Whether you’re looking for something to do with Dad for Father’s Day or simply looking for something fun to do this summer, take a look at this list of all the things waiting for you right in your own backyard – at one of the many Great Parks of Hamilton County! With more than 21 parks and conservation areas in Hamilton County, there’s something for every kind of Dad!
With over 78 miles of trails, you can choose from hiking/nature trails, fitness trails, horseback riding trails, and even mountain bike trails. If Dad is an avid hiker, be sure to check out the Hiking Staff Program.
My personal favorite: Glenwood Gardens. The park has a paved loop (about a mile long) and two more trails that loop off the main trail, providing an additional 2 miles of walking trails (gravel) that wind in and out of forests, through fields, and past ponds. And if you have kids in tow, be sure to pay a visit to Highfield Discovery Gardens which is located within Glenwood Gardens (admission fee charged for this part of the park… but it’s well worth it).
Pack the sunscreen and put on your suits because you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards at Winton Woods, Sharon Woods, and Miami Whitewater Forest. Those parks offer canoes, pedal boats, pontoon boats, row and motor boats as well. And you can rent row boats at Lake Isabella too.
Have your own kayak or canoe? Canoes and kayak access to the Little Miami River is available at Little Miami Golf Center’s Bass Island, Lake Isabella and Otto Armleder Park & Recreation Complex. Licensed private canoes and kayaks are permitted on Miami Whitewater Forest Lake (85 acres), Winton Woods Lake (156 acres), the four lakes at Campbell Lakes Preserve (6, 15,18 and 21 acres) and Sharon Woods Lake (35 acres).
My personal favorite: Winton Woods. Read more about how to have an entire day of fun at Winton Woods.
Whether you’re a traditional bike fan or a mountain bike rider, you’ll find some great trails within Great Parks. Miami Whitewater Forest has an 8.1-mile trail for Mountain Biking. The trail has been designed per International Mountain Biking Association standards and includes moderate to steep terrain, several technical features and some sections of more difficult trail.
You can rent bikes at the boathouses of Winton Woods, Sharon Woods, and Miami Whitewater Forest.
And you can, of course, take your own bikes to any of the parks that allow biking on the trails. Find a list of trails here.
My personal favorite: I love, love, love the trails at Otto Armleder Memorial Park. The trails there hook into the Lunken Airport Loop. Read more about Otto Armleder Park here.
There are four Great Parks disc golf courses. Enjoy 9 holes at Miami Whitewater Forest and Embshoff Woods. Feeling more adventurous? Play 18 holes at Winton Woods and Woodland Mound.
Innova and Discraft brand discs can be purchased at the visitor center at Miami Whitewater Forest and the Seasongood Nature Center in Woodland Mound.
There are hundreds of geocaches hidden across the Great Parks of Hamilton County. Get started with Geocaching with our “Geocaching for Beginners” guide. After you put the app on your phone, just search for one of the parks from within the geocaching app and look for a geocache to find. This is a GREAT hobby for families as it can be done by people of all ages.
Fishing is available at the following Great Parks of Hamilton County:
- Campbell Lakes Preserve (Bass and northern pike are catch-and-release only; bluegill, yellow perch and crappie are limited to 10 each, per day. An Ohio State Fishing License is not required, but a $2 daily permit is)
- Fernbank Park (Bank fishing in the Ohio River is available at Fernbank Park. An Ohio State Fishing License is required.)
- Lake Isabella (28-acre pay lake is stocked weekly (March-October) and offers fishing from the bank, dock or rental boat; An Ohio State Fishing License is not required)
- Miami Whitewater Forest (85-acre lake with boathouse offers row, pedal, motor and pontoon boats and kayaks for rent. Licensed private canoes and kayaks are permitted. Electric and gas motors up to four horsepower are permitted to use with rental boats or private canoes and kayaks. Bank fishing is also available. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
- Otto Armeler Memorial Park (Otto Armleder Memorial Park offers canoe access to the Little Miami River. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
- Sharon Woods (35-acre Sharon Lake has a boathouse with row, pedal and pontoon boats and kayaks for rent. Licensed private canoes, kayaks are permitted. Electric and gas motors up to four horsepower are permitted are to use with rental boats or private canoes and kayaks. Fishing is permitted from boats or fishing pier. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
- Shawnee Lookout (This park offers canoe and kayak access to the Great Miami River and Ohio River. Bank fishing and boating should be done with caution due to shallow water in this area. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
- Winton Woods (156-acre Winton Lake has a boathouse that offers row, pedal, motor and pontoon boats; kayaks; and canoes for rent. Licensed private canoes and kayaks are permitted. Electric and gas motors up to six horsepower are permitted to use with rental boats or private canoes and kayaks. Bank fishing is also available. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
- Woodland Mound (A boat launching ramp to the Ohio River is open when river conditions permit. Bank fishing is also available. A Boat Ramp Launch Permit ($5 daily; $25 annual) is required. An Ohio State Fishing License is required)
Additional fishing sites:
- No fishing license is required at Triple Creek pond and River Hill Pond at Mitchell Memorial Forest. River Hill Pond is catch-and-release only. Fish caught at Triple Creek may be taken home.
- Bank fishing on the Little Miami River is permitted at Bass Island, located at Little Miami Golf Center. Canoe/kayak access to the Little Miami River is provided at Bass Island and Lake Isabella. An Ohio State Fishing License is required.
Did you get some great pics? Be sure to send your fishing stories and pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can enjoy a spot at the new Lake Isabella campground if you’re a family of tent campers. 24 primitive tent sites are located in the shaded grove near the Little Miami River canoe/kayak launch and within walking distance to the playground and Lake Isabella boathouse.
Winton Woods has cabins for rent and spots for both tent and RV camping. Winton Woods Campground and is within easy walking distance of Winton Woods Harbor, and the boathouse, snack bar and wet playground.
Miami Whitewater Forest Campground is set back in a wooded area on more than 4,000 acres in Miami Whitewater Forest and within walking distance to a harbor and 85-acre lake. Each of the 46 sites is equipped with 30 amp electric hookups, picnic table and a fire ring. A newly renovated shower building, playground and dump station are also located within the campground.
Try Something New on the Golf Course – Foot Golf
FootGolf is a new sport that combines the popular sport of soccer and golf. Players kick a soccer ball, trying to get it into a 21-inch diameter circle. Most of the rules are based on the rules of golf.
FootGolf is available on Little Miami Golf Center’s regular Par 3 course every day during course hours, except during tournaments and special events. All you need to bring is a soccer ball and tennis or golf shoes (no cleats).