July is and has been for years, National Picnic Month! This celebration encourages you to get outside and celebrate the warm summer days with friends and family; to enjoy nature and the beauty that surrounds your town or city. The goal of National Picnic Month is to rekindle your love with the outdoors, to get back in touch with nature.

According to an article from History, the word “picnic” comes from the French term “piquenique”, which was used in the mid-1600s to describe gourmands who brought their own wine when dining out. The first picnics, aka meals that are eaten outdoors, were similar to a potluck and included a large group of people contributing to a large feast. They became popular during the Middle Ages when hunting became a popular leisure activity. Since then, picnics have become widespread celebrations and we have yet to look back!

When is the last time you have hosted or have been a part a picnic? For some, it has become a distant memory of childhood, while others make it an annual or sometimes semi-annual family or friend gathering. Maybe you have a summer birthday and host a picnic to celebrate your life or use your local park as the destination for a family reunion. If you don’t think you have a valid reason to join in on a picnic, I have one for you: National Picnic Month.

The rest of this post will be a picnic guide including picnic tips to enable you to have the best and most eco-friendly picnic.

Where to Go

There are thousands of parks to go to, both big and small, across the US. Find your nearest park here and the first step of your picnic planning will be knocked out.

Where to Shop Beforehand

In order to have the most satisfying and filling picnic, you need to purchase food and drinks beforehand. Since you are going to be enjoying nature’s company, it’s always a good idea to shop with the environment in mind.

  • Purchase food and drinks from your local farmer’s markets. You can find all of the latest and greatest local market destinations here.
  • Purchase food in bulk to reduce package waste. Plan out your weekly meals before you go so you can purchase ingredients for your picnic and weekly lunches/dinners!
  • Don’t forget to bring your reusable grocery bags when shopping at your local farmers market to reduce plastic waste.
  • If purchasing food from a farmers market and preparing your own food for a picnic isn’t your cup of tea, grab a sandwich from your locally owned deli to bring instead! Purchasing food from a local restaurant can help stabilize the economy in your town and keep money circulating throughout it!

What to Bring

At this point, you have locked down the destination for your soon-to-be fabulous picnic and where you plan to shop beforehand. Next, you want to figure out what to bring to make your picnic the most fun and comfortable. You might want to make a checklist beforehand to make sure you have everything you need!

  • Sunglasses and sunscreen are a must on a hot, sunny day in order to protect your eyes and skin from the sun.
  • A padded or heavy blanket to sit on, along with lawn chairs if that would be the most comfortable seating preference for you and your picnic crew.
  • A cooler to keep your food and drinks cold.
  • Reusable plates and cutlery. This doesn’t have to be your fancy chinaware, but bringing reusable plates and cutlery will reduce the amount of waste you have at the end of your picnic!
  • Before heading to your picnic, place food such as salads, dips, dressings, etc. in mason jars. This will make transporting to and from your picnic easier. The lids will also keep intrusive bugs out of your food!
  • Just in case waste is produced from your picnic, bring recycled trash bags and napkins to your picnic! Seventh Generation has a great line of recycled products that you can purchase from your local store.

What to Do

Congrats, you’ve gathered all of your food and supplies for your awesome picnic! But before you head out, you should decide what your picnic activities will be just in case they require extra supplies. Here are a few possibilities:

  • Get active and bring your own fun to your picnic! Bring along a frisbee, hula hoop, or jump rope to get the party started.
  • Take a walk around the park to observe the different plants, flowers, trees, and wildlife that your park has to offer!
  • Bring an instrument such as a guitar or tambourine and sing songs with your friends and family. If you do choose this activity, be sure to be mindful of any picnic neighbors you have. If you do have some, maybe ask if they would like to join in on the sing-alongs!
  • Fly a kite! If you do decide to bring a kite to the park, be sure to bring it back home with you to reduce litter and waste.

With these tips, you, your friends, and family can host the best picnic of the summer! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and celebrate National Picnic Month! Enjoy the company of loved ones, the beautiful nature, and warm air. When you go out shopping or are on your way to your local park, be sure to #PumpHerePlantTrees at Alon Strive locations to reduce your tailpipe emissions by up to 30%!