3 ideas for a last-minute summer outdoor fun

Row, row, row your boat or canoe. CONTRIBUTED
Row, row, row your boat or canoe. CONTRIBUTED

If your kids aren’t already back in the classroom, it won’t be long.

For those who are still on summer vacation, take a break from the school supply and clothes shopping to enjoy one last blast of summer fun.

Here are 3 ways you can spend your last summer days outdoors (or your last summer weekends if you are already back to school). Time for some recreation and a little adventure.

If a day spent on the water sounds just about perfect, you aren’t alone.

The popularity of paddling is on the rise as the Special Report on Paddlesports 2015 – which provides a detailed look at participation in kayaking, canoeing, rafting and stand-up paddling – reveals that 21.7 million Americans enjoyed paddling in 2014, an increase of 3 million since 2010.

>> RELATED: Where to paddle in Dayton and what to know before you go

The Miami Valley is an ideal location for paddlesports whether it’s an organized event like the Five Rivers MetroParks Try Paddlesports program (Aug. 23) or the Greene County Parks & Trails Canoe Float (Aug. 14) or just a leisurely day paddling with the family. Local outdoor outfitters, like Whitewater Warehouse and Great Miami Outfitters, also offer a variety of programs.

From Adventures on the Great Miami in Tipp City, to Rivers Edge Canoe Livery and Outfitters in Waynesville, there are several places to rent canoes, kayaks or rafts throughout the region on the Great Miami, Little Miami, Mad and Stillwater rivers.

>> RELATED: Dayton to become boating destination


You don’t have to be a kid to get in on the fun at local spray parks. And what better way to relieve any back-to-school angst then to spray mom and dad with a water canon?

The City of Dayton has a variety of uniquely-themed parks from a Wright Brothers vibe at Washington Park to a medieval theme — dragons and knights included — at Stuart Patterson Spray Park. Both Island and RiverScape MetroParks also have fun water play areas to help you keep cool.

Interactive water features can also be found in community parks throughout the Miami Valley including Centerville, Oakwood, Kettering, Fairborn and Huber Heights.

>> RELATED: Your guide to spray parks and splash pads


If you think you have to travel far to enjoy a peaceful night sleeping under the stars, think again. The MetroParks offer 23 tent camping sites at four parks – Possum Creek, Englewood, Germantown and Twin Creek.

>> RELATED: Insider’s guide to Metroparks camping

Frontcountry campsites are easily accessible by car and have nearby fire rings and picnic tables. Backcountry sites are more primitive and only accessible by foot. But both offer the opportunity to create lasting family memories whether you are hiking until nightfall or roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories around the fire.

For information or to make a reservation, visit www.metroparks.org.

>> RELATED: Photos from Dowtown Adventure Night