Have you ever considered an Ohio vacation? I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life, but I’ve only recently begun to appreciate it. I used to complain that there was nothing to do in Ohio. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that there are actually a lot of things to do in Ohio. We might not have Disney World, but we’ve got Cedar Point. We might not have an ocean, but we have Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie Shores and Islands. We’re also home to not one, but two major Halls of Fame. These are only a few examples of all of the fun things to do in Ohio. I’ve tried to condense all of the things to do in Ohio into five categories. There are a lot of Ohio attractions I can’t fit into this post, but hopefully this post will be able to help you plan your Ohio vacation. (Or make you consider an Ohio vacation!)
Experience a Theme Park
Ohio is home to one of the best theme parks in the world, Cedar Point. However, Cedar Point is not the only theme park in Ohio. Kings Island is Cedar Point’s lesser-known cousin, though it is definitely just as fun to visit as Cedar Point. Cedar Point rules the north of Ohio, while Kings Island dominates the south. With so many fun rides between the two parks, experiencing one of our theme parks is definitely one of the best things to do in Ohio on your Ohio vacation.
Located in Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, Cedar Point is home to some of the greatest roller coasters in the world. Cedar Point offers a range of rides, for the high-thrill seekers, and for those of us more sane individuals who don’t appreciate hurtling through the air at ridiculous speeds. Whether you’re an insane thrill-seeker, or someone seeking a more mild experience, Cedar Point has a ride for you. They even have family-friendly rides. Click here to find out more about Cedar Point.
Planning an Ohio vacation for the fall? Click here to learn about Cedar Point’s Halloweekends!
Kings Island, located in Cincinnati, is owned and operated by Cedar Fair, the same company behind Cedar Point. And just like its cousin, Kings Island offers rides that appeal to any rider. I personally like Kings Island better than Cedar Point (don’t tell Cedar Point, though!), mostly because you get access to Soak City with the purchase of a Kings Island ticket – there’s no need for a separate ticket! Click here to learn more about Kings Island
Explore a Zoo
One of my favorite things to do in Ohio is explore the world through one of our many zoos. My four favorite zoos in Ohio are the Cleveland Zoo, the Akron Zoo, the Cincinnati Zoo, and the Columbus Zoo.
The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
I’ve visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for as long as I can remember, and I can promise you it is one of the best things to do in Ohio. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is constantly updating, so visiting one year may not be the same as visiting the next. They recently opened their Asian Highlands Exhibit, which I cannot wait to visit this summer. And they have new snow leopard cubs! Click here to learn more about the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.
The Akron Zoo
I live close enough to the Akron Zoo that I usually visit multiple times a year, both during the summer season and winter season (usually when we have that really weird warm day in January). The Akron Zoo is a smaller zoo and perfect for families with children. However, it still offers plenty of fun for everyone of all ages. Click here to learn more about the Akron Zoo.
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is definitely one of the best things to do in Ohio and something you want to experience. This zoo is huge! It takes hours to see everything, so make sure you have good walking shoes. The exercise is worth it, though, I promise. They have many amazing animals and great exhibits (like the historical reptile house) to experience. Click here to learn more about the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
I’ve heard some people argue that the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is the best zoo in Ohio. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but it is definitely one of the best things to do in Ohio! While your here, you might want to consider visiting its water park, Zoombezi Bay. Click here to learn more about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Visit Lake Erie Shores and Islands
We might not have access to the ocean, but we do have access to one of the Great Lakes – Lake Erie! You’ll definitely want to consider visiting Lake Erie Shores and Islands during your Ohio vacation. There are plenty of things to do at Lake Erie, and one of our favorite things is to visit Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island.
Put-in-Bay is a quaint village on South Bass Island, one of Lake Erie’s islands. There are so many things you can do on Put-in-Bay, but some of our favorites are to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, browse the boardwalk shops, tour the museum, and simply admire the wildlife. Click here to browse our Put-in-Bay posts and to learn more about the village.
Experience a Hall of Fame
Ohio is home to both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Both are definitely worth experiencing at least once, though I can say from experience that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is constantly changing exhibits, so you might want to consider taking another Ohio vacation to experience it a second year, especially if you’re a music fan. Both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame are two of the best things to do in Ohio.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Come learn about the history of pro football and those worthy people enshrined in the hall of fame at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Why is the Pro Football Hall of Fame located in Canton, Ohio? The NFL was actually founded in Canton in 1920. This is definitely something you’ll want to experience if you’re a football fan. Consider planning your Ohio vacation for the annual enshrinement festival. There’s lots to do in and around Canton during the festival, including watching the hot air balloons take off! Click here to learn more about the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Visiting the area in summer 2018? Check out these fun summer activities for kids in and around Canton, Ohio with Pigskin’s Pals.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Cleveland won the bid for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame because Alan Freed, the radio disk jockey who invented the term “rock and roll,” lived in Cleveland. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is definitely something you’ll want to experience if you’re a music lover. There’s all kinds of music paraphernalia at the Rock Hall, documenting the history of rock and roll. You’ll see items that once belonged to Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Elvis, and so many more significant musicians. The exhibits are always updated at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, so I highly suggest visiting more than once. Click here to learn more about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. For an example of one of the ever changing exhibits, check out our post, 50 Years of Rolling Stone Magazine at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which was one of last year’s (2017) exhibits.
Experience Ohio’s History
Maybe you’re into the educational scene. In that case, there are plenty of historical things to experience in Ohio. From historical buildings, to museums, to historical sites, there are plenty of ways for you to experience Ohio’s history on your Ohio vacation.
William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum (and Monument)
The William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum includes the presidential library and a museum dedicated to the 25th president of the United States, but it also includes Discover World – a fun, interactive, hands-on science center – and a planetarium. There’s is so much to see and do here. It’s great for families with kids! Bonus: If you love running, bring your running shoes and run the monument like the locals! We plan to write a post about the museum this summer, but until then, check out the official website to learn more about the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum.
Marietta, OH has so much to offer visitors! When I visited last year, I did several fun things, but my favorite was touring with Hidden Marietta. Hidden Marietta offers several types of tours. My tour group was taken on Hidden Marietta’s Ghost Trek through the town which started right outside of our hotel on the banks of the Ohio River. From the bank, you can see a small island which once held a hospital where people were pretty much sent to die. If you did make it off of the island, you were very fortunate. After the hospital shut down, a carnival was built on the island where during the day families enjoyed food and fun. At night, the island turned into “sin city.” In the early 1900’s everything on the island was washed into the Ohio River during a flood, and the island has been uninhabited since. This island is also purported to be haunted. Click here to discover more about Marietta.
St. Helena III Canal Boat Ride
Canal Fulton is a quaint little town full of historical charm. It’s also home to St. Helena III, a fully functional replica of a freighter that journeyed on the Ohio and Erie Canal back when the canal boats were the main mode of transportation for goods, before steam locomotives took over. You can can catch a ride on the St. Helena III and enjoy a history lesson. It’s a good way to kick back and relax while still experiencing Ohio. Click here to learn more about the St. Helena III canal boat rides.
As you can see, there are a lot of things to do in Ohio. In fact, there are a lot more things to do in Ohio than are included in this post. I haven’t even touched on our other museums and science centers, like the Great Lakes Science Center located next door to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Or viewing a sporting event, like the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Akron Rubber Ducks games. Or catching a show at Playhouse Square in Cleveland. One thing is for sure: if you are planning an Ohio vacation, there is plenty to see and do. Check out all of our Ohio posts by clicking here. And don’t forget to come back and let me know what your favorite thing to see/do in Ohio was!