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Maumee Bay in Ohio

Trip Overview

One of my favorite Kayak day trips is in the North Cape section of Maumee Bay on the western end of Lake Erie. There are several islands (Carp Island, Indian Island) and a boat-only accessible Peninsula in this section of the Bay.

The North Cape area is where the Maumee River and Ottawa River meet along with several creeks. This is a flat-water paddle, until you hit the Bay and "lake-like" conditions take over. There are several put-ins on the Ottawa and Maumee River. My favorite put-in is just across the Michigan Line off of Summit Street. There is a small department of natural resources boat launch. Look for the sign just after a little marina. The islands are fun to explore and offer some sandy camping spots. Some of the islands are not accessible by powerboat and these are not as littered some areas of the bay. I like to eat my lunch on Woodtick Peninsula. The Woodtick Peninsula is only accessible by boat and many powerboaters pull right up to the beach. The Peninsula is all sand and is a nice place to relax for an afternoon.

If you're up for a longer paddle, about 3 miles north by northeast of the Woodtick Peninsula is Turtle Island. There is sandy beach and an old lighthouse. If you're careful, you can walk all the way around the breakwall of the lighthouse. You can see the old living quarters and look up the old light tower. Everything is overgrown but it is still neat to see the sights. If you're lucky, Turtle Island is a good spot to see the lake freighters coming in and out of the docks in downtown Toledo.

If you're up to an even longer, open water paddle (advanced paddlers only), you can paddle out to the Toledo Harbor Light. This light is still active and sounds its foghorn 24 hours a day. The architecture is still pretty neat to see. There is no take-out at the light and once you are there you can just see the light from the water.

From the my favorite put-in, it's about 5 miles to Turtle island and another 5 miles to the Toledo Harbor Light. I did this route in one day and was pretty beat, it helped being able to stop at several islands along the way. I make sure to pack my binoculars to boat watch and in the fall this makes for a good bird watching trip.

Trip report update: As of summer of 2002, Turtle Island is now inhabited. While the island sat unused and unoccupied for the better part of 50 years, the current owner has decided to build cottages on the island and trespassing is now enforced. I'm sure the current occupants will give you a friendly wave if you pass by, but using this island as a destination point or for camping is probably no longer an option. It is highly recommended that you ask for permission before you land. (emanoh April 2003)


No accommodations, just sand, sun, water. There are several small diners along Summit Street and Ottawa River Road, if you're looking for a bite to eat. You will pass a Kroger Supermarket on Summit Street, if you need last minute edibles or beverages


The ramp says that there is a fee if there is an attendant on duty. In the dozen times, I've launched here, there hasn't been an attendant


I-75 North to Detroit, get off at the Ottawa River Road exit. Stay on Ottawa River Road until it connects to Summit Street. Turn left on Summit Street. The boat launch is on your right about 3/4 of a mile into Michigan. Look for the small sign on the same turn-in as the small marina that sets on Summit St.


Put in is gravely and there is a boat ramp with a finger dock. There is an open pit rest-room, but no water. All Islands and take-outs on this trip are sand.


Just the navigation charts for Western Lake Erie. It's good to know the water levels. As of the summer of 2001 the water levels are lower than normal.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip