Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide options for responsible outdoor recreation. Please remember to follow social distancing guidelines, wear masks when required and pack water, hand sanitizer and plenty of snacks when you head out. Public restrooms may not be available, and playgrounds are closed at all parks. Stay safe and healthy!
The combination of sunshine and a three-day weekend are hard to resist. So if spending time outside is what you’ve got planned for the fam this Memorial Day, we’ve rounded up engaging outdoor activities focused on fresh air, fun and a whole lot of space. Bring it on!
Bring your imagination to…
...the Hobbit House. While it's not quite an expedition to destroy a powerful ring, finding a magical Hobbit house is an adventure nonetheless. This sweet replica is big enough for the kids (and parents) to explore, and it makes for some really cute pictures too. You'll find it at Brothers Greenhouses in Port Orchard. In addition to exploring this magical abode, you and the kids can check out the spring blooms in the greenhouse and marvel at the fairy gardens (both big and small) you'll find scattered around the place. Maybe they'll inspire you to head home and start (or add to) your own fairy garden. It's an easy way to make the day magical. They're open every day from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Brothers Greenhouses
3200 S.W. Victory Dr.
Port Orchard, WA
Bring your binoculars to…
…Marymoor Park on the shores of Lake Sammamish. Following the Eastside Audubon BirdLoop makes spotting spring water foul and native birds (think: hummingbirds and herons) a breeze. The 1.5-mile path that winds through a grassy meadow and mysterious thicket to the viewing platform that overlooks the lake is paved and level. You know what that means parents. All systems go, whether you’ve got a stroller or a meandering toddler who wants to do it on their own. This walking path was made for you. There’s also a large off-leash dog park here, so bring your furry family member who needs a run too.
6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E.
Bring your kayak to...
...Juanita Beach. This BYOK activity is great for families. Whether you've got a two person tandem kayak you can share with your little mate or the kids have their own, putting in along the sandy and protected shores of Juanita Beach makes this an easy spot to get kids out on the water. Remember to bring your own life jackets, paddles and other outdoor essentials to this afternoon adventure.
9703 N.E. Juanita Dr.
Bring your detective skills to…
…Green Lake. Turns out Green Lake isn’t just for lakeside jogs and sunny day water sports and wading. It’s also a great place to put your Geocaching skills to the test, whether you’re a seasoned hunter or a newbie. All it takes to find these secret treasures is the Geocaching app and your thinking cap to solve a few simple clues. Now, you’re on your way. If Green Lake isn’t your jam, head out anywhere in the city to see what’s out there. You’re sure to find at least one box hidden somewhere in your ‘hood.
7201 E. Green Lake Dr. N.
Bring your skimboard to…
…Dash Point State Park. If hitting a sandy beach is on your list, this one’s worth the drive. Half way between Seattle and Tacoma, it’s got views that can’t be beat and a protected beach with plenty of room to play during low tide. The sand and expanse is what makes this a popular spot for skimboarders, but it’s also great for families with tots who just want to dig and play in the sand away from the crowds. Don’t forget to pack your Discover Pass for this one!
Dash Point State Park
5700 S.W. Dash Point Rd.
Federal Way, WA
Bring your camera to...
...one of these 25 spots. Make an online photo journal of your outdoor city adventure when you snap pics in front of frame-worthy views, iconic art and quirky sculptures you can find around the Emerald City (and beyond).
Bring your bike to…
...Snoqualmie Valley Trail. If you’re looking to go the distance on a totally do-able path with the kids, this Eastside trail offers over 30 miles of (mostly) continuous biking that stretches from Duvall through Carnation, all the way up to Rattlesnake Ledge outside of North Bend. It loosely follows the Snoqualmie River, and passes through lush landscapes, over bridges and through tunnels that add to the sense of adventure. There are plenty of spots to hop on and most offer level riding that’s perfect for families. Duthie Hill Bike Park is another great option if you're riding the fat tire. It’s like Disney for bike lovers of all ages. Ride on!
Bring your hiking boots to…
…Coal Creek Falls on Cougar Mountain in Issaquah. Waterfall hikes are always a hit with the kids, and we love the fact you don’t have to travel too far to get to this one. Clocking in at just over two-miles, this trail is the definition of family-friendly. It’s not too muddy and is a pretty steady climb up to the waterfall, which every parent knows makes for an easy trip on the way down. There are tons of trails to explore here, so be sure to follow the Red Town Trail, to the Cave Hole Trail until you hit the Coal Creek Falls trail to finish out the hike. Enjoy the view!
Cougar Mountain Recreational Area
Newcastle-Coal Creek Rd.
Bring your stroller to…
…Seward Park. With a 2.4-mile paved loop path along the waterfront of the park, and an additional network of more rugged trails through forests and along the beach, this 300-acre park won’t disappoint you or your tiny traveling companions. But keep the wheels on the stroller for now, as bikes are not currently allowed along the Seward Park paths and trails. Looking for other stroller friendly spots? Try one of these.
5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Bring your curiosity to....
...the beach. The rocky shores of Seattle were made for sunny weekends, so grab the sunscreen, waterproof shoes and your trusty bucket, it's time to comb the beaches. See what creatures you can find hiding under rocks and in the sand when you hit one of our favorite low tide spots. Everything you need to know to have a successful trip is in the guide.
Bring your wishes to...
...a city fountain. Whether they get the chance to throw in wishful pennies, or splash around in waterproof shoes, fountains are always a hit with kids. These urban fountains are not only easy to find, but make a great background for pics on a sunny day.
featured photo: David P. via yelp