Surrounding the concrete jungle of Downtown Cleveland, you’ll find an outdoor playground called The Cleveland Metroparks with winding rivers, a vast (Great) lake, plenty of trails, outdoor adventuring, beaches and parks. In fact, the Cleveland Metroparks is comprised of 18 separate parks in Northeast Ohio that make up what is locally known as “The Emerald Necklace.”
The Metroparks are a source of pride among most of us in Northeast Ohio and, if you’re visiting, are a way to take a breather when you’ve hit the Downtown scene too hard. Entrance to all of the parks is free.
What You'll See:
- Together, the 18 Metroparks cover 23,000 acres and contain 300 miles of hiking trails, eight parks with lake access, eight golf courses and the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
- The 900-foot Edgewater Beach and 650-foot Euclid Beach Park were recently acquired by this acclaimed park system. Much to the glee of locals (and just about anyone with eyeballs), the parks received some seriously transformative facelifts. The result? Expansive sandy beaches and tons of outdoor activity offerings — all equating to the perfect spot to catch a Lake Erie sunset.
- Farther west, Rocky River Reservation draws many fishermen and cyclists, as well as regal great blue herons.
- To the east, Euclid Creek Reservation includes wooded hiking trails and a paved path that follows a creek dotted with small waterfalls.
What Else to Do?
- Most of the parks in the system have their own annual traditions and events, but few are as anticipated as the annual return of the buzzards at the Hinckley Reservation (the only park that falls outside of Cuyahoga County). Every year on March 15, the park’s massive turkey vultures return from the south to gear up for another summer of thrilling birdwatchers and devouring roadkill.
- One of the things that makes Cleveland’s metroparks unique is their access to the Lake Erie waterfront. So while there are definitely hiking and biking trails, there’s also plenty of opportunities for beachfront sunbathing, paddle boarding, boating and fishing. And as the parks are open year-round, a winter visit to the Lakefront Reservation could be your chance to check ice fishing off your bucket list.
- The Cleveland Metroparks offers eight golf courses throughout the region, from the beginner-friendly par 3 at Shawnee Hills, located in Bedford, to the challenging championship layout of Brecksville’s Sleepy Hollow.
- The Metroparks also offers a summer lakefront concert series at Edgewater and Euclid Beach parks, giving visitors an excuse to enjoy craft beer, live bands, cocktails, stand-up paddleboarding, local food-truck fare and the perfect opportunity to hob-nob with the cool kids.