Great outdoors

With the right accessories, a day in the park can be lots of fun

There’s nothing like the smile a summer-like day can put on your face. Sunny skies, warm breezes and sounds seeping through open windows—whether music from a radio, the clanking of plates from a restaurant or the hum of passing conversation—make us want to connect with others.

Maybe that’s why we’re drawn to the park when the weather warms up. As a child, I remember spending Saturday mornings on the playground. After college, an afternoon sprawled out on a towel in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow did the trick. Now, I enjoy a simple stroll or bike ride though a picturesque park to relax and catch up with friends.

Whether one seeks the leisure of a picnic or the green space for something more sporty, a trip to the park fits the bill. To really make the outing special, don’t forget to pack a bag of park essentials—perhaps a Frisbee, soccer ball, snacks, book, etc. Better yet, pack a park bag and gift it to someone to make their day at the park something special. Below are some ideas.

Heading to the park with some S’wells in my tote

My personal must-have list includes an insulated water bottle to keep cool on really hot days. I’m still sweet on my S’well. And when the sun is too strong to see your smartphone, a good old-fashioned magazine or easy crossword is a nice diversion.

What’s your favorite thing to take to the park? Feel free to comment below.

This week’s picks

Picnic perfect: If she’s not the wicker basket type, perhaps your friend will appreciate this retro-looking picnic cooler from Crate & Barrel. The insulated carrier is big enough for snacks and drinks and includes a bottle opener. And the metal design makes it easy to wipe clean of any spills. $69.95

Retro metal cooler from Crate & Barrel

Games to go: This personalized picnic blanket from PersonalizationMall.com doubles as a “play-nket.” It includes the framework for four games, though you’ll have to pack or find your own markers. It’s made of plush material, has a water-repellent lining for comfort and is machine washable. $29.99

Picnic Play-nket from PersonalizationMall.com

Park workout: Get some exercise with this flag football set by Franklin. It comes with a red or blue foam ball, tee and eight flag belts so that two teams of four people can play. $19.99

Franklin’s flag football set

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