Information on:

Portage Lakes State Park

5031 Manchester Road

411-acre Portage Lakes State Park offer visitors a variety of outdoor recreational experiences. Boating, swimming and fishing are popular on the several surrounding lakes. The wetlands of the park attract waterfowl and shorebirds providing visitors enjoyment whether hunting or observing wildlife.


Portage Lakes is named after the old Indian portage path which connected the Cuyahoga River flowing north to Lake Erie and the Tuscarawas River which through the Muskingum, flows south to the Ohio River. This proved advantageous for the Indians and early settlers as navigation from Lake Erie to the Ohio was possible with only one eight-mile portage overland. Portage Lakes State Park lies at one of the highest points of the state and on a major watershed divide in Ohio. Some water from the lakes reaches Lake Erie and some flows to the Ohio River.

The area became an important trading post for settlers and Indians. It was a recognized landmark during the War of 1812, serving as a rendezvous point of American troops. The old Indian portage path was part of the ancient boundary between the Six Nations and the Western Indians.

The city of Akron was laid out in 1825 and was first settled by Irish laborers and others working on the Ohio Canal. Once the canal was completed, the town flourished. Several important industries brought prosperity to the area including stoneware potteries, sewer pipe manufacturing, the match industry and, most recently, the tire and rubber industry. At one time, the Blue Diamond Match Company in Akron used three million board-feet of white pine lumber per year for the manufacture of its matches.

Several of the Portage Lakes were built as feeder reservoirs for the canals to maintain the required depth of four feet. The lakes were used for this purpose until the canals were abandoned in 1913. The lakes were then used to meet the water needs of the local industries. Some portions of the remnant canals in the Akron area can still be boated.

The Ohio Department of Public Works maintained the canal lands for recreational purposes until 1949 when the Portage Lakes were transferred to the newly formed Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Parks and Recreation.


Mandi DC

Friday, May 11, 2018
Beautiful. So much to do and see if you love the outdoors. Great place to hike, bike, fish, have a picnic or even a family reunion. You'll find grills to cook up past the beach. The beach is s but it's a nice place to take a stroll or hangout and swim in the summer time. There's also a playground for the kids and a few food places in the area to grab a bite.

Christina Appleby

Saturday, July 7, 2018
Plenty of space here for picnics, hiking, disc golf. Swimming beach is nice, although I wish there was more flat ground. Great place to take the kids to swim for free.

Motown Martin

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Beautiful area. Rented a small 2 bedroom on lake. Not fancy but it worked out for us. Homes are very close together. Would be bad if you had a noisy neighbor or loud party nearby. We plan on doing this again next year.

Kelly Whaler

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
It's free and it's a lake. Not too much to say. Not overcrowded. Nice playground. Grills to cook on. People are all really family-oriented. Kids love it.

Sandi Kyer

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Great family spot. Sandy beaches, dedicated swimming area and playground for children. Lots of picnic tables and a few grills. Restrooms are crude but only real negative.

Portage Lakes State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media