Leisuring On Lake Erie
Lake Erie Summertime Destination
Image by Cody York
Days on the lake are memories you cherish for a lifetime. From family vacations to fishing excursions and from kayaking to jet skiing, the shores of a little ocean like Lake Erie attract our holidays and weekends with memorable adventures.
The 900-foot Edgewater Beach and surrounding Lakefront Reservation was acquired by the region's acclaimed park system encircling the city - The Cleveland Metroparks. Much to the glee of locals, the park received a transformative facelift thanks to its new operators who offer paddleboarding, ice cream and combed sand.
As a result, this beach and the surrounding park are downright spectacular.
Edgewater isn't the only beach around. Cleveland offers a variety of accessible (and FREE) beaches along its Lake Erie coast with swimming, sailing, surfing and some of the best walleye, perch and bass fishing in the world. Check out some of these notable beaches:
“With a mile of sand and shoreline, you see Lake Erie’s wild side at Headlands Beach,” says Carol G. Ward, park naturalist. “The dunes and unusual plants here are more typical of the Atlantic Coast than the Midwest.”
Near downtown Cleveland you’ll find the gorgeous Lakefront Reservation, which boasts a nine-mile bike trail tracing the shoreline and provides access to Wildwood Park, an area great for fishing on the lake. Anglers should check out head boat charters at nearby Wildwood Marina or book the beautiful Holiday vessel located on the Cuyahoga River.
If you like to be in control of your own destiny, rent a jet ski from Great Lakes Watersports located on the West Bank of the Cuyahoga River in the Flats.
Zoom south on the Cuyahoga River and zip past downtown's skyline, new development on the bluffs, industrial brownfields reverting to nature, and steel mills. If you're lucky, a freighter might even creep by.
If that’s a little too high speed for your liking, you’ll be happy to know they offer kayaking opportunities, too. This leisurely Lake Erie sport requires no experience, is affordable and counts as exercise. [So, seriously, why wouldn’t you try it?]
At Rocky River Reservation, 41º North Kayak Adventures launches trips from their popular Yak Shack. The route winds past waterfront houses and a marina on the Rocky River north to Lake Erie.
41º North (which refers to Cleveland's latitude BTW) also plans group tours. Downtown at sunset? A two-hour kayak and yoga session? Cliffs and coves? A bit more vacation-y than dinner and a movie, yes? (Not that there's anything wrong with that combo.)
The Cleveland Metroparks also rent kayaks at Hinckley Lake and Wallace Lake from June through mid-August. Sporty go-getters might consider pairing their kayaking with a wilderness hike in the surrounding reservations.
Area kayak rentals start around Memorial Day and last until Labor Day or later. Fees start at $20 an hour for private rentals (even less for public ones), with the price typically dropping after the first hour.
For those who BYOK (bring your own kayak), the Ohio Department of Natural Resources lists public launch areas and hazards. We wouldn't want our visitors tumbling over a dam, after all.
Before strapping on a life vest, though, check near-shore marine conditions for small boat advisories. While the lakes and rivers are always there, they're not always welcoming. If it's too choppy, it’s better to postpone.
If kayaking doesn't float your boat, don't give up on a Cleveland water adventure. Most businesses that rent kayaks also offer other choices, from stand-up paddleboards to canoes and jet skis.
Over on the west side of Cleveland, Lake Erie Paddler offers standup paddleboard lessons and rentals.
“Standup paddling is very easy to learn,” says Jim Lawhead, owner of Lake Erie Paddler. “It’s a great core exercise that works the entire body.”
Also, check out SUP Cleveland, which offer 75- to 90-minute yoga classes on stand-up paddleboards at Edgewater Park or Wallace Lake.