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A step-by-step guide to a totally good-vibes park picnic

OK so the weather is sooo sunny, school days are dwindling and summer is *just* around the corner. Can we think of any better vibes?! Nah.

If you're so ready to kick back and hang with your besties—but it's not quite time for beach days and road trips—a park picnic is your pitch-perfect hangout pick. Whether you're hitting your neighborhood hotspot, inviting people to your backyard or traveling to check out a new ~nature~ part of your town, you can't go wrong with greenery (#plantmom), outdoor vibes and allll the best deep life talks. 

Here's *your* guide to the best-ever park picnic...so what are you waiting for?! 

Step 1: Pick your picnic squad.

The good news is that you can put together the perfect picnic no matter your RSVP list. Since hanging outdoors is the best option for larger groups, feel free to invite your best friends, your AP English study pals or your entire lacrosse team. In such a relaxed setting, it's super natural to bond with new people—plus there's no pressure to stick to a list of prescribed activities, so you can break off and make new connections easily. 

If you're looking for a more intimate and controlled aesthetic, opt for a smaller squad. Invite your BFF, a friend you *always* seem to connect with no matter the convo or just go solo (and bring your fave fictional friends in the form of a good book). 

Step 2: Bring your essentials.

The name of the game is be prepared. You can't go wrong with some fruit-flavored seltzers, iced tea, lemonade and, to keep it all cool, a cooler bag (we're in love with this super cute one from Packed Party). For snacks, you can do a chill + casual vibe with chips and salsa, an Insta-ready dessert with strawberry shortcake cupcakes or go all-out with a full-on MYOS (that's make your own sandwich) bar complete with allll the breads & spreads. Oh, and don't forget your picnic blanket...

Step 3: Accessorize your aesthetic.

Everyone has a different picnic vibe, from the darker cottagecore energy (think Doc Martens and wildflowers) to a pumped-up positive sunny look. Be sure to grab the go-to items that make your picnic so you, from sunnies to flowers to totes to iPhone cases. Looking to snag a sparkly good-vibes look without searching everywhere? We love Packed Party's customizable Everything Pouches. Fill it up with your phone, cute hair clips for last-minute photo ops and, ofc, your must-haves from Chapstick to hand sanitizer

Step 4: Come up with fun activities.

Depending on who's RSVPed, you can pre-plan a few fun activities to get the energy going in the direction you're hoping for. With a newer crew, play 20 Questions, two truths and a lie or trivia, or even bring a card game (no phones allowed!) to loosen everyone up. For a closer crew, you can ask deep questions, talk about a book or movie you've all watched recently or just philosophize about life.

Step 5: Plan the next one!

Since summer is (almost) here, no reason you can't make your picnic day into a tradition. Whether you start a weekly discussion club re: Olivia Rodrigo's latest songs (there's just so much to unpack), bond with your new summer job friends or just take a moment to appreciate nature and meditate solo, your park picnic is the *perfect* chance to prioritize what matters most to you. And we're sooo here for it.

Tag us in your picnic snaps @girlslifemag!

Top image: instagram.com/lilia.

by Katherine Hammer | 5/20/2021
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