Dining out doesn’t have to mean going to a restaurant. Long before the age of Resy and QR code menus, people enjoyed meals outside the home with nothing but a blanket and a stocked basket—and today, picnics are experiencing a resurgence, thanks to a boost from Gen Z.
As Smithsonian reports, the humblest form of al fresco dining has exploded on social media. On Pinterest alone, searches for picnic date ideas have grown by 385 percent since last year. Looking up picnic on TikTok and Instagram brings up idyllic images of friends enjoying wine and charcuterie boards on velvet cushions—a major upgrade from the gingham-printed, ant-infested picnics many of us are used to.
The start of the picnic boom can be traced back to 2020. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting friends outdoors was the safest way to socialize, and picnics filled the void left by shuttered restaurants. But the return of indoor dining hasn’t done much to hurt the trend: It has remained popular enough to spur a wave of luxury picnic companies that will provide a gourmet spread for you in addition to flowers, candles, and furnishings. And picnickers don’t need to splurge to hop on the bandwagon; all that’s required to participate is a blanket and a trip to the supermarket.
The location of your picnic outing is just as important as the menu. National parks, beaches, and sculpture gardens are some of the most picturesque spots to dine outdoors. After packing your basket with the right supplies, head to one of these perfect picnic destinations.