Don’t let the cold weather scare you; embrace it instead! As long as you are properly prepared, winter picnicking is a rewarding and fun experience for the whole family.
Follow these simple tips and get outside to enjoy a winter feast with your family and friends.
Check the weather
Winter is fun time to be outside, but a cloudy, rainy, snowy or windy day is not the time for a picnic. There is plenty of sunshine in the winter, so choose a sunny day. You may need sunscreen, especially if there is snow on the ground reflecting the sun’s rays back up at you.
In the winter, you need appropriate warm, winter clothes. If you are cold, it is hard to enjoy yourself. If you are going to spend time outside in the winter months, invest in the right outdoor gear. Snow boots and snow pants that are waterproof are essential. Remember, you may be able to find what you need at local resale shops.
Wear plenty of layers. It is much easier to remove a layer if you are hot than it is to try and warm up after you have already gotten a chill.
Use a waterproof blanket or insulated seat cushions to help stay warm and dry. Whether you are throwing your blanket on the ground or finding a picnic table, you will be thankful for that extra layer between your butt and the cold surface.
It’s all about the food!
You can prepare any of your favorite lunchtime foods or plan for a warm meal. Put some hot soup, chili or stew in a Thermos. A warm dish like a casserole can be wrapped in tinfoil and then wrapped in a towel or blanket to keep it warm until it’s time to eat. If you have an insulated carrying bag that can help as well.
You can also plan to cook out for your winter picnic. Use a camping stove, a small transportable grill or picnic right in your back yard with your home grill. Of course, don’t forget a delicious dessert and some hot chocolate!
Clean up after yourself
Bring wipes or warm water in a Thermos and washcloths to clean your hands and face. And be sure to bring along a trash bag so you leave your dining area as nice as you found it.
Most importantly, enjoy!
A winter picnic is meant to be a fun experience, not something you need to do. If you are cold or feel unprepared, head inside. There is no reason for unpleasant memories or associations.
The Forest Preserve District of Will County has plenty of locations with beautiful vistas perfect for a winter picnic. You can also choose a site near one of the visitor centers so you can stop in to enjoy the friendly staff and cool exhibits — and warm up.
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