Allow me to put you on to my personal favorite type of date: the picnic date. Not only is it super easy (and pandemic approved), but it can be pretty damn romantic if that’s the mood you’re going for.
I mean, really, does it get any better than munching on your favorite snacks and catching some much-needed Vitamin D with your partner or Tinder date? I think not.
But you can’t just show up to the park with a basket and a blanket and call it a day. I guess you technically can, but there’s literally zero fun in doing the bare minimum.
So if you really want to make your picnic date more exciting than, say, watching Netflix in your PJs for the millionth time, you’re going to have to put in just a little bit of effort. But don’t worry, that’s where we come in.
Here is your everything-to-know guide on perfecting your picnic date—including some picnic date ideas, picnic essentials, and important things to remember. Trust me, this is the shit you need to get out of your pandemic love slump.
First, let’s start with some really easy cheap date ideas:
1. Eat on a charcuterie board. The best part about a charcuterie board is you can either DIY it or buy one from your nearest grocery store. The cheeses, crackers, fruits, and nuts are light enough that they won’t make you feel super weighed down, but also filling enough that you’re not hungry afterwards. Plus, it’ll make for the perfect Instagram pic.
2. Have a photo shoot. Sure, you could always take a quick selfie on your iPhone, but how much cuter would it be to pack a Polaroid camera and take a bunch of sweet pics that way? You and your date can be models for the day as you capture each other’s best angles. The best part: You’ll get to keep the memory in your pocket with you wherever you go.
3. DIY your own wine tasting tour. Whether you want to bust out the fancy stuff or go down the $5 aisle, grab a few bottles of your faves, pack some fancy wine glasses, and sip on some new flavors while laid out on a picnic blanket. Honestly, all wine should be enjoyed like this.
4. Bring canvases and paint. If you want to take your picnic date to the next level, you could always recreate your very own paint-and-sip. Whether you and your partner consider yourselves artists or not doesn’t really matter. Draw the park scene in front of you, abstract nudies of each other, or literally whatever you want. It’s fun! And exciting! And you can make fun of each other’s version of so-called “art” afterward.
5. Make it a self-care Sunday. Self-care isn’t just face masks—which I’d actually recommend you not do outside. Bring journals and write affirmations, create vision boards together, or take some time to manifest anything on your mind. If that’s too ~deep~ for a Tinder date (totally understand), listen to a podcast or music together.
6. Explore the park. Who said a picnic date had to be confined to your blanket? Set up your picnic and then take a walk around the park. It’ll be good to get moving, plus all the walking around will probably help build up an appetite for the delicious picnic you packed for later. Just be weary of squirrels getting to your picnic while you’re gone, lol.
Picnic essentials you should always pack:
1. Fresh fruits are always a good idea. It’s light, easy, and can be eaten with or without napkins incase you forget those. Plus, everyone likes snacking on things while on a date. (Bonus points if you bring along some chocolate hummus or anything to dip them in.)
2. A portable speaker. Packing a speaker and preparing a playlist could make all the difference between a blah date and a “Okay, I have to see this person again” date. Like, just imagine SZA blasting out of a speaker next to you. That’s a vibe.
3. A Polaroid camera. Whether it’s for your date idea, as mentioned above, or just because you want to document your day in a cute way, a Polaroid camera is way better than your iPhone’s camera.
4. Something to sit on. Hopefully this goes without saying but pls, pls, pls, bring a blanket or something to sit on. And if you don’t have a blanket, a couple of beach towels works perfectly. You don’t want things to get awkward if it’s muddy outside.
5. All the drinks. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of a park without a drink. Like, just imagine the thirst. So bring along some water bottles, some wine, and/or whatever else you’re interested in sipping on.
6. Sunscreen. Sitting in the sun is amazing. But what’s not amazing? Getting burnt from said sun that once felt so good.
Picnic date tips and reminders:
1. Be mindful of the people around you. Just because you want to listen to Ariana Grande via your portable speaker doesn’t mean the mid-50s couple to your right wants to also. So be mindful about how loud you’re bumping your music. (And also, because we’re in a global pandemic, if other people can hear your music, you’re probably too close to them anyway.)
2. Stay away from super messy take-out foods. Deciding on the menu for a picnic date can be a lil awkward because what is actually comfortable to eat sitting on the ground? Consider it best to stay away from heavier foods or anything that could get super messy. Sorry, but it’s probably not the time for spaghetti. Opt for snacks, chips, fruits, etc. instead.
3. Choose a secluded spot. Because COVID-19 is still a thing, make sure you find a spot far away from other people for your picnic. And honestly even in normal times, the best way to make your picnic extra romantic is to make sure you’re not constantly being interrupted by loud kids screaming or rogue frisbees coming at your head.
Syeda Khaula Saad
Syeda is a writer for Cosmopolitan who likes to analyze and improve the way we look at sex as a way to topple the patriarchy.
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