Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Location, Location, Location

If you can spare the extra time, it's wise to head to the park a half hour early. That way, you can scope out a spot with the prettiest grass and the best view, situated an ideal distance from a bathroom ("close enough, but not too close"). Consult a park map online to narrow down your options, and steer clear of areas with bloom-heavy plants that attract bees. Once you've staked your claim, invite your fellow feasters: Use a map app to send a dropped pin via text message to guide them to your spot.

Grocery Gourmet
Make the meal feel special without cooking a thing: Just pick a theme when you hit the supermarket and stick to it. These three fun menus let you get a little fancy—not fussy.

French Épicerie
Baguette (buy one for every four people); Camembert (two ounces per person); sliced salami and prosciutto (at the deli get three slices—about an ounce—of each meat per person); olives and cornichons; fresh fruit like grapes, cherries, plums or strawberries (slices of Camembert and strawberry on a baguette make a decadent sandwich) and a chocolate bar or two.

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Mediterranean Market

A dozen dolmades—grape leaves stuffed with mint, herbs and rice (find them at the olive bar or look for the jarred kind packed in olive oil); spreads like hummus, pesto, baba ghanoush or olive tapenade (in the pickle aisle); tabbouleh (in the bulk deli salad case or near the hummus); pita bread and wedges of baklava (check the bakery).

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Farm Stand

Artisanal cheeses (choose one cow's milk, one sheep's and one goat's for variety; two ounces of each per person is plenty), crackers, honeycomb or honey (chunks of honeycomb are great for spreading on cheese and crackers, or you can drizzle honey over a cheese wedge), hazelnuts, easy-to-eat produce like sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes and fresh pastries.

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Make a Quick Getaway

Keep a roomy tote or basket stocked with picnic essentials—plates and cutlery, napkins, salt and pepper, and a bottle opener, plus sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a trash bag for cleanup—and you'll always be ready to go. To take your outing to the next level, try these nifty accessories:

Water-Resistant Blanket
Hanel and friends swear by the Pendleton Glacier Roll-Up Blanket ($299;, a deluxe model with a snap-off, waxed-cotton bottom. To weatherproof any blanket in a pinch, bring a few yoga mats to place underneath. Spacewise, plan for nine square feet per picnicker.

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Cutting Boards

A few small ones can do triple duty as cheese and charcuterie boards, slicing surfaces for bread and reliable resting spots for drinks.

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Knife with Guard

The sheath protects the blade and makes it safe to carry in your bag. Use the knife—the authors' favorites are Kuhn Rikon (from $10;—for slicing bread and cheese, sharing fruit and cutting pies or cakes.

Illustration: Alessandra Olanow

Fit to a Tea

A few of our favorite brand-new brews.

Fizzy: Lipton Sparkling Peach Iced Tea
A bubbly beverage that will charm even die-hard soda fans. ($1.50 for 12-ounce can; Kroger stores)

Fruity: Pure Leaf TeaHouse Collection Fuji Apple & Ginger Green Tea
Slightly sweet, with fresh apple and ginger notes. ($2.50 for 14-ounce bottle; for stores)

Tropical: The Republic of Tea Organic Mango Coconut Water Iced Tea Pouches
These large bags yield quart-size pitchers with a coconut water base. ($8 for eight-pouch tin;