Back-to-school season is here which means finding cheap and free entertainment to get you through the last few weeks of summer break is a must. (Because who has money to spend on activities when you’ve got new shoes and clothes to buy along with a school supply list a mile long.) That’s why we rounded up six parks that are worthy of the drive to get to and are guaranteed to keep everyone in your crew busy for hours. Read on and get ready to plan a day (or two!) at the park.

Crossroads Park – Bellevue, Wa 

This is a genius park in that during the summer, it doubles as a spray playground. Set upon a soft playing area, the playground features a climbable water-themed landscape including giant spitting frogs, spouting orca whales and squirting clams. The sprayground's design is also made to keep standing water at a minimum which means less slips and falls. The rest of the 34+ acre park features a wide array of amenities, including tennis courts, basketball courts, a horse shoe pit, a skate bowl, play areas, picnic shelters and jogging paths. Pack a picnic and your beach towels and plan to make a day of it at Crossroads Park.

16000 N.E. 10th St.
Bellevue, Wa 9800
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks-and-trails/parks/crossroads-park

photo: Warren C. via Yelp

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Pack a Lunch
All six of these destinations make for great picnics areas, with or without a table. Don’t worry about being too fancy either. Pack some sandwiches or some lunch meat and cheese sticks and let the Littles roll their own lunch.

Pack a Few Extra Supplies
You can never have too many wet wipes and paper towels on hand for whatever you kids might get into. Also, think about sunscreen, Band-Aids and anything that might spoil your day if you have to leave early.

Pack Extra Clothes
Living in Seattle is unpredictable and with most of these parks, there is a good chance you’ll get wet. Be sure to pack a towel and a hoodie (in case it gets chilly) and a change of clothes is always a good idea.

Does your family have a favorite park to visit during the summer months? Tell us in the comments below.  

— Jeffrey Totey