Above – Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Credit
A family that plays together, stays together so check out the top five outdoor activities in Akron, OH.
If your family loves the outdoors, explore forests, grasslands and wetlands at Cuyahoga Valley National Park and take a memorable ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Enjoy hiking, biking and sports at the Summit Metro Parks, soak in some history at Hale Farm & Village and enjoy the snowy slopes at Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts. With something for everyone, find out more about the top five outdoor activities in Akron, Ohio.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Having the distinction of being the only national park in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park has consistently ranked among the top 15 most visited national parks in the country. Within its expansive 32,572 acres are independently managed city parks and private areas that families can enjoy exploring together. The ecosystem of the park comprises forests and grasslands along with rivers and wetlands with a varied collection of species of plants and bird and animal life like beavers, white-tailed deer, gray foxes, peregrine falcons and bald eagles.
Popular attractions within the park include Beaver Marsh, one of the 1,500 wetland areas in the park and Brandywine Falls, a 65-foot waterfall. Families can learn about the history of farming and rural living at the George Stanford House dating back to the 1800s. The house also affords commanding views of the Cuyahoga River. The 19th century Everett Covered Bridge is another site worth seeing and also makes for a scenic backdrop for a family photo. A must-do in the park is hiking on the Ohio and Erie Cowpath Trail that is divided into four segments and follows the former route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Families can sit back and enjoy a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Running both southbound and northbound through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the ride is one of the oldest and most scenic routes with stations located along the way like Boston Mill Visitor Center and Canal Exploration Center. Family-friendly theme rides include Day Out with Thomas, the Polar Express and Bike Aboard along with popular rides including Royalty on the Rails and Superheroes on the Train.
A family with early risers can opt for the All Aboard for Breakfast Along the Cuyahoga excursion and adults can enjoy an elegant dining experience as part of the Dinner on the Train experience.
Summit Metro Parks
For the ultimate outdoor fun, the Summit Metro Parks comprise 16 parks with a combined space of 14,000 acres and 150 miles of trails. With something for all ages, families can bike on the 34-mile Bike & Hike Trail that runs from Sagamore Hills to Munroe Falls and kayak on the Cuyahoga River through Gorge Metro Park. Other outdoor activities include boating in the Tinkers Creek Area of Liberty Park, fishing at the Nimisila Reservoir and in the Cuyahoga River and swimming at Munroe Falls and Silver Creek.
Families visiting during the winter can go sledding, ice skating, ice fishing and cross-country skiing at various locations including Firestone Metro Park, Sand Run Metro Park and Cascade Valley Metro Park. For sporty families, there are baseball and softball fields in several parks, an 18-hole disc golf Course at the Silver Creek Metro Park and basketball and volleyball courts at Munroe Falls Metro Park.
Hale Farm & Village
An historic 19th century property owned by the Western Reserve Historical Society, Hale Farm & Village is located within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Families have the opportunity to explore, learn and experience this living history museum with 32 historic structures, farm animals and heritage gardens. There is even an opportunity to see early American craft and trade demonstrations like glassblowing, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving, candle making, pottery and broom making.
At the MarketPlace, families can shop for handicrafts, clothing, jewelry and food made by local artisans. Café 1810 at the village is a great venue for family meals, offering a wholesome menu that uses produce and other ingredients sourced from the Hale gardens and farm. Through the year, the village hosts various events including arts and crafts festivals and holiday markets that are fun for the whole family.
Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts
If skiing is your favorite family pastime, then Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski Resorts offer an outdoor adventure like no other. With slopes and hills for both newbies and pros, ski equipment is available as are one-time lessons. Enjoy the spectacular views as you get transported to the top of the hill on ski lifts. Other activities at the resorts include polar blast snow tubing and snowboarding along with facilities such as locker rentals and food services.