Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

December 4, 2023

On the Waterfront

It's all about staying cool by the waterfront come July, so pack your coolers, grab the kids and enjoy our collection for water-soaked adventures!


513-521-7275 |
A valid Great Parks of Hamilton County motor vehicle permit is required to enter the park; $3 daily, $10 annually.


Lake Isabella
10174 Loveland-Madeira Road
The 28-acre lake is stocked weekly, March through October, and families can fish from the bank, dock or a rental rowboat. An Ohio State Fishing License is not required to fish at the lake. Day or season passes may be purchased at the boathouse.

Winton Woods
10245 Winton Road
Winton Woods (pictured above) is home to the 156-acre Winton Lake that offers rowboat, pedal boat, motorboat and pontoon boat rentals, as well as bikes. Licensed private canoes and kayaks and electric and gas motors up to six horsepowers are permitted (families can launch their canoes and kayaks on the north side of the Harbor Pavilion). Take a tour aboard the Winton Queen for a good view of the lake, or enjoy the bank fishing area (Ohio State Fishing License required). Enjoy snacks and dining at the harbor, plus a nearby traditional and wet playground and access to the 1.7-mile trail.

Miami Whitewater Forest
9001 Mt. Hope Road
The 85-acre lake at Miami Whitewater offers row, pedal, motor and pontoon boats, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and bike rentals. Licensed private canoes and kayaks, as well as electric and gas motors up to four horsepowers are allowed. Visit the boathouse for fishing gear, bait and snacks before you begin your fishing adventure (Ohio State Fishing License required). Nearby is a traditional and wet playground, an indoor nature education area, Nature’s Niche Gifts & Books, and the popular Shaker Trace Trail.

Sharon Woods Boathouse
4631 E. Kemper Road
Sharon Woods offers a 35-acre lake ideal for fishing (bait and tackle can be purchased at the pier; Ohio State Fishing License is required), as well as pedal, pontoon and rowboats, canoe, kayak and motorboat rentals. Nearby is the 2.6-mile shared-use trail and a 1-mile fitness trail, as well as a wet and traditional playground.


An Ohio State Fishing License is required at all lakes except Lake Isabella and Campbell Lakes Preserve:

  • Otto Armleder Memorial Park and Recreation Complex (5057 Wooster Pike)
  • Campbell Lakes Preserve (10431 Campbell Road, Harrison)
  • Fernbank Park (50 Thornton Ave.)
  • Shawnee Lookout (2008 Lawrenceburg Road, North Bend)
  • Woodland Mound (8250 Old Kellogg Road)
  • Triple Creek and River Hill (catch-and-release only) ponds at Mitchell Memorial Forest (5401 Zion Road, Miami Township)
  • Bass Island (bank fishing) at Little Miami Golf Center (3811 Newtown Road, Newtown)


Several spots in Great Parks of Hamilton County are ideal for water activity stay-cationing. Winton Woods offers a campground within walking distance of the harbor for fishing, boating and picnicking, as well as traditional and wet playgrounds and Parky’s Farm. Miami Whitewater Forest’s campground is a short drive or walk to the harbor, with playgrounds, fishing, boating, bike rental, picnic areas and access to the Shaker Trace Trail. Woodland Mound’s campground, known as Steamboat Bend, is open for weekly and monthly rentals to campers and RVs, and is a short drive to Breezy Point for the wet playground and nature center.


513-867-5835 |
A motor vehicle permit is required to enter the park; annual permits available for $10.


Rentschler Forest MetroPark
5701 Reigart Road, Fairfield Township
With access to the Great Miami River, Rentschler Forest offers opportunities for both fishing (Ohio Fishing License is required) and boating (small boat launch only, no fees).

Voice of America MetroPark
7850 VOA Park Drive, West Chester
Fishing the 35-acre stocked lake at Voice of America requires a MetroParks fishing permit, and families are invited to rent kayaks, rowboats, stand-up paddleboards, and paddle boats from the rental facility, or launch your own licensed craft for a small fee. Be sure to bring the pup for a visit to the dog park, Wiggly Field!


An Ohio Fishing License is required to fish at these parks:

  • Governer Bebb MetroPark (1979 Bebb Park Lane, Okeana)
  • Indian Creek MetroPark (6500 Springfield Road, Oxford)
  • Sebald MetroPark (5580 Elk Creek Road, Middletown)
  • Timberman Ridge Area, Forest Run MetroPark (1810 New London Road, Hamilton)


513-876-9013 |


Chilo Lock #34 Park
521 County Park Road, Chilo
Located on the site of a former Ohio River lock and dam, this park offers stunning views of the Ohio River, and the wooded hillsides lining the river offer a peaceful setting. A boat ramp and 200 feet of courtesy dock are available for boaters, while the backwaters of Crooked Run State Nature Preserve are just a half-mile upstream for a more relaxed setting ideal for canoeing and kayaking.

Kelley Nature Preserve
235 Center St. (State Route 126), Loveland
Located in Miamiville, Kelley Nature Preserve contains 42 acres along the scenic Little Miami River, and is a popular destination for canoeing and kayaking. Canoe access is just a short walk from the parking lot!


513-695-3980 |
Warren County Parks offers acres of lakes and ponds for fishing. Licenses are required to fish the pond at Landen-Deerfield Park (2258 W. St. Rt. 22/3, Maineville). Morrow Veterans Park (200 Hamlin St. and 104 Lincoln St., Morrow) offers opportunities for recreational boating and kayaking via the Little Miami National State Scenic River Watercraft Access. This Watercraft Access is also available at Carmody Park/Twin Creek (7499 Martz Paulin Road, Franklin) and Clint Fultz River Park (6102 Corwin Ave., Corwin). Visit


Warren County Armco Park
1223 N. State Rt. 741, Lebanon
Warren County Armco Park probably offers the most amenities of the parks in Warren County, whether you want to go boating, fishing or just enjoy a picnic by the lake. The lake is open to rowboats, canoes and kayaks (no outboard motors may be used on the lake). Additionally, two-seat pedal boats may be rented for $8 – $25.  Fishing is catch-and-release (exceptions apply) and requires a daily, weekly or seasonal fishing pass.


513-352-4080 |


Rapid Run Park
4450 Rapid Run Road
Enjoy a picnic by the shallow lake.

Burnet Woods
3251 Brookline Ave.
Along with hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and shelters, Burnet Woods also features a fishing lake and the Wolff Planetarium.

Eden Park
Eden Park Drive
Enjoy a picnic by the park’s famous Mirror Lake or Twin Lakes.

Inwood Park
2308 Vine St.
Inwood Park is best known for its large lake, perfect for picnicking, but it is also home to a children’s wading pool and a swimming pool.

Enjoy views of the Ohio River from Smale Riverfront Park (West Mehring Way), Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove (705 East Pete Rose Way), Theodore M. Berry International Friendship Park (1101 Riverside Drive), and Magrish Riverlands Preserve (along the National Scenic Little Miami River), which is perfect for observing river wildlife and features a scenic river overlook and a canoe launch.


859-525-7529 |


Middleton-Mills Park
3415 Mills Road, Covington
Both ponds at Middleton-Mills Park are members of Fishing in Neighborhoods (FINS), a program of the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources. Lakes are regularly stocked for fishing (catch and release applies to the Kids’ Fishing Derby), and a valid Kentucky Fishing License is required (and a Trout Stamp if you are keeping trout).

Doe Run Lake
1501 Bullock Pen Road, Covington
Doe Run Lake offers plenty of fishing opportunities, as well as chances to use your row boat, canoe, kayak, sailboat … anything without a gasoline-powered engine!

Pioneer Park
3951 Madison Pike, Covington
Banklick Creek runs through Pioneer Park and families can fish with a valid Kentucky Fishing License.

Prisoners Lake
Devou Park, Covington |
Another lake in the FINS program, the lake in Devou Park is stocked with fish by the state of Kentucky.


859-334-2283 |


Camp Ernst Lake
7915 Camp Ernst Road, Burlington
The 22-acre lake at Camp Ernst includes a handicap-accessible fishing pier, along with picnic areas when you’re ready to take a break. The lake is regularly stocked with bluegill and catfish. Trolling motors only are permitted.

England Idlewild Park
5550 Idlewild, Burlington
This park offers three fishing ponds that are regularly stocked with bluegill and catfish, along with picnic areas, playgrounds, a disc-golf course, a dog park, wooded and open areas, as well as wetlands and a new bike park.

Shor Lake Park
505 Shorland Drive, Walton
Shor Lake offers a large fishing lake regularly stocked with catfish and bluegill, along with picnic tables beside the lake.

Campbell County Waterfronts and Fishing

A.J. Jolly Park
Alexandria, KY | 859-635-4423 |
The thousand-acre park offers a 200-acre lake open to fishing and boating with proper licenses.  A daily or season pass is available at the ranger station.

Alexandria Community Lake Park
Alexandria Drive, Alexandria |
A member of the FINS program, this lake is regularly stocked by the state of Kentucky and offers plenty of trout and catfish fishing opportunities.



Armleder Memorial Sprayground
Saywer Point, 705 E. Pete Rose Way |
Catch a glimpse of the Ohio River and take a stroll along the Serpentine Wall before splashing through the jets (including a giant fountain that soaks the middle of the park) at this downtown cooling-off spot.

Cincinnati Recreation Commission (CRC)
CRC offers multiple spraygrounds, all of which are open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Except for McKie and Pleasant Ridge, which require a pool membership during regular pool hours, spraygrounds are free. Find them at:

  • Caldwell (316 W. North Bend Road)
  • College Hill (5660 Belmont Ave.)
  • Dyer (2110 Freeman Ave.)
  • McKie (1665 Chase Ave.)
  • North Fairmount (1702 Denham St.)
  • Oyler (2125 Staebler St.)
  • Pleasant Ridge (5915 Ridge Ave.)
  • South Fairmont (1685 Queen City Ave.)

Florence Family Aquatic Center
8200 Ewing Blvd., Florence | 859-647-4619 |
Enjoy a lazy river, a competition pool, slides, shelters and two spray grounds. Daily admission is $5 – $10, and is open Sunday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. until Aug. 9.

Great Parks of Hamilton County
513-521-7275 |
Great Parks of Hamilton County offers three different wet playgrounds: Parky’s Ark in Winton Woods Harbor (10245 Winton Road); Parky’s Pirate Cove in Miami Whitewater Forest (9001 Mt. Hope Road); and Parky’s Wetland Adventure (203 Woodland Mound Drive) in Woodland Mound. The parks are open daily from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. through Aug. 23; admission is $3 per child ages 2 – 12 or $7 for three children.

Smale Riverfront Park
100 W. Mehring Way |
So many happenings at Smale this summer!  Take a run through the small water park, then stroll along the riverfront and enjoy the sights, and don’t miss a spin on Carol Ann’s Carousel.

Washington Park
1230 Elm St. |
Seven thousand square feet of water-filled fun awaits kids at Washington Park, just across from Music Hall. Splash your way through 130 pop-up jets (that can be synchronized to lights and music!), or climb the steps and boulder that feature flowing water. Water park is open daily April through October from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

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