You’ll find our Family Adventure Island is the perfect spot to have a picnic after spending time enjoying Whitewater Rafting, Zipline Courses, or the Ropes Challenge Course. Take the trip over the 150-foot suspension bridge and grab a spot at one of our picnic tables to set up. We have barbeque grills available for the cooking pro in your family. The rest of the family can enjoy a competitive game of bean bag toss, which we have on-site. Kids can head on over to the playground to engage their imagination.
If you plan to picnic while you’re here at Rafting in the Smokies, we have some tips that will certainly help you out.
Eat first if you can
If you plan to store your items in the car, keep in mind that a closed car can be as much as 20 degrees warmer than outside. Even if you crack the windows, it will only help a little. Penny Klatell, PhD, RN, shares some great tips on how long items can stay unrefrigerated. If you need to store them in a car, she offers a great idea: put food into the cooler frozen and allow it to defrost.
Separate the soggy
If you plan to bring a salad, don’t combine the salad dressing until you are making the salad at the picnic area. Keep those elements separated until you are ready to eat. If you want an alternative to lettuce, try a vinegar-based pasta salad.
The same concept goes when you’re making sandwiches. Peanut butter and bread do fine, but add jelly and you might find a soggy patch. Resealable plastic containers make great travel companions to store liquid or less solid elements.
Keep crushable items in ziplock
Who wants to eat chip crumbs? If you use a ziplock bag to store opened potato chips or other types of crushable foods, put them in a ziplock bag so you can keep them along with some air. This gives you more storage freedom and the extra air gives them a bit of extra padding.
Keep a timer and an ice pack
Perishable items like mayonnaise and eggs don’t bode well for picnics because they don’t last long in the heat. If you have to keep them, it will probably be best to have them along with an ice pack. Ice itself will melt down and lose form, but ice packs will, at least, keep their form. If you can’t remember how long the food has been out, keep a running timer that can stay with the food while you are enjoying Rafting in the Smokies.
Watch and wash those utensils
Cross-contamination is something you don’t want to experience on your trip. Make sure you keep prep items separate from those you plan to eat with and then clean them afterwards or bring disposable items. We like items you can clean and reuse, because it’s much better for the environment. Sistema Plastics makes phthalate and BPA-free plasticware including a cutlery set (knife, fork, spoon, and chopsticks) that comes in a bunch of different colors. They come with a carrying case, making them easy to store. Or you could go the biodegradable route. A few brands to check out (most are available on Amazon) are Eco-Products, World Centric, and Repurpose.
Don’t bring soda
Soda brings about sticky messes, bees, and more. Bring partially frozen bottles of water or a collapsible water bottle like Vapur makes. They are manufactured in the USA, but watch out if you don’t buy direct as there are numerous of rip-offs. Water is going to help you keep hydrated, as you will probably not notice yourself sweating while navigating the Upper Pigeon River. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, there are plenty of flavor enhancers you can get at the store.
Bringing your own food on adventure trips doesn’t have to be a chore (or a bore!), so keep this list handy for your picnic experience while you’re at our Family Adventure Island. If you have some more ideas for picnicking, whether it be recipes or tips, send them our way on Facebook or Twitter!