Nice and Easy

About 100 feet of sand separate the boathouse from Lake Erie's waters at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park. It's a quick walk, even with the stern of a bright yellow sit-on-top ocean kayak in each hand — "vacation kayaks," as Brian Fowler, Lake Metroparks chief of recreation services, casually refers to them. They're the same kind used in resort towns like Cabo San Lucas. But Fowler's way beyond some vacation-in-your-own-backyard cliché. He likes the name because they're simple to use and less intimidating than the enclosed sea kayaks: Sit, hold the paddle with elbows at 90 degree angles, and paddle left, right, left ... and we are kayaking out in the gentle harbor, protected by the break wall about a half-mile out. "It's like a mini San Diego," he says without a hint of irony. He points us toward the lighthouse. About halfway there, Fowler turns us around to look at the shoreline and its sunbathers, homes on the hill and stretches of green. "That's a view not a lot of people get." 301 Huntington Beach Drive, Fairport Harbor, 440-639-9972,


More kayaking
- 41° North Kayak Adventures
Rent a kayak or take the Cleveland Rocks sunset tour, which departs from Whiskey Island. The kayak-level look at downtown makes you feel small and powerful at the same time. Rental center at Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation, south of the public boat ramps, 866-529-2541,

- Kayak the Bay
Skip the golf cart, and paddle your way around the island. There will be plenty of watering holes to quench the thirst you work up. Bay View Avenue, Put-in-Bay, 419-967-0796,

- Great Lakes Kayaking
Navigate Lorain's Black River, where you'll travel under a railway bridge, the Erie Street lift bridge, and out into Lake Erie. 1355 Black River Parkway, Lorain, 440-396-5887,
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