Eek! Somehow it’s mid-August already. Before you know it, you’ll be preparing to fall back into the school routine and those dreaded early morning tantrums. So before the lazy days of summer become just a distant memory, drop everything, get outside and pack in as much summer as you possibly can. Read on for 35 fun and easy ideas to make your family’s last days of summer as memorable as the first.


photo: Helen Walker Green

1. Let your pint-sized daredevil climb rope ladders, walk over swinging bridges and zip line through the trees at these challenge courses.

2. We’re psyched about bikes: ride the trails at Duthie Hill Bike Park or saddle up for Bicycle Sunday.

3. Pet the pigs, sheep and goats at a nearby farm park.


photo: Allison Sutcliffe

4. Hike, swim and picnic around Rattlesnake Lake.

5. Take one last splash in the wading pools around Seattle and the Eastside before they close after Labor Day.

6. Dine at the newly remodeled Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the Seattle waterfront. Psst! Your kids will love their World-Famous Fish ‘n Chips and you will love the House-Smoked Bacon Wrapped Halibut.

ivars acres of clams

photo: Kristina Moy

7. Head to the Olympic Peninsula and go on a banana slug safari in the Hoh Rainforest, paddle a boat on Lake Crescent, soak in Sol Duc Hot Springs or explore low tide at Dungeness Spit.

8. Rent a cabin at one of these picturesque state parks or try yurt camping.

9. Throw in the towels and head to Jetty Island, just a 30-minute drive north of Seattle.

jetty island_jana ablin

photo: Jana Ablin

10. Explore the Center for Wooden Boats, Ballard Locks and Lake Union Park without spending a dime.

11. Head to Agua Verde for lunch or dinner and reserve kayaks for a before or after meal paddle around the lake.

12. Put on your superhero cape and zip line your way through this newly renovated park and playground.


photo: Helen Walker Green

13. Pack a picnic lunch and find your zen at one of these botanical gardens.

14. Catch the last of the Sounds of Summer Concert series at University Village. Psst! Don’t miss the fun crafts and activities for kids while you’re there.

15. Even though the waterfront is still under construction, the businesses are open and there’s plenty do—Seattle Aquarium, Ye Old Curiosity Shop, Miners Landing, Seattle Great Wheel—along with fountains to explore and games to play along the way.

shuffleboard waterfront

photo: Kristina Moy

16. Cool off with a a bowl of shave ice or let your taste buds relax in the comforts of island-inspired cuisine at our favorite Hawaiian restaurants.

17. Ride the kiddie amusement park rides at Remlinger Farms.

18. Experience the new high-tech venue at Westfield Southcenter. It’s a blast!

round one bowling 116

photo: Kristina Moy

19. Introduce your little one to bubble tea. It’s chewy, it’s slurpable, it’s creamy, it’s sweet—it’s all the things kids love!

20. Take your budding marine biologists to the beach to explore the tide pools.

21. Grin and bear it, because the kids will LOVE it: Wild Waves.


photo: Helen Walker Green

22. Go on a weekend road trip to Suncadia Resort, Lake ChelanLeavenworth or Victoria, BC.

23. Two words: ice cream! Grab a scoop at one of our favorite shops or follow these trucks.

24. Introduce your little one to the Puget Sound region’s rich Native American Heritage at Tillicum Village.

Tillicum Village

photo: Kristina Moy

25. Discover the science behind the stinky, slimy and offensive waste products of the human body at the Pacific Science Center’s Grossology exhibit. Your kids are going to love it!

26. Take the fam to one of these Seattle-area establishments that provide good eats with a side of entertainment for the kiddies.

27. Hop a ferry and spend a night or two at the beautiful Alderbrook Resort & Spa. Paddle around Hood Canal, take a historic cruise aboard the Lady Alderbrook, swim in the huge indoor pool or rejuvenate at the spa. It’s the perfect place to celebrate the end the summer!

ivars and alderbrook 129

photo: Kristina Moy

28. Visit (or revisit) our favorite touristy Seattle hot spots.

29. Head to the Henry Moses Aquatic Center before it closes for the season.

30. Take a sweet cruise around Lake Union.Entance to Ice Cream Boat Cruise

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

31. Take a break from the sun and cool off with a frosty mug of (root beer) at one of our favorite root beer float hangouts.

32. Show your crew the silly side of Seattle at these spots not necessarily found in the tourist guidebooks.

33. End summer with a trip to the Washington State Fair. Psst! Be sure to get some Fisher Scones for the car ride home.

WA State Fair 2013

photo: Patrick Hagerty

34. Take your crew to Bumbershoot to experience great tunes from all music genres, urban craft vendors, delish food and interactive programming and activities in the Youngershoot Kids’ Zone.

35. Ride to the top of the Space Needle and get a bird’s-eye view of the city. Can you spot your house?

Ready, set, go! Did we miss anything? What’s on your end of summer bucket list? Tell us in the Comments below.

— Kristina Moy