How to Have the Best Spring Picnic


Spring is finally here! And, with spring, comes (hopefully) warmer weather! One often-forgotten simple joy that comes along with spring is picnicking. I am always pleasantly surprised at how excited my children are over a simple picnic. These tips can help you plan your best spring picnic, providing you and your child with some much-needed outside time.

Choose a location

There are so many beautiful places to picnic in Massachusetts! Here are some of our favorites:

  • Marion’s Camp at Lake Singletary: Marion’s camp has a small beach area by a beautiful lake, a large grassy area, and a few short trails. (The trails were somewhat overgrown the last time I was there.) There are no fees until the summer months. During summer it is $5/car for a day pass or $50 for a summer pass if you are a non-Sutton resident. Sutton residents can get a summer pass for $25.
  • Purgatory Chasm State Reservation: Purgatory Chasm offers large grassy areas, covered picnic tables, a playground, a couple of miles of relatively easy trails, and, of course, the chasm trail for the adventurous of the heart. There are no entrance fees until 05/14. The cost after 05/14 for a day pass is $5/car.
  • Upton State Forest:  Offering over 2,000 acres of wooded land, Upton State Forest has many trails to offer, with grassy areas near the parking lot. The State Forest is always free!
  • Hopkinton State Park: Hopkinton State Park has a large lake with beach areas, lots of trails, and many picnic tables – covered and uncovered. They even have charcoal grills if you want to have a BBQ picnic! Entrance is free until mid-May and then $8/car.
  • Ashland State Park: Ashland State Park sports beach areas, grassy fields, picnic tables, and many trails. They also offer charcoal grills. Admission is free until mid-May and then $8/car.
  • Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park: This State park is free year-round and offers beautiful waterside trails and swaths of grassy fields, as well as picnic tables.

Maybe you don’t have the time or energy to drive for a picnic. Don’t discount the value of an impromptu backyard picnic! The fresh air and sunshine, combined with the novelty of eating outside on a blanket, can brighten everyone’s day without needing to go anywhere beyond your own lawn.

Choose your food

This doesn’t have to be anything fancy! Finger foods are often the easiest. I like to bring some foods that we might not otherwise have to make it feel more special. Some quick ideas are:

  • Sandwiches
  • Cheese sticks
  • Nuts
  • Crackers, cheese, and pepperoni
  • Fruit
  • Chips and dips
  • Applesauce pouches
  • Fruit snacks
  • Cheese roll-ups (Tortillas with sliced cheese inside – either melted or not!)
  • Veggies and ranch
  • Yogurt tubes
  • Juice or milk boxes
  • Cookies or cupcakes

I sometimes get Lunchables because they are easy, and I usually don’t buy them. Ordering a pizza and taking it outdoors is also a great option!

Bring something to sit on

My family is fond of the traditional picnic on a blanket. But there are variations to consider:

  • Blanket to lay out food/supplies and camping chairs to sit on
  • Pop-up tent to provide shade/shelter
  • A camping tent if you are feeling extra adventurous (this is a great one if your picnic is in your yard!)

Choose activities

A picnic is best enjoyed if there are a few things to do besides eat. Consider bringing some of the following along:

  • Balls
  • Bikes, scooters, rollerblades (don’t forget helmets!)
  • Board games
  • Books
  • Coloring supplies
  • Bubbles
  • Frisbee
  • Paint supplies (painting rocks you find is always a great choice)
  • Bug nets/bug-catching supplies
  • Your camera or smartphone for a spring picnic photoshoot

This is an easy way to spend quality time with your children or a great way to occupy them while you get some much-deserved Mama reading time.

Don’t forget these other essentials

These are the sacred three essentials for any Spring outdoor excursion:

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray (Especially if you are choosing a grassy, wooded, or lake-side location.)
  • Water (Obvious, I know. But too many times I forget someone’s water bottle.)

Now, if you’re a planner like me, you might tend to start over planning your spring picnic. If planning the minute details brings you joy, go for it! However, if this is just going to turn into another anxious trip in overthinking land, stop right there!

I challenge you to randomly select a location, food, and activities from the lists and then just go with it! That’s right, just close your eyes and point to a bullet (or put them all in one of those fun, spin-wheel apps). The spontaneity will add another layer of fun to your best spring picnic outing. Happy picnicking, Mamas!


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