9 Tips For The Perfect Picnic Slideshow

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Summer is the height of picnic season, and whether you're setting up an outdoor lunch on the beach, at your local park, or simply in your own backyard, we know how to take your picnic into the twenty-first century with gadgets, games, and creative ways to keep your food cool.

Avoid Messy, Complex, or Difficult Foods

There are plenty of picnic "do's," but be sure to avoid these food "don'ts" — they're sure to cause a mess. After all, your guests are eating outside, and, chances are, right on the ground. Foods that require major assembly, like tacos; are super messy, like ribs; or call for some serious knife skills, like steak, are not proper picnic fare. 

Ban Bugs Easily

To avoid turning your refreshments into bug juice, simply invest in Mason jars with lids and straws. The go-to insect repellent is bug spray, but if you aren't comfortable with spraying DEET around your food all afternoon, we recommend bringing foods like grapefruit and bananas, which naturally repel insects. 

Be as Compact as Possible

No one wants to get stuck lugging equipment to your perfect picnic spot, so pack smartly. This picnic blanket can be folded up into a handbag for easy portability, and this flatware set is three utensils in one, with interchangeable fork, knife, and spoon heads.

Don’t Forget the Fun and Games

As much as we hate to admit it, the best picnics aren't just food- and drink-centric. We recommend bringing along a guitar or complementing your delicious picnic recipes with games like KanJam — similar to Frisbee — or fill up water balloons for some soaking fun after the food is all gone. 

Get Creative with Salads

It isn't all about the classic, mayo-heavy macaroni and potato salads. The Daily Meal has a ton of recipes for creative, summery salads, like pasta salad in a jar, to take your summer picnic to the next level. 

Go Go Gadget Picnic!

Believe it or not, there are a ton of fun, unique picnic gadgets out there to make eating outdoors a little bit easier. Picnic backpack coolers allow you to put your outdoor eating supplies on your back, and this picnic wine table solves the conundrum of drinking wine outdoors without spillage. 

Invest in a Good Cooler

One of the most important, and often-overlooked, aspects of the picnic is the cooler. From keeping your cheese from getting waxy to preventing your drinks from getting warm, a good cooler goes a long way. This high-tech cooler, Coolest, comes with a Bluetooth, a USB Cooler, a bottle opener, and a lid light, and you can buy it online.

Make Your Food Portable

Watermelon can get messy, so why not make watermelon on a stick instead? Don't be afraid to go stick-crazy: Kebabs are your friends during picnics. The Daily Meal has plenty of creative and delicious kebab recipes on hand, and for dessert? Rainbow cake pops! (They're a lot easier than cutting a whole cake!)  

Weigh Your Picnic Down

But not with heavy foods! If you're venturing out on a particularly gusty day, you may want to invest in tablecloth weights — like these cheeky ones that look like ants — so your paper goods don't get lost in the breeze.