While people’s thoughts tend to head indoors at the thought of cold weather, winter can be a beautiful time to head outdoors. Especially to enjoy a winter picnic.
Picnic Ideas for Winter
Whether you’re blessed with mild winters or eagerly await the first snowfall, there are great reasons to plan alfresco winter outings.
Cold weather stirs the appetite, making snow picnics, forest walks, game day tailgates, or park gatherings delightful. Brisk winter days can be a lovely time to host a picnic – as long as you plan ahead.
I’ve rounded up all our best picnic tips to help you plan successful winter season picnics, from the best winter picnic food ideas to tips on staying warm and cozy and keeping your winter picnic food piping hot.
I’ve even searched out some handy picnic accessories to help make every winter picnic enjoyable.
Start planning your winter outdoor activities with these great ideas for perfect winter picnics every time.
Winter winds can be brutal, so it’s important to choose a spot that’s protected from the elements. Look for a picnic area with trees or a nearby building to block the wind.
If rain or snow is possible, maybe look for a sheltered picnic spot like a park pavilion or a sheltered picnic area in a nature reserve.
If it’s a sunny winter day, try to find a spot to soak up some rays. This will help you stay warm and comfortable.
There’s something nice about rugging up in your winter woollies and hitting the great outdoors. However, you still need to be prepared for an extended time outside and the possibility of a change in weather.
Ensure your picnic party has all the required clothing – Jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, etc for the weather and any anticipated changes in weather.
Plan for the Weather
Also, pack all the appropriate picnic gear to ensure your time outdoors is comfortable – Do you need extra blankets, an umbrella (a large beach umbrella is very handy for winter picnics), or even a portable table to keep you off the ground?
Maybe even plan some energetic picnic games. There’s nothing like a bit of movement to keep you warm and entertained.
Winter Picnic Essentials
Aside from warm clothes and your usual picnic essentials, there are a few things you should remember to pack in winter.
- Tissues for cold, runny noses.
- Sunscreen, because winter rays can be just as harmful.
- A torch or lantern if short daylight hours might be an issue for you.
- Matches or lighter if planning a fire or BBQ along with dry kindling.
- Something waterproof to sit on – even picnic benches can stay damp on a dry winter’s day.
Picnic Accessories for Cold Weather
From the best winter picnic-worthy blankets to keep you warm and dry and some very portable accessories, these are some of my favorite picnic accessories to make winter picnics a much more civilized affair.
You Might Also Like: See our best selection of portable folding picnic tables from super portable tables for two to large folding picnic tables for groups or families.
Suited Nomad Waterproof Windproof Fleece Outdoor and Stadium Blanket
The weather may demand an extra blanket, and a second lightweight one is often useful year-round. This waterproof, windproof blanket with cozy fleece lining works well on picnic benches to keep you warm and dry, or as a wrap to stay toasty and block the wind.
OCOOPA Rechargeable Handwarmers
I adore these eco-friendly hand warmers—better than disposables. With three heat settings, quick charge, and a phone-charging feature, they’re a win-win. Keep one in your pocket for warmth in any weather. Ideal gift for picnic enthusiasts!
There is nothing better than enjoying a portable feast huddled around a bonfire. Head to a picnic spot where it is possible to have a bonfire picnic.
Many beaches and nature reserves have dedicated fire pits where you can safely enjoy a bonfire picnic without going too far off the grid.
Local parks and often national parks also have wood grills, which are perfect for a winter BBQ picnic or even as an alternate fire pit to keep you toasty.
Tip: If you do decide to build a bonfire in the wilderness, always make sure you do so responsibly – make sure it is legal, you have taken the precautions to keep it contained, and you have fully extinguished it when you leave – leave no trace.
If you can’t snag a dedicated fire pit at your local picnic spot, a lightweight, portable, no-trace fire pit solution is perfect for winter picnics.
Lightweight Portable No Trace Fire Pit
Take your winter picnics to the next level with this lightweight, portable fire pit.
It weighs less than 8lbs (3.6kg) and folds up to the size of a small camp chair. It sets up in under a minute and is designed to produce a maximum flame with 80% less smoke. Best of all, it leaves no trace. Ash and embers are contained entirely, and the unit cools quickly once the fire is extinguished. You can even throw a grill plate on top for a bbq.
Winter picnics can be just as magical as summer picnics, with a little planning and creativity.