Pack a picnic and slip in some family fun

Somehow it’s already August and summer is coming to a screeching halt, fast. It’s time to fit in some final summer fun by swapping dinner for a fast meal out or a quick-packed picnic so you can catch the last of the local outdoor music, entertainment, and warm, summer vistas. Best yet, most of these outings are free. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Food truck Tuesdays

Hopefully you’ve already discovered that food trucks converge at City Park, Fort Collins every Tuesday evening for Rally in City Park. There’s live music to listen to as you stroll between vendors and decide what’s for dinner. Don’t forget your blanket and find a great spot on the grassy hill overlooking the lake and foothills.

Outdoor concerts around town

It’s amazing how many opportunities Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley offer for enjoying music outdoors. It’s not too late to take in the last of them. Pack a picnic and head to CSU to hear The Wendy Woo Band play at the Lagoon Summer Concert Series on Wednesday, August 2 from 6 to 8:30pm. Or, catch the band Write Minded at the Ben & Jerry’s Friday Afternoon Club concert on August 18 from 7-9 pm in Old Town Square. Or, if you live closer to Loveland, grab a picnic or fast food and head to a Sounds of Centerra concert at the nearby Chapungu Sculpture Park. Enjoy music by The Commoners on Friday, August 5, or music from Hey, Lady, a B-52’s tribute band, on Friday August 12 from 7 to 9pm.

Movies, summer-style

Here’s a twist for a Tuesday night. Have dinner at home then load the lawn chairs in the car and head on down to Old Town Square in Fort Collins for Outdoor Movie Night. Just pack the cooler, as the popcorn is provided for free. Catch these family-friendly flicks: August 1 - Ghostbusters (original version), August 8 - Inside Out, and August 15 - The Sandlot. Shows at dusk. Finally, if you haven’t made it to the drive-in yet this summer, put that on your pre-school-start list. The Holiday Twin Drive in is one of the last remaining drive-in theatres in the United States. Located on the west side of Fort Collins, off Overland Trail.

Hot night? Get wet

Pack some quick sandwiches and head to the pool or lake for a fun time any night of the week. City Park Pool in Fort Collins offers daily twilight swims starting at 4:30pm for $4.50. Windsor Lake Beach is open until dusk for swimming at no cost and is located in Windsor’s Boardwalk Park. There are always the splash parks at Oak Street Plaza in Old Town Fort Collins and at Spring Canyon Community Park in west Fort Collins.

Tired of the hustle and bustle? Get out.

Pack a picnic and head up Centennial Drive along the east side of Horsetooth Reservoir in Fort Collins and select a picnic table overlooking the reservoir. You’re in for awesome views of the water and foothills, not to mention a stunning sunset. The same is true for other nearby mountain parks including Lory State Park, or Gateway Park about a 45-minute drive up the Poudre Canyon on Highway 14. In Loveland, visit one of the city’s many parks including Fairgrounds Park, Boyd Lake State Park, Kroh Park or the Loveland Sports Park to help the kids work their energy out at the playground.

Summer isn’t just about the kids relaxing and enjoying their break from school. It’s also a time for parents to shift gears, set the workday aside, and commune with nature or take in some entertainment. Make the most of these final long, warm evenings before school starts and fall sets in. You deserve it!