Summer Fun Guide 2013: Fun For Rent

We offer five ways to enjoy the outdoors just a little more this year.

Stand-up paddleboarding has finally made it to the Midwest. Originating in Hawaii before spreading to the mainland, Cleveland Metroparks' Hinckley Lake now provides the opportunity to give the somewhat-daunting diversion a shot. The Boathouse & Store offers paddleboard rentals through October at $16 an hour, $22 for two hours or $26 for three hours. "Our boards are a little bit wider and have a soft top. They're designed more for beginners," says store manager Lynne Barron. "Basically if you have good balance, you get on it and you just go. Don't kneel till you're ready. Take your time, and slowly stand up. Wait until you are confident enough to stand." 1 West Drive, Hinckley, 330-278-2160,

Jet Skis
Admit it, you've always wanted to feel the wind in your face and water rocking beneath your Jet Ski as you take off across Lake Erie. In fact, our lake's unrestrictive terrain makes it the perfect place to feel the rush, says Great Lakes Watersports owner Kevin Meehan. His business, located on the west bank of the Flats, rents Jet Skis for $100 an hour ($10 for an additional rider) or $60 a half hour ($5 for an additional rider). "You get to see Cleveland from the water side, which is a little different view that a lot of people don't get to see," Meehan says. "I get a lot of people who are nervous. But if you listen to our instructions and don't follow in another Jet Ski's path, you'll be fine." 1148 Main Ave., Cleveland, 216-771-4386,

If kayaking has you intimidated by the idea of rushing water and barrel rolls, think again. The paddle-powered watercraft can also be used to enjoy a lazy afternoon on Lake Erie. Lake Metroparks rents kayaks at Fairport Harbor, which offers the security of the breakwater. Rentals are available through Labor Day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily ($10 an hour for a single kayak, $15 an hour for a double). "While you're out on the harbor, you can view two lighthouses, one on the hill and one on the breakwater," says Brian Fowler, Lake Metroparks' chief of outdoor education. "Anybody that is at all athletic can kayak." 301 Huntington Beach Drive, Fairport Harbor, 440-639-9972,

If you've never thought about canoeing the Cuyahoga River, you're probably not familiar with the waterway's scenic upper portion. Camp Hi Canoe Livery in Hiram offers rentals through October. A short two- to three-hour trip is $19 per person, while a longer four- to six-hour excursion is $24 (family rates are available). Camp Hi Canoe transports you to your starting point, and you canoe back at your own pace on the slow river. "It's highly undeveloped, so there is a lot of marsh and woodlands," says Kendra Becker, manager at Camp Hi Canoe. "In the summer it becomes a garden with all the water lilies in bloom. It's just lush and beautiful." 12274 Abbott Road, Hiram, 330-569-7621,

The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail is great on foot. But if you want to cover serious ground, you're going to need to do it on two wheels. Don't own a bike? Don't worry. Century Cycles' Peninsula shop, located right next to the trail, offers bike rentals for $9 an hour (prorated every 15 minutes after). The shop is open seven days a week, but be aware that rentals stop 90 minutes before close. "The towpath is mostly unpaved, smooth and flat — very easy for anyone," says Kevin Madzia, an employee at Century Cycles. "You can see remnants of the old lock system used by the canal. But it's important to remember that however far you ride, you have to ride that far back." 1621 Main St., Peninsula, 330-657-2209,

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