The days of summer are numbered as we approach mid-August, leaving little time to complete our seasonal bucket lists of experiences. We all know that the best way to spend a nice day is by going outside and getting active, so we’d like to put a spotlight on some of the coolest outdoor recreational activities available in Columbus-and where to do them before it’s too cold out.
The warm season is the best time to hit the water by boat, whether it’s alone in a cozy kayak or on a roomy party ship full of friends. Several locations throughout the city offer various watercraft rental programs and group excursions, each giving participants a unique look at the city’s waterways and in some cases, a great skyline view. Check out Olentangy Paddle to book a canoe or kayak trip through Downtown and campus, or the Scioto Canoe Livery for family-friendly weekend trips just south of the city. Locals can also rent pontoon, fishing, pedal, and other boats at the Alum Creek Marina.
Riding a zipline is about as close as we’ll ever get to actually being able to fly as human beings; and who could say no to the thrill of flying? In the past, residents of Columbus usually had to drive outside city limits to get a true zipline experience, until ZipZone opened Columbus’ first and only canopy tour adventure center in 2014. Set up in the forest of Camp Mary Orton, ZipZone offers rope courses and challenges for all ages, plus day and nighttime tours that take guests on sky bridges, rappelling walls, and ziplines through the treetops.
Via SUP Columbus
3. Stand Up Paddleboarding
Those who enjoy the fun of water sports without the commitment of getting fully-soaked will find their perfect match with paddleboarding. This activity, which has become a recent trend in Columbus, involves using a paddle to propel one’s self through water while standing on a large, flat board similar to the ones used for surfing. It provides a relaxed, full-body workout along with the serene experience of gliding across water on two feet. With some practice and a good sense of balance, it’s easy to ride one of these boards without even going underwater, so taking a dip is up to you. Check out SUP Columbus or Project 908 for lessons, rentals, and excursions, and even paddleboard yoga sessions.
4. Disc Golf
Popular with a variety of crowds from college kids to dedicated pros, disc golf has quite a following in Columbus, with several course tucked away in parks around the city. The easygoing sport involves tossing a small Frisbee-like disc into a series of goals, usually taking players through scenic green spaces along the way. It’s a sport that’s simple enough for a relaxing round with friends, yet still requires enough skill to be a challenge. We recommend checking out the 18-hole course at Griggs Reservoir along the Scioto River in Upper Arlington, Walnut Hill in Reynoldsburg, or the mega-sized Brent Hambrick Memorial Course at the Hoover Dam in Westerville, which features 27 permanent holes. Click HERE for additional info on these and more courses.
5. Water Jetpacking & Flyboarding
Get ready to live out your wildest action movie fantasies – jetpacks are a real thing; however, the ones of this variety are more are about splashes & bubbles than fire & smoke. Propelled by two low-pressure water streams, the jetpack sit on the rider’s shoulders, shooting them up to 30 feet in the air, where they can twist, turn, dive, and glide as they please. Thrill-seekers should also try the water flyboard, which uses the same technology to power what can only be described as a hovering skateboard. We recommend making the 45-minute drive to Lancaster to visit the pros at Jet Pack Water Adventures, or linking up with Flyboard and Jetpack Smiles in Columbus for a session on Alum Creek.
Home to the large-scale Pelotonia race, an annual Naked Bike Ride, and dozens of cycling paths, the city offers plenty of ways to have fun on two wheels during the warmer months. The Scioto Trail is a favorite for Downtown biking, passing through several great parks and offering a fantastic view of the skyline and riverfront. Some other especially great paths include the Olentangy Trail through the OSU campus and the Alum Creek Trail along the waterway. To take your ride up a notch, try a cycling tour or group ride like the ones held by Columbus Outdoor Pursuits or CBUS Bike Tours.
Stay active, friends, and don’t let the summer slip by!