August 08, 2014

19 Outdoorsy Things You Have to Do in Cleveland Before Summer Ends

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Climbing cliffs may sound like something you'd have to travel far away for, but the Cleveland Rock Gym offers this fun activity right in our backyard. If you're new to the activity, you'll want to call seven days ahead to make sure someone is available to show you the ropes, or you can take their introductory class. More experienced climbers can walk in during regular business hours (3 to 10 p.m. weekdays, noon to 6 p.m. weekends). You get harnessed up and work your way to the top while navigating footholds and ropes. At $14 a pass plus modest equipment fees, this makes a great date activity for the more adventurous. They even offer birthday packages for a unique party. (Liz Trenholme)
21200 St. Clair Ave., Building B3, Euclid, 216-692-3300
Photo via Cleveland Scene Archives
Climbing cliffs may sound like something you'd have to travel far away for, but the Cleveland Rock Gym offers this fun activity right in our backyard. If you're new to the activity, you'll want to call seven days ahead to make sure someone is available to show you the ropes, or you can take their introductory class. More experienced climbers can walk in during regular business hours (3 to 10 p.m. weekdays, noon to 6 p.m. weekends). You get harnessed up and work your way to the top while navigating footholds and ropes. At $14 a pass plus modest equipment fees, this makes a great date activity for the more adventurous. They even offer birthday packages for a unique party. (Liz Trenholme)

21200 St. Clair Ave., Building B3, Euclid, 216-692-3300

Playing golf without actually golfing has become a serious trend in outdoor recreation of late. Maybe because golf seems like a stuffy, expensive preoccupation of older white guys? Who knows. Maybe you're into this whole golf thing, but footgolf, for instance, (mentioned above) strikes you as lame or inadequately challenging. Why not try Disc Golf, the original golf hybrid! With courses all over Northeast Ohio, and most of them free of charge, it's a fun outdoor activity for dates or buddies or (with no promises of success) children. You throw specialty discs — you'll have to buy them or locate a cousin who's weirdly into it already — at "holes:" metal posts with chandelier-esque chains attached. It's that simple, and it's less time-consuming than a full round of 18 holes. Find courses in Hudson, at the Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, at Tri-C's Parma campus (actually on campus), and the region's premiere course at Euclid's Sims Park. First-timers are welcome!
Photo via Megan Hanft, Instagram
Playing golf without actually golfing has become a serious trend in outdoor recreation of late. Maybe because golf seems like a stuffy, expensive preoccupation of older white guys? Who knows. Maybe you're into this whole golf thing, but footgolf, for instance, (mentioned above) strikes you as lame or inadequately challenging. Why not try Disc Golf, the original golf hybrid! With courses all over Northeast Ohio, and most of them free of charge, it's a fun outdoor activity for dates or buddies or (with no promises of success) children. You throw specialty discs — you'll have to buy them or locate a cousin who's weirdly into it already — at "holes:" metal posts with chandelier-esque chains attached. It's that simple, and it's less time-consuming than a full round of 18 holes. Find courses in Hudson, at the Cuyahoga County Airport in Richmond Heights, at Tri-C's Parma campus (actually on campus), and the region's premiere course at Euclid's Sims Park. First-timers are welcome!
There are few better ways to enjoy the sights of Cleveland than traveling through its main waterway in a kayak. The mighty Cuyahoga winds through Northeast Ohio carrying gigantic ore ships and weekend travelers, but it also affords you, the novice outdoorsman, the chance to kayak alongside them. Whether you're looking for a quick two-mile jaunt or a five-mile marathon down the river (which is very much clean these days, thank you very much), there's an option for you. And this adventure isn't limited to downtown Cleveland; plenty of routes begin and end down south where the Cuyahoga runs its way through the suburbs and toward Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Check out River Cruiser Kayaking (rivercruiserkayaking.com), Great Lakes Watersports (glwatersports.com) or 41 Degrees North (kayak41north.com) for routes and rates.
Photo via Cleveland Scene Archives
There are few better ways to enjoy the sights of Cleveland than traveling through its main waterway in a kayak. The mighty Cuyahoga winds through Northeast Ohio carrying gigantic ore ships and weekend travelers, but it also affords you, the novice outdoorsman, the chance to kayak alongside them. Whether you're looking for a quick two-mile jaunt or a five-mile marathon down the river (which is very much clean these days, thank you very much), there's an option for you. And this adventure isn't limited to downtown Cleveland; plenty of routes begin and end down south where the Cuyahoga runs its way through the suburbs and toward Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Check out River Cruiser Kayaking (rivercruiserkayaking.com), Great Lakes Watersports (glwatersports.com) or 41 Degrees North (kayak41north.com) for routes and rates.
Some of you have probably heard of geocaching, the GPS-based "real word treasure hunt" happening all around us. With more than two million total caches, there are endless hunts available in the Cleveland area. To play, log in to a free basic membership online, enter your postal code and select a "cache," or container, that you'd like to hunt. You'll get a set of GPS coordinates, then travel to that location and try to find the booty at the site. You sign a commemorative logbook, return the cache to where you found it, and then share your adventures on the web. The cool part is, you're welcome to take items if you replace them with items of equal or greater value. It's free, totally outdoorsy, original and big-time fun for anyone who did "orienteering" in the Science Olympiad back in grade school. Good luck not getting addicted to this interactive form of urban/suburban/rural exploration. (Allard)
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons, Johan Larsson
Some of you have probably heard of geocaching, the GPS-based "real word treasure hunt" happening all around us. With more than two million total caches, there are endless hunts available in the Cleveland area. To play, log in to a free basic membership online, enter your postal code and select a "cache," or container, that you'd like to hunt. You'll get a set of GPS coordinates, then travel to that location and try to find the booty at the site. You sign a commemorative logbook, return the cache to where you found it, and then share your adventures on the web. The cool part is, you're welcome to take items if you replace them with items of equal or greater value. It's free, totally outdoorsy, original and big-time fun for anyone who did "orienteering" in the Science Olympiad back in grade school. Good luck not getting addicted to this interactive form of urban/suburban/rural exploration. (Allard)
Whether it's in a river in the Metroparks or on a chartered boat in Lake Erie, there are plenty of options to get out on the water and into some fish within a short drive from downtown Cleveland. The Rocky River is known for its tremendous steelhead fishing in the fall and spring, but this summer you'll find a great opportunity to hook some smallmouth bass, which can be really fun to catch. Much of the river is maintained by the Cleveland Metroparks, which provides easy access to some great fishing spots. Heading out onto Lake Erie in a chartered boat will be more of a financial and time commitment, but you'll have the chance to bring in some large walleye. Check out Wildwood Marina, Fish Crazy Charters and Fin-Ominal Charters for details. (Doug Brown)
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, DaveJoe
Whether it's in a river in the Metroparks or on a chartered boat in Lake Erie, there are plenty of options to get out on the water and into some fish within a short drive from downtown Cleveland. The Rocky River is known for its tremendous steelhead fishing in the fall and spring, but this summer you'll find a great opportunity to hook some smallmouth bass, which can be really fun to catch. Much of the river is maintained by the Cleveland Metroparks, which provides easy access to some great fishing spots. Heading out onto Lake Erie in a chartered boat will be more of a financial and time commitment, but you'll have the chance to bring in some large walleye. Check out Wildwood Marina, Fish Crazy Charters and Fin-Ominal Charters for details. (Doug Brown)
Oberlin College isn't the only reason for trekking out to Oberlin, Ohio, anymore. Nor is ziplining only a tourist attraction in Costa Rica (or a necessity among the high-altitude insectologists of the Amazon). Common Ground Canopy Tours is pleased to now offer a thrilling zipline excursion set on 30 acres of scenic valley on the Vermilion River. The 2.5-hour outdoor adventure consists of seven individual zip lines, 13 tree platforms, three sky bridges and the only operational floating stairway in the entire country. At $87 a pop, it's not exactly a cheap date (nor is it an optimal outing for the very young or the very overweight), but the exhilaration is one of a kind. You suit up in cave-spelunking gear, take a mini-safety course — the terms are all named for Mexican food items — and set out among the trees, trolleying along cables at speeds of 40 to 50 mph. Common Ground doubles as a corporate retreat center and summer camp, so feel free to inquire about their team building activities and outdoor fun. The staff is a warm, approachable and eminently knowledgeable bunch. (Sam Allard)
14240 Baird Rd., Oberlin, 440-707-2044
Photo courtesy of Common Ground, Facebook
Oberlin College isn't the only reason for trekking out to Oberlin, Ohio, anymore. Nor is ziplining only a tourist attraction in Costa Rica (or a necessity among the high-altitude insectologists of the Amazon). Common Ground Canopy Tours is pleased to now offer a thrilling zipline excursion set on 30 acres of scenic valley on the Vermilion River. The 2.5-hour outdoor adventure consists of seven individual zip lines, 13 tree platforms, three sky bridges and the only operational floating stairway in the entire country. At $87 a pop, it's not exactly a cheap date (nor is it an optimal outing for the very young or the very overweight), but the exhilaration is one of a kind. You suit up in cave-spelunking gear, take a mini-safety course — the terms are all named for Mexican food items — and set out among the trees, trolleying along cables at speeds of 40 to 50 mph. Common Ground doubles as a corporate retreat center and summer camp, so feel free to inquire about their team building activities and outdoor fun. The staff is a warm, approachable and eminently knowledgeable bunch. (Sam Allard)

14240 Baird Rd., Oberlin, 440-707-2044

Catching waves on Lake Erie seems like an urban legend, but trust us, it does happen! While winter is the best (and most insane) time of year to get some big surf action, there's still plenty of water to ride around on in warmer months. Since all of our local waves are caused by wind, you'll have to wait for the proverbial perfect storm to get some serious action. Edgewater Beach is likely the most popular surf spot around town, and we know the water gets pretty "interesting" there when it rains, so surfing here is still a bit of a fringe activity. Expect to see a handful of dedicated Cleveland surfers braving the elements and welcoming you to share their waves. In terms of gear, you may be hard-pressed for any rentals; the closest surf shop is in Michigan. Check out the forums at wagnersurfclub.com for tips on surfing our lovely lake. (Eric Gonzalez)
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, Germ City Bath Wash
Catching waves on Lake Erie seems like an urban legend, but trust us, it does happen! While winter is the best (and most insane) time of year to get some big surf action, there's still plenty of water to ride around on in warmer months. Since all of our local waves are caused by wind, you'll have to wait for the proverbial perfect storm to get some serious action. Edgewater Beach is likely the most popular surf spot around town, and we know the water gets pretty "interesting" there when it rains, so surfing here is still a bit of a fringe activity. Expect to see a handful of dedicated Cleveland surfers braving the elements and welcoming you to share their waves. In terms of gear, you may be hard-pressed for any rentals; the closest surf shop is in Michigan. Check out the forums at wagnersurfclub.com for tips on surfing our lovely lake. (Eric Gonzalez)
5K runs and marathons are for babies. What, you could only run 26.2 miles? Ultramarathons challenge the most extreme runners and push them to the limit during races that span 30 to 100 miles. Several of these events take place in Northeast Ohio every year. The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run traverses many trails in the Metroparks area and only awards those who finish in less than 30 hours. The Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K has runners circling Glacier Lake multiple times. Other ultramarathons around Ohio are held in Mohican State Park, Hocking Hills, Great Seal State Park and more. Check out the 2013-2014 Ohio Ultramarathon Calendar at marathons.ahotu.com to get the best runner's high in Ohio. (Gonzalez)
Photo courtesy of Marathons Ahotu, Facebook
5K runs and marathons are for babies. What, you could only run 26.2 miles? Ultramarathons challenge the most extreme runners and push them to the limit during races that span 30 to 100 miles. Several of these events take place in Northeast Ohio every year. The Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run traverses many trails in the Metroparks area and only awards those who finish in less than 30 hours. The Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K has runners circling Glacier Lake multiple times. Other ultramarathons around Ohio are held in Mohican State Park, Hocking Hills, Great Seal State Park and more. Check out the 2013-2014 Ohio Ultramarathon Calendar at marathons.ahotu.com to get the best runner's high in Ohio. (Gonzalez)
If you've driven through Slavic Village at all during the past few years, you've probably noticed that wooden stadium-thing on Broadway. What is it? It's a Velodrome, constructed for outdoor Olympic-style competitive cycling, and it's really freaking cool, one of only a handful in the United States. Day passes to the track are $15 (bike rentals are an additional $10) and though it's scary at first, you'll pick it up in no time. Having opened in August 2012, the Velodrome is now amid a jam-packed summer season with weekly races on Friday nights, classes on the weekend, and ongoing instruction every day. Hell, the Ohio State Championships are going down at the Velodrome this weekend (June 20 and 21). Even if you're not up for trying competitive cycling, go check out some of their events. The non-profit Fast Track Cycling has been working tirelessly to promote and advocate bike safety awareness and fun. If you're into it, season passes are only $200. (Allard)
5033 Broadway Ave., 216-256-4285
Photo via Cleveland Scene Archives
If you've driven through Slavic Village at all during the past few years, you've probably noticed that wooden stadium-thing on Broadway. What is it? It's a Velodrome, constructed for outdoor Olympic-style competitive cycling, and it's really freaking cool, one of only a handful in the United States. Day passes to the track are $15 (bike rentals are an additional $10) and though it's scary at first, you'll pick it up in no time. Having opened in August 2012, the Velodrome is now amid a jam-packed summer season with weekly races on Friday nights, classes on the weekend, and ongoing instruction every day. Hell, the Ohio State Championships are going down at the Velodrome this weekend (June 20 and 21). Even if you're not up for trying competitive cycling, go check out some of their events. The non-profit Fast Track Cycling has been working tirelessly to promote and advocate bike safety awareness and fun. If you're into it, season passes are only $200. (Allard)

5033 Broadway Ave., 216-256-4285

When exotic cuisine and old-fashioned American pastimes no longer excite your relatives and college pals, why not try a European craze that's sweeping into Northeast Ohio, courtesy of Solon's Cleveland Bounce? It's body zorbing, folks, the safe, comfortable alternative to Sumo Suits. They're transparent, inflatable orbs in which you cocoon yourself and then run, jump, tumble, dive and, of course, mercilessly attack your spouses and/or children in the comfort of their presumed safety. If you're already buying a party package with Cleveland Bounce — complete with things like those enormous bounce houses, laser tags, and dunk tanks — you can get two body zorb spheres for $150. If you're age 7+, and just have a jones for some safe, destructive behavior, this'll work for that too. (Allard)
27100 Richmond Rd. #4, Solon, 440-822-3960
Photo courtesy of Ohio Mobile Gaming, Facebook
When exotic cuisine and old-fashioned American pastimes no longer excite your relatives and college pals, why not try a European craze that's sweeping into Northeast Ohio, courtesy of Solon's Cleveland Bounce? It's body zorbing, folks, the safe, comfortable alternative to Sumo Suits. They're transparent, inflatable orbs in which you cocoon yourself and then run, jump, tumble, dive and, of course, mercilessly attack your spouses and/or children in the comfort of their presumed safety. If you're already buying a party package with Cleveland Bounce — complete with things like those enormous bounce houses, laser tags, and dunk tanks — you can get two body zorb spheres for $150. If you're age 7+, and just have a jones for some safe, destructive behavior, this'll work for that too. (Allard)

27100 Richmond Rd. #4, Solon, 440-822-3960