With summer vacation almost over, where can you go for a quick, last-chance getaway that isn’t too far from home?
Travel distance from Cleveland: 3.5 hrs
Hocking Hills State Park and the surrounding area offer the perfect weekend escape for nature lovers who need some fresh air, especially since the caves and waterfalls at the end of the trails seem as though they’re from a movie set. Make sure to visit the park’s northern end at Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve as well- it’s only about a 15 minute drive from the main park area and features the same level of breath-taking views.
Take two of the most popular hikes in Hocking Hill, Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls, and combine them into a day trip using the Grandma Gatewood and Buck-Eye Trail connecting route. The trek will add up to about 7 miles round trip, so bring lots of water and a picnic lunch!
Travel distance from Cleveland: 2 hrs
Put-In-Bay is one of the biggest meccas in the Lake Erie island cluster– and home to attractions that keep visitors entertained during the day and late into the night. Golf carts are the preferred form of transportation here, and carry visitors quickly around the island from historical monuments to state parks. The island’s upbeat “Key West” vibe often leaves visitors thinking they’re in the Pacific– even though it’s just good ole’ Erie.
Sample wine and cheese on the porch at Put-In-Bay Winery
Ride an elevator to the top of Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
Take your kids to Perry’s Cave
Enjoy the sunset at the South Bass Island Lighthouse
Make sure to sit down for breakfast at Old Forge Cafe & Creperie at some point during your trip. The restaurant serves both sweet and savory crepes that make many visitors believe they’re closer to the Eiffel Tower than the Peace Memorial.
Travel distance from Cleveland: 2 hrs
When it comes to Amish Country, Ohio is the cream of the crop. Holmes County is home to the largest Amish population in the world and the town of Berlin seems to offer visitors the most shops and touring opportunities while still providing a genuine cultural experience.
Tour working Amish lands with Amish Heartland Tours
Eat a classic hearty Amish meal at Boyd & Worthmann
Shop for anything and everything at at Sol’s In Berlin
Make a cheese stop on your way home at Heini’s Cheese Chalet
The world’s largest Cuckoo Clock is just 15 minutes away in the neighboring town of Sugarcreek, nestled among several other Amish shops and museums. It’s worth the drive just to see the traditional wooden dolls dance every half hour.
Cedar Point & Sandusky
Travel distance from Cleveland: 1 hr
Cedar Point really is “the roller coaster capital of the world”, and a weekend in the park and downtown Sandusky is as thrilling as amusement gets. In addition to the attractions inside Cedar Point, the city of Sandusky also features entertainment that enrolls visitors as participants rather than spectators. A weekend here makes for a trip that’s hard to forget–even after your heart rate returns to normal.
Ride the biggest coasters and watch shows at Cedar Point
Race your own car at Rusty Wallace Racing Experience
Prove your advanced escape skills at Whodini’s Great Adventures
Indulge in a slice of heaven at The Brick Oven Bistro
Make sure to put priority on eating a giant Elephant Ear in Frontierland at Cedar Point. It’s basically the no-nonsense cousin of funnel cake and arrives coated in sugar and happiness.
Travel distance from Cleveland: 3 hrs
Yellow springs was ranked as one of America’s 10 coolest small towns by Budget Travel, which should come as no surprise to residents. Visitors can easily find the town’s namesake water features and waterfalls by trail throughout any of the area’s several nature preserves. Overall, the small town provides travelers great activities and a break from the daily rush–which is why some families keep returning year after year.
Follow the trails and check out the glacial cutting in Clifton Gorge
Wander around waterfalls and springs in Glen Helen Nature Preserve
Enjoy great beer samples and eat from the food truck at Yellow Springs Brewery
Play minigolf and get fresh ice cream at Young Jersey’s Dairy Farm
Glen Helen’s Raptor Center is an experience that shouldn’t be skipped while in the preserve, since its resident birds of prey are rarely available for viewing so close. Signs throughout the facility describe how the center rehabilitates birds like owls to bald eagles prior to release, making for a quick ecology lesson in certainly fitting environment.