Three Days in Cleveland Parks
Treat your outdoor-loving self to the perfect summer weekend in Cleveland
Are you ready for a change to your weekend routine? Consider treating yourself to the perfect summer weekend in Cleveland. Become one with nature and explore the more than 50,000 acres of green space in Northeast Ohio.
The Cleveland Metroparks offers eight lakefront parks and 18 reservations with more than 100 hiking trails. And the nation's 11th most visited national park - Cuyahoga Valley National Park - sits in our backyard. With so many options within mere miles of Downtown, you can quickly escape from the city.
Here’s how to spend a nature-packed weekend in the CLE:
Kick off your weekend on Thursday night at Edgewater Park. Grab a bite to eat at the new Edgewater Beach House and meander around the park while you enjoy the music at the Edgewater LIVE beach party.
Fuel your adventure with breakfast from Blackbird Baking Company in Rocky River. The local bakery specializes in made-from-scratch pastries and artisan breads. Located near the entrance of the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, the bakery is the perfect pit-stop.
Hit the ground running--or should we say hit the river paddling? Head over to 41° North Coastal Kayak Adventures and rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to start your adventure. Paddle down river and into the lake to see the skyline from a new perspective. Already comfortable in a kayak? Check out the scenic tours that 41° North offers.
Take a break from your adventure to grab lunch at the Emerald Necklace Marina. The restaurant offers classic favorites to restore your energy, including the crispy walleye sandwich that features fish from Lake Erie.
Once you're feeling recharged, head to Huntington Reservation in Bay Village for an afternoon of learning, hiking and swimming. On your way, make a stop at Heinens' Bay Village grocery store location to grab food for a picnic dinner. Start your visit to the Huntington Reservation at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center and then take to the trails for a relaxing hike. Finally, cool down with a swim at the beach.
End your action-packed day with a leisurely picnic dinner at Huntington Beach. Lay out your blanket or take a seat at a table after your busy day, and be sure to stick around for a killer sunset over the water.
To take your weekend with nature to the next level, head to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Grab your bike, grab some snacks and grab your travel companion, because things are about to get amazing.
The Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard! program lets you ride your bike one way along the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail and then ride the train back to your starting point. Don't have a bike with you? Century Cycles' Peninsula location will hook you up with a rental. Just park your car at the Scenic Railroad's Peninsula Depot and pop into the store before heading out on the Towpath Trail.
If you're looking for a scenic route, hop on the Towpath and ride Northeast to Brandywine Falls. After taking in the majestic view of the falls, continue your trek until you reach the Scenic Railroad's Rockside Station. The hour-long bike ride will have you ready to rest your legs and enjoy the view as the train glides back through the park.
Once back in Peninsula, kick back and relax at the Winking Lizard with wings and an ice-cold beer. If you're really feeling adventurous, try the Fire in the Hole sauce on your wings. Fair warning: it's as intense as it is delicious. Say "Hi!" to Heisman Lizard while you're there, too!
There's no better way to burn off your lunch then with a hike to one of the best views in the park. Drive to the Ledges Trailhead and explore the 2.2 mile loop trail to Ledges Overlook for unobstructed views across the valley. Finish your visit with a drive over the only remaining covered bridge in Summit County. Though the original Everett Covered Bridge was destroyed in a 1913 flood, this historically accurate replica offers a fun photo-op before heading back to the city for a night on the town.
Merwin’s Wharf on the East Bank of the Flats Downtown offers a taste bud-tantalizing Sunday brunch. Located at Rivergate Park right on the Cuyahoga River, there's a full buffet on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. With everything from fluffy eggs and made-to-order omelets to fresh fruit and pastries, you'll get your fill while playing giant Jenga or cornhole out on the patio.
Don your swimsuit for a post-brunch adventure on the river. Just down the street from Merwin's Wharf, you'll find Great Lakes Watersports. Rent a boat or jet ski and check out the sites in the Flats. Look out for the Cleveland Metroparks Heritage Park and Lorenzo Hart's historic cabin as you head up river.