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100+ of the Best Things to do in Ohio

Tonya Prater, Owner

Are you looking for things to do in Ohio but don’t know where to begin? Bookmark this page because we’re sharing 100+ things we’ve actually seen and done!

100+ of the Best Things to do in Ohio and the best part? Many of these attractions are family friendly and totally free!

From family-friendly to couples only we have recommendations of free attractions to visit as well as those that are totally splurge-worthy for a getaway you’re not likely to forget.

Things to do in Ohio

Ohio is one of the top wine-producing states in the country, has the largest Amish population in the world and is known as the roller coaster capital, thanks to the thrill-seekers paradise, Cedar Point.

Ohio is pretty diverse and most people have no idea of all that Ohio has to offer!

Our goal for the past couple of years has been to explore that diversity and uncover some of the attractions and events that make Ohio not only a great place to live but also a great place to visit.

The Longaberger Market Basket took 2000 hours to weave.
The world’s largest market basket in Dresden is the size of a small house.

How to Use this Post

As we discover new reasons to love our home state, we’ll write a post about it and share it here.

Simply click on the link – or sentence or phrase that is yellow- to go to that blog post to see what we have to say about that attraction or destination.

Hopefully, our experiences will help you as you plan outings with your own children, spouse or travel buddies.

We’ll also add a button to the sidebar so you can easily reference this post as we visit more Ohio attractions and add them to our list of things to do in Ohio.

So make sure you bookmark this page, Pin it to your Ohio board, or share it so you’ll have it to refer back to when you’re looking for ideas.

For ease in navigation and reading, this post is broken up by region and then by larger cities within that region. For example, in northeast Ohio, you’ll find Cleveland, Medina, Mansfield, etc.

The Columbus State House offers free guided or self-guided tours on weekdays.
The Columbus State House

Things to do in Northwest Ohio

This area borders Michigan, Indiana and Lake Erie. It stretches from Toledo to Sandusky, down to Bucyrus and into Mercer County.

Popular attractions include Cedar Point Amusement Park, the Lake Erie islands, many historical sites and the Toledo Museum of Art.

Hippos in the Hippoquarium at the Toledo Zoo
Hippos in the Hippoquarium at the Toledo Zoo

Things to do near Toledo

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

One of the Ohio state park lodges, Maumee Bay is a one-stop getaway. Book a stay in the hotel or one of the cabins on the property.

Swim, boat or fish in Lake Erie, bird watch along the boardwalk or golf along the golf course that welcomed President Obama during his presidency.

Maumee Bay is conveniently located only a short drive from Toledo.

More things to do in Toledo: 

  • Grab a bite to eat and sign your buns at the original Tony Packo’s.
  • Explore the Toledo Museum of Art and watch glass being blown across the street at the Glass Pavilion.
  • Take a walk on the former world’s largest freighter at the National Museum of the Great Lakes.
  • Watch the hippos swim in the world’s only Hippoquarium at the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium. I visited as a preschooler and still have memories of those hippos! The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium is also home to the largest collection of WPA buildings in the country.
  • Go bird watching at Magee Marsh.
The Courthouse in Washington Park in Downtown Sandusky

Things to do in Sandusky

Spotlight on Ohio’s Shores and Islands Region: Things to do in Sandusky

If you only have time to read one post on Sandusky, this is the one.

With suggestions on where to eat, sleep and play, this post offers ideas to keep you busy for a weekend and beyond.

Some of the attractions mentioned in this post include:

The Sandusky Merry-Go-Round Museum

Learn about the history of the carousel, watch skilled woodcarvers in action and take a ride on the in-house carousel.

Sandusky Maritime Museum

Learn about Lake Erie’s role in contributing to the growth of Sandusky and check out an impressive exhibit highlighting antique and vintage wooden boats at this regional museum.

The Milan Museum Complex

Tour seven distinct and impressive museums that include a glass museum, the Newton Arts Gallery, a general store that serves as a gift shop, and Four Seasons Statue Garden.

The Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve

This nature preserve is gorgeous any time of year and since most of it is paved, those pushing strollers or in wheelchairs or walkers can enjoy it too.

Take a Weekend to Explore Sandusky, Ohio 

This post includes some of our favorite museums and attractions that can easily be seen in one weekend in Sandusky.

A Peek inside a room at Hotel Kilbourne
Hotel Kilbourne

Where to Stay in Sandusky

Inside Hotel Breakers at Cedar Point

If you’re visiting Cedar Point, Hotel Breakers is your hotel. Conveniently located on the grounds of Ohio’s favorite amusement park, this property is a destination in and of itself.

Spend a day in the park and then spend a day relaxing on the beach, in one of the pools, hot tubs or around a fire pit.

The beach at Hotel Breakers is one of the best in the state! And guests of the hotel get access to Cedar Point an hour before those who are staying off property.

You’ll find a variety of guest rooms. If you’re traveling as a family, book one of the lake view suites with a balcony. You’ll find available options here.

Hotel Kilbourne

Hotel Kilbourne is the only boutique hotel in Sandusky and it is gorgeous. Enjoy the brick exposed walls and luxury bedding with views of the bay or city.

This waterfront hotel is conveniently located on Water Street, directly across from the Jet Express and Goodtime I terminals, the hotel features Moseley’s Public House, a rooftop bar and OH Taco!

Guests of the hotel will not go hungry or thirsty and will find there’s plenty to do on foot so park your car and truly enjoy downtown Sandusky.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

Minutes from downtown Sandusky and located on the Cedar Point Causeway, the Holiday Inn Express & Suites offers large, comfortable rooms for families and even features a kitchenette in some.  

Plus, this property is conveniently located directly down the road from Cedar Point, minutes from downtown Sandusky and close to the major attractions in the city.

Couples may enjoy the massive 400 square foot executive suite that is HUGE! Check rates and book your stay here.

Put-in-Bay sunset

More Things to do in Sandusky and the Surrounding Area:

  • Take a tour and learn about Sandusky’s role in the Underground Railroad on Sandusky’s only guided bus tour.
  • Enjoy a Sunset Bay Cruise on the Goodtime I which departs from downtown Sandusky during the summer months. Additional cruises are available including family cruises and teen and adult-only sailings.
  • Photograph the nearby lighthouses in Marblehead, Vermilion and Port Clinton.
  • Enjoy a touch of nostalgia and seek out Handless Jacques: a Roadside Attraction in Marblehead.
  •  Conquer your fears and get your thrill on at Cedar Point and for those that love all things that go spook in the night- scream to your heart’s content during Halloweekends.
  • Visit Ohio’s oldest dairy and enjoy an ice cream cone at Toft’s Dairy.
  • Take an architectural walk of downtown Sandusky.
  • Take a boat ride through the lagoons of Vermilion on the Mystic Belle.

Things to do on South Bass Island & Kelleys Island

If you’ve never visited the islands in Lake Erie, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

South Bass, Middle Bass, and Kelleys Island are each a short ferry ride away from the mainland.


You can travel to Put-in-Bay via Miller Boat Line or Jet Express in about 20 minutes.

Once you’ve arrived, Take a Ride on the Put-in-Bay Tour Train. This “train” provides a great overview of the island’s highlights while offering easy hop-on, hop-off service to the top attractions.

Visit Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial

Learn about Oliver Hazard Perry, the War of 1812 and ride to the top of the world’s most massive Doric column for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding islands. National Park Passholders receive free admission to the monument and those under 15 are free.

Tip: It’s REALLY windy at the top of the monument so make sure loose flowy tops or dresses are secured and fellas, take off those hats!

Kayak the Bay for Active Family Fun

Rent kayaks for a chance to see the island through new eyes. Several possible routes are suggested which include kayaking around Gibraltar Island or kayaking past the Ship House which is visible from the water.

Crystal Cave: the World’s Largest Geode

Descend into the cave under the Heineman Winery to step inside the world’s largest geode. Definitely a tourist trap, but one you should experience at least once.

More things to do on South Bass Island 

  • Grab your camera and stroll through the Scheef East Point Preserve or Massie Cliffside Preserve which offers a great view of the newly opened historic Lonz Winery.
  • Eat your way along the island on the newly formed Put-in-Bay Foodie Trail. Some of our favorite spots include The Forge, the Boathouse Bar & Grill, Reel Bar, The Keys, The GOAT and Cameo Pizza.

More Posts about Put-in-Bay

Things to do: Put-in-Bay, Ohio

A Delightfully Lazy Day on Put-in-Bay

Best of the USA: Put-in-Bay

Bay Lodging Resort in Put-in-Bay

Things to do Kelleys Island

Exploring Family Friendly Kelleys Island

Things to do in Bucyrus and the Surrounding Area

Bucyrus, Ohio: More than Meets the Eye
Step into the Past at D. Picking & Co.
 Bucyrus Murals: Where History and Art Combine
Bucyrus Celebrates its German Heritage

Waterpark Hotels in Ohio

Tips to Help You Enjoy a Visit to the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky Ohio 

The Kalahari is the largest waterpark hotel and waterpark in Ohio. From restaurants to a spa to a petting zoo and outdoor adventure park, you’ll find plenty to do year-round at the Kalahari. And while you’re there It’s Okay to be Pampered: Relax at Spa Kalahari.

The Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky

Castaway Bay Indoor Waterpark

Things to do in Northeast Ohio

Things to do in Cleveland Ohio

The Garfield Memorial in Lake View Cemetery

The 180-foot tall memorial in Lakeview Cemetery honors America’s 20th president, one of four killed in office. The Garfield Memorial is impressive on the outside, but the real beauty lies in the interior.

Rockefeller Park Greenhouse

Perhaps the biggest secret in Cleveland, this quiet garden provides an escape from the city.

Seeking Adventure at Go Ape Zipline & Treetop Adventure in Cleveland

Adventure seekers converge on Go Ape where the zip line and adventure course. This course in Strongsville features 5 zip lines and 42 obstacles.

Looking for more things to do in the Cleveland area_ (1)

Buy the books here:
Secret Cleveland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure 

100 Things to do in Cleveland Before You Die, 2nd Edition

More Things to do in Northeast Ohio

Headlands Beach State Park

A visit to Headlands Beach State Park (which is totally FREE) and you’ll have a hard time remembering that you’re standing on the shore of Lake Erie and not the ocean.

Do you know where to Find the World’s Largest Drum Sticks in Ohio?

Fans of David Grohl will want to add a pilgrimage to Warren Ohio to pay homage to the frontman of the Foo Fighters.

Things that go Bump in the Night: Punderson Manor State Park Lodge

Spending the night at Punderson Manor State Park Lodge isn’t for the faint of heart. This property is said to have made even skeptics believe in ghosts.

Hidden Art of Worden’s Ledges at Hinckley’s Reservation Cleveland Metroparks

If you love spending time in the outdoors and art, this trail is for you. Check out the images carved in rock in one of Ohio’s hidden gems.

More things to do in Cleveland and the Surrounding Area: 

  • Book a room at the Glidden House and then spend the day exploring the museums of University Circle.
  • Take a FREE Tour of the Old Stone Church in Downtown Cleveland.
  • Get your American Ninja Warrior on at Play CLE.
  • Spend the day at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame.
  • Go ice skating in Public Square.
  • Take a Lolly the Trolley ride of Lakeview Cemetery.
  • Journey to the End of the Commons, the oldest general store in the state.

Things to do in Wooster Ohio

Wooster, Ohio: a City Full of Surprises

St. Paul Hotel: a Boutique Hotel Experience in Wooster
3 Unique Shopping Experiences in Wayne County

Things to do in Mansfield Ohio

Little Buckeye Children’s Museum
Richland County Carroussel
Malabar Farm State Park
Brumby’s Coffeehouse & Pizzeria
Ohio Bird Sanctuary
Oak Hill Cottage
Kingwood Center
Mansfield Memorial Museum
Coney Island Diner
 A Photo Tour of the East Cell Block in the Mansfield Reformatory

Take a Glimpse the Creepy Interior of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio 

The Ohio State Reformatory

Queen for a Day at Landoll’s Mohican Castle in Loudonville

Spend the Night at The Mohicans- Treehouses inspired and built by Treehouse Masters star Pete Nelson

Experience a Piece of Hollywood along the Shawshank Trail in Mansfield, Ohio

Ohio’s Best Donuts: Buckeye Bakery

Things to do in Coshocton Ohio

Coshocton County, Ohio in Pictures
Annin Flag Company in Coshocton
 The Old Stone Fort: Shrouded in Mystery in Coshocton County
A Touch of Nostalgia at the Unusual Junction and Lava Rock Grill
Gospel Hill Lighthouse in Warsaw, Ohio
 Step Back in Time to Historic Roscoe Village

Licking County
A Behind the Scenes Glimpse of Velvet Ice  Cream Factory
Velvet Ice Cream: a Delicious Tradition

Knox County
The Centerburg Historical Mural in Pictures
Bridge of Dreams Covered Bridge Photos

Things to do in Central Ohio

Things to do in Columbus Ohio

10 Things to do with the Family in Columbus

From touring the Ohio State House and public art displays to dining at an eclectic and lively restaurant, this post includes a list of some of our favorite things to do in Columbus with the kids but this can easily be adapted for fun date night ideas for couples.

Field of Corn: An Amazing and Quirky Roadside Attraction 

This giant roadside attraction is actually part of an extensive art trail that winds through Dublin, a suburb of Columbus.

The Topiary Park in Columbus, Ohio 

This park is modeled after the famous painting ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte by George Seurat. It is the only park created from topiaries that is based entirely on a painting.

Tour a Lustron Home in Columbus   

This Lustron home was manufactured in Columbus and now resides in the Ohio History Connection to transport visitors to the 1950s.

A Weekend in Columbus Exploring the Arts and More 

Columbus has a vibrant art community. From parks and gardens to public art displays to gorgeous architecture, there’s much to see and do in Ohio’s capital city.

Explore Historic Dublin Ohio: from Fairy Doors to Irish Fare and More

This Irish influenced community offers much to explore from an historic downtown, impressive art trail, world-class zoo as well as Irish cuisine, Celtic cocktails and a Fairy Door Trail.

Things to do in Southwest Ohio

Things to do Near Dayton

Breakout Escape Games offer Adventure for All Ages

Things to do in Southeast Ohio

Things to do in the Hocking Hills Region

Athens County
 The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
24 Hours in Athens, Ohio: What to see and do in Limited Time

Hocking County
Glenlaurel: Romantic and Luxurious Accommodations in Hocking Hills
Three Fun & Quirky Roadside Attractions in Hocking Hills
A Stay at Laurel Run: Hocking Hills Luxury Cabins
Romantic Lodging Options in Hocking Hills
The Rush Resort: Ohio Luxury Lodging in Hocking Hills
Eat your way through a Hocking Hills Road Trip

Fairfield County
The Ohio Art Corridor

Vinton County
Ohio’s Covered Bridges in Vinton County

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