Best Things to Pack for Your Summer Picnic

An afternoon picnic can make for an easy, fun way to spend time with your kiddos and get you outside to enjoy the summer weather! Being prepared ahead of time will help ensure your picnic excursion goes as smoothly as possible. Whether you’re taking a trip to the park or setting up shop in the backyard, check out this list of the best things to pack for your summer picnic.

Big Picnic Blanket

If you don’t have access to a picnic table, bringing a big blanket to sit on will make your picnic much more comfortable. It helps you avoid scratchy grass and keep your clothes and food clean. Make sure to bring one big enough to fit the whole family. Otherwise, you can always set up multiple blankets right next to each other to make one giant blanketed area!


Stay protected while you enjoy your time in the sun. Try sunscreening the kiddos before you leave the house so you don’t need to apply as soon as you get there. But be sure to bring extra sunscreen along in case you need to re-apply!


Hydration is a must for any outdoor activity so make sure to bring plenty of water bottles to go around. Additional beverages are up to your discretion but keep in mind, juice or carbonated beverages can get sticky - which can attract some not so welcome bugs!

Bug Spray

Speaking of those pesky little critters - throw a can of bug spray in your bag if you know you’ll be picnicking in a particularly buggy area.

Fruits & Veggies

Fruits & veggies make a classic, tasty, and healthy picnic snack. Try bringing a variety that is still good if they don’t stay 100% cold or if they happen to get a little banged around. Carrots, apples, or peppers are always good go-to's! Keep in mind, if you’re bringing something with removable skin or pits, like oranges or cherries, you may want to bring an empty bowl or trash bag to throw out the scraps. Check out this article for a full list of in-season summer produce.

Pre-Made Food

Whether you’re doing sandwiches, salad or tacos, picnic time will go much smoother if everything is, for the most part, made or assembled before you set out on your picnic. The less you have to do there, the better!

Trash Bag

Don’t forget to bring something to throw away any wrappers, food scraps or miscellaneous throw-away items. If you’re visiting a public park there will likely be trash bins, but bringing your own provides an essential backup plan in case there isn’t one around.

Napkins or Paper Towels

As with any meal with kiddos, things can get messy! Don’t forget your napkins or paper towels to clean up. Wet wipes are a great alternative if you’ll be munching on anything extra messy or sticky.

Outdoor Toys

After your picnic lunch is over, hang around outside for a while longer and play some games! Bring along a frisbee, kite or soccer ball to extend the fun. Check out this article from for a full list of fun outdoor toys to try this summer!