By Jeffrey ToteyAs we all know, one day in Seattle can be sunny and the next, the rain will return, so you have to take advantage of the nice weather when you can. And while some may make plans for a picnic weeks in advance, many of us come up with the idea on the spur of the moment. To help aide you when the moment strikes, here are five great places to have a picnic to keep in mind:

The Romantic Picnic: Alki Beach
1100 Alki Ave. S.W.
Seattle, WA 98116
www.seattle.govThis park is located along a long stretch of Elliott Bay beach that runs from Alki Point to Duwamish Head. While many come to this park for running and biking, the long winding paths travel around many secluded spots making for a nice, intimate dining experience. On the beach itself, you’ll find sweeping views of sailboats, ferries and other boats sailing along the Puget Sound with Olympic Mountains used as a backdrop.

The Large Group Picnic: Gas Works Park
2101 N. Northlake Way
Seattle, WA 98103
www.seattle.govThis 19.1-acre park is located at the former spot of the Seattle Gas Light Company where some of the old plant still sits. In fact, the park features a “play barn” that includes multi-colored pipes to climb on which the city is currently planning on renovating to meet better safety guidelines. The park is also known for its great kite flying, but the real reason to come here is the view. Gas Works Park is also a great place to host large groups as you can reserve large picnic areas. You can reserve your spot here.

Dog Days Of Summer Picnic: Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
2021 N.W. 190th St.
Shoreline, WA 98133
www.shorelinewa.govYou’ll find this park on the other side of a pedestrian bridge with sand dunes, saltwater, sunshine and a cool breeze. It is known for being one of the windier parks in the Puget Sound, so it makes for a nice spot to cool off during one of Seattle’s heatwaves. It is also a popular spot to watch kiteboarder while you eat sandwiches. Kids will love the castle-themed playground and adults will appreciate the quieter trails. Richmond Beach also feature picnic shelters for larger groups or for those unexpected rain showers.

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The Active Picnic: Greenlake
7201 E. Greenlake Drive N.
Seattle, WA 98115
www.seattle.govIf dining alfresco in silence in not for you, you’ll want to head over to Greenlake which is surrounded by lots of grassy areas to put down a blanket and more than a few picnic tables as well. A paved path follows around the lake that is well used by walkers, runners, bikers and roller-skaters which is perfect to work off that baloney sandwich. There’s lots of room for other activities as well for larger groups and play areas and wading pools for the little folks. Plus, it’s a fun play to people watch as well.

The Secret Picnic: Waterfall Garden
219 2nd Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104
www.pioneersquare.orgLocated on 2nd Avenue and Main St. you’ll find the small, Waterfall Garden. It’s a tranquil and well-shaded spot set up with small tables and chairs. While children will marvel at the 22-foot tall man-made  waterfall, there really isn’t any room for them to run around or play, so leave these spot for adults. Many people are unaware that this park even exists, but it is small, so it a great place to meet a friend for lunch during the middle of the week. Just steps away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Waterfall Park can give a must needed sanity break which can only be enhanced with a mocha and scone bought from a nearby shop.

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