6 Mother’s Day Picnic Ideas If Traditional Brunch Isn’t Her Thing

Head to a local park or the backyard to treat Mom to a good old-fashioned Mother's Day picnic. All you need is a sunny spot, sandwiches, and sides.

Mother's Day celebrations don't need to be in a fancy restaurant or require an elaborate homemade brunch. You can share a meal with mom that's decidedly less work and more relaxed. Head to a local park or meet up in the backyard to treat Mom to a good old-fashioned picnic. All you need is a sunny spot and our menu of summery sandwiches and sides. Here are seven tips for a fun Mother's Day picnic.

picnic side view
Carson Downing

1. Send an Invitation

Make this picnic extra special by sending her an invitation to join you for lunch. Craft your own paper invite and include a heartfelt Mother's Day quote, or repurpose one of our last-minute printable Mother's Day cards into a pretty invitation.

3. Bring a Basket

The key to a good picnic is a cute-yet-functional picnic basket to hold your sandwiches, chips, and cookies. If you'll be traveling to a park or beach, be sure to choose a sturdy basket with a lid that securely closes. For a truly Instagram-worthy setup, add a pretty patterned dishtowel and mini bottles of champagne.

4. Personalize with Pillows

Create a restaurant-style ambiance yourself! In addition to the typical picnic blanket, add a few bright throw pillows as well. Go with a classic summer print or opt for something more subtle, like solid tasseled outdoor pillows.

5. Make It Eco-Friendly

If you're individually wrapping your sandwiches, consider using beeswax wraps to hold them together so the fillings don't fall out. The coating is naturally tacky so it seals tightly, and is much less wasteful than using individual zip-top plastic bags. They're easy to make yourself, and mom can take the leftover wraps to reuse in her kitchen.

We also suggest packing eco-friendly flatware that you can toss after the picnic (the fewer things you take back into your house, the better). Slide folded napkins and compostable flatware like wooden disposable utensils into paper snack bags, then fold the bags and secure them with decorative washi tape for a special touch.

6. Keep the Menu Simple

Don't go overboard on the menu: Mom will appreciate your time the most, so stick to a few simple (and delicious) recipes. Easy sandwiches, a quick bean salad, and a sweet dessert are all you need for the perfect summer spread.

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Pack a Pair of Sandwiches

Spicy Three-Meat Picnic Hero
Andy Lyons

Sandwiches are easy to make and eat, so they're perfect for a picnic. To max out on fillings, slice Italian-style baguettes lengthwise, leaving one edge attached, then hollow out the centers. Our Spicy Three-Meat Sandwiches are always a hit.

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Three-Bean Salad

Three-Bean Salad with Tahini-Lime Dressing
Blaine Moats

Our Three-Bean Salad with Tahini-Lime Dressing is a summer-focused refresh of bean salad. It travels well and tastes best made ahead. Even after dressing, the salad will hold up to 24 hours so you can start prepping this Mother's Day lunch a day ahead of time.

In-season green beans, corn, and cilantro mixed with edamame and garbanzo beans (or any other canned beans you like) are the base of this dish. We recommend transporting this in a travel container over ice.

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Single-File Sweets

Cream Pie Whoopie Pies
Blaine Moats

For a delicious dessert that's easy to take and serve, pack wrapped whoopie pies in a loaf pan to keep them from getting squashed during transit. Fancier than plain cookies and easier to tote than cupcakes, these cakey cookies sandwiched with fluffy marshmallow filling elevate any picnic. We pushed this handheld dessert a step further with mix-and-match flavors inspired by our favorite diner cream pies: Our Cream Whoopie Pie recipe has four scrumptious flavor variations (lemon cream, double chocolate, banana cream, and strawberry cream), so take your pick or try them all.

To cut down on mess, you can also trim a food-safe paper treat bag to a 5-inch square and place one pie inside.

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