50 things to do with the family here in Ohio this summer


50 things to do with the family here in Ohio this summer

If you’re looking for a quick escape or a family vacation close to home this summer, you don’t have to look far.

Ohio has TONS of fun things to do perfect for the whole family.

Behold the Ohio Summer Fun Guide. 

Let this serve as inspiration for summer family fun in all four corners of the state (and in the middle, too).

The Ohio Summer Fun Guide is brought to you by media outlets across Ohio working together to spotlight some of the best things to do around the state across five regions.

Today, we bring you 10 ideas for summer family fun in each region of the state: Northeast Ohio near Cleveland and Akron, Northwest Ohio near Toledo and Sandusky, Central Ohio near Columbus, Southeast Ohio near Hocking Hills, Athens and Marietta and Southwest Ohio including Dayton, Springfield and Cincinnati and suburbs. 

>> MORE: Dayton Summer Bucket List: 50 things to do this summer

Just because summer’s long gone doesn’t mean you’ve lost your window for some fun at Cedar Point. There are plenty of special events planned throughout October making now the perfect time to go. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS BY ALEXIS LARSEN Contributing Writer

Looking for a little adventure?

Ohio is home to two huge regional destinations for thrill-seekers: Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world, is just a few hours away and surrounded by the waters of Lake Erie and some pretty fun island adventures perfect for a quick escape. Kings Island, much closer to home, offers tons of thrills for all ages, with waterpark adventures on site at Soak City. Plan a trip and find plenty of fun nearby at places like Wake Nation, Coney Island, the zoo or at the riverfront near Great American Ball Park.

The Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal in Cincinnati offers museum experiences for all ages. CONTRIBUTED

Looking for a little geeky fun?

Nerd out at the museum.

The Cincinnati Museum Center is hosting a special exhibit this summer. “Star Wars and the Power of Costume,” a Smithsonian traveling exhibit, will bring more than 60 of the costumes featured in the “Star Wars” films to the museum — including the robes of Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, the dark outfit that Darth Vader is so well-known for, the yak-and-mohair costume of Chewbacca and many more.

Up in Cleveland, keep children of all ages entertained and learning for hours at the Great Lakes Science Center, including a Polymer Funhouse, dozens of hands-on science exhibits and shows, plus the NASA Glenn Visitor Center, where visitors can peek inside the 1973 Skylab 3 Command Module and try on a spacesuit. And of course, you probably already know you can board a model space shuttle, walk through four presidential aircraft, step inside cargo planes and take a ride on the simulator at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base nearby.

Hikers enjoy the fall foliage and explore Old Man’s Cave at Hocking Hills State Park last fall. (Kristen Zeis, Columbus Dispatch) Kristen Zeis

Looking to get up close and personal with nature?

Soar like Superman on one of the state’s best zip-line adventures in the gorgeous Hocking Hills region.

Take the nature hike of your dreams at the breathtaking Cuyahoga Valley National Park or unwind at the Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach, a 21-acre beachfront park, managed by the Lake Metroparks, complete with a playground, kayak and paddleboard rentals, concession stands and more. You can even bring your dog!

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your planning. 

Click on the links below for a total of 50 ideas to inspire your summer day trips, weekend getaways or staycations.  


1. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

2. Slate Run Living Historical Farm


4. AHA!

5. Velvet Ice Cream’s Ye Olde Mill

6. Rock Mill Park

7. Columbus Metropolitan Library and Topiary Park

8. Clear Creek Metro Park

9. Olentangy Indian Caverns

10. The Bridges of Union County


11. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

12. Kings Island

13. Coney Island

14. The Beach

15. Cincinnati Museum Center

16. Cincinnati Zoo

17. Great American Ball Park

18. Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove

19. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Westcott House

20. Wake Nation


21. Strouds Run State Park

22. Fur Peace Ranch

23. The Alpacas of Spring Acres

24. Heritage Quilt Barn Trail

25. The Ariel-Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Centre

26. Anderson Hancock Planetarium

27. Boss Bison Ranch

28. The National Forest Covered Bridge Scenic Byway

29. Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

30. Drafty Acres Stable


31. Cedar Point

32. Kalahari Resort

33. Put-in Bay

34. African Safari Wildlife Park

35. Toledo Botanical Garden

36. Sauder Village

37. Metroparks of the Toledo area

38. Imagination Station

39. Toledo Museum of Art

40. Fifth Third Field


41. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

42. Akron Zoo

43. Cleveland Botanical Garden

44. Great Lakes Science Center

45. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

46. Fairport Harbor Lakefront Beach

47. The Farm at Walnut Creek

48. Mohican State Park

49. Pro Football Hall of Fame

50. Cleveland Museum of Art

Contributing media outlets: Dayton Daily News, The Columbus Dispatch, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland), The Blade (Toledo) and WOUB Public Media in Athens.

>> MORE: Tons of summer fun ideas close to home

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