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No matter where you live or what you like to do for fun, it’s easy to fall into a rut of doing the same old things weekend after weekend. But you might be surprised what you find in your own home state if you just do a little research like you would on vacation!
To shake things up at any time of the year, it’s fun to take a short weekend trip to see other parts of your state that you don’t normally spend time in. If you live in Ohio, there are lots of interesting cities that are fun to visit, from family getaways to romantic excursions or adventures with your best friend. Here are some fun weekend getaway trips in Ohio to inspire a little local travel close to home.
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Ohio’s Amish country will transport you away from your normal routine and into a different time and place entirely. The town of Millersburg is at the heart of Amish country and has a lot to see and do. Millersburg is only about an hour and a half from the big-city attractions in Cleveland. There’s a historic downtown to explore, and Heini’s Cheese Chalet offers dozens of samples from cheese made locally from Amish dairy farms. Other nearby towns to visit and learn about Amish culture are Dover, Walnut Creek, Wooster, and Berlin. Many of the lodging options are in Berlin and Walnut Creek. While you’re in this region, don’t miss shops like Amish Door Furniture, Coblentz Chocolate, Homestead Furniture, and the Broad Run Cheesehouse. The Amish Country Theater’s 325-seat theater hosts a fun variety show with live music that’s worth checking out too.
You don’t have to travel all the way to Massachusetts to find New England charm. The Granville area is nice to visit if you enjoy beautiful scenery, delicious food, and a slower pace of life. Located in Central Ohio, Granville has distinctive architecture, interesting shops, and friendly people. It’s about 30 miles east of Columbus and known for the iconic landmarks of the Granville Inn, the Buxton Inn, and the Greek Revival Avery Downer House. It’s also the home of Denison University and home to, of all things, a prehistoric Alligator Effigy Mound.
Athens is about an hour and 20 minutes from Columbus and also home to Ohio University. Arts & culture in this area can be found at the Athena Cinema in downtown Athens, the Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, and Stuart’s Opera House & Gallery in nearby Nelsonville. Also in Athens is the Dairy Barn Arts Center, which hosts exhibitions, events, and festivals with live performances and activities for all ages. One of the most popular events that takes place here is the Quilt National, which has drawn over 100,000 visitors to Athens. Aside from the arts, check out Strouds Run State Park, Pleasant Hill Vineyards, Devil’s Kettle and Little Fish Breweries, and the Athens Farmers Market while you’re in the area.
Cedar Point is one of the best amusement park destinations in Ohio and is a must-visit place for anyone who loves thrills and an adrenaline rush. There are 18 world-class roller coasters here, as well as a water park, three kids’ areas, dining, live entertainment, and even parasailing nearby from Cedar Point Beach. When you visit this area from the weekend, which is just over an hour’s drive from Cleveland, you can camp at Lighthouse Point in a cabin, cottage, or RV. You’ll also find a long list of top hotels near Cedar Point. While in the Sandusky area, you can also visit the Merry-Go-Round Museum, the Ghostly Manor Thrill Center, and Lagoon Deer Park.
If you drive just two hours east of Dayton, you’ll reach the town of Logan, which is the gateway to Hocking Hills State Park. This 2,356-acre park offers incredible scenery that you might not expect to find in the middle of Ohio. Lace-up those hiking boots and hit the trails to check out the towering cliffs, shady gorges, and peaceful waterfalls. Events are offered all throughout the year, including winter hikes and Christmas festivities. Don’t miss Old Man’s Cave on State Route 664, where a six-mile course connects three of the park’s areas. Also in Logan, check out the Hocking Hills Winery, Hocking Hills Moonshine, and the Logan Antique Mall.
In under two hours, you can reach the beautiful Maumee Bay State Park from Cleveland. It’s also only about 25 minutes from Toledo. This Lake Erie destination is a local favorite for weddings, reunions, retreats, and corporate meetings. There’s a lodge here that offers year-round activities. The state park spans 1,336 acres in Oregon, Ohio and also has cottages and a golf course tucked away in the scenic meadows. Fishing, hunting, swimming, picnicking, hiking, cross-country skiing, sledding, and ice skating are popular activities here. Also while you’re in Oregon, take a boat cruise with Lake Erie Sailing Charters or check out Pearson’s Metropark with the kids.
A weekend trip to Lebanon, Ohio is a dream-come-true if you enjoy great antique shopping. Shops to check out around Main Street include the Broadway Antique Mall, Miller’s Antique Mall, and Ambassador’s Antiques. This is a town that’s practically bursting with country charm and has lots of affordable treasures just waiting to be discovered. Other things to do here are the LM&M Train, which offers passenger rides through the countryside, and the Warren County History Center to learn about Shaker culture in the Midwest. There are several great bed & breakfasts to stay at here, namely Hardy’s Bed & Breakfast Suites and Brian Manor.
Wine lovers should definitely consider taking a weekend trip out to Canton in the near future. The famous Gervasi Vineyard is located here, which is just over an hour’s drive from Cleveland. The Swaldo Family that owns the vineyard originates from Italy, and this has been a family-run project from the beginning. Make a weekend out of it by staying at the Villa Suites. Also in Canton, you can check out the Pro Football Hall of Fame, McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, and the Canton Classic Car Museum. The historic town of Zoar is a short drive south of Canton and is home to the Zoar School Inn Bed & Breakfast, a true hidden gem in the area. Built in 1836, this former schoolhouse is a one-of-a-kind experience for history buffs. Don’t be surprised when you’re asked to trade your shoes in for slippers at the front door!
Water Sports on Kellys Island
During the summer, there are few better places to be in Ohio if you love water sports than Kelleys Island, which is under two hours from both Cleveland and Toledo. The island covers over four square miles and is the largest American island in Lake Erie. Here you can rent a kayak, go fishing, swim at Sandy Beach, go scuba diving, or just watch the sunset. Glacial Grooves State Memorial is a great place to learn about history and geology in this area, and Caddy Shack Square is a favorite place to eat for a good family atmosphere.
Step Back in Time in New Plymouth
Who would have thought that medieval times would make a reappearance in the Hocking Hills of Ohio? The Ash Cave Recreation Area is just 15 minutes west of town and is the largest recessed cave in the state with an impressive waterfall flowing over it. You can pay a visit to Ravenwood Castle, a unique country inn located in a remote location surrounded by national forests. Come here if you want to unplug and disconnect from it all for the weekend.
Whimsical treehouse accommodations symbolize the excitement of childhood and finding independence in a secret space. You can relive that experience if you visit Glenmont, Ohio and stay at The Mohicans. Treehouse designer and star of Discovery Channel‘s “Treehouse Masters,” Pete Nelson created two of the treehouses here, and the Little Red Treehouse was featured on the TV show. Cabins are also available, and the Grand Barn Event Center is a popular wedding venue. Also in Glenmont, you can ride across a zip line with Tree Frog Canopy Tours. For outdoor recreation, the Mohican River Wildlife Area, Millersburg Historic District, and Lake Park are all within 10 miles of Glenmont. This area is about an hour and 40 minutes from both Columbus and Cleveland.