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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.
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 that is blue or purplish- 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.
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.
Things to do near Toledo
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.
- Go bird watching at Magee Marsh.
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:
Learn about the history of the carousel, watch skilled woodcarvers in action and take a ride on the in-house carousel.
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.
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.
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.
This post includes some of our favorite museums and attractions that can easily be seen in one weekend in Sandusky.
Where to Stay in Sandusky
Hotel Breakers has undergone an extensive renovation over the past couple of years which includes enhanced outdoor areas and new furnishings and decor in the rooms.
Hotel Kilbourne is the only boutique hotel in Sandusky. 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
Minutes from downtown Sandusky and located on the Cedar Point Causeway, the Holiday Inn Express offers large, comfortable rooms for families and even features a kitchenette in some.
More Things to do in Sandusky and the surrounding area:
- Take a tour of Sandusky on foot or by joining Jim at Sandusky Segwave for a one or two hour tour and see Sandusky in a new light.
- 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 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.
The Put-in-Bay tour train offers a great overview of the island’s highlights and provides easy hop-on, hop-off service to the top attractions.
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.
Rent kayaks for a chance to see the island through new eyes. Several possible routes are suggested which include kayaking around Gibraltar Island to kayak through the Needle’s Eye: One of Ohio’s Natural Arches or kayaking past the Ship House which is visible from the water.
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.
Things to do Kelleys Island:
Exploring Family Friendly Kelleys Island
More things to do on South Bass Island:
- Grab your camera and stroll through the Scheef East Point Preserve and 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, and Cameo Pizza.
Things to do in Bucyrus and the Surrounding Area
Waterpark Hotels in 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.
Things to do in Northeast Ohio
Things to do in Cleveland Ohio
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.
Perhaps the biggest secret in Cleveland, this quiet garden provides an escape from the city.
Adventure seekers converge on Go Ape where the zip line and adventure course. This course in Strongsville features 5 zip lines and 42 obstacles.
Things to do in the Surrounding Area:
The World’s Largest Eagle’s Nest Replica
This man-made eagle’s nest is modeled after a nest that was found in nearby Vermilion.
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.
Fans of David Grohl will want to add a pilgrimage to Warren Ohio to pay homage to the frontman of the Foo Fighters.
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.
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
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
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
Queen for a Day at Landoll’s Mohican Castle in Loudonville
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
Things to do in Central Ohio
Things to do in Columbus Ohio
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.
This giant roadside attraction is actually part of an extensive art trail that winds through Dublin, a suburb of Columbus.
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.
This Lustron home was manufactured in Columbus and now resides in the Ohio History Connection to transport visitors to the 1950s.
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.
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.
- Pickaway County
Deer Creek State Park Lodge
Circleville, Ohio: a Unique Small Town Experience
Photo Essay: Deer Creek State Park
Ohio State Park Lodges: Deer Creek State Park Lodge
Things to do in Southwest Ohio
Things to do Near Dayton
Things to do in Southeast Ohio
- Guernsey County
Dickens Victorian Village
Hopalong Cassidy Museum
Salt Fork State Park
Historic Downtown Walking Tour
- Muskingum County
The Wilds: Perfect for Multi-Generational Family Fun
- Washington County
Marietta, Ohio: a River Town Steeped in History
- Made in Marietta: Bite-size History at Sewah Studios
Things to do in the Hocking Hills Region
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
The Ohio Art Corridor
Ohio’s Covered Bridges in Vinton County