5 picnic spots on the North Shore to soak up summer’s end

Well, it’s here. Ticonderoga. Insulated lunch bags. Looseleaf paper everywhere. Boo-hoo, but let us not forget: the autumnal equinox is still, like, a month away. This means there’s plenty of summer left to enjoy, be it the final few trips to the pool or, drumroll please, a farewell-to-the-season picnic.

Think about it. A blanket and a lazy afternoon. Some shade. A basket filled with wine, food for the kids and wine. Ready? Here are five spots on the North Shore made for kissing summer goodbye.

Schmidt-Burnham Log House

Open twice a month on Sundays from 1 – 4 p.m. through October, this curious little structure is the oldest log structure in Cook County still in use. The cabin is believed to have been built in 1837 by the area’s early settlers, and its history is rich. Hang out and have lunch on the adjacent lawn before the guided tours begin.

1140 Willow Rd., Winnetka

River Trail Nature Center

Sugar maple woods, gaggles of geese and self-guided trails along the river make this urban nature preserve the perfect spot to picnic in the great outdoors. There’s even a discovery area where younger kids can explore an eagle’s nest and sneak into a fox’s den.

3120 Milwaukee Ave., Northbrook

Little Bear Garden Park

A maze made of shrubs, a beautiful garden, water features and an enormous sandbox are just a few reasons this picnic destination is a natural entertainer. Grab some takeout from one of the many nearby restaurants in The Glen, then make a day out of it and hit up Kohl Children’s Museum down the street.

Patriot Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue, Glenview

Sunset Woods Park

This bustling expanse hosts everything from baseball games and runners to skateboarders and scooterists. Kids will love the playground and hilly sidewalks are perfect for bikes. Lay out your spread on one of the grassy areas and watch the evening roll by.

1801 Sunset Rd., Highland Park

Gillson Park

Spend a Saturday or Sunday at this nearly 60-acre reserve that offers beaches, fitness paths, sailboat rentals, tennis courts, dedicated picnic areas, a dog beach and more. The park is known for its cleanliness, its peaceful atmosphere and stunning views of the lake.

Sheridan Road and Michigan Avenue, Wilmette

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