While the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is legitimately great and it’s always exhilarating to watch a Cavaliers game, Cleveland has a lot more to offer residents and visitors than just its cultural attractions. As the city is situated next to Lake Erie, it is filled with several very different and utterly captivating waterways. Some serve as staggeringly beautiful background to some of Northeast Ohio’s best hiking trails. Others offer fishing opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Here’s a rundown of the five best bodies water to visit near Cleveland.
Cuyahoga River 

In many ways, the Cuyahoga River is an excellent metaphor for Cleveland itself. While there was a period in the late 20th century when the river had fallen into a state of decay, the Cuyahoga has been lovingly restored through the tireless efforts of civic-minded Ohioans. Now what was once a regional embarrassment has become a point of pride that draws in millions of visitors every year. One only has to observe the majestic Brandywine Falls or walk alongside the river while hiking the iconic Towpath Trail to understand why Cleveland is called America’s Comeback City.

Rocky River 

Regarded by Field & Stream as one the best trout fishing spots in the country, the Rocky River is a waterway where anglers regularly land 10-pound steelheads. The Rocky River marina also has a lot to offer to those who have no interest in fishing. Visitors can charter a boat and take in a leisurely tour of one of the Rust Belt’s most scenic harbors or they can rent a jet ski zip across the water at 65 mph. Alternately, golf aficionados can enjoy a one of a kind round of 18 holes at one of the Rocky River Reservation’s three rustic golf courses.

Tinker’s Creek

Tinker’s Creek is an ideal vacation spot because as the Cuyahoga River’s largest tributary, it has a unique set of geographic features that will appeal to a range of outdoor enthusiasts. Folks who like to appreciate nature’s wonders will have lots of fun checking out the creek’s amazing 25-foot waterfall and its stunning gorge, which was declared a National Natural Landmark in 1968. Those who look to nature for new and exciting physical challenges will find that the creek’s whitewater rapids to be both incredibly thrilling and extremely demanding. It’s fair to say that if anyone who relishes spending time outdoors will find something to love at Tinker’s Creek.

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Put-in-Bay, which was so named because it served as a safe harbor for sailors who needed “put in” while a patch of bad weather passed, is one of Ohio’s most popular tourist destinations. The main reason the bay attracts large numbers of visitors every year because its place in America’s military history. During the second year of the War of 1812, Put-in-Bay was the site of the Battle of Lake Erie, the pivotal engagement that saw the British suffer a devastating defeat at the hands of U.S. naval Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. The Commodore’s triumph was later commemorated with the construction of the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, which is located on the bay’s South Bass Island.

Lake Erie 

Cleveland’s Lake Erie shore has a little something for everyone. Swimmers can take a dive into one of America’s Great Lakes. Families can put in some quality playing volleyball, picnic in front of a gorgeous shoreline, indulge in some Honey Hut ice cream and retire to one Edgewater Beach’s many fine rental cabanas. Anglers can pop over to Wildwood Park to catch some walleye and coho salmon. And, starting on Mar. 25, those craving a classic beach boardwalk experience can head to the fabulous I-X Indoor Amusement Park, which is only a quick 20-minute drive from the shore.

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Mario McKellop is a freelance writer who has covered the pop culture beat since 2010.