One long late, drunken night long ago, back when I still had a lot of long late, drunken nights in my future, before I learned to keep my mouth shut about complaints no one wants to hear, I was bumbling around Baby Bar, lamenting the heat when the bartender, no doubt to get me to shut up already, said, "Why don't you go to Fish Lake? It's, like, a half hour away."
I did not make it to Fish Lake that night, because the Bell of the Taco and plunk of the toilet called to me, but I do remember heading out the next morning to nurse my hangover in the shade. Did I mention that there is plenty of grassy, water side shade there? I love Coeur d'Alene as much as the next Spokanite, but some days (most days) I do not have it in me to soak up that much sun.
There are more reasons to love Fish Lake besides it's near proximity to Spokane. Just like any good beach, there are mixed incomes and backgrounds here. But unlike most beaches, no one is showing off, no one comes to be seen. There are a lot of kids, a lot of families grilling. The plentiful plant life floats around the edges of the lake, ready for chubby baby fingers to grab and shrieking children to throw at each other, but there are a couple of walk-in areas covered in sand for those faint of green wiggly things in bodies of water. And the shade. Oh, the shade.