Splash pads and lake life are the best ways to beat the smoldering July heat. Find the closest body of water and get IN IT — fast!
Luckily, you don’t have to spend big bucks on a motorboat or buy airlines tickets to the coast to find a lake or pad. Take the family for a short drive to one of the lakes in our area and you’ll find all the water fun you can ask for, while practicing safe water fun.
Here are some of the coolest — and closest — parks you can go to and feel like you’re away on a family vacation. Most of the lakes’ boat rentals include kayaks, canoes, stand up paddleboards (SUP) and pedal boats. We’ve got splashpads here, too.
MIAMI WHITEWATER FOREST HARBOR
9001 Mt. Hope Road
Rent a boat and spend the day out on a stunning 85-acre lake. Stop at the stocked snack bar to wrap up a fun-filled summer day.
4631 E. Kemper Road
The park, boat rentals and picnic area are all close together, so work up an appetite and take advantage of the snacks, ice cream and beautiful lake all at once.
10174 Loveland-Madeira Road
Grab your fishing gear, rent a rowboat and head out to the lake. No fishing gear? Rent gear and bait when you get there. No fishing license required. Day or season passes are available at the boathouse.
174 Karl Brown Way
Choose between popular excursions including The Castle Adventure Float Trip starting at $35 for two-four hours; specials and season passes.
3294 Elklick Road, Bethel
The lake has a 1,200-foot beach, swimming and boat rentals. Have a boat? Pick from one of the six boat docks along the lake, and end the day with a picnic lunch at one of the large picnic areas.
CAESAR CREEK STATE PARK MARINA
8574 E State Route 73
Waynesville • 513-897-1092
Park your boat at one of the five boat docks at the marina stocked with boat equipment, supplies, bait and more, and visit the snack bar. The new South Shore Marina (6850 Corwin Avenue, Waynesville) offers boat rentals as well. Then grab the kids and build sandcastles along the 1,300-foot-long sandy beach or park your boat at one of the boat and swim areas.
1750 Osborn Road, Wilmington
Swim at the 1,000-foot long beach, go sailing or practice your kayak and canoe skills with a certified instructor. Want to amp up your family’s water adventures? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up for one of the Family Outdoor Adventure series and learn some tips and tricks.
7850 VOA Park Drive
Walk to the little wooden Wheelhouse Outdoor Adventure Center, rent a boat or two and head to the snack bar. You can even launch your own boat for a small fee.
10245 Winton Road
Explore the 156-acre lake by boat and grab a snack and fishing gear at the boathouse. Use the dock for your own boat, or book a 30-minute boat tour on the Winton Queen to learn more about the park’s history.
KENTUCKY KINCAID LAKE STATE PARK
565 Kincaid Park Road
Loaded with scenic views, peace and quiet, the lake has all of that including boat rentals and fishing. After a long day of boating, cool off in the lake side swimming pool.
7615 Camp Ernst Road
Bring a picnic and overlook the 22-acre lake, or launch your boat off the boat ramp and cast a line. Fishing license is required.
14036 Boat Dock Road
Explore the Ohio River by canoe, coast on a pontoon boat or go fishing. The marina is also available if you’re looking to dock your own boat.
15179 Old State Road 101
Put your sailing skills to the test at this 17-mile lake. Brookville is great for tubing, and for bigger crowds, they have boats for that, too. Large speed boats, pontoons, sailboats, Hurricane deck boats and fishing boats are available to rent depending on what kind of water adventure you and your family are looking for.
Let the little ones run and splash up an appetite at one of these local splash pads for free or for a small fee. Kids love it because no one will tell them to stop splashing!
1230 Elm St.
This 7,000-square-foot interactive water feature is a year-round attraction, with more than 130 pop-up jets that can be synchronized to music and lights.
801 Lakeview Drive, Cincinnati
$6 per child
PARKY’S WETLAND ADVENTURE: WOODLAND MOUND
8250 Old Kellogg Road
$6 per child
11605 Lebanon Road, Loveland
PICHLER SPRAYGROUND – SMALE RIVERFRONT PARK
West Mehring Way