Since time immemorial, no romantic venture has been as tried and tested, or as well received, as the humble picnic. Why? Because picnics are an incredibly cheap way to charm the pants off the object of your affection! Depending on how you plan it, great romantic picnic ideas really can hold their own against the most expensive of alternatives.
However, you need to get things right if you want your date to go great. A perfect picnic can be wonderful, but get the venue wrong and it can be an utter disaster. This is exactly why we’ve produced this guide!
In this feature, we’ll share some of the best and worst romantic picnic ideas, so you can plan the perfect date in the great outdoors. We’ll tell you which venues to go for, which locations to avoid, what you need to bring, menu ideas, and all the tips and tricks you need to make your date night truly special.
[Read: Where to go on a first date – 85 best first date ideas that are fun and romantic]
When you’re picnicking, you can relax and enjoy the company of your partner without any distractions. You can talk, laugh, and play games with none of the stresses and strains of life getting in the way.
If you pick the right location, you can also take advantage of the beautiful scenery and fresh air.
However, it’s not just the experience of a romantic picnic that makes it such a great date. Even the planning is an expression of your love for your partner. Planning a picnic takes thought and effort—more than you’d usually spend on a regular restaurant dinner date.
[Read: 67 sweet yet small romantic gestures that show love in the biggest way]
So, what are the ultimate top three things you need for a perfect picnic? Here are the areas you need to focus on to really help your romantic picnic ideas shine.
Food is an important part of any picnic, so make sure to pack something that you and your partner will surely enjoy. Some good options include sandwiches, salads, fruit, and dessert.
Although oysters, champagne, and caviar might seem tempting, don’t pick anything that needs to be chilled to a certain temperature. There’s nothing romantic about food poisoning!
Also, don’t pick anything that needs heating. You don’t want to be distracted from making sweet love by worries about the food going cold. Instead, pick something that’s easy to carry, store, and serve. [Read: The third date – what it means to a guy or a girl and 44 best ideas, signs, and secrets]
If you want romantic picnic food ideas that feel super special, try and choose food that means something to you or your partner. That could be their favorite food or something you’ve eaten together before at a special time. Just pick something that shows how much thought you’ve put into your romantic picnic.
The location is everything when it comes to a romantic picnic. You want to choose a spot that is both scenic and secluded, so you can enjoy each other’s company without any strangers peering in.
A park, a beach, or a forest clearing are all romantic ideas… if you know your partner enjoys time out in nature.
If you’re looking for a truly unique experience *and don’t have an outdoorsy partner* you could even try picnicking on a rooftop, or in your own backyard.
Just be sure to check the weather forecast beforehand—nobody wants to get caught in the rain. You should also choose a location with suitable shelters in case you need to run for cover.
Bring blankets, sunscreen, and water depending on the season to beat the heat or cold. And don’t forget the flowers and candles either! [Read: Creatively cheap – date ideas to have fun on a budget]
We mentioned flowers and candles, and they’re a crucial part of this step.
If you really want to execute your romantic picnic ideas to their maximum potential, you need to create the dreamiest romantic atmosphere possible. That means flowers, candles, sweet smells and sights, and everything in-between.
Even if you find the perfect spot, you need to add a personal touch. Set the mood by spreading out your blanket, lighting your candles, and even putting on some music.
We recommend a portable Bluetooth speaker you can discreetly tuck away. You can also add some personal touches, like little love notes and your sweetheart’s favorite flowers.
[Read: What to do on a first date to make it special and super-memorable]
Remember, the perfect picnic is all about the atmosphere. Even if you’re picnicking in the most beautiful location on earth, it could still be a washout if the vibe is wrong. So always take the time to set the scene.
When choosing food for a romantic picnic, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you want to choose foods that are both delicious and easy to eat.
You don’t want to be fumbling with messy foods or utensils when you’re trying to enjoy each other’s company.
Second, you want to choose foods that are visually appealing. A picnic is a great opportunity to show off your culinary skills. So, take some time to make your food look as beautiful as it tastes.
Remember, you eat with your eyes, and you want your partner to instantly see how much love and care you’ve put into your picnic.
[Read: 45 special and sweet date ideas every couple should have on their checklist]
Lastly, you want to choose foods that are appropriate for the occasion. For example, if you’re picnicking in the park, you might want to avoid bringing a big bowl of messy spaghetti. Instead, bring something easy to eat which won’t ruin your fancy date night outfits!
So, which are the best romantic picnic ideas when it comes to food? Let’s go through some fun and quirky ideas to wow your love.
How are your cooking skills? If you’re already an excellent home chef, create a beautiful gourmet meal for you and your partner to share.
You could make delicious fancy sandwiches, finger foods like vol-au-vents or canapes, or even a British-style cream tea with mini cakes. This might be the most traditional choice, but it’s a classic for a reason.
If you don’t know how to cook, why not book yourself in for a cooking class? Best of all, consider taking your partner along with you.
Then, you can bond over your cooking class whilst working towards your shared goal of a beautiful picnic date night together.
Or, turn your cooking class into a date night! There are online cooking classes that allow you to cook outside on a grill or barbecue too, so you could even learn a new skill together at a scenic location!
It might sound like tacos are too messy to be a romantic date idea. But actually, they’re pretty portable; you can take all the components with you, and then assemble them when you get to your romantic date spot. Plus, the hard shell makes a convenient place to hold—kind of like a Mexican sandwich!
Bring along some guacamole, rice, lettuce, salsa, beans and condiments, and a stack of tortillas. If you’re a good cook, you could even make your own ingredients like homemade guac or Cuban black beans.
Sushi may not involve cooking, but it’s actually pretty difficult to make and store. However, if you’re somebody who likes a serious challenge, consider making and packing your own sushi as a romantic date idea.
Get hold of some great quality fish, and chill it to make it safe to eat raw. Or, cure it with lemon juice and chop it fine to make a poke bowl.
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If you’re a couple of cinephiles, this is probably the best of our romantic date ideas for you!
Bring some typical movie food to a drive-in theatre, like popcorn, candy, chocolate, and sodas for the ultimate movie-watching experience. Or, take advantage of being in a car and bring a meal you couldn’t fit in a picnic basket!
We’ve talked a lot about food, but what about drinks? If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to spice up your next at-home picnic, consider taking an online mixology class.
These classes are a great way to learn new cocktail recipes, and they can be a lot of fun for couples.
There are many different online mixology classes available, so you can find one that fits your interests and skill level. You can even take classes that focus on specific types of cocktails, such as tiki cocktails, historical cocktails, or even mocktails. Why not pick one that means something special to the two of you?
Is your partner a chocoholic? This is best the choice for chocolate lovers out of our romantic picnic ideas.
Pick up some chocolates from a variety of different stores: one from the grocery store, one from a mid-range candy store, and one from an artisan chocolatier. Then, take turns tasting chocolates and trying to guess what’s in them, or which store they came from.
Pie is pretty much a complete food—it includes carbs, meat, veggies, and sauce in one complete package.
If you and your partner are the types of people who could probably live on pies, why not bring your own to a picnic? Bake some sweet and savory hand pies to enjoy in the great outdoors.
You can make the pie dough yourself if you know how, or roll out some premade crust. Then, fill your hand pies with chocolate cream, stewed fruit, meat stew, or even curry vegetables. [Read: 80 very unique, fun and exciting things to do with your boyfriend]
Virtual wine tastings are a fun and unique way to enjoy a picnic with your partner. Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just starting out, a virtual tasting is a great way to learn more about wine, expand your repertoire, and explore new flavors.
If you want to enjoy a drinking date, but don’t feel like basing your picnic around a cocktail class, try this idea out.
Hiking dates are a lot of fun, but what do you bring for your lunch break? You can stop for a picnic in the middle of your hike if you find the right scenic spot and pack the right food.
Focus on high-energy fuel like peanut butter sandwiches, homemade cereal bars, or trail mix. Also, make sure your lunch is portable—you never know if you’ll get to sit down!
[Read: 23 fun, romantic summer date ideas to warm your date’s heart and make it melt]
So, you’ve planned your menu and you’re starting to pick out your location. But before you set off on your perfect picnic date, there’s still one area of your romantic picnic ideas that you need to settle up. You need to know what to bring.
If you don’t know which essentials you need to bring, you can’t execute the perfect picnic of your dreams.
Luckily, we’re here to tell you which items make up your essential picnic kit. With these items by your side, your romantic date is sure to go off without a hitch.
Of course, no picnic would be complete without a picnic basket! This is where you’ll store all of your food, drinks, and other essentials. When you’re picking out your basket, you need to look for a couple of important features.
[Read: 22 second date tips and rules to get to know each other and fall harder]
First, make sure it’s the right size for all the food you’re bringing along, and the plates or boards you’re eating off.
Second, choose a basket that’s made of durable material, like wicker or plastic. This will protect your food from rain, dirt, and creepy crawlies. And finally, make sure the basket has a carrying strap so you can easily transport it to your picnic spot.
Once you have your picnic basket, you’ll need a place to sit. A rug or blanket makes for a comfortable and inviting space for your picnic.
Plus, the traditional picnic vibe really gets to the essence of this romantic date idea. Bonus points if you manage to find a red and white gingham one!
When choosing a rug or blanket, make sure it’s large enough for both of you to sit comfortably and spread out your food.
Also, if you’re picnicking on a grassy surface, be sure to choose a rug or blanket that’s water-resistant. Morning dew or frost can leave the grass wet, even if it isn’t raining outside.
[Read: Perfect date – 36 secrets to be a good date, plan an ideal one, and impress them]
A charcuterie board is a great way to add some variety to your picnic spread. When assembling your charcuterie board, be sure to include a variety of meats, cheeses, fruits, and nuts. And don’t forget the crackers!
Having a couple of little snacks to pick on alongside your main meal will keep you sitting down longer, and fuel your conversations.
However, even if you don’t use it for charcuterie, the board itself is also a fun and easy way to share a meal with your date.
Bigger than a plate and easier to carry, your board allows you to share an eating surface, or even assemble foods like tacos and sushi.
It’s always a good idea to pack an extra set of clothes in case you get dirty or wet on your picnic.
This is especially important if your romantic picnic ideas take you to the park or the beach. A change of clothes will help you stay comfortable and dry, so you can enjoy your picnic and the outdoors.
[Read: How to end a date the right way without feeling awkward]
Now it’s time to talk about the best venues for your romantic picnic ideas. These locations guarantee you a stunning and special night with your loved one. So if you’re looking for a fun picnic venue, you can’t ever go wrong with these picnic picks!
An absolutely classic option. You really will struggle to go wrong with a picnic on the beach. The sound of the sea, the sand, and *hopefully* the sunshine—all lead to picnic bliss.
How much more romantic can it get? Just beware of sand in the sandwiches and pay attention to weather forecasts.
[Read: Sex on the beach – the couple’s guide to have naughty, kinky fun by the water]
As long as it’s in a nice spot, you can usually find a beautiful urban green space somewhere nearby. A suburban park is an inexpensive and practical, but perfectly acceptable option.
People-watching can also provide a certain level of relief from the conversation if the talk is starting to dry up.
Up in the countryside, hidden away from prying eyes, rugged rural environments will always prove a top trump on the picnic cards.
However, make sure you’re safe in the great outdoors. Always choose an area that’s safe to traverse, and not quite so rural as to be risking bear and wild cat attacks!
[Read: The dangerous signs you’re ruining your first date unknowingly]
A fun alternative to the usual options that involve a certain amount of travel. Why not throw your travel blanket out back, prepare the immediate environment with candles and such, and treat your other half to a gourmet meal outside? Perfect. Who knew you could have this much fun without even leaving your home?
Water makes for beautiful scenery, and makes the air feel fresh and clear. Those are just a couple of the reasons why the riverside is the perfect venue for your romantic picnic ideas.
Watching the water together is extremely romantic, and if there are any scraps left, what better way to finish off proceedings than by feeding the ducks and fish?
Who cares what or where it is? An established historical site is always bound to make for a fascinating night, especially if your other half has an intellectual side to them.
Get online and look for your nearest place of historical interest—especially one that also boasts some stunning natural features. Timelessly romantic, right?
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You need to make sure that the person is matched to the event on this one. Not everybody likes camping out in a muddy field surrounded by loud music and partygoers.
However, a picnic on the outskirts of a music or arts festival can have its own very special charms. You might even get to hear a free concert if you’re close enough!
Want to take the romanticism up to the next level? If you really feel like heating things up, how about taking it to the bedroom first?
You have to be at the right stage in the relationship, but this can be a quirky, fun way to organize a super hot date. Make sure you put some aphrodisiac foods like chocolates and figs on the menu, too.
[Read: How to be more playful when you’re out on a date]
If your other half has a particular interest or hobby they’re obsessed with, then why not treat them to a picnic with a theme?
It could be as diverse as train-spotting or motor racing, but you’re sure to be able to find a way of including it that shows your other half exactly how much you’re willing to do for them. What could be more romantic than that?
If there is somewhere that has special significance for you both, then a visit to that place could be the cherry on your romantic cake.
Pick out somewhere you used to spend a lot of time, or somewhere you’ve had special moments in the past, and go back there for a picnic. [Read: 25 best six-month anniversary date ideas and 100+ romantic date ideas]
There are places around the country that are designated as bird sanctuaries—protected patches of nature that are home to local wildlife.
These sanctuaries usually have well-kept rivers and woods, which make the perfect spot for a romantic picnic with an animal-loving partner.
Just be careful of any hungry, swooping birds trying to join in on the fun!
Just like an animal sanctuary, botanical gardens are a safe place for native plants and trees to grow. They often have sculptures and artworks amongst the flowers too, so they make an ideal venue for your romantic picnic ideas.
Head down to your local garden with your love, and take some time to smell the flowers!
Also known as a pick-your-own farm, a u-pick orchard gives you a chance to pick your menu straight off the trees!
During harvest season, take your partner to a berry and fruit farm and pick some berries to enjoy with your lunch. You still get to experience the outdoors, and you can get some fresh fruit to take home too.
[Read: 37 secrets for guys and girls to get prepare for a date and get ready to impress]
What if it’s your anniversary or another special occasion, but your partner has to work? What if they can’t come to the romantic picnic you’ve got planned?
The answer: bring the picnic to them! Pack up your picnic basket and spend your lunch break in their office park, or any green space near their workplace.
This is a slightly weird option, but maybe you’re dating someone who’s into architecture! Find a local public building with a beautiful design, and have a picnic in the atrium.
If it’s a public building, you’re technically allowed to do whatever you like in there. So why not have a romantic picnic?
[Read: The easy ways to avoid awkward silences on a date]
Do you live in a hot country? Some older homes in hot places have screened-in porches, which keep bugs out whilst maintaining airflow.
They also make for the perfect venue for rained-off romantic picnic ideas! If it’s too wet outside, come under the porch and enjoy the romantic pitter-patter of rain on the roof as you eat.
Larger vehicles with folding seats provide a unique and exciting setting for a romantic picnic, especially if your other romantic picnic ideas have fallen through.
The enclosed space can create a sense of intimacy and privacy, while the folding seats make a great table if there isn’t one built-in.
You have to be lucky to pull off this romantic date idea, or just very careful with your planning. Find a stunning spot out in nature that gives you an uninterrupted view of the sunset.
Then, organize your picnic so you’re eating just as the sun sets. You can enjoy nature’s very own light show as you dine!
[Read: Should you kiss on the first date? A guide for girls and guys to plan it right]
Now you know the perfect spots for your romantic picnic ideas, but what about the ones you should avoid?
These picnic spots are just wrong, and as much as you try to have fun here, your date will be more annoyed or distracted than feeling the love! Here are the ultimate worst picnic spots that guarantee a nightmare date.
Picnics are usually associated with the great outdoors but are rarely successful if the outdoors is disrupted by a major highway.
Between the grim view and the air pollution, this idea is doomed from the start. Plus, if you’re too close to the road, you could be putting yourself in danger too.
Do make sure you do your research first. The beautiful countryside is all well and good, but if it’s within a stone’s throw of a sewage plant, then you may get a very unwelcome surprise—especially on a sunny day! Don’t go anywhere that’s close to a dump, water treatment center, or factory.
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Overhead power lines suck. Avoid them like the plague, or prepare for several soul-sucking hours of constant hum and drone.
It’s even worse if you’re close to a pylon or a substation. Then, you might not even be able to hear yourselves think!
Yes, we’ve already covered this as a good venue for your romantic picnic ideas. But that’s only when it’s well prepared and dressed up for the occasion.
Sitting with a cucumber sandwich and a glass of champagne in a heap of burned-out tires and old pizza boxes is unlikely to have the same effect. Make sure you have a nice yard!
Much like #1, romance doesn’t normally include images of factory chimneys and belching smoke. Stay away from industrial sites, no matter what other draws that location may have. Even if you have a special memory involving an industrial plant, stay away. You’ll thank us later!
Every town and city has its “lovers’ lane”: a dedicated rural fumble spot, or a place where cars are parked and the most dubious of activities take place.
These areas are suited to a one-off act on a teenage date, but certainly not a romantic picnic for two grown-up adults.
Stay away from wild animals. Nothing is more likely to spoil the mood than a herd of cattle running through and trampling your carefully prepared picnic! Not to mention the risk of you both being trampled yourselves. [Read: The date ideas that men love but women actually hate]
Suburban parks are a lovely spot for your romantic picnic ideas to play out… but not run-down urban parks.
No one wants to be looking longingly into the eyes of another whilst simultaneously trying to avoid being stabbed in a running gang fight. A definite no-no.
Your own backyard—fine, if done properly. Your own bedroom—great. Things could even get pretty steamy.
But your mother’s place, however… It just looks desperate, silly, and juvenile. Not the message you want to be giving, even in an established relationship.
Somewhere—anywhere—you’ve taken an ex on a picnic should be ruled out from the beginning. It could be the most beautiful, romantic place on earth, but if your current partner ever found out that you’re recycling your romantic date ideas, it will definitely spell trouble.
[Read: 20 naughty, sexy date ideas to make love feel hot and steamy again]
It’s easy to get it right when planning a picnic date. But it’s easy to get it wrong too! Just follow our guide to make sure you have the perfect romantic picnic, and you’ll impress your date like never before.
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