When I was growing up my family wasn’t big on family time or vacations or anything like that. The one thing we DID do, however, was go on picnics. My mom would spend all day prepping hamburgers, tuna noodle salad, and getting chips & pop and other treats for the picnic. We would enjoy our dinner at one of several parks on Lake Huron or out in the country where my dad grew up.
While hubby isn’t as excited about picnicking, my daughters LOVE it and it’s a super cheap outing — I mean, you have to eat anyway, so make an experience out of it!
1. Your Own Backyard (or front yard)!
Since we are/were due to have a baby this week, we will probably be doing a lot of picnics here this summer. My kids have a Little Tikes picnic table and we have a bistro table for the hubby and I. If you don’t have lawn furniture (or even your own chunk of lawn), simply spread an old blanket on the grass. Since we will have our backyard torn up building a garage this year, we will probably be on the front lawn — which is really the only place we HAVE a lawn anyway :).
2. A park or playground.
Our city has a TON of parks. There is seriously a tiny park in nearly every neighborhood here and we live 2 blocks from one of the largest parks in the town. Even rural areas have township parks that usually have picnic tables and maybe even grills. If you live near a major highway, there are probably even roadside parks with picnic areas. Since I have always lived on the Michigan lakeshore, those have always been an option for us. If you don’t know of any good ones, ask around! People love to share their favorite spots!
3. A lake or river.
As I mentioned, I have always lived on a shoreline of the Great Lakes — Lake Huron as a child and Lake Michigan as an adult. I’m always about eating near water. It provides a natural play area for children and there is something calming about the sounds of water. It’s just one of my favorite places to be. Just remember the bug spray and citronella candles.
4. Nature preserves.
I’m not sure if it’s just where I live, but there are just as many nature preserves as there are parks. I wrote an article for this summer’s issue of Traverse Bay Family Magazine and went to look up statistics for the nature preserves and trails I wanted to include. There must have been at least 100 within a 3 or 4 county radius. While many nature preserves do not have picnic facilities, this is a great place to have your picnic in a backpack and hike until you find a nice field or shady spot to eat in. This is where hiking and knowing different trails comes in handy :).
5. State forest or campground.
Finally, I’m sure every state has a pretty extensive State Park System. At least I know they do in Michigan and Florida (the only other state I’ve spent extensive time in). Unless its an extremely primitive campground, there are usually picnic facilities available. Even if there aren’t, you can usually find a nice spot along a hiking trail. If you are in extreme northern locales (like the Upper Peninsula (or UP) of Michigan for instance), you may want to beware of wildlife when hiking with food. As always, make sure that you take out any trash you bring in!
Where are your favorite picnic destinations?
This post is a part of the 5 Days of Summer Blog Hop at Sidetracked Sarah. Over a dozen bloggers are sharing their favorite summer tips all week long.
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