Quick, Easy and Cheap Picnic Ideas!

Date Night, Family Time, Food

Grab your food and take it outside! Use our fun picnic ideas to make your outdoor meal as easy and effortless as possible. Make the most of your picnic together, whether it's as a family or a romantic picnic for two!

Cheap and easy picnic ideas from Fun Cheap or Free to get you outside and having fun!

“Hey Boo Boo, let's go get us a pic-a-nic basket!” Yogi Bear was spot on, because that's just what we're going to do! A picnic is the perfect way to take your meal outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Why be cooped up inside on a nice day when we only get so many of them?!

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A picnic doesn't have to be big or extravagant, as long as there is good food and great memories being made! Whether it's a family-friendly picnic or a romantic date night for two, we've got all the picnic ideas you could need. Break out the gingham, grab that picnic basket, and make Yogi Bear proud!


You can literally step into your front or backyard and have the best picnic, ever. There's nobody in the history of ever who has said the only way you can have a picnic is to pack it all up and go somewhere else! However, if you're wanting to get out and away from your normal scene, here are some of our favorite places to go on a picnic.

  • Park
  • Along a Hiking Trail
  • Lake
  • Water Park
  • Camping Grounds
  • Scenic Area
  • Beach
  • National Park
  • Roof of an Apartment Building
  • Outside the Zoo

Pro Tip: Eating at the zoo, fair or any place that you have to pay to get into can be expensive! If they'll allow you to leave for lunch and come back in when you're done, then pack a picnic, take it with you and leave it in the car until you're ready to eat. You'll save some serious dough. Don't forget to pack the sunscreen if you plan on staying outside for a long period of time!


There are a few items that are essential to make your picnic a success - Tips from Fun Cheap or Free

You can make your picnic as simple or extra as you'd like. As long as there's good food and good company, you have it made! Here are some of our favorite products that help to take the picnic experience up a notch.

  • Picnic Blanket – Is it really a picnic without the blanket?! It's so fun to eat on the ground, especially if you're using the traditional gingham checker box pattern.
  • Picnic Table Cover and Clips – Have picnic tables handy and don't feel like sitting on the ground? No worries! Grab a table cover and some clips and you'll be on your way to becoming Yogi Bear in no time.
  • Picnic Basket – You need a way to transport your food and keep it cold until you're ready to eat it. Grab the traditional picnic basket or use a cooler if you don't have one. You can also use a laundry basket or tote if you're not worried about keeping the food cold.
  • Serving Ware – This could be as simple as some throw away paper plates, napkins and utensils or as extravagant as bringing the fancy shmancy dinnerware. Do whatever works best for you!
  • Paper Towels – You never know when a spill is going to happen! Be prepared and take some paper towels, napkins or wipes for quick and easy clean up.
  • Trash Bag – It's always good to be prepared with a trash bag, just in case there's no trash can at your picnic destination.
  • Camping High ChairThis is probably one of our favorite picnic ideas if you have a young child. It's perfect for containing your little cutie while also giving them a safe place to eat their food. They fold up small and are super easy to carry around.
  • Moses Bag™ for Baby – There's no need to haul the pack ‘n play to your picnic when the Moses Bag™ makes it much easier and can do it all for you! Use the code FCF10 to get 10% off at checkout.
  • Bug Repellent – Keep those pesky bugs away with natural bug repellents and a homemade bug spray.
  • Entertainment – If you'll have time to play before or after eating, make sure you take some fun things to do! Kites, bubbles, balls, frisbees or any other fun activity your family loves to do together.

Pro Tip: If you're bringing a lot of kids or a lot of things to your picnic, then you'll definitely need something to carry it all. There's no reason to be exhausted by the time you reach your picnic! A collapsible folding wagon is the perfect way to get everything from your car to your picnic area. They can carry a lot and break down easily, so they don't take up a ton of room in your car.


A charcuterie board is the perfect meal to pack! Picnic food ideas from Fun Cheap or Free

Some of the best ways to make memories are with food, whether you're making it together or eating it together! It doesn't have to be fancy by any means, you could easily grab your favorite take out and make a picnic out of it if that works best for you and fits within the budget. Here are some of our favorite picnic food ideas that won't break the bank and are easy to throw together for some fun family time!

  • Charcuterie Board – These are so easy to throw together and so delicious! Grab a shallow plastic tray and fill it with all your favorite things, such as cured meats, cheese, olives, pickles, crackers, dried fruit, nuts, veggies, and grapes. Use small plastic bowls or silicone cupcake liners to hold anything wet, such as the olives or pickles.
  • PB&J and Fruit Kabobs – Grab some skewers for this one! Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Then, cut them into bite-sized pieces (the bite-sized food cutter sets are perfect for this!). Alternate sandwich bites and fruit on the skewers and throw them in a large food storage container for easy transport.
  • Lunch Meat, Cheese and Veggie Kabobs – Kabobs are so fun; here's a different way to make them for your picnic! Roll up a variety of lunch meats and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Alternate meat, cheese cubes and veggies!
  • Sandwiches – Pack up your favorite sandwiches and take them outside for your picnic. This is the perfect way to use your freezer PB&J and ham and cheese sandwiches.
  • Pasta Salad – You can easily make this the night before and add in any extra meats, cheeses or veggies you need to use up.
  • Mason Jar Salads – A salad is such a light, yet delicious meal! Make one in a mason jar and all you'll have to worry about doing at your picnic is shaking it up.
  • Chicken/Tuna/Egg Salad – Whip up your favorite recipe, grab some crackers and you'll have the perfect light lunch.
  • DIY Lunchable or Protein Pack – This one is fun for kids and adults alike! Quickly make your homemade lunchable or protein pack and you'll be off to your picnic in a jif.


Fruit salad makes for a great and refreshing picnic side! Tips from Fun Cheap or Free
  • Fresh Veggies and Dip – Grab your favorite veggies out of the fridge; they're going on a trip! Make some homemade ranch dip using sour cream and ranch dressing mix and those veggies will be gone in a flash.
  • Chips – Has your family ever turned down chips? Ours certainly hasn't! Grab whatever you've got in your pantry and they'll be great, especially if you have some dip to go with them. You can even branch out and serve veggie straws or cheese crackers and they'll still be gone in a flash.
  • Fruit and Dip – Slice up your favorite fruits and dip them to your heart's content. Some of our favorites include peanut butter, homemade caramel, Nutella, homemade whipped cream and marshmallow dip.
  • Mac and Cheese Cups – Whip up your favorite mac and cheese recipe, put it in a greased muffin pan and bake until they're set. Sneak in some veggies or chopped up meats. You'll be amazed at how your kids will gobble them down because they're something fun and different.
  • Fruit Salad – You can never ever go wrong with fruit salad, especially if it has cottage cheese hidden inside it!
  • Potato Salad – Make your own or grab a canister from the store, it's as easy as that!
  • Guacamole – There's never a bad time to snack on some chips and guac! You can even make it the day before and keep it as fresh as the day you made it by using some nifty tricks.


Don't forget the dessert! Tips from Fun Cheap or Free
  • Mason Jar Desserts – There are so many different desserts you can pre-make in mason jars for easy travel! Personal no-bake cheesecakes, angel food cake with whipped cream and fruit, banana pudding, chocolate cream pie and so. many. more.
  • Cupcakes in a Jar – Yes, you can bake cupcakes in a jar! It makes them easy to transport and there's something extra fun about eating them out of a jar.
  • Nutella S'mores – No fire? No problem! Take two graham crackers, smother them in Nutella and put mini marshmallows between them.
  • Cookies – Pack up your favorite cookies and bring them with you.
  • Pie – You can never go wrong bringing a pie on a picnic. They travel well and they're always delicious!
  • Rice Krispie Treats – Here's an easy picnic dessert the whole family will love! They're easy to make and you don't have to worry about them melting or getting smooshed.
  • Lemon Bars – What's more refreshing than a lemon bar? They're the perfect way to round off your picnic!

Pro Tip: Don't forget the drinks! Save your old milk jugs to put homemade lemonade or punch in if the whole family plans on drinking it. Ice down a cooler with plenty of water if you plan on staying a while, that way nobody ends up dying of thirst!


Date night time! Use these romantic picnic ideas to up the wow factor with your sweetie - Tips from Fun Cheap or Free

Alright you lovebirds, here are some ideas to help take the romance factor up a few notches! If you haven't been able to tell by all our other picnic ideas, it doesn't have to be expensive or super detailed to be nice. All that really matters is that you and your sweetie have a wonderful date night together.

  • Flowers*Cough, husbands buy your wives some flowers from Walmart, cough* 😉 Grab a cheap bouquet of flowers from the store, pick them from your garden, or pick some wild flowers. Take a plastic vase and some water to put them in so they'll stay fresh and alive during your romantic picnic.
  • Candles – What better way is there to set the romantic mood? If an open flame isn't allowed where you're picnicking or you don't want to chance knocking it over, take some flameless candles with you instead.
  • Sparkling Beverage – There's something about a sparkling water or grape juice that just ups the romance factor!
  • “Fancy” Plastic Serving Ware – The dollar store is one of our favorite places to buy all of the cute and fancy-looking things to take your romantic picnic the extra mile. We're talking plastic glass flutes, silver serving trays, fancy plastic plates and more!
  • Fuzzy Blankets and Pillows – Pack your favorite blankets (Use code PAGE45 for 45% off) and pillows to lay on top of the picnic blanket, especially if you plan on staying until it gets dark to stargaze.

Pro Tip: Make a music playlist on your phone of your favorite romantic songs. Use a small speaker or put your phone in a glass to amplify the sound. Slow dancing is not required, but it's always a plus!

Alright, now that you've got all of our favorite picnic ideas, what are you waiting for?! Get those picnics planned and let us know how it goes in the comments!

Quick, easy and cheap picnic ideas for the whole family from Fun Cheap or Free!

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  1. thara

    We had a free picnic in the garden today. I prepared some fruit and cheese platters, made a four star salad and poured out leftover white wine into small glasses. We then ate a lovely and healthy salad, some platters of tasty fruit and cheese and sipped white wine. Try serving up fresh homemade slices of cake etc as well. Or do a cheese board.

  2. Thara

    You can buy picnic food quite cheaply. My friend lets me have cherries and free fruit from her own garden whenever I feel like a summer picnic at home. We have tabletop ones instead in addition to make things way easier. I like to also buy a cheap cake from a local bakery in order to liven things up and we have a cup of milk or platters of fruit. Or we have small pork pies to eat or nice tasty ice cream in a bowl.
    Other fun options include sausage rolls and mini kebabs. You can even make cool drinks like smoothies and milkshakes. We also do a healthy snack such as a banana pudding or the like.

    • Kenzie Baney

      Yes, love fresh summer fruit and great to have neighbors that share!

  3. mariah

    thank you so so much!


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