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Are You Ready for National Picnic Day?

Check out these reader favorites and try something new April 23rd

There's nothing quite like dining al fresco. And now is the time to enjoy the great outdoors in Southwest Florida.

In this special reader input edition of èBella èXtra, readers share their favorite picnic spots, the most important items in their picnic baskets and the most unusual items — and belive us, some of the itmes truly are unusual, but might be fun to try!

We hope you get some good ideas for your next picnic, whether it's on National Picnic Day April 23rd or not.

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Lunch with Mother Nature

Picnicking is the order of the day this April 23

by Kathy Grey

Here’s another reason to love Friday: Friday, April 23, is National Picnic Day.

         

Picnics let us indulge in food and outdoor ambiance with friends and family. Al fresco dining also gives us a chance to excuse ourselves from our daily tedium, taking in fresh air and camaraderie as we tuck into a basket of culinary wonders, sip something sublime and finish the occasion over a game of Frisbee or dice, depending on the crowd. 

Picnicking is a savory experience in and of itself — something to which several readers attest. Here’s what some had to say about how they picnic in Southwest Florida.

 

Favorite picnic spot: Bear Island in Big Cypress Preserve

Most important in your picnic basket: A bag to bring trash home — pack it in/pack it out!

Most unusual item: A tiny tin of Jacobsen’s salt pyramid crystals made from evaporated seawater in coastal Oregon

~ Stephanie Spell

 

Favorite picnic spot: On a boat on the Gulf of Mexico

Most important in your picnic basket: An ice pack to keep everything cool

Most unusual item: dog food for my pup

~ Debra Frenkel

 

My favorite picnic spot is our backyard.

~ Maggie Grey

 

“The most important item in my picnic basket is a garbage bag, so when we’re done enjoying nature, we’ve left it as we found it!”
~ Laura Lafakis

 

Favorite picnic spot: Sanibel Causeway

Most important in your picnic basket: Deviled eggs
Most unusual item: Pickled okra
~ Cindy Pierce

 

Delano Wiggins State Park is my favorite picnic spot.

~ Carolyn Kreckman

 

Favorite picnic spot: Page Field Airport park area, watching planes fly in

Most important in your picnic basket: Napkins
Most unusual item: A change of clothes
~ Pamela Hayford

 

Favorite picnic spot: Koreshan State Park

Most important in your picnic basket: Sunscreen
Most unusual item: A corkscrew
~ Stephanie Davis

 

Favorite picnic spot: Cayo Costa

Most important in your picnic basket: Water

Most unusual item: Cribbage board
~ Kathy Grey

 

Favorite picnic spot: Baker Park (either one of the secluded pavilions or a shady spot on the lawn).

Most important in your picnic basket: Baby wipes. Anyone with a toddler (or very messy adult) knows these are important for quick and easy cleanup.
Most unusual item: Change of clothes in a plastic bag, because it’s inevitable that some PB&J will land on a shirt … mine or my toddler’s.

~ Danalyn Cahill
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Favorite location: Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

Most important item: Sunscreen

Most unusual item: For children, fill a thermos with hot soup (or hot water), heat a wiener, tie a string around it and put the wiener in the soup with the string hanging over the edge of the thermos. Screw on the lid with the end of the string hanging outside the thermos. Works great with tomato soup.​

~ Marsha Litsinger

When my father used to visit from Wyoming, his favorite picnic spot was Delnor-Wiggins State Park because they have picnic tables and charcoal grills shaded by beautiful trees. The most important items in our picnic basket were charcoal and hot dogs, his absolute favorite food. The most unusual item was a backup pack of hot dog buns for when the racoons made off with the first pack behind our backs!

~ Sharon Hood

Favorite picnic spot: The last island at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River, accessible only by boat

Most important in your picnic basket: Adult beverages
Most unusual item: A seashell

~ Sal Dickinson

 

Favorite picnic spot: Koreshan State Park

Most important in your picnic basket: Water
Most unusual item: Marinated hearts of palm

~ Laura Ruane

Favorite picnic spot: Lighthouse Beach, Sanibel

Most important in your picnic basket: Key lime pie
Most unusual item: My journal

~ Tracy Haun Owens

 

Favorite picnic spot: Picnic area at Hickey’s Creek

Most important in your picnic basket: Mixed berries
Most unusual item: Prosecco

~ Rachel Burttram Powers

 

Favorite picnic spot: Blind Stump Pass, Englewood

Most important in your picnic basket: Crusty Italian bread
Most unusual item: Frozen Milky Way bars

~ Paul Edward Anarumo

 

Favorite picnic spot: The greenway at Baker Park at the east end of Central Avenue.

Most important in your picnic basket: Veuve Cliquot
Most unusual item: Hot oysters Rockefeller

~ Ivan Seligman

 

Favorite picnic spot: Sanibel Causeway

Most important in your picnic basket: Chips
Most unusual item: A book

~ Lynn Schneider

 

Favorite picnic spot: Captiva

Most important in your picnic basket: Water
Most unusual item: Ants!

~ Jan Neff

 

Favorite picnic spot: Vanderbilt State Park

Most important in your picnic basket: Sandwiches
Most unusual item: Marie’s dressing for sandwich spread

~ Michele Anderson

 

As the Adventurer in Chief of “Mostly Kids’ Guides,” I recommend a family picnic on Cayo Costa with a picnic basket you assemble yourself from the deli at Bailey’s General Store. It must include their signature Key lime pie. If you don’t have you own boat, take Captiva Cruises out of McCarthy’s Marina on Captiva or the iconic Tropic Star from Pine Island. There’s great shelling on the island’s pristine beaches and hiking trails. It’s great for a romantic, no-kids picnic, too.

~ Karen T. Bartlett

 

Favorite picnic spot: A quiet spot on the beach

Most important in your picnic basket: Trash bag
Most unusual item: Battery operated lights for added ambience

~ Bejay Rouse

 

Favorite picnic spot: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Most important in your picnic basket: Swiss army knife
Most unusual item: pay-it-forward token to leave with a new friend (I currently carry wooden inspiration inscribed nickels.)

~ Patti Monahan

 

Favorite picnic spot: Baker Park

Most important in your picnic basket: Napkins
Most unusual item: Playing cards

~Annalise Smith

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