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Visitors are well taken care of in Ohio – there’s something fun for almost everyone. From the shores of Lake Erie to the wide, slow Ohio River, every corner of the Buckeye State has fun and adventure in store.
For thrills, nothing beats Sandusky’s Cedar Point Amusement Park. This lakeside destination is billed as one of the largest in the world and has an exciting mix of modern rides and classic attractions. Scream your way down all 17 roller coasters or kick back on the Ferris wheel. For even more high-octane fun, head to the adjacent Challenge Park.
One of Ohio’s most beautiful spots is Hocking Hills State Park. This patch of protected landscape 55 miles south of Columbus delights hikers with trails leading to sweeping overlooks, deep green hollows, and soaring caves. Nearby, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours puts you above the treetops on a series of zip lines.
Music fans of all stripes will find something to love at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. This iconic site on the waterfront in Cleveland honors the biggest names in rock and roll. You can find artifacts from the stars, memorabilia from famous concerts, and an awesome live music performance space.
Ohio’s other hall of fame is in Canton – the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Here, legends of the gridiron are celebrated and memorialized, and you gawk at artifacts like balls, helmets, and replicas of Super Bowl rings.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park may be on Cleveland’s suburban fringe, but spend a day here and you’ll forget all about the city. This lush 33,000-acre park has 160 miles of hiking and biking trails, two downhill ski areas, golf courses, a living history settlement, gushing waterfalls, and impressive rock formations. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad travels through the park. Make sure to schedule time to visit the Ohio and Erie Canalway – you can bike along the once-important waterway or float along in a boat pulled by a mule.
Ohio might be where the Midwest begins, but part of the state is home to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Head to Adams County, 60 miles southeast of Cincinnati, to see this surprising landscape. Visit the Edge of Appalachia nature preserve or take the short hike around an ancient Native American effigy mound at Great Serpent Mound.
Between Akron and Columbus lies Holmes County, which is the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country. This bucolic landscape at times looks more like New England than the Midwest, and here you’ll find trim towns and lasting traditions. Watch the buggies go by and visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center in Berlin.
Did you know that Ohio is wine country? There are some 200 wineries in the state, many of which are northeast of Cleveland. Not only are some of the wines quite good, but this area is gorgeous and full of quaint towns, quiet shorelines, and old covered bridges.
Speaking of covered bridges, Ohio has plenty of them. You’ll find more than a dozen in Ashtabula County, and you can take a self-guided driving tour through the best of them. If you are really into covered bridges, make sure to visit during the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival, which has tours, a parade, and live music.
Ohio’s big cities are modern and cosmopolitan. Cincinnati has a museum complex which rivals those found in big cities around the world. The Cincinnati Museum Center is lodged in the Art Deco-era Union Terminal. Learn about the past at the Cincinnati History Museum or explore the prehistoric world at the Museum of Natural History and Science. Got kids? Haul them to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, which is full of fun and interactive exhibits.
The Toledo Museum of Art houses some three dozen galleries and is hone to 30,000 pieces of art – paintings, sculpture, photography, and more. Besides wandering through the galleries, you can attend special events, sit in on symposiums, and take classes taught by some of the best in the field. To the north, the Cleveland Museum of Art is a world-class institution housed in a striking neo-classical building. The museum’s collections are broad – it specializes in European, Asian, and American art.
Ohio’s history is closely tied to aviation history, and that heritage is celebrated at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park. Dedicated to flight pioneers the Wright brothers, you can visit the Wright Cycle Company shop, a memorial to innovator Laurence Dunbar, and watch a movie about the Wright brothers’ experiments. While you’re in the area you may also want to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial, which is located on Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and is where Wilbur and Orville Wright build their aircraft and learned to fly.
You can learn about the road to freedom at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This iconic institution, which sits along the Ohio River, marks the point where many slaves from the South made their way to freedom. Enjoy art, artifacts, and modern exhibits.
Ohio has plenty of places where you can seek out native wildlife, but for something more exotic visit The Wilds. This 10,000-acre wildlife conservation center 70 miles east of Columbus is home to rare and endangered animals from around the world. Take a very un-Ohio safari past cheetahs, zebras, and other African wildlife, then get to know North American animals as you visit bison and swans.
For a bit of nature in the city, spend an afternoon in the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus. This park has indoor and outdoor displays of native and exotic landscape plants and the Palm House, an Victorian-style greenhouse dating to the late 1800s – it holds palms from around the world.
Open year-round, the A Christmas Story House is the actual home used as the setting for the Parker family’s most memorable Christmas. Now a museum for this famed holiday film set in the Tremont neighborhood in west Cleveland, the Christmas Story House Museum features props, photos, and memorabilia used in the legendary yuletide movie.
Be sure to stop by the Christmas Story House gift shop for some fragile souvenirs like Red Ryder BB Guns, some pink nightmare bunny suits, and of course, a leg lamp or two. After your visit, be sure to head to Bac Asian American Bistro & Bar – the official Chinese restaurant of A Christmas Story House and staple of northeast Ohio.
Voted Ohio’s Best Family Entertainment Center, the EnterTRAINment Junction is home to the world’s largest indoor train display – approximately 25,000 square feet of model trains on an enormous track display. Located just outside of Monroe in southern Ohio, guests choose from a myriad of onsite attractions, including a railroad museum and café.
Also onsite is a children’s play center and the newly built A-Maze-N Funhouse – the latter being a circus-esque walkthrough that features a mirror maze, tilt-room, curtain maze, Clown College, and more. The entertainment center also hosts seasonal events, schedules parties, and group visits.
Home to America’s premier maker of hand crafted baskets, the Longaberger Company has been in operation since 1976. The Longaberger Homestead is located just North of Zanesville in central Ohio and is a must-see attraction for any fan of the handcrafted baskets.
The Homestead offers many different activities for visitors – including a tour of the facility, three restaurants, and a make-a-basket experience for visitors to create their own work. Of course guests have the opportunity to shop for baskets and accessories onsite as well.
Made into a national a shrine by U.S. Congress, Our Lady of Consolation is one of two basilicas in Ohio. The shrine is located in central Ohio near Wapakoneta and is the site of the annual pilgrimage of Roman Catholics to mark the Feast of the Assumption of Mary.
The complex has multiple properties representing the historic nature of the shrine – perhaps most impressive is the original wooden church built in 1875 that is still in use. The basilica and nearby shrine park are a must-see for any fan of ancient stone and European style architecture.
Founded by one man in his backyard, Airstream has since become Ohio’s premier manufacturer of travel trailers and camper vehicles since 1931. The innovative aluminum and aero-dynamic design is still heavily in use today – seventy percent of all Airstream trailers sold are still on the road today.
For those who are curious as to how the American-made classic is built can schedule a tour of the facility – which is located near Wapakoneta in central Ohio. Tours are available Monday through Thursday year round.