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Whether you like cheering for the home team or blazing your own trail, Ohio is a sports paradise where everything is possible.
The state is home to a formidable lineup of professional sports teams. Cincinnati is the home of the Reds and the Bengals, while Cleveland hosts the Browns and the Cavaliers. The Indians play at Progressive Field in Cleveland and the Cavaliers’ home court is one of the rowdiest in the nation. The Columbus Blue Jackets play in the National Hockey League and the Columbus Crew play Major League Soccer. The Ohio Machine are in the Major League Lacrosse and the Ohio Aviators play in the PRO Rugby league.
In all, teams in Ohio have won seven World Series and nine NFL championships. The Cavaliers have won the NBA Finals once.
The Buckeye State is home to a bevy of minor league and semi-pro teams. You can see minor league baseball played by the Akron Rubberducks, the Chillicothe Paints, the Columbus Clippers, the Dayton Dragons, the Lake County Captains, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, and the Toledo Mud Hens, whose home stadium is called one of the best in the nation. Minor league pro football teams include the Canton Legends, the Cincinnati Marshals, the Cincinnati Sizzle, the Cleveland Fusion, the Cleveland Gladiators, and the Mario Mayhem. There are also minor league hockey teams, lower division professional soccer clubs, and a minor league pro softball team.
Talking about Ohio and not mentioning college sports would be a major mistake. The state has storied college sports programs which rank among the best in the nation. The Ohio State University has one of America’s top football teams and schools like Oberlin, Denison, Hiram, Rio Grande, Marietta, Ohio University, and Ohio Northern University field winning football, baseball, basketball, track and field, soccer, and swim teams.
When it comes to watching these pro and amateur events, you’ll find some singular and iconic stadiums. Ohio Stadium in Columbus is home to the Buckeyes and seats nearly 105,000 fans. First Energy Stadium in Cleveland is the Browns’ home field and it seats 73,200. Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati is home to the Bengals, while the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati is where you can see the Reds. The Rubber Bowl in Akron was built in 1940 and can seat 31,000, while the Cleveland Indians play at Progressive Field. Other historic stadiums include the Glass Bowl in Toledo, which was built in 1937, and Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, which can seat 40,000 and was built in 1915.
Ohio has a storied history of auto racing, and some of the best in the business hail from the Buckeye State. You can see races at dozens of spots, including the 2-mile Nelson Ledges Race Course, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Midway Speedway, the storied Summit Motorsports Par, K D Dragway, 35 Raceway Park, National Trail Raceway, Marion Country International Raceway, and scores of others.
Golf is huge in Ohio, and the state’s rolling green countryside provides a gorgeous backdrop for some storied courses. Practically every town has at least one course, and there are major clubs around the state. Top courses include the Indian Springs Golf Club, Windmill Lakes Golf Club, Deer Track Golf Course, Sleepy Hollow Golf Course, Beechwood Golf Course, Rolling Acres Golf Course, and Riverview Golf Course.
Ohio is also home to first-rate tennis clubs. Swing your racquet at the Toledo Tennis Club, Perrysburg Tennis Center, Canterbury Swing and Tennis Club, Schroeder Tennis Center, the Queen City Racquet Club, Kettering Tennis Center, and Tennis Cincinnati.
Come winter, the state’s hills turn white and skiers sharpen their edges. Mad River has 10 lifts and 20 trails, making it one of the region’s biggest areas. Brandywine has tree-lined slopes close to Cleveland, and not far away is Boston Mills. Snow Trails has wide open runs and nine lifts near Mansfield and Big Creek’s lifts spin whenever it gets cold enough to make snow. Want winter recreation at a slower pace? State parks around the state open cross-country trails when the snow is deep enough, and a full kit can often be rented for less than $20 a day. Look for trails at East Harbor State Park, Headlands Beach State Park, Malabar Farm State Park, and Maumee State Forest, which boasts more than 60 miles of ski trails.
The state’s forests and parks provide great spots for hiking, and you’ll find hundreds of miles of trails ranging from mild to wild. Popular trails include the Ledges Trail, Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave, the Brandywine Falls Trail, the Brandywine Gorge Trail, and the Gorge Trail. Many of these same trails are open to bikes, and the long biking season and tacky dirt draw singletrack fans from around the region. Hop on trails like Vultures Knob in Wooster, Mohican in Loudonville, the 9-mile Archers Fork Loop Trail, and the highly-rated Camp Tuscazoar Trail in Dover. The state’s country roads are great for road bikers. Look for smooth asphalt and calm traffic along the Little Miami River, the Cuyahoga River Towpath, and around Xenia.
With hundreds of lakes and wide rivers, there are numerous sailing opportunities in Ohio and plenty of sailing schools and yacht clubs. Best spots for sailing include Alum Creek, Indian Lake, Sandusky, Vermillion, Mentor Harbor, and Buckeye Lake.
The state has tons of great running events ranging from family-friendly 5Ks to marathons and ultra-marathons which attract professional runners. Big races open to the public include the Run for Regis 50K, the Polar Bear Indoor Marathon in Ada, the Winter Buckeye Trail Run in Peninsula, a mid-winter marathon in Dublin, a popular spring marathon and half-marathon in Xenia, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon in Canton, the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, and the Air Force Marathon in Dayton.
So bring your skis, bring your running shoes, or bring your giant foam finger – Ohio has a sport for you.
Opened in 1961, Snow Trails opened its slopes to skiers becoming central Ohio’s first commercial ski resort. Located near Mt. Gilead, Snow Trails offers 17 different trails over 200-acres that vary in difficulty from beginner to advanced.
Private and group lesson programs are provided for skiers and snowboarders by professional instructors. Snow Trails also provides live entertainment every Saturday night during the season.