Fun Ways to Be Active Outside

Hiking with my son Jacob at Gorge MetroPark

As an outdoor guy, both personally and professionally, there is no better feeling than being outside.  When I’m not coordinating outdoor adventure activities for the Department of Recreational Services or teaching outdoor activity classes for the College of Education, Health and Human Services, I’m spending as much of my free time as I can outside.  Whether it’s biking on the Portage Hike and Bike Trail or hiking at our local park with our son Jacob, golfing in our men’s faculty/staff league with my colleagues or paddling a local lake or river, I feel that I am at home when I am being one with Mother Nature and enjoying the great outdoors.

Northeast Ohio’s distinct geography offers a plethora of outstanding natural resources, including the Cuyahoga Valley National Park – one of the top 10 most visited national parks in the U.S., several state parks and wildlife areas in multiple counties with tens of thousands of acres of land and water resources, award-winning and nationally recognized metroparks systems, and hundreds of municipal parks.  These resources offer a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities and fun ways to be active outside.

The following is a list of outdoor recreational activities to consider, with links for more information:

Archery– Several state parks and wildlife areas offer public archery ranges, which are free for target practice. However, you must provide your own equipment. Visit www.dnr.state.oh.us/parks/outdoorfun/archery/tabid/18735/Default.aspx.

Archery at Berlin Lake Wildlife Area

Biking – Northeast Ohio offers multiple bike and hike trails and greenways, including the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, Summit Bike and Hike Trail, and the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is considerably some of the best biking trails in Northeast Ohio. Visit www.nps.gov/cuva/planyourvisit/bike.htm.

Disc Golf – Disc golf is played just like regular golf except disc golf uses rubber discs similar to Frisbees, which are thrown into baskets on poles in the ground. The best part about disc golf, other than being outside, is that it’s free if you have your own equipment. There are several disc golf courses located in Northeast Ohio. Visit  www.discgolfscene.com/courses/Ohio.

Fishing – With an almost endless supply of inland lakes, rivers and streams, fishing is a favorite pastime for many Northeast Ohio families. A fishing license is required for Ohio residents who are age 16 through 65.  Visit www.dnr.state.oh.us/Home/FishingSubhomePage/tabid/6518/Default.aspx.

Geocaching at West Branch State Park

Geocaching– According to Geocaching.com, “Geocaching is a free real-world outdoor treasure hunt.  Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using a smartphone or GPS and can then share their experiences online.”  Visit www.geocaching.com/.

Hiking – Almost every park offers hiking trails of some sort.  Follow the blue blazes of Ohio’s 1,444-mile Buckeye Trail, which traverses many parks.  Visit www.buckeyetrail.org/.

Mountain Biking – Several metroparks and state parks in Northeast Ohio offer miles of trails with varying terrain for mountain biking.  The Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) is the best resource for off-road cycling in Northeast Ohio. Visit http://camba.us/wp/.

Paddling – As one of the top ten states for the number of registered boaters, Ohio offers every type of paddling in a canoe or kayak.  If you haven’t already, consider a paddling trip with Kent State University’s  Crooked River Adventures!  Visit www.kent.edu/crookedriver/index.cfm.

What are some of your own fun ways of being active outdoors?