April 23, 2017

Enjoy the outdoors with a picnic in Sac

As the weather gets warmer, it is time to enjoy the great outdoors of Sacramento. You don’t have to go on a weekend trip camping, rafting or hiking to appreciate the trees and nature around us. Find some friends, meet somewhere on campus and enjoy a relaxing picnic as a way to socialize during the school week. Here are some tips on how to plan a successful picnic with friends.

Location /Time of day

Choose a location. The Arboretum on campus is private and secluded, with plenty of flowers in bloom right now. A picnic along the river across the Guy West bridge is also a good choice because you can have a bike ride with friends.

Also, consider the time of day you choose to have your picnic. An afternoon picnic works well on a spring day, but in the summer, a morning picnic before the day gets hot works best.

Blanket/basket

You don’t necessarily need a typical picnic basket to have a picnic; any beach bag or reusable shopping bag will work. Keep in mind that once you load up all the food, whichever container you choose will likely be heavy.

If you’re going on a biking or hiking picnic, a backpack might be handier than a basket. For the blanket, pick whatever your heart desires. To avoid moisture, sand or dirt from getting on the blanket – or yourself – bring a tarp along.

Food

Unless you are going to bring a cooler, plan on packing foods that do not perish quickly. Try to think of foods that can be easily eaten on a plate that is sitting on your lap. Finger foods, such as sliced cheeses, baguettes, sliced vegetables and salami, are easy to pack and eat with friends. An array of choices allows friends to take what they like and create their own meal. By packing finger foods, you also won’t need extra utensils. For a fun twist, try a dessert themed picnic instead. Pack sweets like macaroons, tarts, cookies or fruit to indulge friends.

Drinks

Individually bottled drinks make a picnic easier because you don’t have to bring cups along, which is nice. You can also distribute the weight of the bottles to make carrying the food easier. Look for stores such as Total Wine and More where you can create a six pack of whatever sodas, beers or wine coolers you like.

Extra things

Don’t forget the little things you need to be comfortable outside. Bring sunscreen, bug repellent and hand sanitizer. Consider where you will be at. If you will be somewhere bathrooms will not be available, pack in accordance to that.

Activities

Think about what you will be doing when you’re not enjoying lunch. A book,magazine or a favorite playlist on an IPod can help pass time. If you’re on a date or out with friends, bring a frisbee, twister or another game. For a big party, a water balloon fight is a good way to cool off while having fun.

Cleanup

Plan for the end of your picnic from the beginning. As you plan the food, also plan for cleanup. Bring resealable plastic bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap for leftovers. Baby wipes are convenient for cleaning messy fingers after eating. Also, don’t forget to bring along garbage bags so you can leave the picnic area clean.

Picnic spots in Sacramento

McKinley Park

Capitol Park

Paradise Beach on the American River Parkway

East Portal Park

Alex Hernandez can be reached at [email protected]

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