There’s nothing quite like a day outdoors enjoying the water when it comes to family bonding activities. Whether your brood is into fishing, canoeing or kayaking, or just relaxing by the water in a picturesque setting, you’ll find plenty of amazing options close to home. The area in and around Westerville features an abundance of rivers, lakes, creeks, and ponds that make planning your next outing a breeze.

Not sure where to go? That’s where Crème de la Crème of Westerville comes in. We’ve put together this list of waterways in our area to take the guesswork out of your next fishing or boating trip.

Waterways in Sharon Woods Metro Park

Two friends kayak through wayers in Sharon Woods Metro Park near Westerville, OH

selective focus photography of woman riding kayak holding oar” used with permission via Unsplash by tarynmanning11

You’ll find Sharon Woods right here in Westerville, offering an amazing opportunity for spending a family day by the water without traveling far. Sharon Woods provides a picturesque setting complete with forests, fields, a creek, and an 11-acre lake. You’ll find seasonal pools as well, providing a critical breeding habitat for amphibians and other wildlife in the spring. All in all, if you’re searching for waterways close to home, Westerville’s Sharon Woods has you covered.

Schrock Lake

If you’re into fishing, head over to Schrock Lake. The lake is stocked with bass, bluegill, and catfish. There’s also a picnic area at Schrock Lake complete with picnic tables and grills as well as playground equipment, a large playfield, and a horseshoe pit. In other words, you’ll have plenty of ways to continue having fun even beyond the water.

Spring Creek

Sharon Woods is also home to Spring Creek. There, you can enjoy a canoe ride, or take a family walk along the trail. The easy to moderate path crosses two steep hills, runs alongside the creek, and goes through a forest.

Waterways in Prairie Oaks Metro Park

Prairie Oaks Metro Park, located in nearby West Jefferson, offers a great array of water-based activities as well. The park spans almost 500 acres, creating an assortment of outdoor adventure possibilities. Gorgeous prairies and grasslands set the stage for a family day out in nature. The National Scenic River flows through the park, and there are a few deep lakes ideal for boating and fishing, too. If you’re interested in going canoeing or kayaking, this park is also the place to go.

Beaver Lake

Non-motorized boating, including canoeing and kayaking, is available at Beaver Lake. You’ll also find public access points for fishing.

Big Darby Creek

There is a canoe access point to Big Darby Creek located at 4275 Amity Road in Hilliard. Big Darby Creek also provides the ideal setting for a peaceful day fishing. Whether you float or wade the creek or you decide to fish from the shore, you’ll have the chance to reel in sunfish, channel catfish, and smallmouth, largemouth, and rock bass. Pro-tip: The slow-moving deep pools often provide the best catches.

Darby Bend Lakes

The Darby Bend Lakes are a popular spot for fishing, especially for younger kids. Stocked with bluegill, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, yellow perch, and channel catfish, the lakes feature plenty of shoreline to enjoy. You can also make use of the kayak and non-motorized boat access here.

Waterways in Three Creeks Metro Park

Three Creeks Metro Park offers yet another local spot where you can head out to explore the water with your family. After all, the “three creeks” that give this park its name come from the confluence of the Alum, Big Walnut, and Blacklick creeks. It’s no wonder, then, that you’ll find an abundance of fun at the water here. This park is also home to plenty of wildlife, include great blue herons, owls, and over 100 other species of birds. You’ll also have the chance to spot animals like beavers, coyotes, deer, and mink while you’re enjoying your family outing.

Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Blacklick Creek

The three creeks that lend the park its name offer amazing fishing and boating opportunities. A canoeing and kayaking entrance point is located at Alum Creek, and the exit point is located at Big Walnut Creek.

At the confluence of Blacklick, Big Walnut, and Alum creeks, you’ll find a great spot for fishing if you like to wade. Otherwise, Alum and Big Walnut are top fishing spots. If you go to deep pools, you can often catch both smallmouth and rock bass as well as saugeye and sunfish.

Heron Pond and Turtle Pond

Shore anglers are in luck thanks to Heron Pond. The site in Three Creeks Metro Park delivers easy shore access, making it a great choice for children who want to get in on the fishing activities. The pond features largemouth bass, bluegill, and catfish. Fishing with waxworks or nightcrawlers under a bobber often leads to the best results here. Turtle Pond also offers fishing possibilities.

Scioto River

The Scioto River is also a premier fishing destination in the region. You can access the river via the Scioto Audubon Metro Park in Columbus or the Scioto Grove Metro Park in Grove City. The river features a wide variety of fish to catch in, including:

  • Bluegill
  • Channel catfish
  • Flathead catfish
  • Largemouth bass
  • Longnose gar
  • Saugeye

Looking for a mix of urban fun and nature-based relaxation? Put the Scioto Mile on your list of places to visit. Located in the heart of downtown Columbus, these 175 acres of parkland stretch along the waterfront to bring you the perfect excursion to the water. The integrated system of riverfront parks means you’ll always have an opportunity to enjoy a day out and about close to home.There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Westerville just gave you 11 amazing options to check out the next time you want to spend a day at the water with the kids without traveling far. From fishing to boating and beyond, there’s truly something for everyone in our area. Do you have another favorite fishing spot we skipped? How about a go-to waterway for canoeing or kayaking? If we didn’t include something you think other local families simply can’t miss, drop us a line. We’d love to add your recommendation.