Gone Creeking: Where to Let Kids Explore Local Waterways

The following is a list of Ohio River Foundation’s favorite spots to safely and easily take kids creeking around the greater Cincinnati region.


Nisbet Park & Amphitheatre Address: 126 S Karl Brown Way, Loveland, OH 45140

Located right on the Little Miami Bike and in the heart of downtown Loveland, Nisbet Park is a special place to spend time in the water where the Little Miami River and O’Bannon Creek meet. Enjoy the rocky beach with lots of roots and trees to climb on and get into the water where you will find pools and shallow riffles to wade in.

To find the water: Walk across the small park towards the tree line across from the parking lot. To the right of the picnic shelter and playground is a wide paved walkway that leads down to the river. The pavement turns to a wide dirt path and opens up onto the rocky beach and water. There are several other paths that lead to the water at the back of the amphitheater. These paths are a little steeper but still fairly easy to navigate for young and old children.

Amenities and Accessibility: The parking lot is located very close to the river (less than a 5-minute walk). The bathrooms are located next to the amphitheater right off the bike path.

Sycamore Park – Address: 4082 State Rte 132, Batavia, OH 45103

Sycamore Park is one of four of the Clermont County Parks. It is adjacent to Wilson Nature Preserve. This park is abundant with wildlife and natural beauty. There is a paved riverside storybook trail that runs parallel to the East Fork River, a tributary to the Little Miami River. This river is lush in biodiversity and a perfect spot for your little explorer to find and experience many types of life including macroinvertebrates, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and birds.

To find the water: The East Fork River runs parallel to the parking lot. Once you park, walk towards the tree line and onto the paved path. Once you get on the path, you can enter the water at many different access points along the trail. You can also park near the boat launch area and walk right down to the river.

Amenities and Accessibility: The park has four reservable shelters and several smaller first come first serve shelters, updated restrooms, an accessible playground, and a tennis court. The parking lot is located very close to the river (less than a 5-minute walk). The bathrooms are located in the middle of the park.

Lake Isabella – Address: 10174 Loveland Madeira Rd, Loveland, OH 45140

Great Park’s Lake Isabella is a 76-acre park located next to the scenic Little Miami River, a tributary to the Ohio River. The main attraction to this park is a 28-acre lake that is stocked annually with thousands of pounds of fish. Just downstream from Nisbet Park, the Little Miami River runs adjacent to the lake. There are plenty of rocks, riffles, and runs for your little ones to explore.

To find the water: When you enter the park, you will drive on a road that will eventually end at the boat house and lake. Before you reach the end of the road, you will pass a small campground, a boat launch area, and a playground on your left. Turn left at the campground and boat launch area and park in the small parking lot. You can then follow the unpaved path down to the river.

Amenities and Accessibility: This park includes Lake Isabella, the boathouse, a campground, a playground, and numerous picnic areas and shelters. There is plenty of parking available at the boat launch/campground (less than a 2-minute walk to the river) and around the playground area (a 5-minute walk to the river). There is also a parking lot in front of the boathouse at the end of the road. The boathouse has bathrooms and a shop where you can buy snacks and fishing supplies.


Sharon Woods – Address: 11450 Lebanon Rd, Sharonville, OH 45241

Great Park’s Sharon Woods is an oasis of nature in the middle of suburbia. This 760-acre park includes Sharon Lake, a harbor, a golf course, Sharon Creek, numerous trails, outdoor and indoor playgrounds, a nature center and gift shop, and the Heritage Village Museum. Sharon Creek runs through the park and is a tributary to Mill Creek. The slow currents, shallow waters, and rocky waterfalls make for perfect creeking conditions. The creek is close in proximity to the playgrounds and shelters making it easy to keep an eye on your kids.

To find the water: Use the Lebanon Road entrance (11450 Lebanon Road), then take a left on Buckeye Falls Drive. Park in the area near the Heritage Village Museum. There is a paved trail/sidewalk that follows Sharon Creek. Follow one of many small dirt paths down to the creek. Insider tip: do not play in the water near the vehicle bridge found downstream of the playground and picnic shelters. A deep pool and fast-moving water runs through a restricted area that passes under the bridge which can be very dangerous. Stay upstream or downstream from the vehicle bridge for your safety. Downstream on the other side of the bridge, the mainstem of Sharon Creek and a smaller tributary are great safe places to explore.

Amenities and Accessibility: There is plenty of parking available. Park near the shelters (less than a 5-minute walk to the creek). Restrooms are available in the Heritage Village Museum. There are also reservable picnic shelters next to the creek.


Miami Whitewater Forest – Address: 9001 Mt. Hope Road, Harrison, OH 45030

Great Park’s Miami Whitewater Forest is an amazing 4,670-acre park that offers a boathouse and lake activities, camping, a golf course, hiking, biking, and bridle trails, soccer fields, a native plant nursery, and more. Dry Fork Creek runs through the park and is a tributary to the Whitewater River. There are small and large pools, rocks, and riffles to explore along this beautiful creek.

To find the water: Use the West Road entrance (9680 Timberlakes Dr, Harrison, OH 45030) and turn right onto Timberlakes Drive. Park near the Big Sycamore Shelter on your right-hand side. Walk towards the sand volleyball court next to the shelter and pick a path down to the creek.

Amenities and Accessibility: There is plenty of parking near the Big Sycamore and Tanager Meadows Shelters (a 5-minute walk to the creek). Restrooms are available across the street from the Big Sycamore Shelter. Big Sycamore and Tanager Meadows shelters are reservable.

Guilford Covered Bridge Park – Address: 4785 Main St, Guilford, IN 47022

Located in Dearborn County, Guilford Covered Bridge Park is the oldest park in the system and is unique for a number of reasons. It is the site of the restored Guilford Covered Bridge, a major county landmark and frequent roadside tourist attraction, as well as a great family gathering area with access to Tanners Creek, a tributary to the Ohio River. This creek, and one of Indiana’s best-kept secrets, is a peaceful and quiet escape from the bustling city. Fish and macroinvertebrate species are able to flourish here and humans can appreciate nature and fresh country air.

To find the water: To enter the park, you will drive through the wrought iron gates, drive through the covered bridge, and park in the lower lot. Walk across the wood bridge towards the shelter area and you will immediately see Tanner’s Creek flowing to your left.

Amenities and Accessibility: This small and adorable park includes a large shelter with picnic tables, a playground area, a basketball court restrooms, and a parking lot. Less than 5-minute walk from the parking lot to the creek.

Pioneer ParkAddress: 3952 Madison Pike, Covington, KY 41017

Pioneer Park is located just 10 minutes from downtown Cincinnati. Banklick Creek, a tributary to the Licking River, flows through the park. This creek is perfect for a quick outdoor adventure to break up your busy day. The park is very easy to find and the creek is close to the parking lot. There are lots of rocks and riffles to play in as well as deeper pools where you’re sure to find fish and turtles.

To find the water: When you enter the park, turn right and drive towards the shelter and playground area and park by the shelter. Once parked, you will walk straight towards the playground and on the other side, you will see Banklick Creek. Follow the paved path north and you will see a ramp where you can easily enter the water.

Amenities and Accessibility: Amenities include a baseball and basketball court, the bluebird trail, walking/biking trails, a playground area, covered shelters, picnic tables, soccer and tennis courts, and a dog park. There are restrooms located at the back of the main shelter by the playground area. Less than a 5-minute walk from the parking lot to the creek.

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