Karyn Wofford is a freelance writer in the fields of travel, eco-tourism, and wellness. She’s an avid traveler and Georgia native. She grew up with a passion for travel, exploring everything from the mountains to the ocean, and continues to find new and unique things to do in the places she travels.
Read full bio
Ohio is home to fun cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati, which bring quite a list of exciting activities, and Lake Erie has its own fun and beautiful attributes. But sprinkled through the entire state are several theme parks, from the more elaborate to the super simple yet endearing. Looking to do an exciting road trip? Try out these top amusement parks in Ohio along your way.
Located in Sandusky, Cedar Point is a top weekend destination in Ohio with an impressive assortment of both leisurely and heart-pounding rides. An array of roller coasters appear to weave infinitely through the park, as Cedar Point is known for its massive hills and loops. Some of the rides even break records. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of middle ground rides for those wanting a more chill experience. Adding to the awesome factor are the Lake Erie shore hotels and cabins available for rent, for those who want to take on a few days of thrill.
Troy Aquatic Park has fantastic pools with zero entry features and surrounding cabanas. Versatile for both adults, kids and toddlers, there’s everything from big slides, a heated baby pool and playgrounds with spouting water and bridges. Families can chow down on pizza, hotdogs and other casual grub while hanging out under poolside shade. Sure, you won’t have dozens of slides to zoom down all day, but there’s just enough excitement and plenty of relaxing.
Coney Island Adventure Park is actually in Cincinnati, despite what the name may suggest. Located on the Ohio River, the place started out as a water park and features elaborate pools, slides and splashy play areas. Take on more relaxing activities like paddleboats or mini-golf, then go sky high on the Ferris wheel or the swinging boat. Coney Island Aventure Park puts on a pretty great Christmas lights display as well.
Stricker’s Grove has held on to an age-old charm in Hamilton, probably because it’s still family-owned and operated with love. Two wooden coasters give the park that vintage feel, while rides like the tilt-o-whirl and scrambler carry through the nostalgic theme. Families can bring their own picnic to save a bit of money, but traditional concessions are available too. Fun fact—the park can be rented for personal events.
Kings Island in Mason is a coaster paradise, with classic tracks to steel beasts—this is a phenomenal place to seek thrills in Ohio. Slingshot, freefall, fly—a day at this park is nothing short of mind-blowing excitement. One of the coolest family rides would have to be the replica Eiffel Tower, which guests can ride up for great views of the park. The Halloween and Christmas celebrations are pretty sweet here too.
Memphis Kiddie Park is conveniently located in Cleveland and offers all things little. Kids can just have fun riding pint-sized Ferris wheels and mini coasters. The pricing system is actually super smart, as there’s no entrance fee, so adults who may not hop onboard any of the kid-oriented thrills won’t have to pay a dime. Tickets are available for those who do want to ride.
Zoombezi Bay is the place to be when the sun is blazing, and it resides in Powell. The inviting lazy river floats guests gently along the cool waters, while more daring slides loop and twist and swirl in the background. Baboon Lagoon is a huge interactive wet playground where kids can climb, slide and get totally soaked. Big slides like the Cyclone and the Sea Snake are two of the coolest rides to take on.
Jungle Jack’s Landing is also in Powell and is a fusion between a zoo, aquarium and an amusement park (Zoombezi Bay is connected). Take a boat ride amongst animals like monkeys, otters, and dinosaurs—they didn’t pull a Jurassic Park, the prehistoric creatures are animatronic. Rides include a freefall tower, kiddie train, wooden coaster and spinning fair-style classics. Food options range from cappuccinos and espressos to Cinnabon rolls and funnel cakes. There are grills where guests can grab salads and burgers, and vendors with pizza and such.
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center is in Sandusky—the name alone excites the slightly frightened curiosity in our brains! You bet your bottom dollar there’s a killer haunted house—pun intended, so don’t freak out. Taking on a more arcade aesthetic, guests can also enjoy VR gaming, and little ones will love the bouncy houses. Whip out your James Bond skills for the laser maze, overwhelm the senses at the 4-D theater, and work to escape puzzle rooms with friends.
Tuscora Park is in New Philadelphia—man these names are getting wildly confusing. Anyway, this park is simple and adorably eclectic, with older rides bringing back memories for generations of folks. Hop on the simple coaster that grazes close to the ground, experience the not-so-gigantic Ferris wheel with a vintage look, and enjoy a vast picnic and recreation space. Tuscora defines the word “charm.”