1000 Lakeside Dr., (410) 887-4156, baltimorecountymd.gov
When Robert E. Lee Memorial Park reopened its 415 acres in 2011, after two years and $6 million in renovations, the fact that it was no longer operated by its owner-the City of Baltimore-brought many benefits. Among them was that the new operator, Baltimore County, no longer required a $100 permit for paddling on Lake Roland, which had only been allowed between April and November. Now, kayakers and canoeists can launch whenever they like, free of charge. The watery terrain is somewhat limited in scope, since sediment buildup has been reclaiming the lake's open waters for decades now, but by following its meandering tributaries upstream until your craft scrapes bottom, you can make the most of a visit. The water's not the cleanest-it's mostly suburban runoff, high in fecal coliform-but hey, it's cleaner than the harbor and still close to the city.