A piña colada at a pool does not constitute a full meal or a picnic idea, but a picnic does not always have to be as traditional as a basket with wine and cheese. Instead you can opt for parks and local grub from a fresh market or your favorite neighborhood deli. What is in store for you this month: a romantic date? Solo break from work for creative brainstorming or family/ friends weekend outings? If you did not know, National Picnic Month is this month and we are all for it since we love packing a lunch, heading elsewhere from our sanctuaries and meeting our friends to share activities outdoors.

A picnic can imply a french park, french wine and french cheese; perhaps because the word picnic comes from the French word piquenique and the french know how to transport a baguette, wine, a blanket so easily and get themselves to a park and meet friends en route. In Miami, we can do as the french do in our own local way.

Planning the Menu

Let’s start with what to take: planning the menu can help make things easier. If you have all the ingredients at home you are one step ahead. Hummus, local veggies, broccoli sprouts, parchita, anything my friend Gaby decides is part of the superfood menu makes it in the basket and my friend Lyly brings the traditional picnic necessities: wine, cheese platter and homemade desserts so everyone is content. If your kitchen happens to be bare of picnic friendly items, go to your nearby deli and purchase from someone whose name you can learn, someone that will get to know your choice of sandwich. Depending on what you would like to eat and share with friends head to your local patisserie, pizzeria, donut shop and support the local community. Our tip: Daily Bread Marketplace for some of the fresh Middle Eastern eats in town.

Photo: EatingWell

How to Do it

Swap a traditional picnic basket and blanket for a beach bag and towel and head to where the wind blows; a park by the bay, to a boat, or any nice location in the city. The best part of having your meal resolved is enjoying it at one of our city’s beautiful parks. Take in the scenery along with your picnic kit. There are so many options in Miami: Gogo Fresh Food on the beach for empanadas and salads, Dirt has a couple of stores all over town. You could stop by La Sandwicherie or your go-to ceviche shop and take it to the beach. Another option is to take sushi and a mango to a park in Key Biscayne. You could take pasta in a thermos or truffle pizza, an açai bowl. It’s up to you and your picnic attendees to let your creativity shine for the menu; prepare or pick it up on the way and head to a peaceful location.

Photo: Heinen’s Blog

When’s a Good Time

Meet your friends after a yoga class to watch a sunset or get together to celebrate a mile stone in your lives. After Dharma’s free yoga classes at Peacock Park in the Grove on Tuesdays and Thursdays, perhaps? Include a picnic spread as part of the gathering. You will all enjoy the city even more if you have food on hand. If you happen to forget food while at the beach or a park, you might find a food truck nearby to help you out. We do love La Playa Market. If you are new in town and are joining a group for a class or meeting a new friend, always take snacks and your favorite drink. Mate is a shared drink for gatherings and it lets me express my Argentine heritage. We are all from somewhere else in Miami, so bring what gives you joy to your picnic.

Photo: seaturtleadventures.com

All about the Parks

You can set up a meal anywhere in town. Check out a local park for its tranquility and views: Alice Wainwright, Margaret Pace Park, Soundscape for a picnic and a film screening, on the steps of PAMM or at Vizcaya to name a few options. Toast to the city, enjoy the views, good company and sharing moments! Don’t accept plastic with your to-go orders; take your own utensils and keep cleaning our city’s parks.

Photo of South Pointe Park: Culture Trip

Cover photo: A Fancy Affair