Picnic Like a Pro: Plan and Pack the Perfect Texas Picnic

Plan the perfect picnic with Texas caterer Vestals Catering

 

Is there anything better than getting outdoors to enjoy a Texas summer picnic? Talk about one of life’s simple pleasures – especially when you know exactly what and how to perfectly pack for it! 

Whether you’re going lakeside, sprawling out in one of many stunning Texas parks or botanical gardens, packing a picnic for a summer concert series, or throwing a big outdoor event, we’ve got the best picnic-packing tips to help you soak up the sun with style, ease, and taste.

Planning and packing the perfect picnic

There are a few things to consider when planning for and packing an outdoor picnic. After all, the whole, throw-some-sandwiches-in-a -picnic-basket-and-call-it-a-day-thing just isn’t going to cut it.

We do have to get practical here and think about things like how to pack your picnic foods in the first place. Plus, we know how toasty the summer sun can get in Texas, and the idea of bugs, food poisoning, or birds making off with your beautiful picnic spread? 

No thanks… not on our watch.

Tips for packing a perfect picnic:

Keep your picnic foods fresh

We know picnic baskets have a cute vibe, but keeping your picnic foods fresh is a top priority for outdoor eating. So, let’s talk about your picnic packaging – how to seal in the freshness of your foods and how to carry all your goodies to your dream picnic destination. 

For starters, you’re going to want something to keep your food cold, A cooler is a great idea for a hot summer day — but not just any cooler. You’ll need it big enough to fit food, utensils, plates, bowls, napkins, drinks, cups, etc. Things can get heavy pretty fast when picnic packing (at least, it does when you pack the good stuff). 

Here’s our recommendation: ditch the basket and spring for a backpack-style cooler. It’s functional, easy to carry, simple to pack, and will help keep your picnic food fresh all day. 

Plan a swoon-worthy picnic menu

Now for the most important part of picnic packing… the food, of course! Planning a menu for your elegant outdoor adventure doesn’t have to be difficult, but it also doesn’t have to be boring – not with our Texas catering expertise to guide the way. 

It’s important to consider what types of foods are best for picnicking when planning your menu. 

Can it be out in the sun and still taste amazing? 

Can it be easy to eat, low mess, and high quality, all at the same time? 

When your picnic menu is planned right, absolutely!

We recommend opting for simplicity and safety without sacrificing taste (of course).

(Sorry to melty, tough to cut, or easily spoiled foods…that leaves you out.)

Here’s some inspiration for picnic foods to reach for: 

  • Finger foods are a must (vegetables, pre-cut fruits, sliced meats, crackers, cheese, etc.)
  • Wraps, sandwiches, and pinwheels 
  • Lots of dips (hummus, guacamole, spinach artichoke, pimento, salsa… what’s more fun than a vast array of delicious dips?)
  • Coleslaws
  • Kabobs 
  • Salads of all kinds 
  • Muffins and bagels
  • Handheld desserts (cookies, brownies, lemon bars)
  • Individual jars of pudding, mousse, or parfaits
  • Pies or cakes
  • Summery, refreshing drinks (sparkling water, lemonade, sangria, white wine)

Keeping things flavorful and fun with fresh, seasonal ingredients is key to satisfying picnic goers — even the picky ones —  and setting up a successful picnic event. 

Psst… this is definitely where we can come in. As experts from getting prepared food from point A to point B, we can manage every bit of logistics connected to your picnic — and make sure everything tastes delicious, holds well, and stands up to time (and heat).

We love getting creative with picnic packing, but we also know that not everyone loves the planning step as much as we do. So, let Vestals Catering take the menu planning off your hands! Planning a picnic for friends, loved ones, or at your company? We’d love to help curate the perfect picnic spread!

Reach out here to chat about curating a custom event, or check out our curated platters to-go – a convenient way to skip the hassle and pick up ready-made picnic platters with quality ingredients and excellent presentation.    

Picking the perfect Texas picnic spot

Location matters a lot when it comes to picnicking. From the type of vibe and atmosphere to the space itself and the shade opportunities, you’ll want to do some digging. However, from bustling to tranquil, Texas has plenty of scenic backdrops and fun spots to fit your summer picnic vibe, no matter what you’re looking for. 

Here are some of our favorite places to picnic in Texas

Dallas-specific picnic spots

  • White Rock Lake: Idyllic lake views, lush green spaces, and plenty of wildlife to watch are just a few reasons White Rock Lake is a popular Dallas picnic spot. 
  • Klyde Warren Park: Featuring a performance pavilion, food trucks, free events, and plenty of greenery, this park is perfect if you’re looking for a fun setting in the heart of downtown Dallas.

Austin-specific picnic spots

  • Zilker Park: Enjoy the Barton Springs Pool, playgrounds, open spaces, and botanical gardens for the perfect Austin picnic. 
  • Lady Bird Lake: It’s just as beautiful as it sounds! You can find both shaded and sunny picnic spots, while also taking advantage of the paddleboard or kayak rentals. 
  • Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve: The preserve is packed with tons of peaceful gardens and fun hiking trails to explore — plus you get to see some peacocks! 

Fort Worth-specific picnic spots

  • Fort Worth Botanical Gardens: Here you can find plenty of places to picnic, beautiful views, and serene settings among the botanicals.
  • Trinity Park: Find picnic pavilions, walking trails, and other activities for your picnic – kids will love the playgrounds and the duck pond, too. 
  • Timberview Farmstead: Join us for a picnic at our new non-profit teaching farm! You’ll find 26 gorgeous acres of climate-controlled barns, gardens, and animals — and hands-on experiences for all ages are waiting post-picnic.
 

Did you know that you can also bring the wholesome, sophisticated feel of a picnic into any event you’re planning? 

It’s true! Turn your special occasion into a dreamy, picturesque picnic party you (and your guests) won’t soon forget. Any wedding, company party, family reunion, or birthday celebration can harness the sun-kissed magic of a dreamy garden picnic, and Vestals Catering can help you plan and curate the perfect picnic menu! 

We can handle everything – the planning, the menu, the setup, and more – while you take the credit and share in the magic moments of a picnic-perfect occasion. 

Picture this: delicious finger foods guests can peruse, refreshing drinks to sip in sun or shade, and blankets or picnic tables set up for mingling and relaxing. 

Want to make your Texas-based celebration a more memorable event for everyone? 

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The Ultimate Austin Wedding (Advice from Your Go-To Austin Wedding Caterer)

Austin wedding caterer Vestals Catering

 

When it comes to being a Texas wedding caterer, there are few things we love as much as Austin. From the vibrant food scene (tacos, please!) and the live music to the outdoor spaces and the wedding venues, we always get extra excited when catering Austin weddings.

Whether it’s the location — easy to get to from around the state *or* by plane — the beauty of the landscape, or simply the options, Austin weddings have endless potential. If you’re planning a wedding in Austin, enjoy our ultimate guide (lovingly curated by your go-to Austin wedding caterer).

 

Where to get married in Austin (advice from your go-to Austin wedding caterer)


Wedding venues in Austin are everywhere (and then some). There are hundreds — not including private property weddings — and there’s a venue for every taste. From elegant churches and rustic barns to high-class ranches and industrial-chic buildings, you can find an Austin wedding venue you’ll absolutely love.

And, as a trusted Austin wedding caterer (we’ve catered hundreds of ATX weddings!), we’re lucky to work with some incredible venues. These are some of our very favorite Austin wedding venue partners:

Planning the weekend: Our Top Austin Recommendations

When you’re crafting a guest list for your wedding, it’s always a great touch to provide things to do — especially when you’re planning a wedding in a destination like Austin. From places to stay to things to do to places to eat, these are our favorite wedding guest recommendations for ATX:

Hotels To Stay in in Austin

There are tons of beautiful hotels in Austin, so this doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface — but we love these Austin hotels (and wedding guests do, too)!:

  • The Driskill: This iconic historical hotel was built in 1886 and is a famous, beautiful stay rich in Austin history and tons of cultural lore. Plus, it’s location on Brazos St. makes it central, easy to get to, and a top recommendation.
  • Hotel Saint Cecilia: Perched right behind the famous “i love you so much” mural, this intimate South Congress hotel was built in 1888 and honors the patron saint of music and poetry with gorgeous, elevated rooms and delicious food and beverages.
  • Four Seasons Austin: Located in the heart of downtown, the Four Seasons is a luxe, 5-star accommodation with stunning views of Lady Bird Lake and a medley of incredible amenities.
Things To Do in Austin

With over 320 square miles of space to call its own, to say there are an infinite amount of activities to do in Austin is an understatement. Here are a few of our favorite recommendations for Austin wedding guests, from food to eat to outdoor areas to explore.

  • Get outside: The green space in Austin is unmatched by the rest of Texas, so take advantage! Visit Zilker Park, cool off in Barton Springs, and take a walk down the Greenbelt. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, it’s always fun to paddleboard in Lady Bird Lake — and the views waiting for you in Dripping Springs are a stunning must-see. Hiking is everywhere in ATX and the surrounding areas for nature lovers, and the iconic Jacob’s Well is just a short 45-minute drive outside of the city!
  • Explore and shop South Congress: Austin’s South Congress is famous for a reason — and packed with tons of boutiques, food, coffee shops, live music, and places to see. 
  • Eat some delicious food: As a Texas caterer, it’s no secret we love food (duh) — and that’s part of the reason why we love Austin so much. You can’t go wrong with almost any choice in the city, but we’re partial to BBQ at Franklin BBQ, margaritas at De Nada Cantina, tacos at Veracruz, a beer at Jester King, and a fresh smoothie at Juiceland.

Making your Austin wedding menu

As a top wedding caterer in Austin, one of our favorite things to do is weave the vibrant city and culture into each catering menu. If you’re looking for ways to bring a little Austin into your wedding food, we have you covered. Here are a few ideas (all of which we can help you implement into a custom wedding menu)

  • Try out some funky Texas fusion dining: There’s something extra special about leaning into eclectic culture when you’re hosting an Austin wedding, which is why we can have tons of fun with a funky custom menu. Try out an Asian-Texan fusion dining experience, a family-style menu rich in Texas flavors (and beyond), or have a midnight snack of sopapillas, chips, and salsa.
  • Spin some Texas into your drink menu: Make Texas part of your bar offerings with Lone Star companies like Tito’s, Lone Star, Shiner, and Deep Eddy — and try out Texan-esque cocktails and mocktails like craft margaritas, pecan pie espresso martinis, and peach ranch waters.
  • Build a fully custom menu with Vestals Catering: Our full-service wedding catering process pairs you with a wedding specialist to craft a personalized, delicious menu true to you — and to your Austin wedding roots! We’ve planned menus for many weddings in Austin, and would love to cater yours next. 

We cater weddings across Texas, from Austin and Fort Worth to Dallas and beyond — and we’re here when you’re ready to chat about your vision, your goals, and your menus.

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