See Cleveland From a Kayak
Paddle Out of Your Comfort Zone and See Cleveland
Kayaking requires no experience. It's affordable. And, it counts as exercise. So why not paddle out of your comfort zone and see Cleveland-downtown included-from the water?
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.
Right downtown, in The Flats, check out Great Lakes Watersports. The business rents sit-on-top style kayaks-singles and doubles.
Head south on the Cuyahoga River and glide 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.
Or head north to Lake Erie. A breakwall stretches along the shore, keeping stronger waves away. Take a right for a waterside view of North Coast Harbor, with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, and Browns FirstEnergy Stadium. Take a left for Whiskey Island, with its abandoned Coast Guard station, Wendy Park, a waterfront bar and sand volleyball courts.
The Cleveland Metroparks also offer kayak rentals. 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. Keep an eye out for leggy great blue herons.
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 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.
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.
Wendy Park on Whiskey Island is a popular launch spot. There's free parking and access to both Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Other convenient options include Edgewater Beach, just west of downtown, and Huntington Beach farther west in Bay Village.
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, better 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. Bon voyage.