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Summer Picnic Essentials

Summer is in full swing—and with it comes a plethora of opportunities to embark on our favorite form of outdoor dining: a picnic! As picnics take a bit of advanced planning, we’ve taken the guesswork out of exactly what you need for your next al fresco feast. For more tips on how to pack the perfect picnic, check out our recent Good Morning Washington segment, here.

Picnic Blanket 

We all have towels and blankets lying around the house, so we understand that this cost may be hard to justify. However, if you have a dedicated “outdoor” blanket, you won’t have to worry about trekking mud, ticks, allergens, and so forth back onto your couch, in your bedroom, etc. A good blanket or sturdy, large towel can also double as the foundation for a great picnic or beach day. Shop our favorite options, below.


Bug Spray

Your picnic is by invitation only, so keep party crashers—a.k.a. pesky mosquitoes and flies—away with bug spray and cute citronella candles. There’s no need to be harsh about it though, simple ingredients like lemon, mint, and eucalyptus all naturally repel insects. That’s why we try to stick with natural formulas. Citronella candles don’t hurt, as well!

Summer Snacks

Looking to pack your own meal, but feeling uninspired? Try some of our easy, portable recipes for summer, like a tuna poke bowl, farmer’s market veggie wraps, peach Caprese salad, or prosciutto wrapped bread sticks. This killer mint julep can be prepared in a batch beforehand–plus, mint is a natural bug repellent! If you’re short on time or resources (story of our lives) stick to making one dish from scratch and supplement the rest of the meal by grabbing some prepared food from your local market, like Via Umbria, Glen’s Garden Market, or Union Kitchen Grocery—we won’t tell.

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Killer Tunes

You could just put your smart phone in a cup to amplify your music, but you’re better than that. Plus, nothing makes a picnic feel more festive than fun tunes. We’re loving this throw-back summer list on Spotify, and have been broadcasting it through fun, mini speakers.

Outdoor Games

We love a challenge, so a dose of friendly competition can be found at all of our outdoor events. Challenge your date, friends, or kids to a game of bocce, cards, or jumbo Jenga! The best part about this investment is you can take these games virtually anywhere this summer: a beach, picnic, pool, or backyard!


Picnic Basket 

If you’re going to schlep your food to an open park, you might as well look cute doing it. We usually opt for the versions with the most space for wine. But, you do you.

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Face Mist

Sweat is inevitable, but you can cool yourself off with a quick mist on-the-go with our favorite cult classic: Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, which is also a godsend for long flights and road trips this summer.

Reusable Plates

We’re all about recycling, but also understand if you can’t afford to bring nice china to a park for your group. Either way, you don’t have to sacrifice your aesthetic with this fun, reusable flatware and place settings.

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Fun Drinks

As we like to picnic in a pinch, we don’t always have time to curate much more than a well selected bottle of wine or a six pack of beer. To spice up your picnic, grab a refreshing, fresh & fun craft cocktail from BYOCocktail. The female-owned, D.C.-based company is creating premium, single-serve craft cocktails with the finest ingredients, just in time for summer. As these yummy little bottles pack a punch, one per guest will have you all feeling fine! Order a batch online or find them locally in D.C. at Bloomingdale Liquor, Union Market Grocery, and more retail locations, here.

Bitch tip: these babies are also great to throw in your purse if you’re headed to an outdoor event without the full picnic spread.

‘Tis the season for outdoor movies, check out what’s playing in D.C., New York, and Chicago and made a picnic date night out of it!

Now, all you have to do is check the forecast and shop our favorite summer picnic essentials, below!


BitchBiz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with BYOCocktail. While this article was written independently, we do receive compensation from the company.


Former DC Editor in Chief

Steph is the former DC editor in chief and is known for having a good eye, a sharp wit, and an eclectic palate.

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