Cleveland November 15, 2016
5 Amazing State Parks In Cleveland That Will Blow You Away
Cleveland is encircled by an ‘Emerald Necklace’, a ring of National and State Parks. While this ring might seem like one big park, there are actually 24 separate parks within 100 miles of Cleveland. Each has unique features, which is part of the reason they’re separate parks – each has unique needs in terms of upkeep and monitoring. The one thing that all of these parks have in common is that they’re beautiful and just waiting to be explored.
1. Nelson-Kennedy Ledges
Formed by the erosion of sandstone over millennia, these ledges are some of the only ones in the state that are still viewable. Wildflowers spring from the rock faces, and tree roots cling to every crevice. This is also one of the few state parks near Cleveland with hiking trails rated 'Moderate' and 'Difficult'.
1. Glacial Striations at Kelleys Island
Believed to be the biggest example of glacial striations in the world, the grooves at Kelleys Island are a must-see. Private ferries get you from the mainland to the island all year. The grooves were formed millennia ago, when glacial ice spread south from Canada, carving these patterns into the bedrock. Parts of these glaciers have since melted, creating the Great Lakes, and leaving their imprint on the land.
3. Headlands Beach
This state park is home to the largest natural sand beach in Ohio, stretching one mile along the shores of Lake Erie. It's a summer favorite for Northeast Ohioans. The shores of the beach are home to plants that are typically only found on the Atlantic coast, such as sea rocket and purple sand grass.
4. Portage Lakes
Located just outside Akron, Portage Lakes is made up of a collection of natural glacial and man-made lakes. It's a perfect summer spot for boating, swimming, and fishing. The wetlands are a perfect bird-watching spot for migratory birds such as Mallards and Canada geese. The star of winter here is the annual charity Polar Bear Jump (pictured). Are you brave enough?
5. Tinkers Creek
Glacial lakes here have largely turned into marshes and wetlands, perfect for birdwatching! Beavers and muskrats are common sightings. The Seven Ponds Trail is a great way to see the park, with a 1.5 mile boardwalk through the marshes.
What are you waiting for? Start exploring!