Picnic Ideas That Don’t Feel Stale After a Year of Nothing but Picnics

You can’t deny it: 2020 was the year of the picnic. Many of us—even Michelin-star restaurant-goers—found ourselves pondering picnic ideas for the first time ever. With many of our favorite haunts closed, we had no choice but to take to outdoor spaces with a blanket and cold cuts in tow. All of this raises the question: Are there any fresh picnic ideas left for the summer of 2021? And this one: Have we eclipsed the classic red-and-white-checked throw with a spread of premade sandwiches, store-bought hummus, and bags of chips? You bet.

Instagram and TikTok have served us the new blueprint for picnic ideas on a platter (or in a picnic basket). Click #picnics and you’ll spot kaleidoscopic charcuterie boards, wicker baskets overflowing with freshly cut florals, and dreamy cottagecore aesthetics. If you can’t achieve any of this without assistance, rest assured there are many ways to reach picnic nirvana. Below, luxury picnic planners (yes, really!) share their best summer ideas.

Keep it clean.

First things first: Plan to leave the picnic area how you found it—or even cleaner!—by prepping ahead. According to Sophie Richardson, the founder of picnic delivery company Pique, this is the number one rule of picnics. “Most importantly, avoid unnecessary packaging,” says Richardson. “And take your rubbish home if you can’t fit it in a bin.” You heard her.

Opt for simple dishes.

Picnics are at the whim of the elements—occasional raindrops or blazing sunshine—so it pays to opt for low-maintenance dishes. During the summer, Richardson recommends food that can handle the heat. “Nothing that’s going to melt or sweat too much,” she says. “I would suggest a mixture of easy finger food that doesn’t require cutlery, a few dishes to plate up, and then a few dips with chips and crudités. Then something sweet, like double chocolate brownies and strawberries.”

A charcuterie board is the preferred picnic food for Picnic ‘n Chill cofounders Coco Chan and Jocelyn Chin, as it’s easy to share and serves as a striking centerpiece. So what’s on their ideal board? “An aesthetically pleasing charcuterie board might feature rose petal salami, prosciutto, jams, cheese, honey, crackers, and more,” says Chin, whose video about luxury picnic planning went viral last year.

Be a sun spotter.

So you’ve secured the perfect spot for your picnic. Perhaps you’re on the crest of the hill overlooking the city. Or you’re on the banks of the river in a prime-time people-watching spot. Maybe you’ve done the impossible and found an ethereal spot among the lavender fields in the South of France. Excellent. But don’t forget about the sun.

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