other items in the line so you can see all of the available options.

In addition to plates, napkins, and cutlery, you’ll want to consider taking along a few other tools.

Here are examples:

– Corkscrew for wine
– Sharp knife for slicing cheese
– Matches or lighter for igniting a grill or lighting a candle
– Condiments, such as ketchup, mustard, and salt & pepper
– Hand sanitizer or wet wipes

Now that your picnic basket is packed with essentials, we’re ready to talk about a few more important details.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

Always bring a blanket.

What’s a picnic without a blanket? Even if you plan to set up your picnic on a table like I did here, you’ll want to have a fresh surface on which to sit or lay out your food. The only mementos you want from your picnic are beautiful memories—not a grass stain on your favorite pair of shorts.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

You can use any blanket you’d like, but I recommend something that can be easily laundered. For an inexpensive option, hit up your local thrift store for a vintage quilt. That’s what I’m using here.

Go homemade, if possible, but don’t hesitate to do takeout.

You have several options for your picnic food. One is to prepare something at home that you can take to your picnic. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bring a small cooler for anything that needs to be refrigerated.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling
Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

Perfect Picnic Recipes:

Among my favorite picnic recipes are:
Southwest Pasta Salad
Veggies with dip or fruit with dip
Italian Sub Pinwheels
– Any Dessert in a Jar recipe
– An array of cheeses, crackers, and grapes
– Homemade sangria 

Now, if you’re the impromptu picnic type (or just aren’t inclined to make something at home), don’t be afraid to get takeout or pick up something at your favorite deli.

During the summer, I will often leave my loaded picnic basket (sans food and drinks) in the car, so I can picnic whenever the mood strikes. This is also a great way to break up your workday. You might even be able to take a longer lunch to picnic in a park.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

Include a few special details.

Whether you’re picnicking alone, meeting an old friend at the park, or dining outdoors with someone special, you can always incorporate a few special touches to make the meal more memorable.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

May I suggest one or more of the following:
Bouquet of fresh flowers from the store or your garden
– Ribbon or twine to tie around your Chinet Classic White line place settings
– Snips of fresh herbs to garnish your meal or drink
– Candle or lantern (Citronella will keep bugs away.)
– Playlist of your favorite tunes

It’s picnic ideas like these that will take your outdoor meal to the next level and create a special time that will be remembered fondly.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

Leave it as you found it.

No matter where you picnic, you will want to leave the space looking as pristine as you found it. If it’s just you and your picnic basket, be sure to tuck in one baggie for trash and another for recycling.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

That reminds me of something else I love about the Chinet Classic White line. Cleanup is a breeze. You just toss them when you’re done!

Do a double check before leaving your picnic area to make sure you’ve taken all of your belongings and completely cleaned up the area for other picnickers.

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling
Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

With that, I think you’re ready for a magical meal on the lawn!

And that’s it, my friends, I hope you enjoyed these picnic ideas and are already making plans for your next picnic. For more great summer entertaining ideas and inspiration, please visit

Ideas for Packing the Perfect Picnic | #picnic #food #ideas #recipes #styling

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  1. You really know how to make everything look so well done. I love all the suggestions you give with this picnic post. And YES, the white Chinet items have always been my go to for anything outdoors. Sturdy, practical and showcases any colors you use with flowers, and decor. Truly a life saver for cleanup duties, too.
    Thank you for always giving us your very best and sharing all your ideas!

  2. Great ideas! We’ve kept a small picnic hamper in our car with essentials, during Covid to eat in our car (with a view) when ordering take out. If you found that lovely antique/vintage quilt at your thrift store, I’m planning on visiting you! Love your ideas and style!

  3. Hi Michael,
    Your post has made me want to picnic in my backyard. I call it my park. I sit outside almost every day. I have many trees, a pergola, and a pond with a waterfall. We have many BBQs, but I have not thought of a picnic theme. I need to find a quilt for the table. Thank you Michael. I love all of your helpful ideas.

  4. I love to use Chinet plates for outdoor events. One of my friends who worked for a caterer told me about them. The white goes with everything, plus the plates are sturdy!