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Once you’ve lived in the Buckeye State for several years, you might find yourself wondering “What is there to do in Ohio?” Contrary to what you might think, Ohio is full of all kinds of neat places to discover and weekend vacation destinations. When you only have a day to explore, it can be difficult to pick a place that you can take in all in one day. The following are some of our favorite day trips in Ohio (listed in no particular order).
Although Ohio is full of several impressive zoos, The Wilds in Cumberland offer a unique way to observe exotic animals. Depending on the tour option you choose, you can get an up-close encounter with the animals or board a Safari Transport so you can observe them (from a safe distance) roam freely while learning all about the rare and endangered species the facility conserves. Address: 14000 International Road, Cumberland, OH 43732 Click here for directions and more information.2. German Village
The Book Loft of German Village/Facebook
There are some small towns and attractions in Ohio that make great day trip destinations no matter what time of year it is. German Village in Columbus, Ohio is one of those special places. Its architecture, local eateries, unique shops and history make it an ideal day trip destination no matter the season. (Book lovers will want to stop at The Book Loft, which features 32 rooms of books.) Click here for directions and more information.3. Ohio State Reformatory
Ohio State Reformatory MRPS/Facebook
If you’re looking for someplace out of the ordinary to explore in Ohio, consider touring the Ohio State Reformatory—but be aware that it isn’t for the faint of heart. While the exterior of the building may be hauntingly beautiful, the lonely cells and restless spirits roaming about inside are far from welcoming. If exploring haunted places and creepy museums is your thing, this is the one place in Ohio that has to go on your bucket list. It’s a historic treasure with a haunting backstory. Address: 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield, OH, 44905 Click here for directions and more information.
April Dray/ Only In Your State
If you’ve yet to take hike the Old Man’s Cave trail at Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, you’re truly missing out. It’s arguably the most beautiful hiking trail in Ohio—and it will make you feel like you’re temporarily living in a Lord of the Rings film. At approximately one mile in length, this gorgeous trail takes about an hour to complete, so it’s perfect for a day hike you can take your time exploring. Address: 19852 OH-664, Logan, OH, 43138 Click here for directions and more information.5. The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe
The J.M. Smucker Company Store and Cafe in Orville, Ohio is a truly special place that’s worth a day trip. It’s a fun destination the whole family will love to explore. With so much more than fruit spreads and peanut butter, you’ll be absolutely delighted. You’ll get to learn all about the history of the company and the different brands. Address: 333 Wadsworth Road, Orrville, OH, 44667 Click here for directions and more information.6. Peninsula
If you’ve ever heard of a tiny town called Peninsula, Ohio, you should know it’s a must-visit that belongs on your bucket list. Blending natural beauty with modern amenities, this town beautifully preserves a rural setting in an urban environment. It’s a charming village that sits in the middle of the stunningly beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Click here for directions and more information.7. Jungle Jim’s
With rows and rows of fresh produce, meat, seafood and other foods you’ve likely never seen before, a trip to this international market is truly an unforgettable experience. You’ll find much more than food here—although the food selection itself is certainly worth the trip. Address: 5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, OH, 45014 Click here for directions and more information.8. Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens/Facebook
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a national treasure in Akron, Ohio that’s open to the public from April to December. Since 1912, this mansion has enchanted locals and visitors alike who’ve walked its halls and strolled its gardens. Address: 714 North Portage Path, Akron, OH, 44303 Click here for directions and more information.9. Yellow Springs
Yellow Springs, Ohio is arguably one of Ohio’s most special towns—because it’s full of one-of-a-kind character you just won’t find anywhere else. As a quaint college town full of color, plenty of things to do in nature and even a mobile “tiny home” or two, there’s truly nowhere else in Ohio quite like Yellow Springs. Click here for directions and more information.10. Clifton Mill
This historic site of Clifton Mill features a vintage mill, a covered bridge, a 1940s-era gas station and a quaint American restaurant. (John Bryan State Park is close to this serene attraction and offers beautiful hiking trails if you’re searching for something more adventurous.) It’s a lovely day trip destination. Address: 75 Water Street, Clifton, OH, 45316 Click here for directions and more information.11. Raven’s Glenn Winery
Raven’s Glenn Winery/Yelp
Most people don’t realize Ohio is actually home to more than 150 wineries. (It’s arguably one of Ohio’s best-kept secrets.) One of our favorite wineries in the state features an unforgettable one-site restaurant that makes a day trip there extra special. Raven’s Glenn Winery in West Lafayette is one of the most beautiful and charming wineries in all of Ohio—and if you’re a wine lover it’s a must visit. Address: 56183 County Road 143, West Lafayette, OH, 43845 Click here for directions and more information.12. Zoar
Historic Zoar Village/Facebook
The small town of Zoar, Ohio is a historic German village most people in the state (surprisingly) don’t know about. Beautifully preserved and full of fun places to explore, you’ll fall in love with this little-known town. The village of Zoar has more than 50 of the original historic structures and buildings still standing today. Consequently, the town has preserved much of its old world charm. Click here for directions and more information.13. Idle-Hour Ranch
Idle-Hour Ranch in Troy, Ohio offers visitors a truly unique experience with animals you wouldn’t really expect to find in Ohio. From camels to elephants, you never know what you’ll encounter at this family owned and operated ranch. It takes the concept of a petting zoo to a whole other level. Address: 4845 Fenner Road, Troy, OH 45373 Click here for directions and more information.
Kevin T. Quinn/Flickr
Visitors can observe this beautiful garden all year round. Holden Arboretum features a display garden, a crabapple collection, a hedge garden, a butterfly garden, a rhododendron garden, and conifer and magnolia collections. There’s also a stunning canopy walk that gives you a truly unique perceptive. Address: 9550 Sperry Road, Kirtland, OH, 44094 Click here for directions and more information.15. Granville
One of the most charming, overlooked towns in Ohio is Granville. It’s a quaint college town with New England charm, it’s full of history and there’s plenty to do and see. The town prides itself in its history and heritage. You’ll find several historical markers and museums throughout town. Click here for directions and more information.
Have you been to any of these places before? What other day trips in Ohio would you recommend taking? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!
The OIYS Visitor Center
June 13, 2019
What is there to do on a rainy day in Ohio?
You don’t always have to have good weather to have fun day trips in Ohio. There are plenty of little-known museums to explore, indoor playgrounds for family fun and even themed restaurants to try. Some of these neat places include COSI in Columbus, The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery in Dayton, EnterTRAINment Junction in West Chester and Manor Thrill Center in Sandusky.
What do you do with kids in Ohio?
There are several great getaway ideas in and around Ohio that kids will especially appreciate. Kalahari Resorts in Sandusky and Great Wolf Lodge in Mason are massive indoor water parks that children absolutely love. Some great day trip destinations kids will enjoy include Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs, Play: CLE in Avon, b.a. Sweetie Candy Company in Cleveland and the Velvet Ice Cream Factory in Utica. There are also several children’s museums scattered throughout the state that feature plenty of hands-on exhibits and plenty of playtime.
What do you do with kids in Ohio without spending money?
Some of the best day trips to take on one tank of gas without spending money are as simple as exploring your local metro park or the closest state park. A little time in nature goes a long way, and many trails in Ohio are easy enough to hike with children. You can also dig for fossils and explore ancient ruins for free. Olander Park System’s Fossil Park in Sylvania and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Chillicothe are great options for these type of adventures. Many museums in Ohio are also free to explore, such as The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton and The Cleveland Museum of Art.
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