Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding destinations near Columbus, Ohio

Take I-71 to SR 36 for a quick drive to Alum Creek State Park | Photo by CBUStoday
Take I-71 to SR 36 for a quick drive to Alum Creek State Park | Photo by CBUStoday

Kayaking, canoeing + paddle boarding are great ways to explore the CBUS area. These water sports also offer both physical and mental health benefits that extend far beyond a day on the water.

But before we dive in, let’s get a lay of the land (er, water). Check out these unique facts about our region:

  • The Ohio River is 981 miles long, making it the 10th largest river in the US.
  • The Ohio River flows through or borders along six different states Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and of course, Ohio.
  • The Scioto River, which is 231 miles long, is one of Ohio’s longest rivers and it all flows from a humble ditch in a farm field in Auglaize County.

Next, we should talk about paddling safety, so you don’t capsize:

  • Always wear a PFD or personal flotation device.
  • Start small. Water, especially flowing water, can be intimidating. First-timers should opt for a small lake, pond, or city canal.
  • Consider a guided adventure from Olentangy Paddle before heading out on your own.
  • For a fully detailed list of do’s + don’ts, check out this paddling safety guide.

And finally, here are a few local options for getting your feet wet:

  • Scioto Audubon Metro Park, 400 W. Whittier St. | 10-minute drive | We recommend parking + entering the water at the boat docking area just beyond the Park Office and Visiting Center.
  • Dublin Springs Park, 6965 Fallen Timbers Dr. | 20-minute drive | Float your way along the namesake of Riverside Drive as you view downtown Dublin + the surrounding Bridge Park area. Sunrise Kayaking offers tours, too.
  • Alum Creek State Park, 3615 S. Old State Rd. | 30-minute drive | This lake offers calm waters for first-timers + easy entry and exit if you park at the small boat dock off of SR 36.