Urban Outdoors

Urban Outdoors

Plan on Getting Lost in Cleveland’s Outdoor Paradise

If you have a little time to explore, you’ll find that Cleveland has everything that makes the great outdoors great.

For boating, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding and summer fun, Lake Erie offers an ocean of options. Some of the best lakefront parks in the city are at the Metroparks Lakefront Reservation — which encompasses Wendy Park at Whiskey Island, Edgewater Park, East 55th Street Marina and Gordon Park — and the 88-acre Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve peninsula. Just as fun is the new Rock and Dock Marina behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which boasts paddle boat rentals and 53 transient slips for daytrippers and day-dockers alike.

Thrill-seekers can catch some rays while learning about sea kayaking via 41° North Kayak Adventures, while Great Lakes Watersports rents jet skis, boats and kayaks to the adventurous. But if letting someone else navigate our fair waters is more your style, board the majestic Goodtime III or Nautica Queen boat for a waterfront cruise.

Do This: Pedal the Cleveland Harbor and Cuyahoga River with 14 of your best friends on board BrewBoat CLE, Ohio’s only human-powered, party-cycle boat. Or, stay on land for summertime outdoor concerts at Whiskey Island Still & Eatery.

Fish On

The farm-to-table dining concept is one thing — lake-to-table is where it’s at for fish lovers thanks to Lake Erie’s multiple charter fishing options. Captain Joe Takacs’ Eyes Ready Charters in Fairport Harbor brings patrons straight to prime specimens of walleye, perch and steelhead, while the Head Boat Fishing Charters at Wildwood Marina and the Scranton Peninsula-based Holiday Charters offer both walk-on excursions and exclusive private trips.

Tee to Green

The grass is always greener for Northeast Ohio golfers, who have more than 300 different courses from which to choose for a round or two during the spring and summer months. The Cleveland Metroparks alone has eight courses of varying difficulty, from the easygoing 9-hole par 3 at Shawnee Hills to the championship-caliber Sleepy Hollow, with its sloping greens and pernicious bunkers. Other public golf courses making Northeast Ohio a putter’s paradise include picturesque Boulder Creek, rustic Geauga County mainstay Fowler’s Mill, waterfront resort Sawmill Creek, lake-and-stream-dotted Medina course Shale Creek and the tree-shaded Pine Hills.

Mighty River Valley

Northeast Ohioans have a variety of places to get their green on each spring and summer, but most start with the 33,000-acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located between Cleveland and Akron. The mighty Cuyahoga River snakes through a wilderness of verdant trees, valley landscapes and historic farms. Much of the history-rich Towpath Trail, which follows the route of the legendary Ohio and Erie Canalway also winds through the park. Offering unparalleled access to all of this postcard-perfect scenery is the 51-mile Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Throughout the rest of Northeast Ohio, the sprawling picnic haven Cleveland Metroparks covers nearly 23,000 acres across 18 reservations. And, of course, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, which is free for all credentialed attendees during Convention week, remains a family-friendly hotspot full of both cuddly and ferocious creatures.

Cycle the City

Bike buffs have plenty of supporters in C-Town, starting with the advocacy group Bike Cleveland, which champions local cycling via events and education. Their community-first mission dovetails nicely with the aim of the nonprofit Ohio City Bicycle Co-op — which repairs and rents bikes, among other things — and the downtown hub Bike Rack, a wheels-first oasis where commuters can store their wheels during the day or borrow a bike for a spin. Both Cleveland Bike Tours and Bob’s Bike Tours offer expert-guided tours of the city, while the Cleveland Velodrome offers adventure-seekers access to an Olympic-style track.