I was in Ohio this past summer with plans to drive up to Ann Arbor, Michigan when I saw a documentary about America’s Great Lakes.

One of the amazing facts I learned way back in school (and the promptly forgot) was repeated on this show – how the Great Lakes comprise almost 20% of the earth’s freshwater surface.

I’ve only been to two of the five Great Lakes, and never before to Lake Erie, so I decided to make a little detour on my planned drive.

It was a smart decision, since I discovered the pretty Maumee Bay State Park, just outside of Toledo, Ohio.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

I arrived on a warm, sunny day and was happy to stretch my legs with a walk along the wide stretch of sandy beach.

The wids whipped across a lake that resembled a northern sea, stretching far into the distance.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

The place was packed with beach-goers, swimmers and kite surfers – but the beach was so long and wide that there was plenty of space to spread out.

I only waded in, but the water was warmer than expected. I enjoyed sitting in the soft sand and reading my book, a real respite to my long drive.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

Unfortunately, the changeable northern weather had its own plans in store for me.

I had stopped off at the visitors’ center to get a map of the paths of the wetlands area I had wanted to explore after my beachside break, but the storm clouds rolling in quickly changed my mind.

Walking over wetlands wooden paths in thrashing rain, with skies black as night and punctuated only by flashes of lightning was a bit more adventurous than my original plans, so I had a mad dash back to my car and braved the elements from the safety of my car on my northward drive to Michigan.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

Nevertheless, I’m glad to have discovered Maumee Bay Park. And I’ll definitely want to come back to explore the wetlands area and to brave its cold waves.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan

There are even lakeside rental cabins as part of the state park for those who want to stay longer.

So – north country weather aside – Maumee State Park was a great find, and I’ll look forward to a return visit to this vast lake on my next trip to the area.

Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan
Maumee Bay, Lake Erie, Ohio / Kimberly Sullivan