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Why you don’t want to miss an Early Morning Walk at Maumee Bay State Park

An early morning walk along the boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park

Maumee Bay State Park Lodge is conveniently located outside Toledo. For those who enjoy mixing museums and lots of restaurant options with the great outdoors, this resort style property is an ideal getaway.

I first stayed at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge two years ago with my daughter. We both fell in love with property. Situated along the shore of Lake Erie, you’ll find miles of trails that offer lake, marsh and woodland views as well as a public beach that is popular during the warmer months of the year. The staff at Maumee Bay are incredible and the laid back atmosphere, both indoors and out make one feel as though they truly have found an escape from the business of everyday.

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to visit Maumee Bay State Park Lodge once again. This time, my husband and 11-year old niece and 10-year old nephew accompanied me.  I couldn’t wait to return and my niece and nephew couldn’t wait to explore.  We were there on a weekend with special events but what we loved most wasn’t found within the walls of the resort. Our favorite aspect (other than to indoor pool) of Maumee Bay State Park is the two-mile long boardwalk that loops through the meadows, swamp and marshes adjacent to the lodge.

The entrance to the boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park Lodge

The boardwalk was constructed in 1992 by the Ohio Civilian Conservation Corps. You’ll find two entrances to the walkway. One is found behind the lodge, across from the outdoor pool. The other can be found behind the Trautman Nature Center. You’ll find plenty of parking at the nature center if you choose to access the trail at this point. We opted to enter the trail nearest the lodge. I admit that part of the draw to Maumee Bay is the incredible view of the lake, so naturally I was a bit disappointed when I woke up to an extremely foggy and overcast day with essentially no view of the lake. That disappointment melted away as I realized that the weird, misty weather actually complimented the landscape along the boardwalk perfectly. Here are a few photos from our early morning walk.t

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Photos from along the Boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park

Spotting deer along the boardwalk at Maumee Bay State ParkWe hadn’t been on the trail long when we stumbled across three deer resting in the grasses. The kids were amazed that the deer didn’t jump up to run away.Deer along the boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park They sat and stared back at us as my niece and I took photo after photo.
Deer resting along the trail at Maumee Bay State park As we continued on our way, our eyes scanned both sides of the boardwalk in search of more wildlife.A walk through the swamp at Maumee Bay State Park We were not disappointed. We saw numerous birds- too many to count, a muskrat swimming through the wetland, and even more deer.Taking pictures of deer along the boardwalk This time the deer didn’t stick around as long as the ones we’d spotted earlier, but we still managed to get a few photos.Photographing the deerThe interpretive trail has signs along the way to point you to key points along the trail and tell you a bit about the area.Signage along the boardwalk The observation tower through the marsh offers a view of Lake Erie with seating to stop for a bit and rest or take it all in.The observation tower along the boardwalk Birdwatchers could spend quite a bit of time in this spot.Red-winged Black Bird at Maumee Bay State ParkThe red-winged black bird is only one of the many bird species we saw.Owl at Maumee Bay State Park We slowly followed the loop back towards the lodge and nature center. Up to this point, we’d only seen one other couple. They were searching for a nesting screech owl. We hadn’t seen one, but after that, we kept our eyes open. And we were rewarded when we found him in one of the birdhouses.Signs along the boardwalk We spent about an hour and a half on the boardwalk, skipping the observation blind because the donuts I’d picked up in town weren’t really enough for breakfast. The kids, and my husband, were eagerly looking forward to Sunday Brunch in the lodge.
A glimpse behind the nature center at Maumee Bay State Park We had planned to pop in to the nature center, but it wasn’t open yet. We did appreciate that the restrooms were open though. With stomachs growling, we made our way across the parking lot and on our way back to our room to get ready for brunch.

A Few Tips when Walking Along the Boardwalk at Maumee Bay State Park

  • If you’re planning to walk along the boardwalk, grab your sneakers, binoculars and camera and head out first thing in the morning. You won’t be disappointed.
  • We visited the first of May- there were no bugs or mosquitos, but if you’re visiting later in the year, you may want to grab the bug spray before you head out.
  • This is an easy walk and with the exception of one spot where the boardwalk dips to one side by the observation deck, the trail is accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

Maumee Bay State Park 
1400 State Park Road
Oregon, OH 43616
Website: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/maumeebay

Disclosure: My stay at the Maumee Bay State Park Lodge was hosted, but all opinions in this post are my own.

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