One of the best ways to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having right now is by spending a day at the park. But narrowing down your options can be difficult. What should you plan to do, and what should you bring along on your excursion?

Here are a few things to ask yourself as you plan your park trip:

  • What's at the park? Think about the activities and amenities the park offers. What will you be doing there? For example, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park boasts a water play area in the Lena Meijer Children's Garden. So pack water shoes and a swimsuit for your child - and maybe one for yourself! - if it's a nice day and you want some refreshing play.
  • Do you plan to eat there? If a snack or meal is in the plans, think about whether there are restaurants nearby or whether you'll need to pack your own food. Many parks have picnic tables, but why not pack a blanket and enjoy your meal sitting on the grass? The Grand Rapids Grub blog has a great list of parks and nearby restaurants to help you make the perfect picnic pairing.
  • What about park nightlife? Daytime isn't the only time to enjoy a Grand Rapids park. Many offer nighttime entertainment and live music. For example, John Collins Park in East Grand Rapids offers a Summer Concert Series and Movies in the Park. You can even take swing dance lessons every Tuesday night in the summer, at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids.
  • Looking for an active nature outing? Consider biking, swimming, hiking, or renting a canoe or kayak at Millennium Park. What to bring? Just your sporting equipment, a bottle of water, sunscreen and a sense of adventure!

With Grand Rapids' extensive list of parks, you're sure to find an outdoor experience that suits you. So get out and get playing! The summer sun won't last forever.