For me, fall is the perfect time for a picnic. I know most people prefer summer, but if you’re not a hot weather person (and I’m certainly not), autumn weather is ideal. So pull on a sweater (and your favorite fall boots), pack up your basket, and head outdoors. With these picnic ideas, hacks, and tips, your picnic is sure to go off without a hitch.

These hacks include mess-free packing of sweets, ingredients, snacks, side dishes, wraps, salads, fresh veggies, and many more. Find the best picnic food ideas along with these tips!

There are few things so pleasant as a picnic eaten in perfect comfort. – W Somerset Maugham

photo collage of 12 Handy Tips For The Perfect Picnic - condiments in a muffin tin, using a shower cap containing ice to keep food cold, and a sticky fingers station where everyone can easily find wipes, paper towels, spray bottles of water, and hand sanitizer.

Clever Picnic Ideas, Hacks, and Tips

1. Genius Picnic Hack To Save On Space

Don’t worry about bringing along salt and pepper shakers or containers of your favorite herbs to add flavor and taste to your picnic recipes. Put them in Tic Tac containers instead. These are such a brilliant picnic hack for when you don’t seem to have enough space for everything you need because they’re small and easily portable… win!

spices and dried herbs in Tic Tac containers

2. Easy Picnic Hack For Cold Perfectly Dry Picnic Sandwiches

Is there a greater mood damper than packing stuff for your picnic and then getting everything is all wet and sloshy because you’re still using bagged ice? Imagine finding your picnic sandwiches all wet because the water from the bagged ice seeped into your Ziploc bags or containers…

This stops with this picnic hack – freeze water bottles to put in your cooler rather than bags of ice. It’s less messy, and your picnic goodies will be ice cold and most importantly, dry. No more worries for your favorite sausage rolls and puff pastry.

a picnic cooler packed with sandwiches, fruits, and frozen water bottles to keep your stuff cold

3. Perfect Picnic Trick To Keep Apple Slices Looking Fresh

Picnics are meant to be enjoyed and are a happy time away from the house but imagine opening your picnic box and all your sliced apples have turned brown? 🙁  No matter how hard we try, sliced apples will always get oxygenated and turn brown. And we always don’t want our apple slices tasting like lemon (the other way to keep them from browning).

I know that feeling and so I’ve always borrowed this picnic hack – the lunchbox apple hack. It’s basically where you keep sliced apples from browning by tying the sliced apple with a pipe cleaner or rubber band. No more unhappy-looking apple slices on your picnic days! I might try this hack with the potatoes for my potato salad.

a sliced apple tied with a pipe cleaner to keep the slices from browning

4. Simplest Of Picnic Hacks To Stop Your Drinking Straw From Popping Up

You’re out having fun at your picnic when a soda can and drinking straw are passed to you. As soon as you open your soda and put in the straw, the straw wheezes right past you and onto the grass. Ever experienced this? It’s so annoying when the only way to enjoy your soda is to either drink it straight from the can or keep holding onto the straw.

With this picnic hack, you can now enjoy your soda without your straw always popping up in your soda can. Simply use the soda can tab to hold it in place.

someone threading a straw through the soda can tab to keep the straw from popping up

5. Picnic Hack For An Easy After-Picnic Clean-Up

Picnics are fun up until you’re back home and there are so many bowls and stuff to clean. How about skipping out on the bowls if chips are part of your picnic? Simply turn a chip bag into a bowl by pushing in the bottom a bit and folding the top in on itself. And when the chips get lower because people are really enjoying them, just roll up the chip bag from the bottom and this will push the chips up.

It’s such a handy trick — you’ll never have to bring along big bowls to pour the chips in again. Grab your favorite sauce or salsa from the picnic basket for your chips!

Picnic hacks - 3 chip bagS folded and standing upright under the title HOW TO TURN A CHIP BAG INTO A CHIP BOWL

6. Smart Picnic Hack To Keep Away Drink “Extras”

Who needs to have their moods spoilt by having bugs in their drinks? Not me, especially when it’s my favorite fruit punch cocktail. Be smarter than the bugs 😉  and enjoy bug-free drinks by simply placing a cupcake liner over your glass and punching your straw through.

I’m so going to try this at our family reunion — it is always by a creek where the bugs are rampant.

Picnic hack - a cupcake liner placed over a glass and has a straw punched through to keep bugs out of a drink

7. Practical Picnic Hack For Picnic Silverware

Part of an enjoyable picnic for me is relaxing, but each time I thought about how I’m still expected to hand out picnic silverware, enjoyment was far from the picture. I’ve on several occasions considered just putting the silverware in a bag and have everyone pick what they need but this isn’t the best way, considering I have kiddos and their hands can’t be trusted to be exactly clean (which is the EXACT reason why I always carry silverware even though it’s a picnic).

So here’s a handy picnic hack I used to deal with my silverware issue: A six-pack drink container that was easily converted into a utensil caddy in a pinch. I could now put our spoons, forks, knives, napkins, and straws in the compartments. Now everyone can easily access what silverware they need without calling my name out all the time. Phew!

I can now enjoy my favorite appetizer, corn salad in peace.

picnic hack of converting a six-pack drink container into a utensil caddy for picnic silverware

8. Sign Up A Lazy Susan For The Practical Of Picnic Hacks

Sometimes the six-pack drink container for my picnic silverware caddy doesn’t cut it, especially when it’s a fancier picnic or there are more people in attendance. These are those times when some DIY is needed to make something that lasts much longer and is more practical. Like the Lazy Susan on our dining table but this time around, something that I can easily pack and set up for picnic days.

I made this picnic caddy using old tin cans, a larger pail for the center, and a Lazy Susan. I screwed on the smaller tin cans but left the center pail unscrewed so that it can always be switched out to an ice bucket or flower vase – depending on the occasion.

You can have peace feasting on that chicken salad sandwich without any distractions, since they’re all set.

picnic hack - a picnic caddy made from small tins labeled with chalk paper, a larger center pail containing flowers, and a Lazy Susan

9. Keep Your Food Cold With This Cool Picnic Hack

Get it? Keep food cold with a cool hack? Okay, I’ll see myself out but first, hear me out. You know that famous dish of yours that is best served cold but you somehow can’t seem to get it at the right temperature when it’s time for lunch? I am here for you.

Use a shower cap to keep food cold. A cheap, plastic one is best really. Just add ice, insert the bowl, and it should all stay in place, nice and cool. Keep that chocolate, pasta salad, lettuce, feta cheese, or tuna salad fresh and cool!

A photo showing a shower cap being filled with ice and a food bowl secured into the shower cap to keep food cold

10. This Trick Is Probably The Genius Of Picnic Hacks

Nothing ruins a perfect picnic like having your plastic plates and cups blown off by the wind along with your cover for the picnic table. Tired of your tablecloths blowing in the wind? A fitted twin sheet makes an excellent picnic table cover. It fits like a glove, is easy to slip on and off and you can even make your adjustments with headbands to make the sheet fit better if it’s a bit big. No more flying egg salad, tortilla, or dijon mustard with this clever picnic blanket hack!

A picnic table lined with a fitted sheet to prevent the sheet from being blown away by the wind.

11. With This Awesome Picnic Hack, You’ll Never Stress About Condiments

Sandwiches and burgers are perfect for picnics. What’s not so perfect is the stress that comes with figuring out how to pack those condiments. Carry whole bottles of condiments? Put them in plastic tins that are a nuisance to dispose of? How will people share? Or do you just make the sandwiches in advance? What about the different preferences people have? Too many questions.

Well, here’s a solution that you’ll be grateful for. Put the classic condiments in a muffin tin (or two) to make it easier for everyone to customize their sandwiches or burgers. (You can also use this hack for picnic dessert dips like peanut butter, cream cheese, or mint-flavored dip for sweet bites!) Mess-free dip experience coming up. You’re welcome!

A muffin tray filled with a variety of condiments and vegetables with spoons for everyone to help themselves

12. Every Mom Loves A Mess-Free Picnic Hack!

Kids love watermelon, but man is it sticky! Put watermelon on a stick to make it a little more convenient to eat. Just cut the watermelon into pizza-shaped wedges, insert a knife into the center of the rind and push in a popsicle stick. The kids will think you the most awesome person ever for this cool trick. Anything that makes use of popsicle sticks, right?! I’d imagine these watermelon popsicles are much easier to carry on a picnic than a whole watermelon.

Genius picnic hacks - watermelons put on popsicle sticks to make them easier to eat and less messy
Watermelon On a Stick from Skinnytaste

13. DIY S’mores Pot – What’s Cooler Than That!

No need to build a big fire if you want s’mores at your picnic. Especially if the picnic is during summer! Terracotta pots convert very easily to DIY s’more pots with tinfoil and charcoal. How cool would it be if you had a couple of these personal s’mores pots at the center of a picnic table? The s’mores are just as good as those roasted over a blazing campfire but with waaaay less work.

Miniature DIY s'mores pots made from terracotta pots filled with tin foil and charcoal

14. Here’s One Brilliant Picnic Hack If I’ve Ever Heard Of One

If you have s’mores, this sticky fingers station is a MUST! I dislike it when I’m at an outdoor party and one has to keep going back into the house if they need to clean their hands. Put wipes, paper towels, spray bottles of water, and hand sanitizer in a central area to make life so much easier for your guests. Don’t let sticky fingers interrupt your s’mores party.

A sticky fingers station where guests can find wipes, hand sanitizer and paper towels

15. This Cooler Corn Is A Smart Picnic Hack

Did you know you can cook corn in a cooler? Yeah, me too. We’ve all heard of corn on the cob but how much do you know about the different ways you can make it? And keep it hot during your picnic? Cooler corn is probably the easiest way ever to cook corn on the cob.

Just boil some water in a pot on the grill and make sure the water is boiling hot. Place some ears of corn in a clean cooler then fill the cooler with water and firmly shut the lid. The corn cooks and doesn’t get cold. It’s basically science but it’s cool!

A photo of corn in a cooler

Check Out More Posts For More Ideas For The Perfect Picnic:

A photo collage of different amazing picnic hacks - tictac cans filled with spices and herbs, a chip bag turned into a chip bowl and a tick to stop a straw from popping up

Which picnic ideas and hacks have you tried? How did it turn out?

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