Planning the perfect picnic in the park

21/Jul/17 / 06:00

They say if you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. But let’s be honest – working full-time can put a damper on your summer when your kids are home on summer break while you’re lucky to catch a few rays walking from your car to the front door.
After a hard day’s work, we all deserve to kick back and relax. But before you settle yourself on the sofa with a bag of cheesy chips, text a friend or invite your family to some fresh air and good eats. You’ll feed two birds with one scone with a picnic in the park!

Fun in the Sun – Where to Go

Whether you’re happy to relax in the grass or looking for some adventure, there is no shortage of parks in Northern Illinois. Here are just a few unique venues for family friendly fun:

Independence Grove / 16400 W. Buckley Road, Libertyville
Between canoeing and kayaking, pedal boats and paddleboards, fishing, biking, swimming, and playing on the playground, you and the kids will have no trouble working up an appetite at Independence Grove! Plan a picnic dinner and a show on Tuesdays at 7:30pm – Summer Concert entertainment lineup and dates.


Fox Lake Park District
Take a tour of Fox Lake’s scenic parks! All parks are equipped with picnic tables and playground equipment – not to mention fun events throughout the summer and other activities including bike paths, sand volleyball, baseball and basketball. View locations and all upcoming events.


Pottawatomie Park / 8 North Avenue, St. Charles
This riverside park in St. Charles is full of recreational activities for the whole family, including miles and miles of scenic bike trails ranging between 1.3 miles to 14+ miles. Pick a path and find your perfect picnic spot! Guide to St. Charles Park District Bike Trails.


Shorewood Park / 235 Evelyn Avenue, Loves Park
For a unique picnic experience, plan a trip to Shorewood Park where you’ll enjoy theatrical, acrobatic, and entertaining performances with your meal. Every Wednesday and Friday at 7 p.m. until Labor Day, the Rockford Ski Broncs Waterski Show Team perform free shows for visitors. Check the Updated information and show cancellations.


Picnic Prep – What to Bring

Whether you’re surrounded by playgrounds or in your own back yard, all you truly need for picnic success is food, friends, and a few picnic essentials:

  • Basket, bag, or cooler to carry food and drinks
  • Blanket and chairs
  • Plates, cups, utensils, and napkins
  • Food and drinks (bring plenty of water on a hot summer’s day!)
  • Sunscreen, hats, and bug spray
  • Flashlight for evening picnics

You may also want to bring:

  • Bottle opener, cutting board, knife
  • Salt and pepper, other condiments
  • A deck of cards or other games


Summer Eats

Planning the perfect picnic is easy with these tasty recipes from our very own Director of Nutrition Programs and Executive Chef Jen Lamplough: