With the walls of our house closing in on us, we decided to make a trip to see our oldest daughter. After some thought, we launched a plan that would allow us to visit her (from a distance) and spend some time outdoors.
Making a Plan during COVID-19
My oldest lives in an apartment in the Canton area, where she normally attends college at Malone University. She has a roommate and works at a local grocery store. I am a healthcare worker. We clearly exist in different bubbles. Visiting at her apartment would definitely “pop our bubbles.” We could potentially expose her to the virus or vice versa.
So we decided to meet up at a park local to her. After some research we settled on Portage Lakes State Park. Online it looked to be dog friendly, with leashed dogs allowed on trails and a dog park if our pup got antsy.
Portage Lakes State Park
The park was nice and clean, which has been our experience with all of the Ohio State Parks. Though it wasn’t crowded and there was plenty of room to maintain our social distancing boundaries, the park was busy.
The lake is beautiful and looks to be a boater’s heaven during the summer months. Even on a cool, spring Saturday the boat ramp was fairly busy, mostly fishing boats. In addition to the boat ramp, there is a marina. The marina has fuel available and boat rentals as well. I made a mental note to come back in the summer so we could see the park from the water.
Picnic at the Beach
There was a nice playground area near the beach. It was closed, due to COVID-19, but a very nice facility. We made our picnic nearby, overlooking the lake and beach. There was a nice grassy area with plenty of trees for shade and a number of picnic tables leading down to a sandy beach.
The beach also had two docks jutting out into the lake. I imagine during the summer this to be full of kids jumping into the water, but on this day both docks were busy with people fishing.
Adjacent to the beach area there are two sand volleyball courts. They were nicely maintained with a fairly deep sand base.
There were plenty of recreational opportunities at the park. Just off the parking lot there were basketball courts and a skate park.
A fairly extensive disc golf course wound through the surrounding woods and a number of players were making use. Per the state park website, there are horseshoe pits available on the grounds as well.
After lunch, we took a hike. There are nine different trails in the park and we hiked a portion of the Shoreline Trail, just the section that juts out into the lake. It was a nice easy walk and we saw a number of people fishing from the bank.
If you plan on taking your dog to any state or local park, I recommend checking the website ahead of time. Portage Lakes seemed very pup friendly. We saw numerous people out walking with their four legged friends. There is also a dog park that dips down into the lake so your dog can have a swim.
I definitely want to check back at Portage Lakes in the summer, perhaps late summer when I’m hoping the corona virus is not so much of a threat. In looking at their site, it looks like there are normally some excellent programs and events. There are also picnic areas and shelters available for rent.
If you get a chance, check out Portage Lakes. What is your favorite state park? Share in the comments, I’m always looking for a new way to get out and enjoy Ohio!