A picnic is a fantastic way to get out and immerse yourself in nature. Eating outdoors is so enjoyable and relaxing that everyone should all think about doing it more often. What is not to love? The whole process of planning a delectable meal and sparkling sips, to packing the place-settings and decorative touches, to finally picking the perfect spot to unroll your favourite blanket.
It all sounds dreamy and Instagram’y in your mind but how do you find the grassy patch to stage your delicious spread on? The ultimate success of your picnic depends all about location, location, location!
How to Decide Where to Unpack Your Picnic
Whatever your requirements are, Metro Vancouver’s regional parks system has you covered with an amazing 14,500 hectares of forests, fields, rivers, and beaches. These natural spaces attract over 11 million visits each year!
And with Metro Vancouver’s 50th Anniversary Passport Program, you can add purpose to your summer picnics. The program challenges residents to visit various regional parks, earn stamps at each location, and turn those stamps into prizes. So, day-trippers should check out the list before planning an intimate picnic for two, an afternoon hiking with co-workers, or hosting this year’s family barbecue.
To get acquainted with the Passport Program, everyone is invited to visit the Metro Van website to download the app or find a list of locations where a physical passport can be found; you can also attend a community event and get a stamp while enjoying some great entertainment. Check out a few of the upcoming events around the region like Starry Night at Deas Island Regional Park, Country Celebration at the Campbell Valley Regional Park, and the Flashlight Mysteries at Surrey Bend Regional Park. There are 18 participating regional parks partaking where you can receive a stamp for visiting, earn rewards, and win prizes.
Packing an Effortless Picnic for Two
Whether you are popping by the deli counter at your local grocery or picking up a pre-ordered basket of sweet and savoury delights from Picnix or The Dirty Apron, what you pack is just as important as where you enjoy it.
Before heading out to Pacific Spirit Regional Park for an intimate picnic, pack the basics such as an assortment of nuts and fruits, dips, crackers/bread, olives and antipasto, tangy drinks and sparkling water, and chocolate. (No chocolate is definitely a deal-breaker!)
• Cold packs are important to ensure any green leafy salads, fruits and veg stay crisp.
• Use Mason jars for everything including tangy drinks, condiments/sauces, and fruity desserts. Not only adorable but environmentally friendly.
• Grab a few salt, pepper, and hot sauce packs from the grocery deli counter.
Packing for an High Energy Hike
Exploring a new trail with friends is a great way to experience Metro Vancouver Regional Parks! On top of packing proper boots, sunscreen, and water, what you eat while hiking is so important for maintaining your energy levels.
At your group’s rendezvous point, ensure that everyone has sufficient snacks to get through a few hours. Convenience is key and small boxes of dried fruits, fresh nuts, vegetables such as carrots and celery, small pre-cored apples, and granola bars are perfect. Save the hearty sandwiches and the sweets until after the hike as a just reward for an energetic afternoon!
The Capilano River Regional Park is perfectly suited for an afternoon reprieve as it has the option to reserve facilities for up to 44 persons, hiking trails, and free charging for electric vehicles at the Cleveland Dam parking lot. It also allows leashed dogs to accompany your group.
Hosting the Annual Family Barbecue
With lots of people comes lots of responsibility to ensure that everyone has a good experience, plenty of pics, and stories for next year. The Aldergrove Regional Park can accommodate up to 100 people in the Blacktail picnic shelter. The shelter is next to a large field for games and activities, easy access to parking and trails, water, and toilets.
All around are rolling meadows and mixed forests, and a formidable Mount Baker looms in the background. This park is not only awesome for big get-togethers, but for exploring by foot and bicycle. In the wetlands, you may see frogs, salamanders, and perhaps a beaver or two!
Reservations are mandatory and guidelines for cooking gear are outlined on the website and on location.
While this article covers only three locations for your immersive nature experience, there are 15 other parks participating in the passport challenge just waiting for you and your 50th Anniversary passport! Visit the Metro Vancouver website, step away from the usual, and set out to explore your way around the Lower Mainland.