familypicnicThis time of year can be a little tricky to keep your children entertained. School-age children are not back in school and yet most of the summer activities and camps have completed. The kids have been to the zoo and aquarium enough times for the novelty to have worn off. Indoor pools feel like saunas while the outdoor pools are packed with people trying to cool off from 100 degree weather. What are adventure-seeking parents of little ones to do? My recommendation: Go to higher ground!

Last weekend, in an effort to do something different and escape the heat, we pitched a plan to our family to drive up to the local ski resort and have a picnic. Late Sunday afternoon, we packed up our cars with snacks, beverages and a couple of blankets and then picked up some sushi take-out on our way out of town. Sixteen miles of switchbacks later we were sitting at a picnic table with a vantage point overlooking forest-covered mountains, enjoying a temperature 20 degrees cooler than the valley below.

Our toddler immediately entertained herself by exploring and playing with the new plants all around her, poking an ant with a stick and cooling off her Nana’s leg with ice from the cooler. The baby was passed around from person to person, soaking in the new environment. We went on short hikes and ate the wonderful food we had brought with us. Two hours later, we all found ourselves relaxed and refreshed with our perfect combination of adventure and staycation.

Since not everyone has a ski resort 16 miles away, a picnic next to the nearest river or wooded area should be just as relaxing and refreshing and your family will revel in the temporary change of venue. Don’t forget your sunscreen or mosquito repellent (like we did.)