Without fail, nature’s spring rituals richly reward us for patiently enduring winter’s chill in Wisconsin. Tulips push skyward, forsythias flower, and lilacs bloom. We journey to parks near and far filled with excitement and anticipation. From energizing hikes to games of volleyball and basketball, and from fishing to grilling out, simple joys abound in the amenity-rich parks found in the Fox Cities area.
Before you begin your journey, be sure to pack your car with all the essentials. Here are 10 things you’ll want to be sure to bring along.
1. Antibacterial Wipes and Hand Sanitizer
Keeping germs at bay in public areas is worthy of a little extra effort, so pack the hand sanitizer and some antibacterial wipes. Watching the kids grab those brats and burgers with clean hands will provide a little extra peace of mind.
2. First Aid Kit
Blisters, cuts, and scrapes sometimes accompany those trips to the park. Perhaps you and your kids are chasing down a Frisbee when a heroic diving effort yields a scraped knee. Be sure to pack a first aid kit so you’re be prepared for those occasional medical surprises.
When it comes to SPF, realize that doubling the number doesn’t double the protection from the sun’s UV rays. For example, SPF 15 blocks about 94 percent, SPF 30 about 97 percent, and SPF 50 about 98 percent. The key is to reapply every couple of hours if you are swimming or if you are involved in an intense physical activity. Finally, clouds are no match for the sun’s UV rays, so don’t let an overcast day lull you into complacency.
4. Dry Snacks
Whether you’re at a kids’ soccer or Little League game, tossing horseshoes with friends, or just hitting up the playground, the right snacks ensure you have the energy for a full day of activities. Granola bars, trail mix, and other dry snacks are also a welcome addition on a long hike.
5. Water Bottles
Particularly on warmer days, it’s all too common to underestimate the fluids everyone needs to stay hydrated. So, fill up those water bottles and consider packing sports drinks that replenish those electrolytes.
6. Purses and Wallets
Sometimes you get so focused on packing park-specific products that you forget the obvious, like your purse or wallet. Most agree that some cash, a credit card or two, and your driver’s license are worth having along on your trip, especially if you’re visiting a park that’s further from home.
Don those sunglasses to better enjoy the sun dancing across the waters of Lake Winnebago. Polarized lenses are particularly adept at reducing the intense reflections of a sunny day, and they can help you spot fish swimming in the shallows.
8. Blankets and a Tablecloth
Blankets are easy to pack, and while you’re on the way to your destination, they’ll cushion and protect your other gear. If a picnic is a part of your plans, don’t forget a tablecloth.
Since forecasts promising sunny weather can go awry, it is always wise to pack one umbrella or several, depending on the size of your crew.
10. Bug Spray
How soon we forget! Although sub-freezing temperatures quickly subdue flying insects every year, those gravity-defying critters inevitably return. Armed with the right bug spray, you’ll spend time swatting tennis balls rather than mosquitoes, gnats, and horse flies.
5 Fox Cities Parks
Now that you’re all packed, consider some of these fine Fox Cities parks for plenty of warm weather fun.
1. High Cliff State Park – Sherwood
Along the northeast shore of Lake Winnebago, there’s High Cliff State Park. You’ll find more than 1,100 acres of sights and scenery sure to stimulate the senses. Stretch out your legs along some of the 16 miles of trails. The lime kiln and quarry are evidence of an earlier commercial enterprise. Much of the limestone remains, often in the form of dramatic cliffs that reflect the warm light of the setting sun.
2. Riverside Park – Neenah
Neenah’s 20-acre Riverside Park, also called “Rocket Park because of the huge, space-themed playground, offers paved trails for everything from biking to rollerblading. Skip stones or otherwise frolic along more than 2,000 feet of Lake Winnebago shoreline. Every summer, the Riverside Players stage performances in the pavilion. The historic Kimberly Point Lighthouse is a perfect backdrop for it all.
3. Plamann Park – Appleton
Plamann Park is just north of Appleton’s more populated areas. Enjoy the solitude found along three miles of trails traversing open parkland. One unique pleasure here is watching the kids pet the bunnies, sheep, goats, and other farm animals at the Children’s Farm (don’t feed them, though!).
4. Appleton Memorial Park – Appleton
This northside park is just south of Highway 41. Scattered across its 139 acres you’ll find many sports opportunities, so bring your tennis racquets, baseball gloves, soccer balls, and Frisbees. Or, bring along some bait and try your luck at the catch-and-release fishing pond. Nearby, you’ll find the Memorial Park Gardens. Take a moment to relax in the native wildflower display, rose garden, and serenity butterfly garden. At the end of an active day, kick back, relax, and grill some hot dogs and brats.
5. Carter Woods Park – Appleton
At Carter Woods Park, grab a basketball and play a little one-on-one with a family member, or choose sides for a couple games of volleyball. Extend your visit with a few sets of tennis as the sun goes down on one of the lighted courts.
Visit Area Parks in a Used Car, Truck, or SUV from 199ride
We hope this will be one of your best summers ever in the Fox Cities! At 199ride, families can get nicer, newer vehicles for everything from relaxing park visits to adventurous summer road trips.
Select a worry-free used car from one of our five Wisconsin dealerships: Green Bay, Appleton, Wausau, Antigo, and La Crosse. Our extensive used car inventory will surely include the perfect vehicle for all those wonderful outdoor experiences to come.