10 Times to Tailgate and Picnic

When is the last time you picnicked? Was it out of convenience, on your way to do something else? Or was it an intentional event? As a task-focused, hurry-up-and-get-there type person, I am guilty of “we’ll just swing by and pick up subs for the car” admittedly, 80% of the time. What fun is that? Tailgating and picnicking are too often the missed opportunities and afterthoughts of our rushed lifestyles. And, they don’t have to require the bells and whistles of grills, tents, and a setup that will be the envy of every college football fan every time, either. Whether you are going near or far, have an event or want to enjoy the casual outdoor experience “just because”, read on for ideas*affiliate links are included | full source list can be found at the bottom of the post

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-world market lanterns - how to have a picnic date

1. Concert Pre-Party

One of my favorite ways and times to tailgate is before an outdoor summer concert. Instead of stressing over logistics, wondering if you should allow time to see the opener, and only looking forward to the headliner, pack up the car and look forward to an entire afternoon/evening. If you incorporate the pre-party as part of the main event, you’ll enjoy it more. Don’t forget the tailgating tunes!

Portable chairs are fine for the car but consider your picnic blanket to double as a lawn blanket when you get inside the venue. I prefer durable quilts over small blankets, like this reversible one in navy/pale blue.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- pillows and blanket

2. Before a Ball Game

Similar to setting up before a show, skip the crowds and lines inside the Chophouse/concession stand and set up your own pre-game dinner. You’ll save money and enjoy spending time with “your people” before heading inside the stadium.

This adorable picnic basket comes pre-packed with the essentials: two plastic wine glasses, a bottle opener/corkscrew, a knife, and even a small wooden cheese board.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- romantic date idea

3. Summer Date Night for Two

How often do you try to come up with new date night ideas? You can basically have a new date every week by taking your portable dinner to new scenery. Are you going to see fireworks? Watch the sun set? Bonus tip: keep an extra deck of cards in your picnic basket so you never forget.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- adorable date idea

4. Afternoon in the Park

Load of up the family/your significant other and head to a local park. There’s activities that will keep the entire family entertained; your picnic spot can serve as “home base”.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-red and white check picnic basket

5. Backyard Summer Dinner

Take a break from sitting in front of the tv and head to the yard. The advantage of hosting at home is easy clean-up, and, you don’t have to be as restricted in your meal options.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- cheese board with fruit on picnic

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-pillows baskets and flowers

6. Neighborhood Block Party

If you like getting together with your neighbors, how about planning a neighborhood tailgate party in a cul-de-sac? The cleanup will be contained and shared without one person taking on the hosting duties. You can even hold the party pot-luck style with each family bringing a different dish.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-world market lanterns

Often overlooked, grab some outdoor pillows from your patio to set around your setup for comfort. Nothing will make you leave a picnic early like an aching back from sitting cross legged for too long. Be prepared to lounge.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- lanterns and pillows for comfort

7. Day Trip to the Lake

Some of my favorite memories revolve around lake day picnics. You don’t even have to have a boat, or plan to swim to enjoy. Grab a fishing pole or just be prepared to soak in the gorgeous scenery.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- salads in jars picnic food

Jar salads are a new favorite obsession of mine. they yield a lot and you can fix them just how you want. Plus, you don’t have to worry about big community bowls sitting out for too long, getting warm. The key is, put the dressing in the bottom and the lettuce on top. Not related to picnics, you can prepare several of these at home at one time and have lunch ready for the week.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- jar salad how to

8. Impromptu Road Trip

Load up the car and head… well, anywhere. Where I live, the closest not-close place would be the mountains. Filled with lots of scenic overlooks, channel your spontaneous side without a plan of where you’ll end up.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- trays with finger food

9. Pot-Luck Get-Together/Barbecue with Friends

Instead of hoping for enough chairs and tables, indoor and out, plan a backyard barbecue with BYOPB (bring your own picnic blankets. It will be easier on you, as the host, and can be memorable and different for your guests.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- summer date night

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- how to picnic

10. Overnight Camping Trip

Full disclosure, I am not a camper. At all. But, I know plenty of people who are OR, go along with it because their family loves it. If I were a camper, you would find me back at the site, setting up cute, easy picnics 😉

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- cute tailgate setup for picnic

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- ten times to tailgate and picnic

These ceramic lanterns have earned a permanent home on my outdoor dining table 😉 And how chic is that acrylic tray? As a matter of fact, most items in our tailgate have ended up with permanent spots in our home.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- elegant tailgate nightJPG

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-picnic basket with flowers for fancy tailgate

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- fancy tailgate ideas

Have any other picnic ideas? Tips? Traditions? Let me know in the comment section below.

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup-10 times to tailgate and picnic

Most outdoor items shown are currently on sale for 50% off. Plus, you can get an extra 15% off and free shipping on orders $100+ with code SHOPIT.

Picnic Basket | Quilt | Acrylic Tray | Large Round Banana Leaf Basket | Ceramic Lanterns | Napkins | Red & White Towel | Palm Leaf Embroidered Pillow | Natural Fringed Pillow | White Sunbrella PillowsCharcuterie Board | Acrylic Bowls | Quart-Sized Mason Jars | Corningware

Picnic and Tailgate Ideas and Setup- fancy summer tailgate

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  1. 6.12.17

    Kelley, this is spectacular – I’m inspired both to have a picnic and to snag that awesome acrylic tray 🙂

    • 6.23.17

      Kris, I was surprised and thrilled to find that tray!

  2. 6.12.17

    Kelley, this is amazing! Who wouldn’t enjoy that gorgeous set up?!!

  3. 6.12.17

    Kelley, I LOVED this post! Absolutely beautiful! Your attention to detail is simply fantastic!! Pinning this for later! Truly inspiring! Xo, Kathy

    • 6.23.17

      Kathy, thank you sweet friend xoxo LOVE a good summer picnic!

  4. 6.12.17
    Melissa said:

    Thank You. I have been waiting for those napkins to go on sale.

  5. 6.12.17

    Very pretty set up for a sum time picnic, and tons of great ideas as always!!!! You knocked it out of the park!!!!

  6. 6.12.17
    marion duffield said:

    sooo pretty!! You have inspired me to have a picnic with my g-daughters this weekend! They will love packing everything into baskets as much as setting up the blanket with all the goodies!

  7. 6.13.17
    Lisa said:

    Super adorable! Everything looks well thought out and inviting.

    • 6.23.17

      Lisa, thank you! It was a fun day, for sure 😉

  8. 6.14.17
    Jennifer said:

    What fabulous ideas Kelley! You picked amazing items, esp. the tray. I have a similar one and we’ve used on the patio over and over already! Great find!!! I love a good tailgate… and it looks like you have an AWESOME truck for tailgating! xoxo

    • 6.23.17

      Jen, thank you! One day, we will tailgate together 😉

  9. 6.28.17
    Ivory said:

    I use to have family picnic all tge time, but for whatever reason, I’ve allowed life to get in tge way of continuing have them. Thanks to you for waking me up with this fabulous picnic setting you have created. Thank you!

    • 7.4.17

      Ivory, I hope you have tons of awesome picnics this season! xoxo

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