This is true, regardless of your interests, or who’s in your travel party. From the idyllic waters of Lake Erie in the north to the reflection of charming Cincinnati in the waters of the Ohio River down south, Ohio’s eclectic destinations and experiences cater to most any traveler.
Whether you’re planning a relaxing family vacation, or a wild weekend with a few of your best friends, your next trip to Ohio starts here.
We know that travel is especially difficult right now. But alongside the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates, we want to continue to inspire you with new travel content so that when the world opens its doors again, you’ll be ready
The ultimate list of things to do in Ohio
- Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Cedar Point
- Lake Erie
- Ohio Statehouse
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- American Sign Museum
- National Museum of the US Air Force
1. Jam out at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Of all the many things to do in Cleveland, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is both the most singular and also the most accessible. It’s perched on Lake Erie, but houses its exhibitions indoors, to beat both the summer heat and winter’s frostbite. Moreover, the museum presents an exhilarating chronicle of American rock, which will thrill you whether you’re a casual fan or consider yourself an amateur historian.
2. Ride the rails at Cedar Point
If you’re on the hunt for adventurous things to do in Ohio, look no farther than Cedar Point in Sandusky. Convenient to both Toledo and Cleveland, the aptly-named “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” is home to 18 roller coasters, from classics like the Magnum and Blue Streak to more recent additions like the record-break Top Thrill Dragster. Cedar Point is also home to dozens of tamer rides, in case you’re traveling will younger thrill-seekers.
3. Or simply hit the beaches of Lake Erie
Cedar Point literally juts out into the water (HINT: That’s why it’s called a “point”), but you can access many of the best Lake Erie beaches without driving all the way here. If you’re craving a more natural experience, head to Maumee Bay State Park, which is just a short drive from Toledo. Edgewater Park in Cleveland, meanwhile, is a more social beach, with throngs of sunbathers and even a net set up for volleyball! Lake Erie beaches are also among the top romantic destinations in Ohio.
4. Go back in time at the Ohio Statehouse
Given that it’s the state capital, many things to do in Columbus have a historical or cultural bent. With this being said, while spots like the Columbus Museum of Art have cognates in other Ohio cities, one place you can only find in Columbus is the Ohio Statehouse. Built in the mid-19th century–which makes it one of the oldest continuously operating state capitol buildings in the country–the Ohio Statehouse attracts half a million visitors a year with its impressive Greek Revival architecture style.
5. Walk on the wild side in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
If you spend too much time in the state’s dynamic, culture-filled cities, it can seem inconceivable to you that Ohio is actually a very wild place. One destination that exemplifies this is Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located along the Cuyahoga River approximately halfway between Cleveland and Akron. Whether you’re passionate about hiking in Ohio during your trip there or simply want to get some fresh air to clear your head, there’s never a bad reason to come here.
6. Light up your curiosity at the American Sign Museum
All the things to do in Ohio we’ve listed here are colorful in their own way, but Cincinnati’s American Sign Museum is downright electrifying. Established in 2005, this unique collection not only displays hundreds of neon signs that represent different eras of glass-tube iconography but also shows the equipment and processes used to make them. Conveniently, it’s located just a few minutes’ drive from downtown and within walking distance of the River City Convention Center, home to some of the best Cincinnati hotels.
7. Salute the National Museum of the US Air Force
If you’re searching for things to do in Dayton you won’t want to miss the National Museum of the US Air Force. Even if you aren’t especially interested in the military, you’ll find this place fascinating. With nearly 400 airplanes and pieces of artillery on display, it is by far the largest military aviation museum in the world. It’s great for kids, too, especially if you think you might be raising a budding engineer.
What kinds of travelers can enjoy Ohio?
Virginia, they say is for lovers—but Ohio is for everyone! Whether you’re an adventurous solo traveler, a family look for things to do in Ohio with kids, or indeed a couple of lovers looking for a little romance, the Buckeye State never disappoints. With a seemingly endless variety of landscapes interspersed between its dynamic cities, Ohio covers all travel bases.
Even if you simply stay within, say, Cincinnati or Toledo, the eclectic array of culture urban Ohio offers will keep most any traveler stimulated. Culture and cuisine: Restaurants in Ohio are on another level, from trendy spots like Nosh on High in Columbus (one of America’s best college towns) to Cleveland’s Slyman’s, whose corned beef sandwich is a veritable rite of passage.
When is the best time to visit Ohio?
Ohio has four very well-defined seasons, all of which have their own merits. However, for most travelers, the question of when to visit Ohio centers around the largely dry, mostly warm months between May and September. During this part of the year, conditions are perfect both for exploring nature and for digging into the nooks and crannies of Ohio’s cities.
This, of course, can vary, depending on which of the places to visit in Ohio appeals to you most. If you plan to hike in the Cuyahoga Valley, for example, colorful autumn leaves might be worth withstanding a slight chill in the air. Likewise, if you plan to focus your Columbus or Cincinnati trip more on indoor culture than outdoor urban discovery, the bitter cold of winter won’t bother you as much.
Practical tips for your Ohio trip
Ohio is good for many things, but public transportation is not really one of them. Although central neighborhoods of certain cities are walkable, most travelers are going to need to search Ohio rental cars in order to get around, assuming you aren’t driving in from out of state or originating from within. Inside city limits, meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are always available when walking or using an unfamiliar bus network isn’t realistic.
When it comes to accommodation, on the other hand, you have a couple of different options. Many of the Ohio destinations on this list are within day-trip distance of cities. You can wake up in one of the best hotels in Cleveland, for example, then spend time swimming at beaches farther west on Lake Erie. On the other hand, some travelers will prefer to sleep closer to the action, and might instead seek out hotels or Airbnb apartments in more rural areas.
FAQ about things to do in Ohio
That depends on your destination of “cool”! For some people, it’s people-watching amid the university-age crowd in Columbus, while others feel the coolest coasting along the rails at Cedar Point.
In general, outdoor activities in Ohio are permitted. Some indoor destinations are also open (such as the Columbus Museum of Art), though you will need to make sure you follow guidelines about masks and social distancing.
In addition to amazing tourist attractions, Ohio is famous for its famous people! From celebrities to presidents (7 US presidents have been born in Ohio, which is known as the “Mother of Presidents,” Ohio is much more famous than it gets credit for!
The variety and quality of things to do in Ohio will surprise you, even if you thought you knew the Buckeye State well. Get a crash course in music history at Cleveland’s Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, or put the lessons you learned in physics class to the rest as you soar atop Cedar Point’s rollercoasters in Sandusky. Irrespective of the form your adventure ends up taking, Ohio is much more than meets the (Buck)eye.
Discover where you can go
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