A Few Winter Picnic Ideas for a Cozy Adventure 🧣🧤🧦

Discover how to have a cozy winter picnic even when the weather cools down ❄️ Get great winter picnic ideas for a warm and delightful outdoor experience

Planning a Cozy Winter Picnic

A picnic may seem like a summer activity, but there’s no reason you can’t enjoy an outdoor meal in the winter too! With some preparation and planning, a winter picnic can be just as fun and delicious. The key is keeping yourself and the food warm and cozy.

What to Wear The first step to picnic success in cold weather is dressing properly. You’ll want to wear an extra layer or two, as it’s easy to get chilly when sitting still outside. Opt for a warm winter coat, gloves, a hat, and insulated boots. Don’t forget an extra pair of socks in case your feet get wet. Hand and foot warmers are also a great idea. The most important thing is to stay toasty!

Choosing a Picnic Spot While a grassy field may be your favorite summer picnic location, look for a more sheltered area in winter. Seek out a spot blocked from the wind, either near trees, hills, or structures. You could even have an indoor picnic in a heated garage or enclosed porch. Using an insulated picnic blanket or setting up at a picnic table can also cut down on chill from below. Wherever you go, make sure your picnic spot gets plenty of winter sunshine. The sun’s rays will add warmth to your little outdoor feast.

Packing a Winter Picnic The right food and drinks are key to a successful winter picnic. Focus on items that will retain heat and easily steam in their packaging. Thermoses are perfect for transporting anything piping hot like soups, stews, baked beans, mulled wine, or apple cider. Fill them with boiling liquid and pre-heat the thermos with hot water first to maximize heat retention. You can also pack foods in insulated containers or wrapped well in foil. Ideas include chili, meats, baked potatoes, casseroles, and roasted vegetables.

Additionally, prepare some items you can eat cold or at room temperature. Round out your winter picnic menu with crusty bread, crackers, cheese, veggies, fruit, chips, nuts, cookies, or other portable nibbles. Finger foods are best for easy snacking. Finally, don’t forget utensils, plates, mugs, and napkins.

10 Picnic Foods Perfect for Winter

  1. Hearty soups – Try lentil, potato, tomato, or chili
  2. Stews – Beef, chicken, or vegetable all work
  3. Baked beans – Kids love these, easy to transport
  4. Piping hot cocoa – To warm hands and belly
  5. Mulled wine or cider – Adult twist on hot apple cider
  6. Meat pies – Sausage rolls, pot pies, empanadas
  7. Roasted veggies – Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, beets
  8. Chili – Make ahead and pack in a thermos
  9. Charcuterie – Salami, prosciutto, cheese, olives
  10. Dips – Baba ghanoush, hummus, spinach artichoke

Hearty Winter Picnic Salad Ideas

Cool weather is no reason to nix salad from your winter picnic menu. Hearty salads pairing seasonal veggies with protein or whole grains make ideal portable picnic fare.

Try grain bowls topped with roasted winter veg, nuts, and pomegranate seeds. Or make potato, pasta, or panzanella salads bulked up with greens.

Leafy kale stands up well; massage with lemon and olive oil. Roast beets, sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts to add warmth. Toast pecans or walnuts for crunch.

Whisk up zingy citrus vinaigrettes; the acid helps cut richness. Stir in soft cheese or whisk in mayo for creaminess and heft.

Pair salads with thermoses of hot soup or stew. The combo of warm and cool dishes is comforting and satisfying. Hearty greens and grains give lasting energy to fuel winter fun.

Delicious Winter Picnic Drink Ideas

While your feast is important, don’t overlook drinks for your winter picnic. Sipping something steaming will instantly warm you up.

Hot cocoa is a classic for good reason. Load yours with mini marshmallows or a dollop of whipped cream. Adults can spike theirs with peppermint schnapps or Irish cream.

Warm up from the inside out with mulled apple cider or red wine punctuated with cloves, cinnamon, and citrus. A thermos will keep them piping hot for hours.

Pack coffee concentrate and hot water so guests can assemble their own pour overs on-site. Include instant packets, a French press, or portable espresso maker if caffeine is essential.

For variety, try fruit teas, chai concentrate, or instant hot chocolate mixes. Let guests customize each cup to their preferences.

Having something hot to clutch will keep hands toasty as you enjoy your chilly picnic. The steam delivers much-needed warmth on a crisp winter day.

Planning a Winter Picnic on Manitoulin Island

The idea of a winter picnic may seem daunting, but Manitoulin Island offers fantastic options for a cozy, picturesque experience. With a little preparation, you can have a magical cold-weather picnic.

Sturdy Winter Gear

Manitoulin winters require quality outerwear to keep you comfortable. Pack snow pants, heavy winter coats, waterproof boots, thick gloves, and hats. An insulated blanket or portable seats will keep your bum warm. Hand and foot warmers let you stay longer.

Food & Drinks to Warm Your Core

Focus on hot foods and drinks to create a steaming spread. Thermos soups like roasted red pepper or potato pair nicely with crusty bread rolls. Warm up with mulled apple cider or red wine. Bake ham and cheese biscuits or sausage rolls to stay toasty. Hearty stews, chilis, and casseroles hold heat well too.

Pack Cold Foods Too

Balance hearty dishes with items you can nibble cold. Try cured meats, aged cheeses, olives, crackers, apple slices, or carrot sticks. Portable sweets like cookies, brownies, or hot chocolate packets make great finales.

Choosing a Picturesque Spot

Manitoulin boasts stunning vistas. Seek out lakeside locations or hills overlooking the island. Provincial Parks like Misery Bay, Gordon/Barrie Island, or Lake Wolsey offer great settings. Watch sunset colors dance across the snow.

Staying Warm for a Winter Picnic

When braving the cold for an outdoor winter picnic, it’s crucial you stay warm. The right clothing and gear will keep you comfortable so you can fully enjoy the experience.

Focus on layering loose, insulating fabrics like wool, fleece, or down. Opt for thick water-resistant coats, snow pants, hats, scarves, and mittens. Wear warm socks and insulated winter boots. Hand and foot warmers slipped into gloves and shoes provide instant heat.

Bring several plush blankets and sit on an insulated pad or low camping chair. Avoid sitting directly on cold, damp ground. A portable fire pit, heater, or chiminea can add warmth and ambiance. Place it upwind so smoke doesn’t blow your way.

Getting up and moving around periodically boosts circulation and body temperature. Have a snowball fight, go sledding, play catch, or take a short hike. Chili and hot drinks are warming inside and out.

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Winter Picnic Success Tips

  • Pack plastic bags to sit on if the ground is wet
  • Bring a camping chair and wear snow pants if sitting directly in snow
  • Pour hot drinks into a mug to warm hands while sipping
  • Layer up and wear wool socks to avoid getting chilled
  • Bring a thermos of hot soup or cider to share
  • Transport hot foods in insulated containers
  • Wrap susceptible foods like bread in plastic wrap then foil
  • Pick foods you can easily eat with gloves on
  • Wear an extra pair of socks in case your feet get wet
  • Bring hand and foot warmers for instant warmth
  • Carry an insulated shopping bag for food transport
  • Set up near trees, hills, or structures to block wind
  • Pick a sunny spot to soak up warming rays
  • Bring a flashlight or headlamp if staying until dusk

Don’t let cold weather stop you from enjoying picnic fun outdoors. With some preparation and the right gear, you can have a cozy, warm, and delicious winter picnic, even on Manitoulin Island. Just dress accordingly, choose the right foods and drinks, and scout the optimal location. Before you know it, you’ll forget you’re picnicking in winter at all!

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