10 Best Weekend Getaways in Ohio

  • February 23, 2022

When it comes to weekend getaways in Ohio, the state's numerous geographic regions make it simple to discover activities and lodging that allow you to unwind and rejuvenate. Weekends can be as relaxed or as active as you desire, with Lake Erie to the north, the Ohio River to the south, and natural forestland in between.

1. Downtown Columbus

A weekend in Ohio's capital city can be filled with gastronomic delights and activities. Almost every weekend in the summer, the developing downtown riverfront hosts cultural, arts, and music festivals.

The Scioto Mile cycling and pedestrian trail, which runs down the riverside, is a great place to walk, jog, ride, or just sit and watch the sunset from a grassy bench.

Nationwide Arena is a popular music facility in Columbus' thriving Arena District, as well as the home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the city's NHL team.

For a flavor of the area's German heritage, explore the brick lanes of German Village on the outskirts of downtown and enjoy an alfresco coffee or real cream puff. Shadowbox Live, a performance theater that develops original comic and musical acts, hosts an evening show.

Stop by the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens or the Columbus Museum of Art for a more relaxing visit to the capital city.

The Short North Arts District is a popular weekend getaway spot near downtown. Several blocks of galleries and boutiques, as well as distinctive gourmet cuisine, may be found here. Stop by the North Market, where you'll discover fresh produce and a range of ethnic foods sold by local sellers.

2. Cleveland

Cleveland is a major urban hub for the region and another city established on the shores of Lake Erie. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an extraordinary modern structure constructed by acclaimed architect I.M. Pei, who also designed the iconic glass pyramid in front of the Louvre Museum, maybe its most famous attraction.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is where you can see the newest inductees, see exhibits on Elvis Presley, David Bowie, and U2, and learn about the artists who created some of the world's most famous instruments.

The historic West Side Market, which is as remarkable in its architecture as it is in its food diversity inside, from local merchants selling fresh fruit and pastries to authentic hard-to-find ethnic specialties, is another must-see during your Cleveland weekend vacation.

3. Put-in-Bay

Put-in-Bay, a little community on Lake Erie's South Bass Island, is Ohio's summer vacation destination. Take the Jet Express from Upper Sandusky and a short boat journey to Put-in-Bay for nonstop fun ranging from island tours and go-karts to gem mining and cave exploration at Perry's Cave Family Center.

The island's focal point is Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial. The 352-foot-tall monument is a terrific place to start exploring the island, but don't forget to stop by the national park and visitor center to learn more about the island's maritime history.

The genuine appeal of Put-in-Bay is the chance to simply relax on a park bench or by the coastlines while listening to the waves or eating a fresh perch sandwich from one of the island's many restaurants.

Because the island is only 3.5 miles long, many activities may be seen in a single day, or you can stay for a weekend and enjoy more water sports and minor sites like the Chocolate Museum. Any trip to Put-in-Bay should include a snapshot of an iconic Lake Erie sunset, and the finest place to observe one is South Bass Island, State Park.

4. Sandusky

The small town of Sandusky attracts visitors, but it is also a popular vacation destination for Ohioans. The community is best known for its location on the shores of Lake Erie, which is second only to the famed Cedar Point Amusement Park. Every year, the park introduces new extreme thrills and serves as a one-stop destination that includes hotels, entertainment, beaches, and a water park.

There are numerous indoor water parks in the vicinity that are wonderful for families, and strolling the small-town streets looking for nautical-themed items is fun. Visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum while you're in the neighborhood for a one-of-a-kind experience that will make even adults feel like kids again.

5. Cincinnati

Cincinnati is linked with baseball, and seeing a Cincinnati Reds game at the Great American Ballpark is a must if you're in Ohio during the summer. If you visit in the fall, you can watch a Cincinnati Bengals game with the legions of local football enthusiasts.

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education, and the Cincinnati Art Museum are among the numerous museums worth visiting.

A stroll along the downtown riverside is an excellent opportunity to catch a glimpse of the sunset. Enjoy the riverwalk swings while watching runners pass by, or stop and relax at Smale Riverfront Park, a popular family destination.

6. Dayton

The history of aviation in Dayton is clear, and it will be a charming element of your vacation. One of the best free things to do in the city is to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Explore the history of flying and stroll through galleries filled with hundreds of planes, including presidential jets and NASA spacecraft. Allow plenty of time to see the museum and have lunch at the Valkyrie Café or the Refueling Café.

Carillon Historical Park, a 65-acre open-air and interactive museum complex exhibiting the city's transportation and innovative accomplishments, is a must-see for any visitor to Dayton. Other historical and cultural attractions in Dayton include the Dayton Art Institute, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, and a performance at the Schuster Center.

Aside from the fantastic historical attractions in Dayton, there are lots of outdoor activities to keep your vacation interesting. Along the Great Miami River, Dayton boasts five MetroParks and more than 340 miles of paved paths for walking, biking, and kayaking.

7. Amish Country

The scenic and peaceful Amish country region of Ohio is one of the state's hidden gems. The greatest way to appreciate northern Ohio's rolling hills is to take a road trip and drive aimlessly through the many little villages, sharing the road with horses and buggies carrying Amish folks to the market.

As you travel through family farms, take in the landscape of laundry drying on the line and Amish men and women doing chores. As you travel through Ohio's most scenic countryside, stop by family farm markets to buy fresh vegetables and handmade baskets.

From Baltic through Charm, to Berlin, Walnut Creek, and Millersburg, make your journey. Take a tour of one of the numerous cheese factories you'll pass and try limitless samples. Stop by Walnut Creek Cheese in Walnut Creek for a taste of gastronomic delight while stocking up on spices and hard-to-find cooking items.

8. Canton

Canton is a great city to visit, especially if you're interested in history. The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum, as well as the McKinley Monument and the First Ladies National Historic Site, are all located here. Many visitors come to Canton to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which features exhibits, a museum, and a Super Bowl theater that bring the game to life in a new way.

While Canton is known for its football connections, the city also has several unique attractions worth seeing, such as the Canal Fulton Canalway Center, which chronicles the canal boat system along with the Ohio and Erie Canal system, and the Feline Historical Society, which is a cat lover's dream. For vehicle aficionados, there is a Canton Classic Car Museum, and for art enthusiasts, there is the Museum of Art.

9. Hocking Hills State Park

Near Logan, Hocking Hills State Park is a rugged natural environment that attracts outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking routes, caverns, camping areas, and cottages are all available in the region. It's also a great place to visit for a weekend trip, especially in the fall when the leaves in the forested sections turn beautiful colors.

Throughout the year, park naturalists organize monthly events on topics such as bird watching, photography, caves, and treks, including a popular winter hike that attracts thousands of visitors.

Other outdoor activities available from local outfitters include kayaking, ziplining, and rock climbing. Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House, and wheelchair-accessible Ash Cave are among the park's most popular attractions.

10. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Peninsula, a little hamlet in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is one of the most interesting cities you can visit for a weekend escape. Whether you are seeking a romantic break or seclusion, the little hamlet features stores displaying the work of local craftsmen and quaint B&Bs that provide for a pleasant stay.

Because you're in a national park, there are plenty of biking and hiking routes to choose from. The bike route that runs through the park is used by many cyclists who are traveling across the country or on multi-day trips since it connects to a broader trail system where riders can stop overnight at B&Bs along the way.

Taking a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a fun way to see the national park. You can plan a journey on one of the themed train excursions that alter throughout the year for a special occasion.


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