What you need to pack for a picnic in the park

Planning a picnic? There’s a tonne of fun to be had, but it won’t be much fun if you forget "What you need to pack for a picnic in the park"

Planning a picnic? There’s a tonne of fun to be had, but it won’t be much fun if you forget something.  Here’s a great checklist of what you need to pack.

picnic basket
Source: Pinterest

Picnic blanket

Unless your park has a spare recreational table and bench chair when you arrive, you might be sitting on the grass with the ants biting your bottom if you forget your picnic blanket. A waterproof one that can be rolled up and strapped to a basket or slung over an arm makes life easy.

picnic blanket
Source: World Market

Picnic basket

Having a dedicated picnic basket or backpack is a great grab and go option for picnics (and camping!). The essential items to fill it with should include plates, cups, cutlery, a tea towel, small cutting board, napkins, salt and pepper, and possibly a cheeky wine glass. If you get one big enough to pack a few sandwiches and a chilled beverage into, you’re set.

picnic basket
Source: Pinterest

Cushions or chairs

If you’d rather be up off the ground, or just want some extra added comfort, grab some cushions to scatter over your picnic blanket, or bring some trusty camping chairs.

picnic cushions
Source: west elm

Something to eat on

If you’re hosting a bit of a soiree, perhaps for a birthday party or large family gathering, you may need some extra space to prepare and serve food on. BYO a picnic or camping table if you have one, or get creative and grab a couple of wooden pallets to stack up and make yourself a DIY picnic table. Cover with a cute table cloth and Bob’s your uncle.

picnic pallet table


What is a picnic without a glorious selection of sandwiches, cheeses, dips, salads and sweets? Choose a spread you’ll enjoy, but take into consideration how you will store it, how long it will keep, how you’ll serve it and how much clean-up will be required. Baguettes are a great, easy option.  It goes without saying, but if you want to bring items that you’re required to keep cold, like meat for a BBQ, always pack them in an esky with ice.

We’ve also got some refreshing picnic food ideas for you to try.

picnic baguettes
Image credit: Sharyn Cairns via gourmet traveller


Wash down your lunch with a nice, cool drink. For the warmer weather, why not make your own lemonade from scratch, or homemade iced tea? Pop it into a cool thermos or drink dispenser and pack it in the picnic basket or esky.

picnic drinks dispenser

Fun and games

Once you’ve got the essentials packed, it’s time for the fun and games! Grab the footy, pack a Frisbee or bring some board games. Little ones love outdoor activities like kite flying, and bigger kids will enjoy games like giant Jenga. And don’t forget music! If you’re picnicking with a group of friends, a few cool tunes will turn your picnic into a party. Hit your talented muso friend up to bring his guitar, or go old school with a radio. You can get mini speakers that plug straight into your phone, and some pimped our picnic baskets even have Bluetooth speakers built in!

picnic radio music
Source: Rebecca Newport

Anything else you may have forgotten…

Depending on the facilities available at your chosen venue, you may need to bring a few more items to make your day a success (easy to forget if you’re too busy food prepping to be thinking ahead):

  • A portable BBQ and gas bottle
  • Rubbish bags and a bin
  • Toilet paper (for *ahem* bush toilets)
  • Lanterns for lighting if your picnic will continue into the evening
  • An umbrella or little beach tent for shade (regardless, you should always be sun smart when outdoors!)
  • Towels for a swim
  • Decorations if you are hosting a party, and
  • Plenty of other things you can find on Pinterest that you probably don’t really need, but would make your picnic amazing!

With all of this inspiration, it would not be difficult to get completely carried away with planning the pinnacle of picnics! Let us know if you enjoyed these ideas or have any other essential picnic items to pack.

Refreshing picnic food ideas

The sky is blue, the grass is green and the sun is bright and shining; now is the perfect time "Refreshing picnic food ideas"

The sky is blue, the grass is green and the sun is bright and shining; now is the perfect time of year for a picnic in the park. Allow us to help you plan your weekends with these refreshing picnic food ideas.

picnic food watermelon feta salad
Source: Watch What? U Eat

Picnic food cheese platter ideas

Start your lazy Sunday morning picnic with a cheese platter accompanied by colourful fruits, both fresh and dried. Blue cheese and fresh fig are a match made in heaven. Dried apricots, nuts and fresh grapes go well with cheddars, gouda and brie. There are many combinations you could make; for some great ‘cheesepiration’ for picnics, check out iowa girls eats.

picnic food cheese platter
Source: iowa girl eats

Refreshing dips and salsas

Make the most of seasonal ingredients by featuring them in a fresh dip or zesty salsa combination. Cucumber is a popular ingredient, and makes for great use in Tzatziki. Serve as a dip in the traditional way with vegetable sticks, or pipe it into little hollowed out cucumber discs so your picnic guests can just pick little bite-sized pieces up. If you’d prefer to use it as a side to sprinkle on barbequed meat, we suggest trying this incredible pineapple and cucumber salsa recipe.

picnic food pineapple cucumber salsa
Source: Destination Delish

Fresh fruit skewers

Summer fruits are coming in to season and even the kids will love these fresh and fun fruit skewers. Prepare them ahead of time on bamboo skewers, pack them in a long container and keep them cool in the esky until serving. They make the perfect, nutritious snack and add a pop of colour to your picnic!

Tip: Some fruits like apples tend to go a bit brown when cut and exposed to air. There are many claims on how to prevent browning such as lemon juice or citric acid, but if you want them to stay crisp and have the best taste, leave cutting them until last minute.

picnic food fruit skewers
Source: Chocolate Covered Katie

Mason jar salads

You know how mason jars were a thing… well they still are! Packing a refreshing salad into a mason jar trumps a soggy sandwich any day! Perfect for your picnic in the park (or at the beach, or even a festival), they’re easy to prepare, portable, keep well in an esky or cooler bag, and you can just pop the lid back on and wash them up when you get home. Why not try a beautiful watermelon and feta salad, or this shrimp (yes, prawn) and feta salad for your next picnic?

Tip: If you don’t want to be a ‘mason jar hipster’ but you love this idea, just use a normal glass or plastic drink cup – we won’t judge.

picnic food prawn shrimp feta cobb salad
Source: Savouring the Thyme

Rice paper rolls

Spice it up and pack some fresh, tasty rice paper rolls. Poached chicken shredded up with some cucumber, carrot, chilli, coriander, mint and basil will make for a flavoursome and nutritious picnic lunch. Keep them cool in an esky until you’re ready to serve with a peanut satay or hoisin sauce. No need for cutlery!

picnic food rice paper rolls
Source:  sally’s baking addiction

Sweet rice paper rolls

If you’re feeling adventurous, try a sweet version of the rice paper roll for dessert. Instead of using savoury ingredients, use fresh fruit and shaved coconut, and serve them with a sweet yoghurt dipping sauce.

picnic food sweet fruit rice paper rolls
Source: A Million Miles

Mocktail (or cocktail) hour

Bring back summer vibes with a cooler or bottle filled with fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, citrus, mint, juice and soda of your choice (the adult version could do with a splash of Cointreau and Bacardi). Bring a ladle to scoop the fruit, and a small container of ice for serving. As the ice melts, it will water down your ‘party punch’, so just keep it on the side and let people pop a few cubes in their cup as they go.

Tip: If you’re picnicking in a public park or location, it’s a good idea to check the rules on alcohol consumption before you go with the adult version.

picnic food strawberry lemonade drink
Source: little miss party

There are so many refreshing, fun picnic food ideas out there to try. Our hottest tip is to make sure you pack picnic food that will keep well in an esky or basket, and is easy to clean up. Let us know what you think of these picnic food ideas!