The summer season is here, which means it's a good time to hit the waterways. Besides the Ohio River attractions and views, the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky regions are rife with scenic, secluded rivers and lakes to kayak, boat, fish, and camp. The Ohio River Way Coalition offers an ultimate guide for fun sightseeing, boat launches, and points of interests along the Ohio River. Just remember to pack sunscreen!


Located in Harrison, Ohio, Green Acres Kayak offers seven miles and two to four hours of kayak enjoyment. Rent a kayak and float down the Whitewater River to spy bald eagles. Along the way, make pit stops at beaches, islands, and even a food truck.

Credit: @airika8oh on Instagram

Photo: @airika8oh on Instagram

Also located in Harrison, Miami Whitewater Forest spans 4,670 acres and includes trails, a golf course, a soccer complex, campgrounds, a dog park, and a boathouse. The harbor shows off an 85-acre lake, You can rent row, pedal, stand up paddle boards, pontoon boats, and kayaks.

Harrison's Campbell Lake Preserve, which spans 183 acres on four lakes and the Whitewater River, has bank fishing. Drop a line in hopes to catch bass, bluegill, and pike fish. Canoes, kayaks and jon boats are allowed; however, watercraft with motors are not.

Take a trip to the village of Greenhillls in Springfield Township to visit Winton Woods Harbor for its 175-acre Winton Lake, which contains a boathouse filled with rowboats, motorboats, pontoon boats, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and bike rentals. Visitors can also fish on the lake. Once done with aquatics, take a hike on a trail, post a picnic, or ride a horse on one of the park's many trails.

Credit: Great Parks of Hamilton County

Photo: Great Parks of Hamilton County

General James Taylor Park, located at the confluence of the Ohio and Licking Rivers in Newport, Kentucky, presents some of the best views of downtown Cincinnati. Plus, it's adjacent to BB Riverboats and Newport on the Levee. A playground, benches, and fishing in the river will keep your family entertained. Earlier this year, the city announced the park will be adding more walking paths, a dog park, and tennis and pickleball courts to complement the nearby Ovation entertainment complex/development.

While in Kentucky, stop by AJ Jolly Park in Alexandria. The 1,000-acre park offers a campground, yurts, a fishing lake, horse trails, pickleball and tennis courts, a golf course, and a lake used for watercraft rentals like kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, and stand-up paddle boards.

Credit: @Hilaryslone on Instagram

Photo: @hilaryslone on Instagram

Drive to Loveland, Ohio and spend a day at Lake Isabella, a 28-acre pay lake. Those who have an interest in fishing can fish from the bank. Great Parks stocks the lakes with farm-raised rainbow trout and catfish. Personal watercraft are only permitted on Tuesdays, but any other day rentals are available.

Loveland Paddlesports, also in Loveland, offers adventure seekers both solo and tandem kayak rentals on the Little Miami River, which is a designated state and national scenic river. Because of that, kayakers might spot interesting wildlife like great blue herons and turtles. As a motivating factor, every other Friday during the summer, Loveland Paddlesports partners with Lake Isabella to host music, burgers, band brews - that is, if you can paddle three miles from the shop to Lake Isabella.

Chris and Amanda Schack own Schack's Yaks in New Richmond, Ohio. Bring your own yak - short for kayak - or rent one. While doing the seven-mile river float, kayakers will see Ulysses S. Grant's home and the oldest floating performance boat.

Scenic River Canoe Excursions, near Old Milford, Ohio, offers a six- or 8.5-mile tour along the Little Miami River. Experience wildlife and mild rapids. Every day, they post weather and river updates on their Facebook pages, so visitors know what kind of day to expect.

BB Riverboats on the Ohio River with the Northern Kentucky skyline in the background (photo: Alias Imaging)

Photo: BB Riverboats

Want to experience the Ohio River without doing anything yourself? Book a trip on BB Riverboats and kick back for a relaxing, two-hour sojourn down the river. Operating since 1979, BB has enthralled guests with spectacular views of downtown Cincinnati and Newport. Board at Riverboat Row alongside Newport on the Levee. Enjoy several kinds of cruises, ranging from food-focused to history. Have a captain's dinner while coasting down the river, or take a cruise at sunset and enjoy live music. Kids might like the ice cream social cruise, in which everyone gets a scoop of ice cream.

Credit: @tevi23 on Instagram

Photo: @Tevi23 on Instagram

Every August, Paddlefest occurs along the Ohio River. This year, Paddlefest takes place on August 3, with an outdoors expo occurring the night before. With as many as 2,000 participants, Paddlefest is the nation's largest paddling event. Conservationist and canoe racer Mike Fremont will be this year's Commodore of Paddlefest. At 102 years young, he still races. Speaking of racing, enter to race a stand-up paddle board, a kayak, canoe, or prone. Try the 4.2 mile long Race to the Roebling, or the longer 9-mile Seven Bridges race. Participants can rent the watercraft or bring their own. Check out the riverfront marina, and of course those stunning views of downtown Cincy and Northern Kentucky!


For more ideas on what to do in Cincy, check out our Calendar of Events page!