The definition of “picnic” is an excursion or outing with food usually provided by members of the group and eaten in the open. It is also used to describe a pleasant or amusingly carefree experience. If both of those definitions don’t inspire you to pack up your favorite finger foods and head to the great outdoors, then we’re not sure what will. Michigan summers are great for a lot of things and one of those is picnicking. There is no better time to take part than National Picnic Month!

To make sure you’re prepared for the perfect picnic, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it simple: The best part about picnics is that they don’t have to be elaborate meals. Pick your favorite finger foods, like sandwiches and apples, that are simple to prepare, easy to pack, and don’t require a ton of extra effort when you’re outside. Avoid grilling foods so you don’t have to bring coal, lighter fluid, or cooking utensils and try not to pack sticky, melty foods like pudding or ice cream. A quick and easy cleanup keeps the experience care-free and fun!
  • Don’t forget the essentials: You can’t have the proper picnic without the essentials. Remember to pack:
    • Cooler/picnic basket, with ice packs if necessary
    • Blanket for sitting
    • Water
    • Plates
    • Flatware
    • Napkins or hand wipes
    • Cups
    • Bottle opener (if necessary)
    • Sunscreen
    • Bug spray
    • Trash bag
  • Choosing the spot: Pick the ideal spot before you unpack the car and start carrying your picnic basket or cooler filled with goodies.
  • Maintain food safety: If you’re bringing along something that needs to be kept warm or cold, make sure the food’s temperature stays where it needs to during your travels. If you have cold pasta salad with a creamy dressing, you’ll want to make sure the dairy products included don’t spoil. Remember to keep food in a shady spot if you can.
  • Always clean up after: Make sure that you are leaving your perfect picnic spot just the way you found it – if not better! That means you are leaving no traces of food or garbage behind. This is important for wildlife, as well as our environment.

Looking for the perfect spot?

Check out Michigan’s state parks to find your perfect picnicking spot while also supporting the protection and maintenance of these important recreation areas.

For more ideas on fun things to do this summer in Michigan, check out the Your Neighborhood tab on Empowering Michigan.

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