Best Boating in Ohio

Four sailboats sailing in a lake in Ohio.
Shaman Mountain is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission on certain links, at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

Explore the best boating experiences in Ohio with our guide to the most captivating water destinations in the state. From the scenic shores of Lake Erie to the tranquil retreats of Hocking Hills State Park and the expansive waters of Caesar Creek State Park, discover the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation on Ohio’s lakes and reservoirs. Whether you’re seeking serene sunset cruises, family-friendly outings, or diverse water activities, our curated list ensures that you make the most of the best boating opportunities Ohio has to offer. Embark on a journey to the top boating destinations, where natural beauty and recreational enjoyment come together, creating unforgettable moments on the water.



Lake Erie

Lake Erie, Ohio’s northern border, is a haven for boating enthusiasts. With a myriad of activities such as sailing, fishing, and island hopping, it offers a diverse range of experiences. The stunning views, especially during sunset, add to the allure, and the vibrant waterfront communities provide a lively atmosphere for those exploring the shores of this expansive lake.

Reasons to Boat in Lake Erie:

  • Diverse Activities: Lake Erie offers a variety of boating activities, from sailing to fishing, and even island hopping to destinations like Put-in-Bay.
  • Scenic Views: Enjoy breathtaking views of the lake, especially during sunset, with the Cleveland skyline in the distance.
  • Vibrant Culture: Explore the lively waterfront communities and experience the unique culture along the shores of Lake Erie.
  • Waterfront Dining: Discover fantastic waterfront restaurants and cafes, allowing you to enjoy a meal with a view.
  • Fishing Opportunities: Lake Erie is renowned for its excellent fishing, attracting anglers in search of walleye, perch, and more.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen


Alum Creek Reservoir

Just north of Columbus, Alum Creek Reservoir unfolds its charm with crystalline waters that invite boaters into a realm of aquatic delights. The clarity of the water not only enhances the allure for water sports enthusiasts but also provides a captivating view of the underwater world for those seeking a more contemplative boating experience. Surrounded by wooded areas, the reservoir sets a picturesque stage, offering a serene escape from the bustle of city life. Whether engaging in thrilling water sports, angling for the reservoir’s abundant bass, catfish, and crappie, or simply enjoying a leisurely cruise, Alum Creek Reservoir ensures a harmonious blend of adventure and tranquility.

Reasons to Boat in Alum Creek Reservoir:

  • Clear Waters: Boaters can appreciate the clarity of the water, creating an ideal environment for water activities and enjoying underwater visibility.
  • Water Sports: Alum Creek Reservoir is a hotspot for water sports such as jet skiing, wakeboarding, and tubing.
  • Fishing Paradise: Anglers can try their luck with the reservoir’s abundant bass, catfish, and crappie.
  • Scenic Surroundings: Surrounded by wooded areas, the reservoir provides a picturesque setting for a peaceful boating experience.
  • Accessibility: With multiple marinas and launch ramps, Alum Creek Reservoir is easily accessible for boaters.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Buckeye Lake

Nestled within the heart of Ohio, Buckeye Lake unveils a captivating blend of island exploration, community vibrancy, and natural wonders. Boaters can embark on journeys to its islands, including the Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve, where a unique natural experience awaits. The lake’s community spirit comes alive through various events and festivals, fostering a sense of belonging for both locals and visitors. Diverse fishing opportunities, from bass to bluegill, add to the allure, while lakeside dining options provide the perfect setting to savor a meal amidst picturesque views. Buckeye Lake, with its relaxed atmosphere and multifaceted offerings, beckons boaters into a world of leisure and exploration.

Reasons to Boat in Buckeye Lake:

  • Island Exploration: Boaters can explore Buckeye Lake’s islands, including Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve, offering a unique natural experience.
  • Community Events: The lake hosts various boating events and community festivals, creating a vibrant atmosphere.
  • Fishing Diversity: Buckeye Lake is known for its diverse fish population, making it an excellent spot for anglers.
  • Lakeside Dining: Enjoy lakeside dining at one of the many restaurants along the shore.
  • Relaxing Atmosphere: Boaters can enjoy a leisurely cruise in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Sunscreen


Grand Lake St. Marys

In the picturesque landscape of western Ohio, Grand Lake St. Marys emerges as a tranquil oasis for boating enthusiasts seeking a communion with nature. The lake, surrounded by lush greenery, becomes a haven for wildlife observation, inviting boaters to glimpse the diverse bird species and immerse themselves in the natural beauty. The nearby historic sites, such as the Miami and Erie Canal, add a cultural dimension to the boating experience. Against this backdrop, the lake hosts festive events, creating a convivial atmosphere. Grand Lake St. Marys, with its scenic charm, diverse fishing opportunities, and cultural allure, stands as a retreat for those seeking both relaxation and exploration.

Reasons to Boat in Grand Lake St. Marys:

  • Wildlife Observation: The lake is surrounded by nature, providing opportunities for bird watching and wildlife observation.
  • Historic Sites: Explore nearby historic sites like the Miami and Erie Canal, adding a cultural element to your boating experience.
  • Festive Atmosphere: Grand Lake St. Marys hosts various events and festivals, creating a festive atmosphere for boaters.
  • Fishing Hotspot: Anglers can try their luck with the lake’s diverse fish species, including bass, crappie, and bluegill.
  • Relaxing Scenery: Boaters can take in the peaceful scenery and enjoy a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle.

Recommended Gear: Rope, Compass, Paddle, Cooler, Sunglasses, Snacks, Anchor


Pleasant Hill Lake

Mohican State Park sets the stage for a tranquil boating experience at Pleasant Hill Lake. Boaters can embrace the serene surroundings, indulge in kayaking or canoeing, and combine their boating adventure with hiking. Family-friendly and adorned with fall foliage during autumn, Mohican State Park offers a well-rounded escape into nature.

Reasons to Boat in Mohican State Park (Pleasant Hill Lake):

  • Serene Surroundings: Mohican State Park offers a serene and wooded setting around Pleasant Hill Lake, creating a peaceful boating experience.
  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Beyond motorized boating, the lake is suitable for kayaking and canoeing, allowing for a different on-the-water experience.
  • Hiking Opportunities: Combine your boating trip with hiking adventures in Mohican State Park, known for its scenic trails.
  • Family Friendly: The lake is family-friendly, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for boating with children.
  • Fall Foliage: Experience the vibrant fall foliage if boating during autumn, adding a seasonal touch to your outing.

Recommended Gear: Anchor, Dry Box, Sunscreen, Marine Radio, Paddle , Compass, Rope


Lake Logan

Escape to the serenity of Lake Logan within the picturesque embrace of Hocking Hills State Park. The lake, surrounded by towering trees and lush forests, invites boaters into a world of calm waters and scenic beauty. As the gentle lapping of waves creates a soothing soundtrack, kayaking or canoeing becomes a leisurely pursuit, allowing boaters to appreciate the tranquility of their surroundings. The seamless integration with the park’s hiking trails adds a layer of adventure, providing an opportunity to extend the boating experience ashore. In this idyllic corner of Ohio, Lake Logan becomes a destination where boaters can unwind, connect with nature, and indulge in the simplicity of a peaceful escape.

Lake Logan:

  • Serene Surroundings: Lake Logan, nestled in Hocking Hills State Park, provides a serene escape surrounded by lush forests and scenic beauty.
  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Explore the lake’s calm waters through kayaking or canoeing, enjoying the tranquility of the Hocking Hills region.
  • Hiking Adventures: Combine boating with hiking by exploring the nearby trails and waterfalls within Hocking Hills State Park.
  • Peaceful Retreat: Boaters can enjoy a peaceful retreat away from urban noise, immersing themselves in nature.
  • Fall Foliage Experience: During autumn, boaters can witness vibrant fall foliage, adding a seasonal touch to their outing and creating a visually stunning backdrop as they cruise along the lake.

Recommended Gear: Sunscreen, Cooler, Paddle, Sunglasses, Marine Radio, Waterproof Phone Case, Dry Box


Caesar Creek State Park

Within the expanse of Caesar Creek State Park, the reservoir beckons boaters into a realm of exploration and recreational delight. The expansive lake provides ample space for boaters to chart their course across its pristine waters, offering a canvas for water-based adventures. The park’s marina, equipped with convenient amenities and boat rentals, ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience for boaters of all levels. Surrounded by woodlands, the reservoir sets a scenic stage for a peaceful escape, where boaters can revel in the natural beauty that defines Caesar Creek State Park. Whether angling for the diverse fish species or simply savoring the tranquility, this Ohio destination offers a harmonious blend of recreation and relaxation.

Reasons to Boat in Caesar Creek State Park:

  • Expansive Lake: Caesar Creek State Park boasts a large lake, offering boaters plenty of space to explore and enjoy various water activities.
  • Marina Amenities: The park’s marina provides convenient amenities, including boat rentals and supplies for a hassle-free boating experience.
  • Scenic Beauty: Boaters can take in the scenic beauty of the park, surrounded by woodlands and featuring picturesque shoreline views.
  • Fishing Opportunities: Anglers will appreciate the diverse fishing opportunities available in Caesar Creek Lake.
  • Sunset Spectacle: Boating on Caesar Creek Lake offers the opportunity to witness breathtaking sunsets over the water.

Recommended Gear: Life Jackets, Compass, Anchor, Tarps, Marine Radio, Cooler, Swim Bag


Mosquito Lake

The lake’s wooded surroundings create a serene backdrop, providing a peaceful setting for boating enthusiasts. Beyond the gentle lapping of waves, diverse wildlife adds an enchanting dimension to the boating experience, offering glimpses of nature’s inhabitants along the shoreline. Anglers are drawn to the lake’s diverse fish population, casting lines in pursuit of bass, walleye, and crappie. Mosquito Lake, surrounded by Mosquito Lake State Park, becomes a haven for those seeking a nature-rich and immersive boating escapade.

Reasons to Boat in Mosquito Lake:

  • Northeastern Gem: Located in northeastern Ohio, Mosquito Lake is a gem for boaters, offering a peaceful escape and recreational opportunities.
  • Abundant Wildlife: Boaters can spot diverse wildlife along the lake’s shores, creating a nature-rich boating experience.
  • Fishing Diversity: Mosquito Lake is known for its diverse fish population, attracting anglers seeking various species.
  • State Park Access: The lake is surrounded by Mosquito Lake State Park, providing additional recreational options and scenic beauty.
  • Tranquil Escape: Boating on Mosquito Lake provides a tranquil escape, allowing boaters to unwind and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of the lake, making it an ideal destination for relaxation.

Recommended Gear: Sunglasses, Paddle, Sunscreen, Dry Box, Waterproof Phone Case, Anchor


Salt Fork Lake

In the heart of Salt Fork State Park, Salt Fork Lake unfolds as a vast and inviting expanse for boaters to explore. Surrounded by rolling wooded hills, the lake provides a serene setting, offering boaters a canvas of scenic landscapes to enjoy. Whether navigating the lake’s expansive waters or simply reveling in the tranquility, Salt Fork Lake becomes a retreat for those seeking both natural beauty and recreational opportunities. As the largest lake within Salt Fork State Park, it encapsulates the park’s spirit, inviting boaters to partake in diverse outdoor activities, from boating and fishing to hiking and camping. With a family-friendly environment and a wealth of possibilities, Salt Fork Lake ensures an immersive experience for boating enthusiasts.

Reasons to Boat in Salt Fork Lake:

  • Largest State Park Lake: Salt Fork Lake is the largest lake within Salt Fork State Park, offering boaters a vast expanse of water to explore.
  • Scenic Wooded Shores: Boaters can enjoy the beauty of the lake surrounded by wooded hills and scenic landscapes.
  • Diverse Recreational Activities: Salt Fork State Park provides various recreational activities, including boating, hiking, and camping, for a well-rounded outdoor experience.
  • Family Friendly Environment: The lake and park are suitable for families, providing a safe and enjoyable environment for boating with children.
  • Natural Beauty: Boating on Salt Fork Lake allows individuals to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings, offering a peaceful and visually pleasing escape into nature.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen


Portage Lakes

Embark on a journey through the interconnected lakes of Portage Lakes, where boaters are welcomed into a world of scenic exploration and community charm. The network of lakes provides a diverse landscape, allowing boaters to navigate through different areas, each with its unique allure. Beyond the tranquil waters, a vibrant community atmosphere unfolds along the shores, marked by lakeside residences, marinas, and recreational facilities. The lakeside dining options offer not just a culinary treat but also a chance to savor meals with breathtaking views. With year-round appeal, from the blossoming colors of spring to the serene beauty of winter, Portage Lakes stands as a versatile and enduring destination, inviting boaters to enjoy the changing seasons along its picturesque shores.

Reasons to Boat in Portage Lakes:

  • Interconnected Lakes: Portage Lakes consists of several interconnected lakes, allowing boaters to explore different areas and enjoy diverse scenery.
  • Community Atmosphere: Boaters can experience a community atmosphere with lakeside residences, marinas, and recreational facilities.
  • Waterfront Dining: Explore the lakeside dining options, offering a chance to enjoy a meal with beautiful views of the water.
  • Year Round Appeal: Portage Lakes has year-round appeal, with opportunities for boating, fishing, and winter sports, providing enjoyment in all seasons.
  • Scenic Variety: The interconnected lakes of Portage Lakes provide boaters with a diverse range of scenery, from wooded shores to open waters.

Recommended Gear: Compass, Anchor, Cooler, Rope, Tarp, Snacks, Sunscreen

Related Posts:

Whitewater kayaker in a red kayak, paddling a river in Wyoming.

Best Kayaking in Wyoming

If you’re a kayaking enthusiast seeking the best paddling experiences in the heart of the American West, Wyoming has a treasure trove of stunning destinations

Paddle boarder in the water at sunset

Best Paddle Boarding in Michigan

Exploring the picturesque waters of Michigan is a delight for paddle boarding enthusiasts. With its diverse range of serene lakes, stunning shorelines, and captivating water

Couple with standup paddleboards on the beach

Best Paddle Boarding in Maine

Exploring the pristine waters of Maine on a paddleboard is a thrilling experience, and the Pine Tree State offers a multitude of exceptional locations for