Outdoor Aquatics

Outdoor Adventure at Lorain County Metro Parks

A day on the water restores the soul. Welcome to the Lorain County Metro Parks' webpage for Outdoor Aquatics! Here you can find information regarding outdoor aquatics education courses, annual events that involve paddling and locations where you can enjoy the waterways in our county.

'American Canoe Association' Education Courses

Available Watercrafts: Kayak, Canoe, Stand-Up Paddleboard


Beginner paddling on water course. Highlights: kayak/canoe/stand-up paddleboard nomenclature, basic strokes, safety and demonstration of rescues. See Paddling Waiver for eligibility. Ages 16 & up under 18 with participating adult - $50/class


Level 2 class is follow up class to the Level 1 class. This class will focus on perfecting basic strokes, learning advance strokes, learning and practicing different rescues. See Paddling Waiver for eligibility. Ages 16 & up under 18 with participating adult - $50/class

OPEN PADDLE (Kayak only)

Come practice kayaking in the pool at Splash Zone in Oberlin from 9am to Noon. Work on strokes or rescues with the advice of an instructor. Own boats welcomed as long as they are clean before entering the building - $7 per person. Pre-registration required.


Have you ever wanted to try kayaking, canoeing, or stand-up paddleboarding but are a little nervous to? This Discover Paddling class is for you! Come to Splash Zone for an hour and half “try-it” opportunity in the safety of a pool. The first half hour will be information and waivers, the following hour will be on-water experience - $7 per person. Pre-registration required.


Paddling trip using one of the beautiful waterways available to use in Lorain County. Possible paddling destinations include: Wellington Reservoir, Black River/French Creek, Vermilion River and Lake Erie. Participants can borrow a boat from LCMP or bring their own. Free Program.
(Pre-requisite: At least a Level 1 Class)

  • Beginner floats will be on the Wellington Reservoir starting at the Wellington Assessable Launch.
  • Intermediate floats will be on the Vermilion River starting at the Vermilion River Public Launch
  • Advance floats will be on the Black River starting at the French Creek launch
  • Endurance floats will be on Lake Erie starting at the Lorain Sailing and Yacht Club.

Outdoor Adventure at Lorain County Metro Parks


Waterways and Trails


Havok the Peregrine Falcon at Carlisle Visitor Center

The Vermilion-Lorain Waterway is a great asset of Lorain County. The 27-mile long water trail (class I+ to II) begins at the shale cliffs of the Vermilion River Reservation, hugs the coast of Ohio along Lake Erie, travels into the Black River and through the old Steel Mill in Lorain and ends at the Bur Oak Picnic Area of the Black River Reservation in Elyria. With 9 different access points along the rivers and the lake, paddlers can choose their own path and make their trek in the water as long or short as they like. For more information or to download the map, visit the Vermilion-Lorain Waterway webpage by clicking here.


Havok the Peregrine Falcon at Carlisle Visitor Center


Paddling Clubs and Events


For more opportunities to paddle outside of floats provided by the Lorain County Metro Parks check out the Paddling Sports Club. For more information, contact Kayla McKenna at kmckenna@metroparks.cc or visit the Facebook Page.


Adventure Fest is an annual event that takes place in September at Vermilion River Reservation. In addition to the paddling adventures that you can enjoy in the Vermilion River, this event also has a wide variety of activities like archery, rock climbing, disc golf, geo-caching, fishing, train rides, and more! Adventure Fest also has educational displays, live music, local arts and crafts, and food vendors. Make sure to stop by for the next one and enjoy a day of adventure with your family!

Family Camp


'Spirit of America' Boating Camp is a free annual summer camp for Lorain County students aged 12-15 years. The boating camp takes place at the Amherst HealthPlex, Splash Zone, Lakeview Park and the Lorain Sailing & Yacht Club. It includes classroom instruction, pool instruction and on-the-water training using canoes, kayaks, sailboats, motorboats, stand-up paddleboards and personal waterafts (jet skis).

Do you want to learn more about boating while spending time on the water this summer? Take part in this camp and you can learn safe boating skills directly from certified boating instructors and ODNR Division of Water craft and US Coast Guard officers, earn a required state boating certificate, and become a "Captain of Your Own Vessel!"


Paddle & Pedal Fest is an annual event that takes place in May at Lakeview Park in Lorain. Lorain County is home to beautiful freshwater resources including rivers, streams, reservoirs, and Lake Erie, not to mention a fantastic system of bike trails! Learn more about how to explore these incredible waterways and trails at Paddle & Pedal Fest. At the beach, try out a wide variety of paddle craft for FREE, such as kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards (boats provided by local liveries including LoCo Yaks, West River Paddling Company, and Great Lakes Kayaking). You can also check out the Cycling Safety Zone and meet Metro Parks Rangers who will give away FREE bike helmets (while supplies last).


Common Paddling Vessels


A kayak is a small, narrow watercraft which is propelled by means of a doublebladed paddle. The traditional kayak has a covered deck and one or more cockpits, each seating one paddler. The cockpit is sometimes covered by a spray deck that prevents the entry of water from waves or spray and makes it possible for suitably skilled kayakers to roll the kayak: that is, to capsize and right it without it filling with water or ejecting the paddler. Depending on the type of kayak, the length can vary, but recreational kayaks range from 9-14 ft.

Outdoor Adventure at Lorain County Metro Parks


A canoe is a lightweight narrow boat, typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel using a single-bladed paddle. Canoes are used for racing, whitewater canoeing, touring and camping, freestyle, and general recreation. The intended use of the canoe dictates its hull shape, length and construction material. They vary in length, but are typically 17 ft. long.

Outdoor Adventure at Lorain County Metro Parks


A Stand-Up Paddleboard is a long narrow buoyant board typically used by one single paddler. It is propelled by using a single-bladed paddle while standing on the padded deck of the board. Stand-Up Paddleboards are an offshoot of surfboards. They can be used for sightseeing, racing, yoga and even fishing. They can range anywhere from 7 ft. to 12 ft. in length.

Outdoor Adventure at Lorain County Metro Parks



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