What to pack for a picnic – tips for unplugging

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Gold Peak Tea. All opinions are mine alone. #MyGoldPeak #CollectiveBias

The summer’s coming to an end and I’m all nostalgic for summers past. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned picnic with iced tea and all the fixin’s to bring the summer to a close. Unplugging from technology is a great way to get the family to connect even more while on an outdoor picnic. I’ll share what to pack for a picnic, how to choose a picnic location, and creative ways to get the fam to unplug their phones and connect with each other.

picture of instant camera photo at lake

Why picnic to unplug?

I’ve had the cutest picnic basket in my closet for years. It’s time to get some use out of it! There’s something magical about getting the family together, packing for a picnic, and then gathering around the picnic basket to enjoy a meal together. And it’s even better outdoors.

Picnicking is a way to get back to basics

Our lives are so busy these days with our phones beeping and going off every minute. A picnic is a great way to step outside of daily life and get back to basics, to family connection. Picnics harken back to a simpler time when things seemed to happen at a slower pace.

Picnics bring back the nostalgia of childhood

Did you have a picnic play set as a kid? I sure did! I loved playing picnic as a kid. And it was even more special when we went on a picnic with the grandparents or family. These days, with all the video games, your kids might not even play picnic. Or like mine, they might be too old to play with little kid toys like that! With a real life picnic, you can still spark their imagination and bring back the nostalgia of childhood. You’ll make fabulous memories the kids will remember for years when you gather around the picnic basket.

instant camera photos at lake and Gold Peak tea instant camera photos at lake and Gold Peak tea

Connecting over a picnic is more intimate

When is the last time you sat around the table for a meal? I think it was in a restaurant for us. And that’s just not very intimate, with the noise of the restaurant and other diners. You have to sit closer together when gathered around a picnic basket. Typically, picnics happen on the ground. Sitting on the ground with one another can help everyone relax and let their guard down. There’s something about actually being nearer to the earth that is calming. We need calm with these busy lives!

What to pack for a picnic – the easy way!

With our Pinterest perfect lives, it can be intimidating to pack for a picnic. And that’s one of the reasons why our picnic basket has been in the back of the closet collecting dust for years. While charcuterie and finger sandwiches are great, all of that work can be intimidating. But you don’t need to spend hours cutting tiny sandwiches to connect with your family over a delicious warm meal.

instant camera photo at lake

Quick Picnic Food

You don’t need to cook for your picnic; just go to El Pollo Loco! We packed our empty picnic basket in the car and then headed to El Pollo Loco. There we picked up a full meal of tender juicy chicken, a fresh salad, beans and rice, warm tortillas, and Gold Peak Tea. It’s a full meal that fits right inside a picnic basket!

Picnic Drinks

Iced means summer … I think of big jars of sun tea being made at everyone’s houses each summer. You can totally make sun tea at your picnic but who wants the hassle? You can get the nostalgic summer taste of tea with Gold Peak Tea at El Pollo Loco. You gotta have iced tea at your summer picnic.

family at lake enjoying Gold Peak Tea and El Pollo Loco meal

Utensils and Napkins

Make sure you have utensils and plates for everyone to eat off. You can get plates, utensils, and napkins at El Pollo Loco! It really a one stop shop for your summer fun. Also bring a pack of wet wipes to clean your hands before and after eating in case restrooms are not nearby your picnic location.

A Place to Sit

You’ll also need a blanket or towel for the family to sit on. You can make the scene even cuter by bringing cute word straws or fancy coasters with you. You can bring stools or chairs to sit on but you’ll have to carry them to your picnic location; a blanket is much easier to handle.

instant camera photo at lake

Pack for Picnic Activities

Bring a swimsuit if you’re picnicking at the beach or by the lake. Bring a compact game like dominoes to play on the picnic blanket. Or pack a change of clothes and hiking boots if you plan to hike to your picnic location.

Choosing a picnic location

For our picnic we chose a popular local lake. Outdoor locations are best for picnics because you can connect with nature while connecting with one another. We like to picnic on soft sand or grass. Ocean beaches or mountain lake beaches are great picnic spots because you can swim as well as picnic. Grassy areas can be great for picnics later in the day because you can stargaze as the sun sets. Make sure you pack some cash to pay for parking or access as some beaches and mountain areas require a fee for entry. Make sure you bring your military or student ID because sometimes there are discounts or free entry for students, Veterans, and active duty military personnel.

instant camera photos at lake and Gold Peak tea

How to unplug the family

Picnicking is a great way to unplug from tech. But how do you actually do it and get the family on board?

Leave the devices in the car

It’s unlikely you’ll drive to a remote location without a phone or way to communicate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t leave the phones in your car while you picnic. Remote areas usually don’t have dependable wi-fi or phone service. Your device will strain trying to connect to and find weak signals. It’s better to just leave them in the car.

Connect with each other, not technology

As you eat your El Pollo Loco meal and enjoy Gold Peak Tea around the picnic basket, connect with your family. Consider some thought-provoking questions and conversation starters you can use to get everyone chatting. You can even make a game of it by creating flashcards with truth or dare style questions for the family to discuss.

instant camera photo at beach
You might think you know everything about your kids or your husband but you'd be surprised what you can find out when your focus is just talking to one another. I just learned something new about my husband on this picnic and I've known him for over 20 years!

instant camera photos at lake and Gold Peak tea

Document the day … old school style

If your kids want to document the day, have them bring along an instant camera that prints pictures right away. This will also add to the nostalgia of the picnic since instant cameras are a throwback to the 1980s. These cameras will allow you to enjoy the moment rather than worrying about posting to Insta right away.

instant camera photos at lake and Gold Peak tea

Ready to plan your picnic?

Pick a location and bring back the nostalgia with a family picnic! Make the picnic process easy by picking up a meal and Gold Peak Tea at El Pollo Loco. Get the family to unplug while you connect, make new memories, and enjoy the flavors of summer together. To find out more about Gold Peak Tea, visit their website: Gold Peak Tea. What’s your favorite way to get the family to unplug? SAVE this post for later … pin it!

long pin image of picnic

About the Author

Author Profile

Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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  1. Jennifer, I love a nice, simple picnic. If we wait until we have the time to make a huge assortment of homemade foods, we might never do it! Whether you make one or two simple things or pick up some takeout, as you did here, it’s a great way to spend family time. Thanks for reminding us! And, yes, leave the phones in the car! #HearthAndSoul

  2. Great post. Thanks for the wonderful reminder to take some special time away from duties and chores and SM for family. I think I am going to need to have a nice picnic real soon!

  3. Have always loved picnics. We used to do Fall picnics with our 4 children and the grandparent and even extended family, being out in the fall foliage and getting as much outdoor time as we could before the long winter! Food tastes so good at a picnic.

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