The lifeguards may be gone, but don’t let that discourage you from an evening picnic at the beach. Take advantage of the last few warm days and lingering daylight to get in a picnic (or two) at Madison Park beach on the shores of Lake Washington. Pack up some beach toys and pick up a couple of craft pizzas from The Independent Pizzeria just across the street from the park. They’ve got Crater Lake Root Beer on tap and juice boxes to go. Spread out a blanket and enjoy the view, while the kids play in the sand and skip rocks into the lake.  Older kids can enjoy swimming out to the dock and floating high dive. When everyone gets tired of the lake (if that’s even possible), wander across the street to the Madison Park playground. Renovated in 2008, the playground appeals to a wide age range and features intricate climbing structures and a zip line swing in addition to the usual swings and slides.

No day at the beach is complete without a little ice cream. Just a couple of blocks up Madison is Scoup du Jour, a neighborhood institution with all of the classic flavors. Remember to bring cash, since they don’t take plastic. Or head back over to The Independent Pizzeria for a scoop of locally made Bluebird ice cream.

If you’re there during the day, be sure to check out The Original Children’s Shop for darling kids wear and unique baby gifts. Red Wagon Toys is stocked with toys, games, and party supplies.

—Heidi Unruh