Take Your Lunch Outside: Picnic Ideas With Personality 2023

Having your lunch break outdoors on a day can be a way to break the monotony of eating at your desk. With some preparation you can craft an unforgettable picnic right in the comfort of your own backyard or, in a nearby park. This guide, for beginners offers a multitude of concepts to ensure that your picnic is one of a kind and reflects your individuality. From themed menus to DIY decor, we’ve got you covered with tips to take your lunch outside in style. So grab a blanket, pack your favorite foods, and let’s take this lunch date out to the great outdoors!

Packing Your Picnic

The first step to a successful outdoor picnic is packing the right gear and grub. Here are some tips for loading up your basket:

Picnic Basket or Cooler

A classic woven picnic basket adds a nostalgic touch, while an insulated cooler bag will keep foods chilled. Look for options with compartments or packing cubes to keep items separate.

Picnic Blanket

Choose a blanket that’s lightweight yet durable. A waterproof backing can be useful if sitting on damp grass. A festive print or vibrant color adds personality.

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Plates, Utensils, and Napkins

Pack reusable plates, utensils, and cloth napkins to cut down on waste. Bamboo and melamine are earth-friendly options.

Food and Drinks

Focus on finger foods that are easy to transport and eat outdoors. Sandwiches, veggies and dip, pasta or potato salads, and snacks like chips and trail mix are all good choices. Don’t forget beverages like lemonade, iced tea, or wine.


Liven up your picnic with fun accessories. Pack a portable speaker, lawn games, and sunscreen in case you want to make an afternoon of it.

Picnic Menu Ideas

Planning creative menus is one of the most enjoyable parts of picnic planning. Get inspired by these fun themes and food pairings:

Sandwich and Beverage Bar

Set up your own DIY sandwich Fixings and beverage bar. Offer deli meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, spreads, mustards, and different breads to build custom sandwiches. Pair it with lemonade, iced tea, wine, beer, or mocktails.

Chips and Dips

Set out an assortment of potato chips, veggie crisps, pita chips, and crackers alongside multiple dips like guacamole, salsa, hummus, onion dip, or spinach artichoke dip. It’s an easy way to please different tastes.

Antipasto Platter

Make an Italian inspired board that you can easily share. Combine meats, like salami select fresh vegetables such as artichokes and olives and complement them with a variety of cheeses, like parmesan and mozzarella. To complete the experience offer some bread alongside olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping purposes.

Picnic Snack Mix Bar

Let everyone get creative with their own custom trail mix using an assortment of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, crackers, pretzels, chocolate candies and chips. Set out scoops and paper bags so they can mix and match favorites.

Breakfast for Lunch

Why not breakfast for your next picnic? Quiche, breakfast sandwiches, parfaits with yogurt and granola, and pastries with coffee or juice make for a morning-inspired menu.

Picnic Sweets Spread

Satisfy sweet cravings by packing an assortment of cookies, brownies, fruit crisps, pies, cakes, and candy. You can’t go wrong with a dessert spread!


Creative Picnic Decor Tips

Decorating your picnic area is one of the best ways to infuse personality and fun. Get creative with these simple ideas:

Pick a Theme

Give your picnic a central theme for a more cohesive and playful style. Ideas include Western, tropical, Down on the Farm, circus, luau, or holidays like 4th of July or Halloween.

DIY Centerpiece

Make a simple yet eye-catching centerpiece for your picnic setup. Try wrapping florals with ribbon and placing in a vase, or filling a basket with pinecones, colorful bottles, or fruit.

Picnic Signage

Use chalkboard signs or print out cute labels on cardstock naming your different foods, beverages, or condiment stations.

Fun Tablecloth

Opt for a checkered or striped vinyl cloth, or find one with a bright pattern or funny print. You can also use bandanas, fabric scraps, or sheets for makeshift tablecloths.

Picnic Games

Pack any outdoor games you enjoy like bocce ball, cornhole, kan jam, croquet, ladder toss, or frisbee. Giant versions of classic games like Connect Four, Jenga or Chess are also picnic-friendly.

DIY Decor

Make your own decorations to give your picnic maximum personality. Ideas include paper garlands, tissue paper pom poms, painted signs, mason jar luminaries (for evenings), and flower crowns.

Finding the Perfect Picnic Spot

You don’t need to travel far to find the perfect picnic location. Here are some great options to consider right in your own community:

Backyard or Courtyard

One of the easiest spots for a picnic is right outside your home or office building. Look for a shady spot under a tree or set up on the patio or lawn.

Local Parks

Community parks often have picnic areas with tables and grills available to reserve. Or simply find a nice grassy area to set up your blanket. Some parks even have lakeside spots.

Botanical Gardens and Arboretums

These spaces provide beautiful scenery for your picnic surrounded by nature. Some require paid admission or reservations.

State and National Parks

Plan a mini day or weekend road trip to picnic at a scenic state or national park. They offer plenty of picnic sites in natural settings.


Picnic on the sand overlooking the water. Just be sure to weight down your blanket on breezy days. Stay clear of designated swimming areas.

Wineries and Farms

Many wineries and farms allow picnics on their grounds. Call ahead to see if food and drink can be brought in or purchased there.

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Picnic Activities Beyond Eating

Don’t let your outdoor lunch picnic end when the food is gone. Extend the fun with these activity ideas perfect for pairing with picnics:

Outdoor Games

In addition to lawn games, toss around a football or frisbee, play tag, or create your own silly outdoor game with friends.

Take a Nature Walk

Walk off your meal and get some fresh air by strolling along a nature trail or exploring woods and gardens in a nearby park.

Go Bird Watching

Bring binoculars and a bird guide to identify local species while you picnic. You may spot interesting birds in the trees and sky.

Cloud Gazing

Simply lying on your blanket and watching the clouds float by can make for a peaceful post-picnic activity. Point out funny shapes and creatures.

Take a Nap

The fresh air and warm sun makes picnics an ideal spot for an afternoon power nap. Set an alarm so you don’t oversleep!

Enjoy Local Sites

If your picnic is in an interesting area, take time to explore. Visit landmarks, shops downtown, a museum, historic site, or other attraction.

Fit In Some Exercise

Walk, jog, or bike ride through the surrounding area. Or do outdoor yoga, tai chi, or other exercise on your picnic blanket.

Final Tips for an Amazing Picnic

Pulling together the perfect outdoor lunch picnic is easy with a bit of organization and creativity. Here are some final tips:

  • Check the weather and prepare backup indoor plans just in case. Packing a tarp or tent can also help.
  • Keep food chilled with coolers and ice packs if picnicking for several hours.
  • Bring trash bags and pack out everything you bring in to keep picnic areas clean.
  • Send a group email the day before reminding co-workers to join the outdoor picnic.
  • Arrive early to scout the space and claim your picnic spot.
  • Start a fun tradition by packing a signature dish or drink for each picnic.

Now that you’re armed with plenty of creative ideas, it’s time to round up your coworkers and plan your next office picnic. Don’t settle for lackluster lunches in the breakroom when you can take it outside and make lunchtime special. Picnics are a wonderful way to boost morale, enjoy fresh air and scenery, and bring people together. So spread your blanket, pop open that basket, and bon appétit under the open sky!

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