As Mercury rises, there’s no better way to beat the heat than to spend time on the water. Whether you’re relaxing in a canoe with a fishing rod in your hand or diving into a crisp, cool lake, there’s nothing like being near the water to put you in a good mood on a hot summer day. At Crème de la Crème of Deerfield Township in Mason, Ohio, we love getting in touch with Mother Nature and exploring all the great waterways in our area.

After a long work week, an outdoor adventure is a great way to melt away your stress and escape for a while. Some of our favorite things to do on a warm summer day include fishing, tubing, rafting, and kayaking at nearby parks, lakes, and rivers. Lucky for us, we have no shortage of excellent places to enjoy the water right here in our hometown. If you love spending time on the water as much as we do, why not explore these five waterways around Mason on your next day off.

Pine Hill Lakes Park

Pine Hills Lake Park is one of our favorite places to cast a line in Mason. Located in the heart of the community, this park allows fishing in its two lakes throughout the year, with park employees stocking the lakes a few times each year. While the park promotes catch-and-release fishing, its daily limits include two bass; four trout; a total of seven carp, catfish, pike, or sheepshead; and a total of 12 bluegills, crappie, perch, rock bass, or sunfish. Fishing is free for kids under the age of 10, and you can buy day passes for anyone over 10 years old at the nearby Mason Community Center. 

In addition to attracting anglers, Pine Hill Lakes Park draws anyone looking for a relaxing way to spend a day. The lush, green space features 2 miles of nature trails for hiking, wooded areas for relaxing in the shade, and a host of nature activities and learning experiences. There’s also an open butterfly-filled meadow and beautiful arboretum. 

Little Miami River

Two canoes on a bank in Mason, OH

Canoes” licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Flickr by Garden State Hiker

As Ohio’s first State Scenic River, Little Miami River is one of the most popular waterways near Mason. People flock from all over the tri-state area to enjoy a day of canoeing, tubing, or kayaking in the pristine waters. Winding through the steep rocky cliffs, wooded bluffs, and rolling farmlands between Dayton and Cincinnati, the Little Miami River provides opportunities to discover many natural wonders.

Keep your eyes peeled for blue herons and towering sycamores as you paddle along the river. No canoe? No worries! You’ll find loads of great places all over southwest Ohio to rent any gear you need for an action-packed day of exploring with your friends and family. It’s as easy as locating an outfitter on your route, and you’re good to go!

Cowan Lake State Park

If you’re looking for a serene setting for a peaceful afternoon, look no further than Cowan Lake State Park. Located near the Cincinnati Arch, Cowan Lake formed after locals built a dam across Cowan Creek in 1950. The region became a state park 18 years later. Today, Cowan Lake ranks as one of the most popular places in the area to go swimming, fishing, sailing, and canoeing.

Three boat ramps provide easy access to the 700-acre lake. Meanwhile, the South Shore Marina provides boat and canoe rentals as well as fishing and picnic supplies. You can even rent a kayak at the Camp Store. For boating and camping, head to the northern part of the lake. There’s also a 1,000-foot public beach on the southern lakeshore.

Lake Butler

Want to catch a 50-pound catfish? Head on over to Lake Butler, located mere minutes from Interstate 75 in West Chester, Ohio. This fully stocked pay lake features an on-site bait house and tackle shop for all your fishing needs. You’ll also find shelters for relaxing around the lake and an on-site restaurant that’s open around the clock. Grab a pizza, cheese fries, or a snack while you wait for the big one to bite.

Lake Butler holds tournaments all summer long. Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran angler,  you’ll discover a fitting event. You can also take part in weekly, monthly, and yearly jackpots on catfish and carp. The lake opens at 7 a.m. on Thursday and doesn’t close until 5 p.m. on Monday.

Stonelick State Park

Just over in Pleasant Plain, you can visit Stonelick State Park for a quiet retreat. Stonelick Lake was created back in 1950 when the state put in a dam over at the west side where it meets Stonelick Creek. Right by this dam is where you can find the handicap-accessible fishing pier. Come prepared to catch some bass, bluegill, crappie, or catfish.

You can also take smaller watercraft out on the lake, and depending on the season you can rent canoes and kayaks. If you want to bring your own boat, it has to come with an electric motor (or no motor) to keep the noise and speed levels nice and low. If you’d rather just dip your toes in the water instead, there’s a 500-foot public beach along the lake’s southern shore.

While you’re at Stonelick, you can also try hiking or biking along their four trails, and for people who want even more time in the outdoors, you can find designated hunting areas as well as 100 campsites throughout the park. Come in the wintertime, and you can still enjoy the frozen lake — Stonelick is no stranger to ice skating or ice fishing.One of the best things about summertime is the opportunity to spend time on the water. Whether you love to go for a swim, raft down a lazy river, or paddle a canoe to your favorite fishing hole, you’ll find loads of great outdoor activities close to home. Do you agree with our list of waterways to explore around Mason? Are there other amazing places we should check out? Get in touch with the team at Crème de la Crème of Deerfield Township, and let us know your ideas. We’re always looking for new places to discover.