Why go now: Everything you want in August—leafy trails, uncrowded beaches, grassy picnic spots—is here, just a half-hour from Seattle.
If you really want to earn your visit: Pedal the roughly 15 miles from Seattle to St. Edward on the Burke-Gilman Bike Trail (206/684-7583), which dumps you 2 miles from the park gate.
Before exploring: Pick up a free map at the ranger station (425/823-2992).
20: The acres of grass rangers mow for picnickers.
Forgot your picnic? Pagliacci Pizza delivers (425/453-1717).
Keep your eyes peeled for: Eagles, peregrine falcons, and pink Nootka roses.
Not your average cafeteria: A post-hike lunch at Bastyr University commons ($; 14500 Juanita Dr. N.E.; bastyr.edu) means organic, local dishes like roasted red snapper and salad flecked with student-grown herbs.
In its past life: The 316-acre park housed a Catholic seminary. Tour its historic building (by appointment; 14445 Juanita Dr. N.E.; 425/823-2992) and climb the spiral staircase to a teensy, cool bell tower.