Thrifty Valentine's Day Ideas: Variations on a Picnic

by Kim Merrikin, Seattle Goodwill
February 8, 2015

Here in the great Pacific Northwest, there are thousands of outdoor places you can go. Even when the weather disagrees, many parks have wonderful gazebos and covered areas—and often a wooded area is enough protection from the northwest mist to have a wonderful experience outside. Adding a date and food to the outdoor adventure is a no-brainer!

You can get whatever basic picnic supplies you may be missing from your local Goodwill—like a picnic basket, a blanket to spread out, or reusable food containers. We advise bringing foods that don’t need to be warm—and definitely pack an ice pack for items that need to stay cool.

In an earlier Thrifty Valentine’s Day Idea post we talked about the Ferry Picnic—here are two more variations you can put on the classic picnic to add a little fun to your day!

You might want to ditch the picnic basket for a sturdy backpack for this adventure—but Goodwill has those, too! Pack up an easily assembled/transported breakfast. It can be as simple as cereal and milk—or you can try some overnight oatmeal recipes! Bring a tarp or tarp-lined picnic blanket—as the ground is often dewy in the morning—and a blanket you can wrap up in. Find an accessible (and safe for early morning twilight) hiking trail that leads to a wonderful spot to watch the sunrise. Remember, the sun will be rising around 7:15 am on Valentine's Day, the sun rises in the east, and it’ll likely be pretty chilly! Get plenty of rest the night before—it’ll be an early morning! (And if you’re not a morning person, consider turning the sunrise hike into a sunset hike and heading west instead of east!)

One fun twist on the classic picnic is to add a little swank to your feast. You can add a little gourmet flare to your feast by bringing things like cured meats, and hard cheeses that hold up a little better with an ice pack instead of in the refrigerator. Bring stemware, silverware, real (non-disposable) dishes, cloth napkins—and maybe even a tablecloth if there will be a table available! Dress up for the occasion, and invite your date (or your group) to do the same! If you’re going for an elegant Valentine’s Day—or popping the question, consider asking a close friend or two to be a part of your special day and act as your host and server for the evening!

We hope the weather holds up for you—and enjoy your thrifty Valentine’s Day!

This is part of a series on Thrifty Valentine's Day Date Ideas. For more ideas, click here: Valentine's Day


Kim fancies herself a professional communicator. She has experience in writing, graphic design, and social media, and is always looking to expand her knowledge base into other fields of communication. She loves people, coffee & Seattle (including the rain).

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