There are many, many aspects of the great outdoors to love, whether for you it entails a trail in the woods, your backyard, or your teeny-tiny city patio or fire escape.
Among our favorites? Everything. Gets. Easier. Sure, it also might get messier, but outside, solutions are always close at hand. Sticky from popsicles? Use the hose. Sticky from the gin and tonic you spilled on your leg? Take a bath in the kiddie pool. We also love that people’s expectations are lower; just being outside with you makes them happy. (The best picnics are arguably the happily chaotic ones with plenty of sangria and spritzers and people trading a fork for a plate and getting to know each other.)
Here are more ways to have fun outside right now.
Make it Casual
It’s simple enough to put everything on a tray and move outside when you’d like to share a meal outdoors, and even easier when you have dinnerware and glassware you don’t have to worry about breaking. Beyond the basics, try a colorful outdoor tablecloth, some nice votives in the evening, and a little something special to keep the wine well chilled—all small steps that can go a long way to making your space especially inviting.
Bring in Some Evening Heat
There’s something about gathering around the fire when the evenings get chilly (especially when you’re enjoying a s’more on a stick!) that makes a body think, “It doesn’t get better than this.” So consider a bonfire on the beach, a warm grill or one of the eight fire pits we have to choose among, then settle into a comfy chair and watch the flames lick away while sipping something warm or a frosty cocktail.
Serve Drinks & Appetizers Al Fresco
You don’t want to deal with little trays and lots of trips back and forth from inside to out. We promise. So break out the punch bowl or big pitcher for big-batch cocktails. Maybe they’re frozen and blended; maybe they involve a hands-off ice ring and a big bowl. You do you, buddy.
Looking for an inspiration or a theme? Consider any culture that takes months at a time off of work in order to recuperate. Think: France, Italy, Spain even Latvia! We love Italian cocktails, breezy and easy, and a simple aperitivo theme. Consider how marvelous antipasti under a big tree sounds.
Queue up the playlist to Spanish guitar, toss a handful of padrón peppers on the grill grate, and pour an icy glass of sangria. Three simple steps that will make any day spent outdoors feel like a party! Serve a collection of small plates with drinks throughout the day, or pass them at the table for a casual family-style meal.
Consider Outdoor Menus
Make it a Picnic
It doesn’t get much easier than a picnic. Almost anything can be a delight cold or room temperature: fried chicken; leftover pizza; honestly, whatever you’re craving. Spread out a blanket, open the cooler or basket and enjoy a simple meal in the fresh air. Consider beautiful reusable melamine plates, while you’re at it.
If you’re anything like us, any time you turn on your grill you’re reminded that it’s faster and simpler than you anticipated. (Also, is there any food more delicious than that with stripe marks?) Consider starting with a couple centerpieces on the classic grill menu, then let your preferences dictate. You can always make a bunch of easy sides and one compelling main dish. (Pro tip: Consider the potluck approach!)
Shrimp on the barbie, whole fish grilled in a basket, a glass of cold sangria in your hand. (As is true of tropical music and drinks, the right menu can conjure the ocean even when you’re not on the coast!) BYO paddle ball and cornhole and settle in for a day of grilled seafood and fun!