Is a picnic a good idea for a birthday? Absolutely!
Transform any birthday into an unforgettable outdoor celebration with my top birthday picnic party ideas.
From birthday picnic decor to fun-filled picnic games, I’ve curated the ultimate guide to planning a birthday picnic. These picnic party ideas will make your next birthday bash a standout event.
- Birthday Picnic Quick Tips
- Choosing the Perfect Picnic Location
- Planning the Birthday Picnic
- Choosing a Theme
- Birthday Picnic Decorations
- Picnic Seating and Layout
- Menu Planning for a Picnic Party
- Birthday Cake and Other Treats
- Picnic Games and Activities
- Picnic Essentials and Checklist
- More Party Picnic Ideas
Birthday Picnic Quick Tips
Proper preparation is essential for planning a picnic-themed birthday party that everyone will enjoy.
- Select the Perfect Spot: Choose a picturesque and accessible location for your picnic birthday party. This could tie in with your theme.
- Mind the Timing: Time your event thoughtfully, especially in hot summer weather.
- Choose a Theme: Choose a creative theme that resonates with the celebrant’s personality or interests, such as a vintage picnic, a Teddy Bear Picnic party, a tropical paradise, or a classic outdoor gathering.
- Invitation and RSVP: Send out invitations well in advance and request RSVPs to better plan for the number of attendees.
- Backup Plans: Have a contingency plan in case of unexpected weather changes, such as having a nearby indoor space reserved.
- Decor: Plan decorations that align with your chosen theme, including table settings, centerpieces, and ambiance enhancers.
- Comfortable Seating: Arrange seating options – from picnic blankets to foldable chairs.
- Menu: Curate a delicious menu with refreshing beverages and a celebratory cake with the picnic theme in mind.
- Games & Activities: Organize engaging games, such as sack races, scavenger hunts, or DIY craft stations, to keep guests entertained and involved. See my DIY picnic ideas for crafty origami snack cups that are both fun to make and useful on the day.
- Personalized Touches: Consider custom party favors or an on-theme playlist to make the celebration unique.
- Cleanup: Bring trash bags and recycling bins for easy cleanup, respecting the environment and the chosen location.
- Music and Entertainment: Set the mood with background music or live entertainment that complements the atmosphere.
- Capture Memories: Designate someone to take photos or set up a photo booth for lasting memories of the celebration.
- Grill and Cooking Prep: If you plan to grill, ensure you have all the equipment and ingredients ready for an enjoyable cooking experience.
- Appropriate Supplies: Don’t forget essential supplies like napkins, utensils, and serving trays for a hassle-free picnic experience. Also, remember sunscreen and bug repellants.
Choosing the Perfect Picnic Location
When planning a birthday picnic party, the location sets the scene for your picnic party. So, choosing a spot that fits the party’s theme and guest list is important.
Here are some popular picnic locations to consider:
Birthday Picnic in the Park
Parks are great picnic locations because they offer plenty of space, amenities, and beautiful scenery.
Many parks have picnic tables, grills, and restrooms available for use. Some parks also have playgrounds, sports fields for games, or hiking trails for guests to explore.
There may even be a pavilion where you can set up your birthday picnic – A great option if the weather is a consideration, whether it be heat or rain.
When you choose a park for a picnic party, check if you need permission or make a reservation to set up a birthday party.
Beach Picnic Party
Beaches are also popular picnic locations, especially for summer birthday parties.
The beach provides a beautiful backdrop for the party and offers plenty of activities for guests to enjoy, such as swimming, sunbathing, and beach volleyball.
When choosing a beach for a picnic party, consider the type of beach for swimming suitability, parking availability, and amenities.
A beach birthday picnic may take a little more planning, but a beach party can be loads of fun. I have some great beach picnic ideas to get you started and some of my favorite beach picnic essentials to make your beach party comfortable, and no fuss.
Forests are great picnic locations for those who love nature.
Forests can offer plenty of shade, fresh air, and possibly wildlife, which sets the scene for a beautiful woodland picnic theme.
Many state and national parks have designated picnic areas and amenities, which makes picnicking easy. Your group can also enjoy a hike before or after your birthday feast.
When choosing a forest for a picnic party, check what amenities you can expect before you arrive. Check if you need a permit or reservation to host a group or if there are entry fees, which can be the case in some state parks.
Backyard Birthday Picnic
You don’t have to travel far from home to create a magical birthday picnic theme.
The backyard is the perfect setting for a picnic. You have the convenience of all the necessary equipment, you don’t have to worry about transporting food, and you have access to power, which means the sky is the limit for decorations and entertainment.
No matter the picnic location you choose, it’s essential to plan ahead and ensure the location suits the party’s needs.
Consider Timing and Weather When Choosing a Location
Weather and location are key for a successful picnic. Check forecasts and think about timing to avoid rain or extreme heat.
Afternoons offer warmth and scenery, but be mindful of finishing before dark if the location is unsuitable for night activities. For pools/beaches, opt for the daytime to enjoy the sun.
Remember to check the tides for beach picnics.
TIP: Bugs and flies are always a consideration outdoors. See my tips for keeping flies away outside to make your day as comfortable as possible.
Planning the Birthday Picnic
Planning a picnic party is a fun way to celebrate a special occasion. To ensure the party is a success, start planning well in advance so you don’t miss any of the details to make the day special.
Guest List and Invitations
Once the date is set, it’s time to create a guest list and send out invitations.
In the spirit of old-school birthdays and picnics, with your chosen theme in mind, sending out paper invitations is a nice way to set the scene for your picnic. It also makes your guests feel special.
You can find gorgeous invites you can edit and print like these here on Etsy.
Tip: Use your invitation to give guests any important information about the location, such as parking tips or special instructions or requirements, such as sunscreen or insect repellent. Or is it a surprise party?
Choosing a Theme
Themed picnics are becoming increasingly popular, and there are many options to choose from. A themed picnic can be a nod to the guest of honor and creates a memorable experience for the guests.
Choose a Central Theme
Choose a central theme for the party. Think about what the birthday person likes and incorporate it into a coordinated picnic theme.
Incorporate the Theme into the Picnic Setting
Once you have your theme, you can incorporate it into your picnic planning, from the food to the decor, games, and invitations. You could even go as far as fancy dress.
Some popular birthday picnic themes include:
- Retro Red-and-White Picnic: A classic and timeless picnic theme with vintage-inspired red-and-white checkered patterns, retro decorations, and nostalgic games.
- Tropical Luau Picnic: Transport your guests to a tropical getaway with Hawaiian decorations, tiki torches, tropical fruits, and vibrant floral arrangements.
- Mexican Fiesta Picnic: Embrace the vibrant colors and flavors of Mexico with piñatas, sombreros, mariachi music, and a spread of delicious Mexican cuisine. I have some great tips for a Mexican-themed picnic.
- Boho Chic Picnic: Create a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere with floor cushions, dreamcatchers, fairy lights, and a mix of patterns and textures. See our top picks for foldable boho-style picnic tables to set the scene.
- Beachy Picnic: Capture the essence of a beach vacation with beach balls, seashells, sand-friendly games, and a menu featuring seafood and tropical drinks.
- Vintage Garden Tea Picnic: Combine the elegance of a garden tea party with the casual charm of a picnic by serving tea, finger sandwiches, and delicate desserts. Go heavy on floral decor and play sophisticated outdoor games like croquet.
- Enchanted Forest Picnic: Set the scene with woodland-inspired decorations, whimsical fairy lights, and earthy tones to create a magical and mystical ambiance.
- Farm-to-Table Picnic: Celebrate fresh produce and local foods with a farm-to-table picnic featuring a spread of organic dishes and rustic decorations.
- Under the Stars Picnic: Set up a dreamy picnic under the night sky with fairy lights, lanterns, and stargazing activities.
- Superhero Adventure Picnic: Invite guests to dress as their favorite superheroes and embark on a superhero-themed adventure filled with games and challenges—a great picnic idea for boys’ birthdays.
- Circus Picnic: Capture the excitement of the circus with colorful tents, circus-themed games, and circus snacks like popcorn and cotton candy.
- Artistic Expression Picnic: Provide art supplies and let guests unleash their creativity while enjoying a picnic in a beautiful outdoor setting.
- Glamorous Hollywood Picnic: Roll out the red carpet, set up a mini movie screen, and indulge in Hollywood glamour with themed decorations and activities.
- Wild West Picnic: Embrace the cowboy spirit with western decorations, cowboy hats, and a menu featuring barbecue and classic comfort foods.
Mix and match elements from these themes to create a unique and memorable picnic birthday celebration.
Birthday Picnic Decorations
Decorations create a festive atmosphere and set the theme for the celebration. Your picnic decorations can make a simple statement or be over-the-top elaborate.
Tablecloths and picnic blankets can serve as your foundation for the party decorations. Add flowers, candles, and other decorative elements to create a festive atmosphere.
Personalized party favors can also add a special touch to the party.
To decorate for a themed picnic, use color and themed picnic accessories such as napkins, tablecloths, and plates to demonstrate your theme. And, of course, balloons and on-theme paper decorations are easy to pull together.
Some Ideas for Decorations
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
Set up comfortable seating options such as blankets, cushions, and chairs. Create a cozy ambiance by adding lights and decorations.
Picnic tents set a lovely scene and create charming little retreats or beautiful shade areas to set up food and drink tables. Like these fantastic finds on Amazon, you can find them in both adult and children’s sizes.
The Tinyland Tepee for adults creates a lovely boho picnic vibe. It comes with a soft mat, lights, and a carry bag.
This Tinyland Lace Picnic Tepee for adults and kids is one of the most popular on Amazon for beach and garden picnics. It looks pretty, provides shade, is breathable, and is easy to set up.
Fairy Lights & Lanterns
Lanterns and fairy lights are a great way to add ambiance to a birthday picnic party. They can be hung from trees, umbrellas, or even strung across a picnic table. Some even look great when they are not lit up.
Use lights to emphasize your theme, like these battery-operated fairy lights.
Create a Themed Centerpiece
A centerpiece is a great way to tie together the party’s theme. It can be something as simple as a vase of fresh flowers or a more elaborate arrangement.
A popular trend is to use a wooden crate or basket filled with flowers, fruits, or even balloons.
Balloons are a classic decoration for any party, and a birthday picnic is no exception. They add a pop of color and can be used in various ways.
Balloons can be tied to picnic baskets, chairs, or even trees. Helium balloons are perfect for picnic decorations if you can get them.
Paper garlands are a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to decorate a picnic party. It is also easy to find garlands to find a large array of themes. You can find a fantastic selection of paper garlands for any picnic theme here.
Fresh flowers are a beautiful and elegant decoration for a birthday picnic. They can be used as a centerpiece, scattered throughout the picnic area, or you can make flower crowns for your guests.
Picnic Seating and Layout
One of the most important aspects to consider at any party or picnic is seating and layout.
Make the most of your location using picnic tables, seating options, and decor. You can create a welcoming and functional environment that everyone can enjoy.
Here are a few tips to ensure that the seating and layout of your picnic party are both comfortable and functional.
Consider the amount of space you have available for your picnic party. For example, if you’re hosting a party in a public park, you may need to reserve a specific area in advance to ensure enough room for your guests.
Alternatively, if you’re hosting the party in your backyard, you may need to rearrange furniture or clear space to make room for your guests.
Picnic tables can be a great option for larger parties, providing ample seating and a stable surface for food and drinks.
If you want to use the public picnic tables in a park or beach – you may have to reserve them or send an advance party to secure them.
Multiple folding picnic tables are another easy way to provide tables for laying out food and sitting around. I have a great selection of folding picnic tables in all sizes, which can help set a beautiful picnic scene.
However, if you’re hosting a smaller party, you may want to consider other seating options to create a more intimate atmosphere.
In addition to picnic tables, a variety of seating options can work well for a picnic party.
Folding chairs and folding benches are popular, as they are easily transported and can be set up quickly. Guests can also sit on blankets or picnic mats on the ground for a casual atmosphere.
Scatter cushions create a nice picnic aesthetic as well as being comfortable.
Depending on your theme, you may want to bring beach chairs or some up-turned wooden crates with cushions.
Overall, the seating and layout of your picnic will play a big role in how comfortable and enjoyable the event is for your guests.
Blankets and Tablecloths
Even if you use tables, blankets can still set the scene under a table or as an alternative place to relax. See my guide to the best waterproof picnic blankets for some luxe and practical options.
Blankets and tablecloths can also add a pop of color and texture to your party decor. They can cover picnic tables or other surfaces, adding an extra layer of style and protection.
Set up Mini Picnic Areas for Kids
Setting up little mini picnic areas for kids, including food areas, gives kids space to play and enjoy the picnic food of their choice.
You can also set up game areas or crafting stations for kids around their picnic space for extra activities.
Menu Planning for a Picnic Party
The menu is one of the most important things to consider when planning a birthday picnic. Picnic food should be easy to prepare, transport, and serve. It should also be delicious, with various options to suit different tastes and dietary restrictions.
BBQ Picnic Party
A bbq is a great option for a picnic, especially when feeding a large group. Ensure you follow all the guidelines on keeping food cold for a picnic when grilling meat.
Add salads, finger food, and picnic snacks, and you’ll have a tremendous birthday party feast.
Picnic Finger Food
Finger foods are perfect for picnic parties, as they are easy to eat and don’t require as many utensils. Think cheese boards, dips, wraps, skewers, slices, and tarts like mini frittatas.
See my round-up of easy picnic finger food and appetizer recipes for ideas that always impress.
Easy, make-ahead salads are perfect for a picnic party. Classic potato and pasta salads, coleslaw, and salads with sturdy greens like kale. All these salads get better with age, so they can be made well in advance.
Take a look at all my best picnic salad recipes for inspiration.
DIY Platters & Sandwiches
Big platters of vegetables, meats, and cheeses are excellent DIY wraps, sandwiches, and burgers and are easy to transport. This is a great solution for feeding large groups; everyone gets to make what they like.
Homemade drinks are a great way to add a personal touch to the party.
Homemade lemonade is a classic picnic beverage that is easy to make and can be customized with different flavors. Try watermelon for a refreshing and hydrating option for a summer party, or add fresh berries and sprigs of mint. These can also be spiced up for an adult’s cocktail.
Place lemonade or cocktails in large jugs for self-serve drinks that look a treat.
Birthday Cake and Other Treats
No birthday party is complete without a delicious birthday cake. You will need a decent cake carrier to make sure the star of the party stays cool and together.
If you want more picnic dessert ideas for a birthday, see my guide to easy picnic dessert recipes that are portable and delicious.
Picnic Games and Activities
A birthday picnic party is a great opportunity to have some fun and play games.
There are plenty of picnic games and picnic activities for kids and adults. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Sack races
- Treasure hunt – another good picnic game for adults or kids – adjust the treasure accordingly to suit the age group.
- Face painting is a fun activity for kids and adults, especially if it has to do with your theme. You can hire a professional face painter or do it yourself with some face paint and stencils. You can find a fantastic range of face painting stencils on Etsy.
- Piñata is fun for all ages, especially with a Mexican-themed birthday party. You can find a great selection of Piñatas for both kids and adults here.
See my guide to the best picnic games for adults and kids for more fun ideas.
In addition to games, you may want to consider other entertainment. You could try a night picnic movie screening or a karaoke machine. Or, you may just want to pack a Bluetooth speaker for some music.
Picnic Essentials and Checklist
What do you need for a picnic birthday?
Having all the necessary items is essential to ensure a successful picnic party. Here is a checklist of the picnic essentials that will help make the party a success:
- Picnic Baskets:
- Practical for both use and decoration.
- Place on tables or blankets for individual settings.
- Serve snacks, cutlery, and drinks in baskets.
- Coolers for Food and Drinks:
- Ensure ample ice or coolers for cold beverages and food.
- Consider insulated picnic baskets for selection.
- Picnic Blankets & Tablecloths:
- Picnic blankets add color and texture.
- Tablecloths transform picnic benches.
- Pack plates, forks, spoons, and utensils for all guests.
- Explore eco-friendly disposable options.
- Napkins & Dish Towels:
- Essential napkins can be decorative.
- Include dish towels for spills and cleaning.
- Wet wipes for convenience.
- Cups & Glasses:
- Provide cups for drinks, and opt for eco-friendly choices.
- Consider outdoor glassware for wine or champagne.
- Choose decorations that will tie in your chosen theme
- Enhance with place cards for seating.
- Garbage Bags:
- Ensure enough bags for proper rubbish disposal.
- Insect Repellant and Sunscreen:
- Pack insect repellant and sunscreen for all guests.
More Party Picnic Ideas
For a toddler’s picnic party, consider incorporating simple activities that are easy for them to participate in. This could include a bubble machine, a ball pit, or a small inflatable pool.
Finger foods such as fruit, sandwiches, and crackers are also great options for this age group.
Consider incorporating a scavenger hunt or treasure hunt for a unique children’s birthday picnic. This could involve hiding small toys or treats around the picnic area for the children to find. A teddy bear picnic birthday party is an excellent theme for younger kids.
Another idea is to have a craft station where children can create party favors, such as friendship bracelets or fancy hats.
Consider incorporating wine or beer tastings for a creative picnic party for adults. This could involve setting up a tasting station with various options for guests to try.
Another idea is to have a photo booth with fun props and backdrops for guests to take pictures. Or a night picnic with an outdoor movie screening.