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A Simple Menu for the Perfect Fall Picnic

Autumn is the best time for picnics! Cool temperatures, colorful leaves, and fewer bugs and pests make for a terrific setting. So let's pull on our sweaters and get out there! We've got a game plan to make your fall picnic perfect.

Picnic Stuff in the Back of the Truck

Pack up for the picnic | Photo by Meredith

Fall Picnic Menu

Enjoy the changing of the season with a hearty autumn picnic. We've gathered together a fall-friendly menu featuring comforting soup, a gourmet sandwich, seasonal dessert, and simple snack.

Picnic Prep

The night before your picnic, make these simple preparations:
Grill or pan-fry chicken for sandwiches. Assemble sandwiches and refrigerate.

Make a seasonal dessert -- It's apple season! And you can't go wrong with apple bar cookies. Make and bake a batch of each at the same time. Let them cool overnight and cut in the morning.

Clean out and prepare a cooler or backpack. Stow sandwiches and any cold snacks or beverages in the fridge to chill overnight. Make or buy ice. Clean out the thermos so it is ready to fill in the morning.

Put ingredients for a fall soup in the slow cooker. Instead of cooking it on HIGH for 4 hours and LOW for 2 hours, just turn the dial to low right before bedtime, and cook while you sleep. Pour it into thermos in the morning.

Stock a galvanized tub or cooler with seasonal drinks. Break out the hard cider, pumpkin ale, or Oktoberfest beers.

Mix up some snacks. Trail or party mixes always tastes better when they're made from scratch. Also, a simple cheese board with crackers, fruit, chutneys, and assorted cheeses is always a winner in autumn.

For more ideas on pulling off the perfect autumn picnic, check out how to Create a Stylish Go Anywhere Anytime Picnic Kit, which includes tips on building a grab-and-go picnic kit.

Apple Butter Bars

See how to make these simple apple bars featuring apple butter, apple pie spice, and plump raisins.


On the morning of the picnic, you're in good shape. Cut your cookie bars and pack them in zip-top plastic bags or foil. Pack a cooler with ice and rearrange foods so everything stays cold. And fill up your Thermoses with hot soup.

Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup

Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup | Photo by TTV78

Perfect Picnic Strategies

To enjoy autumn colors, drive the scenic back roads and rural routes. Getting there is half the fun.

Pick your perfect picnic spot. If the terrain is hilly, search out a high spot where the views are panoramic and set up your picnic. Check out national parks and local open space areas with walking or hiking trails. Pack your picnic in a backpack and hike to a scenic spot.

Picnic in the park. If you're staying in town, walk, bike, or take the bus to a local park and enjoy your picnic there. Sign up for a guided bus tour of a popular leaf-peeping route.

Scrapbook the memories. Have the kids collect different kinds of leaves to press and keep in a scrapbook. Bring along a pocket-size guide of local outdoor plants to help identify leaves. Lightweight binoculars come in handy, too, and remember to pack your camera and a waterproof picnic blanket.

Fall treats on the picnic table

Fall treats on the picnic table | Photo by Meredith

Check out our collection of Picnic Recipes.


15 Easy and Impressive Picnic Recipes
7 Winning Recipes for a Romantic Picnic
6 Scrumptious Rice Salads for Potlucks and Picnics
12 Prettiest Picture-Perfect Pies for Your Picnic
These 7 New Twists on Potato Salad Are the Pride of the Picnic

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