Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park

I will never forget our first time at Maumee Bay State Park, four years ago. I booked a weekend as a Christmas present so we could participate in the Biggest Week in American Birding. We were new birders, and had little idea of what to expect other than the high praise heaped by more experienced birders. As we exited off the highway and wound through industrial Toledo, my skepticism increased. The miles remaining on my navigation app continued to decrease but we still drove past and through mills and factories. No way was this going to the wild, nature weekend I had hoped. Yet we enjoyed the weekend enough to return ever year. In fact, it has become one of our favorite parks in the state. Continue reading “Maumee Bay State Park”

Paint Creek State Park

Paint Creek State Park

Once again, it seems have accidentally found a gem in Ohio. I’m not sure how long it would have taken us to find Paint Creek State Park otherwise, but this was the campground closest to the Highlands Nature Sanctuary – headquarters for the Arc of Appalachia Wildflower Pilgrimage.

Reservations weren’t accepted this early in the season, but we arrived a bit before dinner on Friday and got a prime spot along the water. These sites come with a surcharge, but I can’t think of a better way to spend $10 than to be right on the water. These premium sites also feature a deck for eating.img_7634 Continue reading “Paint Creek State Park”

Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park

Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park

The Key Largo Kampground, while on the water, is separated from the open ocean by yards of mangroves. The only way out is by winding through mangrove passages. Despite 30 years of visiting the area, we have done very little exploration of these paths. This year, since we drove to Florida, we were able to bring all of our gear, including our kayaks.

In past years, we have borrowed kayaks and followed the tides along the shoreline. One year we encountered a rental kayak and this has been an recurring inside joke. Continue reading “Kayaking around John Pennekamp State Park”