Sometimes, choosing a great first date activity can be really tough. All the usual options are kind of boring, and you don’t want to do anything too adventurous with someone new in case one of you hates it. So, what is a good first date? Would, for example, a picnic make a good first date?
In my humble opinion (as an expert in the field!) a picnic makes a great first date. Of course, you usually need good weather to make it work, but even an indoor picnic could be a cute date idea if the rain gods are not smiling on you!
You’ll need to put a bit of planning into a good picnic date, but that’s part of the joy of it.
Putting work in shows that you’re enthusiastic about someone new, whether you met them online or already know them in a non-dating context.
Why A Picnic Is A Good First Date
A picnic is a great first-date idea because it’s unusual without being overly whacky or requiring an unreasonable amount of effort. It’s a happy medium.
If you take someone to a super expensive restaurant for a first date, for example, it can be overwhelming.
On the other hand, if you take them to your local bar and spend most of the evening chatting to the bar staff then your date will assume you don’t care about them or want to impress them.
A picnic, though, runs into neither problem! In fact, a picnic outing can be something you plan with your date, getting to know them in the process.
There are loads of different options for kinds of picnic, and so lots of discussions to be had. Maybe one of you is a good cook, and the other has ideas for activities? Or knows a lot about wine?
Or perhaps you want to blow your date’s mind with the perfect picnic spot and they want to blow your mind with cinnamon rolls from their favorite bakery?
Speaking of happy mediums, a picnic is also great because it involves eating and drinking but isn’t totally centered on either indulgence.
You can really make a picnic into whatever you want it to be – from super nature-focused, to super romantic, and from a feast to a nibble!
The scenery and food and drink are bound to stimulate conversation too, and any wobbles with weather or cooking mishaps will probably just add to the fun.
You can even bring activities on a picnic, and the date can last all day if you want because there’s no time limit on sitting outside on a blanket is there?
Essentially, there are endless potential picnic ideas, so the possibilities are endless. They’re limited only by your imagination (and your date’s imagination too of course).
What Should I Wear On A Picnic Date?
As a picnic can involve so many different things, the rules for what to wear are pretty varied.
You should take into account weather of course, but a picnic is a decent chance to show off a bit of style to your date too!
That being said, you’re probably going to be outside for most of the day so maybe don’t wear your absolute best clothes. And keep footwear reasonably sensible.
Beyond that, a first-date picnic outfit should show a bit of who you are! I mean, you want to impress your date right? Especially if you connected online and this is your first IRL meeting.
What Should A Guy Wear On A Picnic Date?
The only real issue when deciding on outfits for a picnic date is balancing looking good with being comfortable when you’re out in whatever weather decides to grace you with its presence on date day.
You want to go for smart-casual, probably, because you don’t want rain or mud ruining your best clothes, and you also don’t want to look like you’re trying tragically hard on date number one.
So unless it’s your thing, probably leave the three-piece suit at home.
I like Public Rec’s basics to build an outfit. Particularly useful as part of the first date picnic outfit are their All Day Every Day Pants.
I’m sure you get an idea of them from their name, but basically, they’re a comfortable pant that looks pretty smart (and comes in a whole bunch of color options) but low-key feels way more like sweatpants than chinos or jeans.
Of course, if it’s warm out you might want shorts instead. There’s an All Day Every Day option for shorts, too, so Public Rec has that covered!
The great thing about these pants and shorts is that you can pretty much pair them with anything. Smarten things up a little with a shirt, or keep it really casual in a tee, it’s really up to you.
Layers and Accessories
Depending on whereabouts you live, you might need to think about layering. In fact, if the weather is likely to be anything but guaranteed sunshine all day long you’ll probably want to bring at least a sweater.
Plus, who knows how long you might be out on this date? One of the joys of a picnic date is that it has no specific end time. You might be sitting out on your checkered blanket until after dark!
On the flip side of that, lounging about for hours might also mean a lot of time in the sun. To prepare for that, bring a pair of sunglasses – I’ve found some great deals at Sunglass Hut recently – and maybe a cap or some other kind of wide-brimmed hat.
Again, I wouldn’t go too wild on this. If you wear a cowboy hat you’re going to look like a pick-up artist trying to peacock.
Just chuck a fave cap in your bag, or grab a simple City Cap from Public Rec when you’re buying those ridiculously comfortable pants or shorts I mentioned.
What Should A Girl Wear On A Picnic Date?
While reasonably practical outfits are a good idea for both guys and women on a picnic date, you also have some wiggle room for showing who you are with your outfit.
You might chuck a frisbee about, but you’re unlikely to be walking for miles so feel free to wear a nice day dress or something if the mood takes you.
You can always bring some layers with you if you worry you might get chilly later on. As well as menswear, Public Rec make some really flattering sweaters and fleeces for women.
They’re not too long or bulky, so they work well with most outfits. Additionally, you could bring a beanie or wooly hat if you tend to get chilly or think you’ll be out on your picnic date for a long time.
Shoes-wise, again you should lean towards practical but that doesn’t mean totally forgoing style. It might be a great opportunity to show off some statement sneakers, for example.
Just avoid wearing incredibly expensive heels, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t need to tell you that heels and grass don’t mix well did I? The classic garden party problem!
What To Bring On A Picnic Date
If you want your picnic date to be memorable, you should put the most thought into what you bring with you.
Of course, you want to look good and be comfortable, but this is a real DIY date so in many ways its success is up to you and the things you bring on your picnic!
Remember, it doesn’t have to stop at food. Obviously, picnic date food is a really important factor, and definitely not something you want to mess up, but you should also consider drinks, games, and even music if you really want to make an impression. Here are a few things to bring on a picnic date, from food to activities:
Picnic Date Food
You should discuss picnic food ideas with your date, or at least find out what sort of foods they like.
If you met online, you probably don’t know all that much about their preferences and this is a really good excuse to find out more about who they are.
Plus, you don’t want to spend hours cooking (or queuing at that great bakery down the street) just to find out that your date can’t stand quiche.
Or sourdough. Or whatever it is you’re trying to impress them with.
It’s also a good idea to remember that, on a first date, you probably don’t want a huge or difficult-to-eat meal.
A picnic is a great excuse to just bring your favorite foods (and your date’s favorites! This isn’t just about you!) and nibble for ages while chatting and getting to know one another.
There’s a reason a picnic is a better first date than a fancy meal out, and it’s partly that it’s hard to eat a three-course meal and talk at the same time without either spilling pasta sauce on your shirt, or choking.
Neither of which is a good first date look. So take into account what is good for a picnic lunch, as well as what your absolute favorite foods are.
Things That Are Easy to Eat
As I’ve already suggested, you can also split the work with the food. Maybe one of you loves baking and can bring dessert, while the other makes sandwiches?
When in doubt, a cheese or charcuterie board is an excellent picnic date food choice, and it feels special without being hard to put together or hard to eat.
Plus, you can customize it to fit any dietary requirements and include everyone’s favorites.
Fruit is also a good idea – it’s easy to transport and can be snacked on while you lie luxuriously in the sunshine.
This is a very basic tip, but when I’m planning picnic food the first question I ask about everything is ‘how messy is this’ and ‘will we be able to eat this with our hands?
You probably don’t want to have to bring a whole bunch of silverware and a variety of serving dishes with you to the park.
Unless you do of course – having a multi-dish feast picnic as a first date is a legitimate choice, but make sure you clear it with your date so they aren’t shocked by the three picnic baskets and linen napkins when they arrive.
A great way to make a picnic date classy without leaving your companion open-mouthed at your excess is to add a couple of really fancy or special food and drink items to an otherwise pretty standard picnic.
Think slices of cheesecake, chocolate strawberries, or to really impress, some nice wine.
I like FirstLeaf Wine Club, because it means you get sent new wines to try monthly and because it uses a ratings system they are better every month!
Their wines would be great to bring along on a first date picnic to share, and if it goes well you can do the ratings together and enjoy sharing next month’s box too.
A FirstLeaf box does come with six bottles, which is a bargain at $39.95 but definitely should not all be consumed at a picnic for two. Maybe just choose the one that looks most interesting for your first date.
As one cannot live on wine alone, you should also bring a couple of big bottles of water – make one sparkling if you’re doing the fancy thing.
You can bring coffee or tea in a Thermos too if it’s cooler out. In fact, if you’re one for adventure dates a Thermos is a great thing to have. You can take warm drinks, hot toddies, even soup with you on all your outings throughout winter.
In Your Picnic Basket
Of course, whatever food you settle on you will also need to bring some utensils, napkins, plates, etc. If you’re pushing the boat out, you can always get a full picnic backpack set like this one from Sunflora.
It even comes with wine glasses! If picnics aren’t a regular thing for you, though, it’s fine to stick with disposable plates and plastic cups.
Do consider eco-friendly options though – palm-leaf plates look nicer than plastic, and they’re single-use and biodegradable. Or else invest in a bamboo set – these are really quite stylish and can be used multiple times.
At the end of the day though, a picnic is a good budget date, and if you don’t have the cash to splash on a bunch of new crockery that’s okay. Bring everything in Tupperware, and spend what you do have on the food and drink!
You want your date to be comfortable, and you want to be comfortable too. Imagine trying to be charming while thinking about your wet butt or numb feet.
The number one comfort item you have to pack for a picnic is… well, a blanket, what else would it be?
If you’re picnicking somewhere nice and dry, then the blanket could even be another way to show off your flawless taste and ethics with something like these USA-made wool blankets from Ibex.
If that’s a flex or a few dollars too far, then anything will do really. Grab the throw from your couch if you have to. Well actually, not anything.
Don’t bring an old sheet or a beach towel with holes in. If the ground is a little damp, you’ll probably want to invest in a picnic blanket with a waterproof layer. Most of them are built for camping and picnics, so they’re also really portable.
My final blanket tip? Don’t go telling everyone this because it’s pretty genius, but a second blanket is a good idea.
Especially on a date – you can snuggle up together when it gets a little chilly, or offer it to your date to put over their knees if they’re looking cold.
I know, when I’m good I’m good, right?
Things to do
As this is the first date, you probably want a couple of backup activities to stimulate conversation. And games and/or music can be a great way to break the ice and get comfortable, too.
I always take a portable Bluetooth speaker on a picnic, making sure that it and my phone are both fully charged.
You could even both make playlists for the date – that way you can find out about your date’s musical taste and either impress or horrify them with your own!
If you’re a sporty type, or sporty enough to like chucking things around on the grass, then lawn games are fun after you’ve eaten your picnic.
Frisbee is obvious, and the easiest to pack, but you could go as posh as badminton or as frat-party as a portable cornhole set.
On the other hand, if you’re usually more of a playing quietly indoors type you could bring a good two-person board game.
Picnic Date Ideas
You’ve probably gathered from this article (and me stating it several times) that a picnic can be many things.
You can go for traditional sandwiches in the park, or do way more with it. Here are some quick picnic date ideas to get you started.
Romantic Picnic Ideas
A romantic picnic is a big swing for a first date, but some people would love it. And it’s definitely a great few-dates-in date idea.
You will want this one to be somewhere more secluded – perhaps a spot that means something to your partner, or to you as a couple?
A romantic picnic can be at any time of day, but if it’s nice in the evenings then use that romantic dusk atmosphere!
Making a picnic romantic can be as simple as doing all the planning, and including all your date’s favorite things, but to take it to the next level light some candles, bring some flowers, maybe get a bottle of fizz in, or your date’s favorite FirstLeaf wine if you’ve been getting those in.
A romantic picnic isn’t complicated, but it’s all about being thoughtful, so the rest is on you!
Fun Picnic Ideas
You can up the fun at any picnic by putting more emphasis on the games than usual. Bring a few options, so you can go from lawn bowls to croquet to that one where you throw the balls at the Velcro pads, all day long.
If one/both of you have dogs, they would also probably have a good time at a picnic like this!
A fun-filled picnic might be a great setting to introduce a new partner to your friends too, as all that action plus a little bit of wine and good food will leave everyone in an excellent mood.
Beach Picnic Ideas
Bring your swimming stuff and jump in the water when you’ve eaten! Sunbathe and read your books beside one another! Have a bonfire in the dunes!
There’s so much to do on a beach picnic they’re a really excellent date. You do have to be extra prepared at the beach though – make sure your blanket is waterproof, bring food that won’t get too sand-filled and make sure it’s in Tupperware, bring towels, more water than you usually would, extra layers because the weather can be changeable by the sea.
Basically, stick everything you could possibly need in the back of the car, and your beach picnic will be perfect! You can easily spend all day at the beach, so this can be a lovely drawn-out date.
Winter Picnic Ideas
Finally, don’t let winter ruin your fun picnic date ideas.
You have options. You can find a nice picnic bench, wrap up warm, and drink coffee or hot toddies with a blanket over your knees, all followed up by a snowball fight, or else you can do the very cute ‘indoor picnic’ thing and clear a space in the living room for your blanket.
The pros of the latter are clear and include central heating and indoor plumbing.
As you can see, I love a picnic date! They’re a great way to spend a whole day together without the pressure of specific activities and without blowing huge amounts of money going from drinks to food to the movies.
Plus, you get to enjoy the outdoors and spend real one-on-one time out where it’s quiet rather than shouting overloads of other first dates.
Picnics can be as easy and DIY or as planned and romantic as you like. I mean, they can even happen in your back garden if you want privacy!
Planning a picnic is a good way to show them you’re really interested, too, and as you can both have input you can shape the perfect picnic for the two of you.
Actually, I really want to go on a picnic now. Do you know any good spots?