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9 of the Best Outdoor Attractions in Ohio

Are you undecided about what to do when we have a nice day? Maybe I can help! Today, I’m sharing what I consider some of the best outdoor attractions in Ohio.”

9 of the best things to do in Ohio from safari's to petroglyphs these are totally unexpected.

Ohio is full of amazing outdoor attractions and adventure opportunities.  Because of the four distinct seasons we have in Ohio, you can find year-round adventure.  We have no shortage of parks and trails to explore during the nice weather, plus ice fishing, and snow sports for winter. 

When I sat down to write a post on the greatest outdoor attractions in Ohio, it was difficult to decide which ones to include, because it seems like the list is simply never-ending!

Ohio is home to over 70 state parks, over 100 nature preserves and we even have a national park- but that’s not the best part! Unlike many other states, you’ll find all of Ohio’s state parks are free of charge. That’s right. FREE. If you ask me, that’s one reason to put Ohio on your list of states to explore.

So, are you ready to learn more about the great outdoors in Ohio? Read on.

The Best Outdoor Attractions in Ohio

1. Hocking Hills

This photo taken at Hocking Hills State Park highlights the Sphinx Rock.

You’re probably not surprised to find this area at the top of the list. 

The Hocking Hills region is very well known and has received national (and international) attention. It is located in the southeastern part of the state and features countless opportunities for outdoor recreation. 

You will find ample hiking opportunities, campsites, canoeing, zip-lining, rock climbing, off-road Segways and so much more! New to the area in 2018 is the John Glenn Astronomy Park

Find more content on the area here: Hocking Hills

2. Mohican State Park and Forest

The top of Big Lyons Falls at Mohican State Park

The area around the Mohican State Park and Forest is known as the canoe capital of Ohio but don’t worry! If the thought of a relaxing paddle down the Mohican River doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll find plenty of other options that include an awesome adventure ropes course at Mohican Adventures, loads of camping spots, zip-lining, hiking, bridle trails and more. For those who enjoy nature by day but prefer luxurious accommodations by night, you’ll find Landoll’s Mohican Castle and The Mohicans Treehouse Village nearby. 

Get more details here: Mohican State Park

3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only national park in Ohio and is also an urban park.

Located near Cleveland, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park includes 33,000 acres of natural wonders and outdoor adventuring paradise. 

With amazing rock formations, over 150 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, golf courses, historical sites, and even a train that runs through the park. You’ll stay busy and have a wonderful time near some of Ohio’s largest metropolitan areas.

Get more details here: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

4. Ohio’s Wine Country

Strolling though the rows of grapevines in a vineyard in Ohio towards a gazebo.

Okay, we can call this one an indoor/outdoor attraction because yes, you will go inside of wineries, but you will be spending a lot of time in vineyards too. 

Did you know that Ohio has quite an extensive wine country?  Many do not, but in Northeastern Ohio, you will find over 20 wineries! 

If you are a wine connoisseur, or, if you just love beautiful scenery, you’ll find a visit to Ohio’s wine country a treat.

Get more details here: Ohio’s Wine Country

5. Lake Erie

Standing along the shore of Lake Erie

You knew we couldn’t make this list without listing Lake Erie on it, right?  Lake Erie is the 4th largest lake of the great lakes, and the 11th largest lake (if measured by surface area) of all lakes globally.  That is a really big deal!

There are so many things to do around Lake Erie, you’d be hard-pressed not to stay entertained while visiting the lakeshore.

In our opinion, a trip to the lake isn’t complete without taking a short ferry ride to South Bass (home of Put-in-Bay) or Kelleys Island.

Get more details here: Lake Erie

6. Covered Bridges

The Shinn Covered Bridge in Marietta is an historic bridge.

Did you know that in Ashtabula county you can find 17 restored, historic covered bridges? 

That Fairfield County has the most original covered bridges in the state?

And that you’ll find a covered bridge driving trail around Ohio’s oldest city in Marietta? Or these covered bridges near Hocking Hills?

 A driving tour of these covered bridges is a beautiful way to spend the day.

7. Leo PetroglyphsAncient petroglyphs on a rock in southeastern Ohio.

Yep. You read that right. Ohio has petroglyphs. Who knew, right?

My husband and I recently stopped at the Leo Petroglyphs & Nature Preserve on a van camping trip. To say I was shocked at this unique, historical attraction in southeastern Ohio is an understatement.

The short hiking trail is scenic and pretty even in February (though a bit slippery in spots so pack your trekking poles or walking stick) and the petroglyphs are exquisite.

This is even a great stop for those who don’t like to hike, as the petroglyphs are visible beside the parking lot.

The only caution I have is that the park is remote and there are no restrooms on-site so make sure you go before this stop. 

Get more details here: Leo Petroglyphs & Nature Preserve

8. The Wilds

Take a safari-like ride through The Wilds and you won't even know you're in Ohio.

If a day spent with exotic animals sounds like fun to you, then head to The Wilds and don’t forget your camera!  You’ll see giraffes, rhinos, and other exotic wild animals throughout the 10,000+ acre wildlife conservation center. 

You will see hundreds of animal species, including animals that have made their way to the endangered species list.

The Wilds offers you the chance to ride through and see the animals from the comfort of a safari bus.

The really adventurous can also experience The Wilds via horseback, zip lining, or a private tour.

Get more details here: The Wilds

9. Worden Ledges

Worden's Ledges is a short hiking trail that features carvings in the limestone.

I was enchanted the day my husband and I explored Worden Ledges for the first time.

A short, easy walk leads to what I consider, one of the most magical trails in Ohio.

You certainly must see the carvings for yourself to truly appreciate the works of art that were carved by the man who once lived in the home that was formerly on the property. 

Get more details here: Worden Ledges

BONUS: Cedar Point Amusement Park

Cedar Point is the roller capital of the world but I love the view of the ferris wheel at dawn.

Okay, while most of our outdoor attractions so far have been natural areas, we couldn’t have an outdoor attractions list without mentioning Cedar Point amusement park. 

Cedar Point is one of Ohio’s most popular attractions.   Here you will find record-breaking roller coasters, a water park, live entertainment, and more! 

Plus, it’s right on the shores of Lake Erie so the views from the tops of those rides are unbelievable!

Get more details here: Cedar Point

Enhance your Ohio Outdoor Adventure with these Items: 

More posts you may enjoy: 

The Ultimate List of 100+ of the Best Things to do in Ohio

Crystal Cave: The World’s Largest Geode

Cheap Romantic Getaways in Ohio

Explore Ohio’s Appalachian Towns while Road Tripping along The Ohio Art Corridor

15 Things to do with the Family at Malabar Farm State Park

Have you visited any of these locations? Leave a comment and tell us about your favorite outdoor attraction in Ohio.

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Cynthia & Jason L

Thursday 1st of July 2021

Ive been to Mohican, hocking hills and Lake Erie & rode the Ferry at Put in Bay Mohican cost us the most but had more to offer in my opinion. It was the most appealing to us and plan to go back. While hocking Hills is local to me so I didn’t have to pay for a stay. The trails at Hocking Hills( old Mans Cave) can be sketchy at times and dangerous if wet but if you stay on trails you should be ok. Lots of cool nature and trails that are Mae from Mother Nature and frictioned stone. While I’m 40 and have never been to kings island nor cedar point but that’s are next getaway. Still trying to decide which direction to go to thou.

Tonya Prater

Monday 30th of August 2021

Mohican is in my backyard and truly one of my favorite destinations in the state. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your visit to the area and want to visit again.

Erin

Monday 15th of July 2019

I have so many memories of visiting Cedar Point throughout childhood into my college years, but now many of the other outdoor attractions on this list appeal to me. I'd love to visit some Ohio wineries, Lake Erie, and Hocking Hills in the near future!

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