An Autumn Afternoon Picnic

Warm colors of crunchy leaves drift from treetops to the green grassy ground. Cloudy skies are likely while setting up for an afternoon in the park. But, who’s that stopping? Not you! Sweater weather doesn’t necessarily mean the end of picnic season. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest — Warm weather only lasts a few months of the year and when fall arrives, it's just another opportunity to appreciate the outdoors.

Picnicking Tips

An aesthetically pleasing environment full of fall colors, like that in your local park or backyard, is a perfect backdrop for a cozy picnic. It’s a simple way to enjoy the change in weather and warm seasonal colors (like leaves) while doing what you already have to do— Eating! Pack up your favorite fall recipes along with classic picnic snacks like sandwiches and pasta salads. Dining al fresco this way might mean packing a bunch of blankets and perhaps an umbrella or canopy. 

For fall picnicking especially, these tips and tricks should come in handy:

  • Bundle up! It’s all about layers.
  • Head to a park with a lake, stream, or other body of water for extra wildlife to watch
  • Bring all the best gear: like blankets, totes, baskets, and all purpose wooden cutting boards
  • Keep it eco-friendly with real dishes and cutlery (and don’t forget to pack your trash on the way out!)
  • Use thermoses for hot cocoa, cider, and coffee

Park and picnic activities like those with frisbees are fun too— Or bring out your inner child and jump in those piles of colorful leaves!

Autumn Picnic Recipes

Picnic recipes like make-ahead salads and sandwiches are perfect for the fall season! Hearty salad bases like a roasted root vegetable salad or kale salad don’t wilt over a few hours, and can be served chilled or room temperature. Picnics are a great opportunity to cater to multiple people with different tastes, too. Pack a bunch of small sacks for a variety of diet preferences. Just don’t forget that cute picnic basket to pack it all in!

Consider some of these ideas for autumn picnic recipes:

Picnic-Perfect Chopped Kale & Squash Salad


  • ½ bunch lacinato kale, shredded
  • ½ bunch curly kale, shredded
  • 2 cups roasted butternut squash
  • 1 green apple, thinly sliced or diced
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, chopped


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • Generous pinch salt and ground black pepper


  1. Add all ingredients for dressing to a small mason jar and shake with the lid on until smooth and emulsified.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine and coat the salad with the dressing. Store in an airtight container and serve chilled or room temperature.