Discover the magic that’s the not so humble picnic with these picnic date ideas. You’ll find perfect picnic locations, mouthwatering menus and tips for ensuring your picnic goes off without a hitch.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Click here for my full disclosure policy.
Say the word “picnic” and instantly your mind conjures up images of fun, food, and romance.
A picnic is the perfect opportunity to connect and relax in nature while you enjoy delicious food.
It’s endlessly adaptable for every budget and every mood.
No wonder it’s such a popular date idea.
That being said, like so many things, the careful planning of your picnic date is fundamental to its success.
Luckily, these picnic date ideas are here to help you do just that!
(Interestingly, the first picnics took place indoors and were more like a potluck dinner with the odd dance thrown in. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the picnic went al fresco and started to resemble the picnics of today (source)).
Choosing the ideal spot for your picnic date
When it comes to picking the perfect spot for your picnic date, there are several factors to consider.
While that remote spot next to the waterfall may have looked super romantic when you were looking at images in Instagram, the experience of getting there with an unwieldy picnic basket, drinks, and activities, may be less so.
If you want to make it easy on yourself, look for locations with easy parking, smooth pathways, or proximity to public transportation.
Part of the picnic’s charm is the mood. Think about the vibe you’re wanting to feel during your picnic. Are you seeking a serene and tranquil atmosphere or a lively and bustling environment?
The surroundings should align with the desired mood and theme of your picnic.
The truth is, once you hit a certain age, your bladder isn’t quite what it was.
Nothing can ruin your picnic faster than needing to go to the bathroom and having to squat in the bushes.
So check to see if there are toilets nearby when you’re deciding on the location of your picnic date.
And while sitting in the sun is lovely, shade is important too, especially if you’re on a dog-friendly date.
It can also be nice to sit at a picnic table and make use of grilling areas.
What level of privacy do you require?
Is a little afternoon delight on the menu?
While there’s nothing like the thrill of discovery to amp up the intensity, there’s nothing like actually being discovered to deflate you like a balloon.
So look for places off the beaten track or consider a picnic in your own back yard (more on that later).
Essential picnic supplies and decorations
There’s several essential supplies for your picnic date, and some optional extras that help create an inviting and romantic atmosphere.
- a picnic blanket with a waterproof backing
- a picnic basket or a sturdy cooler and / or food warmer
- a thermos
- plates, utensils, and glasses. Choose durable yet elegant options such as reusable bamboo or melamine sets
- food covers
- trash bags
- a cutting board or charcuterie board
Once you’ve decided on your picnic menu, you’ll also want to ensure you have the necessary serving spoons or knives to make serving whatever you’ve chosen to eat a breeze.
Create unforgettable memories and enjoy one of life's most rewarding experiences - time with loved ones. This cheese board set features charcuterie boards with bowls, a cheese knife set, and all the charcuterie accessories you'll need for a romantic picnic.
- pillows or cushions for added comfort
- string lights or lanterns for an evening picnic
- hurricane lamps
- fresh flowers
In making your decisions, consider the quote, have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful and apply it to your picnic setup.
Planning a scrumptious picnic menu
As someone who grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton before it became glaringly apparent how much her works were a product of her time, I couldn’t not use the word “scrumptious” in a discussion of picnic food.
You can go several ways when it comes to planning your picnic menu.
First and foremost, check out these romantic picnic foods. They’re super popular for a reason.
If they doesn’t tantalize your tastebuds, you can go the classic picnic fare route with sandwiches.
You could craft traditional favorites like ham and cheese or unique combinations like roasted vegetable or turkey cranberry.
Accompany these with summer salads.
If you’re seeking a more elevated picnic experience, go for gourmet.
Think charcuterie board filled with an array of cured meats, artisanal cheeses, and a selection of olives and spreads. Add some freshly baked baguettes or artisan crackers to complement the flavors.
Alternatively, you can prepare bite-sized appetizers like mini quiches, savory tarts, or gourmet sliders.
To take your picnic to the next level, consider a themed picnic feast.
You could plan a Mediterranean-inspired menu with dishes like hummus, tzatziki, stuffed grape leaves, and grilled kebabs.
Alternatively, go for a Mexican fiesta with fresh guacamole, salsa, quesadillas, and mini tacos.
And don’t forget the drinks!
Sparkling water is my picnic drink of choice. It’s simple and elegant and keeps you hydrated.
Fun picnic activities
While I admit my first thought of a go-to picnic activity is reading a book, there are more interactive ideas for your picnic date to consider.
Card games, if there’s no breeze, are perfect for picnics.
You could ask questions for couples.
Depending on your location, you could play cornhole or kubb.
You could even take along some board games for two.
Romantic picnic date ideas
If the above isn’t quite enough and you want to uplevel your picnic, consider one of these romantic picnic themes.
If you love the atmosphere of the woods, the rustic retreat is the theme for you.
Start by incorporating natural elements into your picnic setup.
Consider gathering a bouquet of wildflowers, either hand-picked or purchased from a local farmer’s market, to serve as a centerpiece. Arrange the bouquet in a simple mason jar.
Now introduce wooden accents with a wooden picnic table, tray or wooden boards.
When it comes to textiles, choose rustic-style blankets made of natural fibers like cotton or linen.
Look for ones with earthy tones or patterns inspired by nature, such as plaid or floral prints.
Layer the blankets on the ground or over your seating area to create a comfortable and inviting space.
For your rustic picnic, you’ll want to go for the selection of artisanal cheeses, freshly baked bread, and charcuterie, arranged on a wooden cutting board or slate.
Add a variety of seasonal fruits, like ripe berries or juicy peaches in woven baskets.
Remember to include some homemade preserves or spreads in jars to accompany the bread and cheese.
The beach is a no-brainer date destination.
However when it comes to beachside picnics, practicality and comfort are key. Remember: while we all love beach dates, the truth is sand is not your friend, especially where food is concerned.
You’ll want a lightweight, waterproof picnic blanket. Consider bringing foldable beach chairs and a portable table for added comfort and support while enjoying your picnic feast.
Incorporate beach-themed decorations into your setup.
Hang string lights between palm trees or anchor them with stakes in the sand.
Place driftwood as decorative accents on your picnic blanket or table.
If you can, make a small beachside bonfire in a fire pit, where you can roast marshmallows and enjoy the flickering warmth as the sun sets.
When it comes to the menu, focus on refreshing and light options that complement the seaside setting.
Think crisp salads and fresh fruits and seafood if you like it.
And don’t forget to pack homemade lemonade or tropical mocktails to quench your thirst.
Up the romance quotient with a sunset picnic.
As the sunset is a key part of the experience, look for a spot that offers an unobstructed view of the horizon, such as a hilltop, a beachfront, or a lakeside.
Arrive early to secure the best spot and ensure you have ample time to set up your picnic.
To set the stage for a romantic evening, you’ll want soft blankets or comfortable cushions to create a cozy seating area.
Opt for materials like velvet or faux fur for added luxury and comfort.
Consider setting up a low table or using a picnic basket as a makeshift table, adorned with elegant candle holders and delicate flower arrangements to add a touch of romance and intimacy to the setting.
Use fairy lights or lanterns to create a warm and intimate mood as darkness falls. You’ll want some of those romantic picnic foods I mentioned earlier.
As the sky transforms into a canvas of stars, take a moment to gaze at the night sky together.
Bring a stargazing guide or use a stargazing app on your smartphone to identify constellations.
Even though your backyard may seem like a less than romantic location, there’s many advantages to a backyard picnic.
Start by selecting a cozy spot that offers a comfortable and private setting and place a soft outdoor rug or a comfortable blanket as a base for your picnic setup.
Because you’re at home, you can go all out with the decor.
Hang string lights or lanterns from trees or along fences to add a touch of enchantment as the sun sets.
Set up an outdoor speaker or a portable music player to provide a soothing soundtrack, whether it’s calming instrumental melodies or your favorite romantic tunes.
Scatter cushions or pillows on the ground for extra comfort, creating a relaxed and inviting seating area.
Consider preparing finger foods that are easy to enjoy in a picnic setting, like these summer appetizers.
Engage in activities that you both enjoy to make your backyard picnic even more special.
Set up a board game (I vote Sequence) or a deck of cards to spark friendly competition and laughter.
You could even set up a movie screen and have an outdoor movie night after your picnic.
Tips for a successful picnic date
Prepare for the weather
Mother Nature can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to be prepared for unexpected weather changes during your picnic.
That means taking a jacket or large umbrella to protect you from the rain.
Ensure that your picnic area is free from sharp objects, uneven terrain, or potential dangers such as insect nests and aforementioned poisonous plants.
Check local regulations or guidelines regarding open fires or BBQs and follow them accordingly. If you plan to use a portable grill, ensure it is positioned on a stable surface away from flammable materials.
Always practice food safety by packing perishable items in a cooler with ice packs to maintain their freshness and prevent foodborne illnesses. There’s nothing less romantic than food poisoning.
Make sure you have enough water to jeep adequately hydrated and use sunscreen.
Leave no trace
Don’t be like Don and Betty Draper in their Mad Men family picnic.
Pack your picnic in reusable containers and avoid single-use plastics.
Bring reusable utensils, plates, and cups instead of disposable ones. Choose biodegradable or compostable materials when possible.
Dispose of waste properly by bringing a bag to collect trash and recyclables and ensure they are disposed of in designated bins.
As tempting as it seems, avoid feeding wildlife, as it can disrupt their natural behaviors and diets.
Respect and appreciate the natural beauty around you by refraining from damaging plants or disturbing the ecosystem.
By adopting eco-friendly practices, you can enjoy your picnic while preserving the environment for future generations to enjoy.
You might also like: 15 eco-friendly date ideas.
Whether you choose the woods, a beach, or your own backyard, the possibilities for creating a memorable picnic experience are endless.
Get ready to embrace the charm of outdoor dining with these delightful picnic date ideas.
Loved these date ideas and want more? Check out these date ideas for married couples.