July is National Picnic Month. What better way to celebrate the summer than with a picnic! Charlotte and the surrounding area is filled with beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. Grab the family, pack a picnic, and plan a day together. It’s a great time to enjoy fresh air and good food in a gorgeous setting!
Before you pack the cooler or make some potato salad for your picnic, let’s take a moment to talk safety. Nothing ruins a picnic quicker than bad food, bugs, and the result of eating something that has “turned.” Keep these things in mind when you plan your picnic:
● Check to see if the park has a water source like a bathroom so everyone can wash their hands before digging in. If not, bring bottles of water or moist wipes.
● Bring a plastic tablecloth to put down over the table. Wipe it clean before you put food on it, and after you’ve put the food away again.
● If you’re grilling at the park, make sure all raw meat is wrapped securely before packing it in the cooler. Cross contamination can create nasty surprises later.
● During your picnic, keep food covered to keep bugs out of it.
● Pack some utensils for eating and others for serving. Don’t use the same for both.
● Keep cold foods cold with ice and ice packs. Also keep cold food in the refrigerator until the last minute before you pack it up. Make sure you use an insulated cooler, as well.
● Keep hot foods hot. Cook meats to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees. Reheat meat to 165 degrees. Bring a meat thermometer to help.
● Don’t leave food out in the heat for more than an hour on days hotter than 90 degrees. If the day is breezy and cooler, you can extend that to two hours.
● Pack non-perishable foods instead of mayonnaise-heavy foods and baked sweets that can go bad in the heat. Think potato chips, whole fruits, and cookies.
Where to Picnic in Charlotte
Before you pack for your picnic, the first thing to do is to decide where to go. Some locations offer picnic pavilions while other locations are more of the blanket-on-grass set-up.
Romare Bearden Park: Bring your blanket and your picnic basket and set up on the grass at Romare Bearden Park. It’s a great green space for playing, enjoying the view, or reading. It’s across the street from BB&T Ballpark so you might even hear a bit of the ballgame, depending on when you go.
Freedom Park: Ever had a picnic by a pond? Head to Freedom Park and you can. It’s great for biking or simply playing outside with the kids.
Lake Norman State Park: You’ll have a choice of three picnic areas at Lake Norman State Park. The park also provides restrooms, tables, and grills so you can make it a party for the whole family.
Jetton Park: The 104 acres at Jetton Park give you plenty of room to spread out. Choose a shaded picnic space for lunch and then enjoy the trails, playground, or public beach area for the rest of the day.
Independence Park: When you go to Independence Park, you don’t even have to pack a picnic. The park is close to three restaurants. You can order your lunch instead and save yourself some hassle. Eat outside in the picnic shelters and let the kids enjoy the playground.
Before you head out to a picnic or any other family fun this summer, even if you're not going very far, make sure you and your family are covered. Give us a call so that we can review your current auto insurance policy with you to make sure that you've got enough coverage.