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This shop was originally sponsored and compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and LISTERINE®. The post was rewritten and updated on 2/25/2019. All opinions are mine alone.
When my husband and I married and wanted to start a family, we thought it would be a great idea if we had our kids close in age. So, we had three children in three years. Sound crazy? Let me tell you, there were days I thought I would go crazy. I barely managed to survive the infant, toddler, and preschool years, but after that things got easier.
I’ve heard people talk about how difficult the hormone-fueled pre-teen and teen years could be but fortunately, ours were smooth sailing. My kids are now college age and I’m thankful for the relationship my husband and I have with them. Are they perfect? No, but they are pretty good kids.
And my husband and I continue to be very engaged with them, even now that they are branching out on their own. We shop with them for supplies for their house, travel with them, help them when they get stuck on a school project, and encourage them to live bold.
My kids are all very social and enjoy spending time with friends- whether that is longboarding, kayaking, jumping out of airplanes and skydiving, surfing in Mexico, or hanging from the rafters of a building while they practice rappelling, they need to feel bold and confident. And while the three of them are certainly adventurous, they love to spend time with their friends doing things that don’t provide such an adrenaline rush.
Fun Activities and Things to do in Ohio for College Age Kids
- Take a hike.
Ohio has many options for hiking. One of my family’s favorite spots is the Hocking Hills region. Moonville Tunnel is a fun spot to find and last year the area opened two new trails near the popular Old Man’s Cave trail. Hemlock Bridge Trail and Whispering Cave Trail introduce hikers to the second-largest cave in the park system and it includes a swinging bridge. Not for the easily winded, these new trails are classified as moderately strenuous.
Worden’s Ledges near Cleveland is not as well known or extensive of a trail but is unique because folk artist Noble Stuart created nearly a dozen carvings in the limestone in the 1940s. From a 14-foot long sphinx to a profile of Ty Cobb, this mile-long trail is a must see.
From local parks to free state parks, to a national park, you’ll find options for all abilities in Ohio.
- Go kayaking.
- Watch plays in the park.
Many parks around Ohio feature free summer programs- from music concerts to ballet, to plays based on the works of famous poets like the Shakespeare plays held in Schiller Park in Columbus.
You can reserve a spot on the lawn for your blanket or lawn chair for a fee, or skip the reservation and show up and grab a spot for free. Several plays are offered during the summer months on Thursday-Sunday. Invite a few friends, pack your blanket and picnic lunch and enjoy a classic tale under the stars. View the schedule here.
- Plan a Pizza Crawl.
Pizza is a staple among college students, right? Why not seek out the best pizza places in an area by hosting an impromptu pizza crawl? Simply visit a few pizza places in your area and sample the pizza at each stop until you determine a favorite.
- Visit the Westside Market in Cleveland to sample foods made popular from various ethnicities or seek out ethnic eateries in your own town to sample with friends.
- Plan a day of thrift store shopping, or if you prefer, seek out bargains at one of Ohio’s outlet malls.
- Discover your inner artist with guided instruction at a paint night at a local art center or another facility.
Sip and paint nights are fun and popular. You’ll find them at local art centers, hosted for fundraisers and other facilities and are open to a wide range of ages.
- Try indoor rock climbing at Paddle & Climb in Sandusky for a fun year-round activity to do with friends.
- Plan a road trip and see how many of these quirky attractions you can find.
- Take a Segway tour.
A Segway tour is a great way to explore a new area while resting your feet. Several Segway tours are available throughout the state of Ohio for you to enjoy.
- Go stargazing.
Ohio has several spots that are perfect for stargazing, including an International Dark Sky Park in Geauga County. The Geauga Observatory Park is one of the internationally recognized locations that offer premium star gazing with minimal light pollution. Various programs are slated throughout the year.
- Plan a movie marathon with friends.
Combine this activity with the pizza crawl by ordering takeout or ask friends to bring their favorite snack and sit back and watch the Star Wars Trilogy, or binge-watch the Game of Thrones.
- Visit the Topiary Park in Columbus.
This free park is a fun stop for art lovers. The painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jette by George Seurat is recreated using evergreen topiaries.
- Climb the steps of the oldest active lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
The Marblehead Lighthouse is a must during each season in Ohio. Though visitors can only take in the view from the top of the lighthouse during the summer months, the lighthouse is very picturesque and a lovely subject to photograph during the changing seasons.
- Stroll through a cemetery.
There are many historic cemeteries throughout Ohio that feature exquisite examples of funerary art but one of my favorites is the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. It is often referred to as the outdoor art museum and for good reason. The cemetery boasts a chapel with an interior designed by Tiffany, the Garfield Memorial, and hundreds of elaborate and decorative gravestones, including the Haserot Angel which is said to cry black tears.
- Go canoeing on the Mohican River.
Loudonville is known as the canoe capital of Ohio and on weekends draws record crowds. Avoid the crowds and plan a mid-week trip with friends then camp at the nearby Mohican State Park Campground.
- Tour a castle.
There are several castles in Ohio that are open for tours.The Mac-O-Chee and Mac-A-Cheek castles were built by brothers and are over 200 years old. Squires Castle near Cleveland offers guests free access to the grounds and free viewing of the castle. Loveland Castle near Cincinnati celebrates the strength and courage of knights of the Middle Ages and is open throughout the year.
- Host a bonfire with friends.
Stock up on hot dogs and the fix in’s for S’mores and plan a night outdoors retelling ghost stories by the fire.
- Enjoy a barn dance at Malabar Farm State Park.
Malabar Farm plays host to monthly square dances in the historic barn. Simply show up for this free event.
- Visit one of the many festivals held in Ohio.
The Renaissance Festival, World’s Greatest Pumpkin Show, and Bacon Festival are all popular annual events held in Ohio.
- Go for a bike ride on one of Ohio’s bike trails.
- Plan an Instagram Walk.
Explore an area of Ohio using Instagram as your guide by searching by location.19.
- Become a tourist in your city.
Discover your hometown through the eyes of a tourist. Pretend that you are visiting from out of town and visit your local visitors center for suggestions on things to do in the area. Pick a few of the suggestions that you may not have heard of or that sound interesting and spend a weekend exploring your city.
- Go geocaching.
- Visit an escape room.
Escape rooms seem to be all the craze right now and for good reason- they are crazy fun if you go with the right group of people. Grab some friends and chose your adventure and race against the clock to solve the mystery that will allow you to solve the puzzle and escape.
25. Learn a new skill.
It’s fun to learn a new skill with friends. Take a photography class, a cooking class or a glass blowing class. You may just find a new life-long hobby.
26. Plan a trip to on of Ohio’s amusement parks.
27. Plan a spa day with friends.
28. Go skydiving.
29. Plan a fun day at a local amusement park.
30. Go to a concert.
31. Try your hand at axe throwing.
32. Volunteer your time.
Whether it’s a nursing home, humane society, homeless shelter or another community organization, volunteering your time not only allows you to give back through serving.
If you’re going to do bold things, you need products that make you feel good about yourself.
What makes you feel bold?