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Today's Family Magazine

Boat with Lake Metroparks

May 31, 2017 12:13PM ● By Today's Family
By Seth Begeman, Chief of Outdoor Education, Lake Metroparks

Northeast Ohio is a special place when it comes to boating, particularly in Lake County. With Lake Erie as the northern boundary to the county and the Grand and Chagrin Rivers running through, there are numerous opportunities to explore the water—whatever type of watercraft you prefer.

Lake Erie has more than 30 miles of coastline in Lake County. When you add in the Grand and Chagrin Rivers, there are countless opportunities to access the water. Lake Metroparks provides many paddling access points and parks along Lake Erie and the Grand and Chagrin Rivers. Parks with Lake Erie access are Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park, Lake Erie Bluffs, Lakeshore Reservation and Arcola Creek Park. If you are interested in exploring Lake Erie’s coastline, there are many interesting points along the way including a historical lighthouse and bluffs inhabited by bald eagles.

In addition, the Grand and Chagrin Rivers provide a unique paddling experience. Lake Metroparks provides many river access points along each river, which vary from four to eight miles between parks. These riverside parks, including Hidden Valley Park, Blair Road Park, Mason’s Landing Park, Indian Point Park, Beaty Landing, Grand River Landing, Pleasant Valley Park and Chagrin River Park, allow exploration through wild and scenic areas filled with wildlife sightings for all county residents and visitors to experience.

If you don’t have a boat, are looking to purchase one, or are just interested in trying something new, Lake Metroparks has programs for all ages and abilities including sailing, jet skiing, power boating, kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding. Programs vary from basic introductory classes to more specialized classes for those who want to advance their skills. If you are looking to have an evening out, there are harbor tours on stand-up paddleboards, river trips on kayaks and even social sailboat racing programs. We have expanded our popular canoe programs at Hidden Lake this year in response to growing customer demand.

If you’d like to get your little ones out to experience the lake or river, Lake Metroparks presents programs that start at the age of four called the Captain Kids Marine Academy. These programs were created to encourage safety and fun on the water at a young age and include many different watercrafts.

For 19 years, Lake Metroparks has hosted a youth boating program called Spirit of America. This program is free and open to all seventh grade students in Lake County. Spirit of America introduces sailing, paddling and power boating to youth and focuses on water safety and responsible behavior while on the water. Each student receives his or her Ohio boater’s license as well.

Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park is the center for all Lake Metroparks’ boating programs during the summer. You may register for one of our many boating programs, or if you’d like to experience Lake Erie on your own, you may rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. We offer single and tandem sit-on-top kayaks. The rental season starts on Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day. Paddle rental services are open 9:30 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday and 8 am to 8 pm on Saturday and Sundays. Rental prices are $10/hour for a single-person kayak and stand-up paddleboard and $15/hour for tandem kayaks.

It is always best to call 440-639-9972 to see if rentals are available for the day, since all rental services are weather dependent. Another service we offer is a Lake Metroparks paddle card. A paddle card allows you to come to the beach and paddle as much as you want. We will hold the card—all you need to do is bring your ID and time is taken when you rent. There is a 10 hour option for $80 or unlimited for $100.

Access to the Chagrin River, Grand River and Lake Erie combined with an award-winning, comprehensive boating education program makes Lake Metroparks a great place to boat in Northeast Ohio! Lake Metroparks manages several parks with small boat access facilities. These include:
  • Chagrin River Park
  • Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park
  • Grand River Landing
  • Hidden Valley Park
  • Mason's Landing Park
  • Blair Road Park
  • Beaty Landing
  • Pleasant Valley Park
Lake Metroparks offers a wide variety of boating programs year-round for all ages and abilities. Our fleet of more than 60 boats includes:
  • Canoes
  • Sea kayaks
  • Single and double sit-on-top kayaks
  • Jon boats mono-hull and catamaran (Hobie Cat) sailboats
  • Personal watercraft (PWC, such as a jet ski)
We offer all levels of instruction with every type of boat in our fleet, from the first-time boater to avid boat owners who wish to improve their skills.

Lake Metroparks also offers the Ohio Boater Education Course—a NASBLA approved, mandatory boating safety course required for any person born on or after January 1, 1982 who will operate a powerboat more than ten horsepower. This course is taught year-round at several of our facilities.

Early rentals beginning at 8 am on weekends and holidays. Weekdays beginning at 10 am.

Sit-on-top Ocean Kayak Rental
Fee: $10/hour single, $15/hour double, ages 16 and older
(ages 15 and younger must be accompanied by adult)

Stand-up Paddleboard Rentals
Fee: $10/hour single, ages 16 and older
(ages 8 to 15 must be accompanied by adult)

Lake Metroparks Paddle Card
This card allows you to come to the beach and paddle as much as you want on stand-up paddleboards or sit-on-top kayaks. We will hold the card—all you need to do is bring your ID to the concession stand and time is taken when you rent.
Fee: $80 for 10 hours, $100 unlimited
Card valid May 27 through September 4, 2017

Private 90-minute boating lessons are available for kayak, stand-up paddleboard, sailing, and jet ski. Contact staff listed below or call 440-639-9972 for more information and availability.

Kayak: beginner, intermediate or advanced Fee: $40 includes instruction and use of Lake Metroparks equipment, $20 if using own equipment. Contact Seth Begeman at 440-256-2118 x4821.

Stand-up paddleboard: beginner Fee: $40 includes instruction and use of Lake Metroparks equipment, $20 if using own equipment Contact Seth Begeman at 440-256-2118 x4821.

Sailing: beginner, intermediate or advanced Fee: $40 includes instruction and use of Lake Metroparks equipment, $20 if using own equipment. Contact Leigh Garam at 440-585-3041. x6800.