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Trees reflecting in the water at Portage Lakes State Park

Trees reflecting in the water at Portage Lakes State Park. Photo: Park Facebook page.

If you are looking for a nature getaway that doesn’t involve driving for hours to get there, then Portage Lakes State Park should fit the bill.

Located just a 20 minute drive from Akron, this stunning public recreational space is nestled in between the shores of Portage Lakes.

A haven for those who enjoy water based fun, there are eight lakes overall, where you can enjoy activities like boating, swimming and fishing.

Other activities you can do here include picnicking, photography, birding, wildlife watching and stargazing.

Unfortunately, there are no camping facilities at this Ohio state park and little in the way of amenities. However if you want a real get-back-to-nature experience, it is hard to beat what is offered at Portage Lake State Park.


The park is open every day for visitors from 8 am to 11 pm. It provides them with several opportunities to enjoy its fantastic scenery through various outdoor recreational pursuits.

Outlined below is a brief rundown of some of the main activities you can see and do during your visit there.

Boating at Portage Lakes State Park

As you would imagine given how many lakes are in the area, boating is a very popular activity.

The lakes can accommodate boats of up to 400 horsepower. There are also eight different launch ramps that facilitate access to the water. Around the lakes, several private marinas offer fuel and boat rentals.

If your boat has an electric motor you will only be allowed to take it on the Nimisila Reservoir. Throughout the lakes, sailing, rowboating, canoeing, kayaking and SUP are also very popular too.

Swimming at Portage Lakes State Park

For those who want to go swimming, there is a terrific beach at Turkeyfoot Lake that will enable you to do so.

Within this area you will find a changing booth, latrines and drinking water available. There should also be plenty of parking spots.

Fishing at Portage Lakes State Park

If you are into fishing you will love the opportunities available to you at the different lakes.

The likes of panfish, bullhead, channel catfish, pickerel, carp and largemouth bass can be found in abundance at most of them. So you shouldn’t have too many issues catching something.

To do this you will need to procure a valid Ohio fishing license. Once you have got one you will be able to fish on the shore, from the pier or in a boat out in the middle of the water.

Hiking at Portage Lakes State Park

For those into hiking it is worth bringing your boots with you to the park as there are more than five miles of trails to explore.

This leads visitors to various parts of it where marshes and woodlands define the landscape.

Picnicking at Portage Lakes State Park

If you want to enjoy a picnic whilst at the park there are five different areas where you can do that.

These areas are set within scenic locations which provide wonderful spots in which to enjoy an al fresco meal.

Birding at Portage Lakes State Park

If you are into birding, you will want to bring your binoculars as the park offers many opportunities to observe a wide range of species.

Some of these breeds reside in the park permanently, while others temporarily stop at its wetlands during their spring and fall migrations.

Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might be able to see the likes of Canada geese, woodcock, mallards and owls. You should also see wood ducks, red fox, muskrat, hawks and heron too.

Nature & Wildlife

The park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna which you might see during your time there.

Some of the plants you may view include Tamarack trees, which are more commonly found in northern boreal forests.

Within its landscape, you should also find patches of cranberry and skunk cabbage in abundance too.

In terms of wildlife, the likes of white-tailed deer, skunk and raccoon all call the park home. You should spot plenty of them around the beech-maple forested areas.

Stargazing at Portage Lakes State Park

The night skies at Portage Lakes State Park can be very clear. So you should consider taking the opportunity to visit The Astronomy Club of Akron.

Within the park, they lease land to run a small observatory. If you go there you will be able to view the cosmos and look out for specific constellations via special programs that are presented on a seasonal basis.

Pets at Portage Lakes State Park

You can bring your dog with you to the park although you will need to be aware that several conditions are imposed upon its presence.

At all times you will need to ensure your dog is well-behaved. It also has to be kept restrained on a leash of no more than six feet in length and is not permitted to be left alone for more than 30 minutes.

As its owner, you will also be responsible for cleaning it up after it makes a mess too.

Camping at Portage Lakes State Park

There is no camping available at the park.

However, within a short driving distance of it there are several other campgrounds where you can stay. This includes Echo Hill, Stow Silver Springs Campground, Hawkeye Hideaway and the Carrollton KOA.

Between them, they offer a range of accommodation options including cabins, lodges and campsites. The campsites range from sites that have full hookups for water, electricity and sewer to rustic sites more suited to self-sufficient campers.

Depending on which one you stay at, amenities may include flush toilets, hot showers, a dump station, swimming pool, playground and camp store.

Park Location

Portage Lakes State Park
5031 Manchester Rd,
Akron, OH 44319
Phone: 330.644.2220

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Portage Lakes State Park: