end of summer picnic.

A Simple End of Summer Picnic with Mike's Hard.

Having a picnic is always one of those things that ends up on my summer bucket list each year – there’s just something about the first few warm sunny days of the season that always have me dreaming of packing up a picnic and heading to the park. Unfortunately, many other things also tend to end up on my lengthy to do list each summer and somehow, actually having a picnic never ends up happening. Maybe one could blame it on never acquiring a perfect picnic basket or maybe it’s just a heck of a lot easier to dine al fresco at a restaurant than plan things out for yourself to make it happen at the park.

A Simple End of Summer Picnic with Mike's Hard.* Photos by Tory Putnam

Regardless of my excuses, this year I was determined to change things – the picnic had to happen and with Labor Day looming right around the corner, it had to happen now. No more excuses! So I finally ordered a picnic basket for myself on Amazon, hit up the grocery store and planned a little weekday date night with Blaine in a park in our neighborhood. It felt way more special than our typical dinners at home but best of all, the entire thing was way easier to pull off than I had imagined during my years of picnic procrastination. A look at how to make pulling off an end of summer picnic a breeze:

A Simple End of Summer Picnic with Mike's Hard.

What to Pack:

Listen, I’d love to tell you that everything was homemade and I created my very own picnic inspired recipes to pack but I’ll be real with you here, ain’t nobody got time for that on a weeknight after work. I’ve realized lately that there’s nothing wrong with leaning on the good old grocery store to help you out instead of beating yourself up about not having time to be a perfect Suzy Homemaker – store bought can be just as good! I stopped at the store on my way home from work and grabbed a few of our favorite things to munch on:

  • Sandwiches (I grabbed two different kinds for us to split!)
  • A chip + dip combination (we did tortilla chips and guac because… obviously)
  • Something sweet (Snickerdoodle cookies, yes please!)
  • A salad for a side (is there anything more summery than potato salad?!)
  • Something fresh (I grabbed some fresh berries and portioned ’em out in mini mason jars for easy storage)

A Simple End of Summer Picnic with Mike's Hard.

And other absolute picnic staples:

  • A picnic blanket (I’ve acquired a stash of turkish towels and they come in handy for pretty much everything. Beach day? Yep. Picnic? Yep. The best part is they’re lightweight and fold up small so you can just stash ’em in your purse)
  • Bluetooth speaker (nothing sets the mood quite like a great playlist! B actually got me the Big Jambox for Christmas and I am totally obsessed!)
  • Plastic plates + glasses (don’t stress about breakage; grab a few durable plastic plates and bowls for your picnic that can also be reused for other outdoor dining occasions)

A Simple End of Summer Picnic with Mike's Hard.

And last but certainly not least… the drinks:

What are some of your picnic favorites? Have you had a picnic yet this summer? If not, this weekend’s your last shot (and the perfect excuse to make it happen!)

This post was created in partnership with Mike’s Hard Lemonade.