With summer just around the corner, it’s time to make some vacation plans, and we have some ideas to really make this years trip a memorable one! Traveling as a family with kids from 8 to 19 it is not always easy to include options that appeal to everyone. Kids seem to go thru the “cool stage” where what was once something they could not live without now seems “boring” When your kids part of the vacation planning process, they will enjoy doing some of the things you want to do as well!
Ohio is a large state with plains of farmland to rolling hills and when it comes to an action-packed vacation you will not have any problems staying busy! Our challenge was coming up with the super 7 can’t miss destinations and please everyone in the family (yes even Mom & Dad had a blast on this one) on the trip.
What Are the Best Things to Do in Ohio in the Summer?
Mid Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington Ohio
Let’s Go Racing! Even if you don’t have that need for speed it’s hard to deny the thrill od the action-packed Indy Cars as the fly around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course located in Mansfield Ohio The racetrack has special events races just about every weekend all summer long. Indy Cars, Vintage Sports Cars and open track days offer some real high-speed action and fun. Time your visit right and you may be able to attend one of many high-performance driving experiences offered at the track where you can either drive or ride along!
The track is laid out with numerous vantage points and can accommodate campers, RV’s and of course cars. Lodging in the area is affordable and located close to the track. We brought our lunch from the local Subway and enjoyed the races for most of the day.
Enjoy A Visit to The Columbus Zoo & Aquarium
The Zoo that Jack Hanna built is known as one of the top zoos in the United States. A recent addition to the famous zoo was the 100,000-gallon saltwater aquarium which is now home to hundreds of species of ocean life. Seniors pay just $11.99, Adults 10 to 59 are $16.99 and children 3 to 9 are $11.99 and under three are free. The Columbus Zoo does permit you to bring your own food and beverages into the park so pack a lunch and save a little of that hard earned vacation money! Comfortable attire is a must as the park is rather large and lots of walking is involved.
Pick Any One Of Ohio’s County Fairs!
Every county in the great state of Ohio features a week-long country fair complete with live entertainment, livestock exhibits and did we mention that yummy fair food? Corndogs, elephant ears, cotton candy and more! One of our favorites is the Marion County Fair just a half hour north of Columbus Ohio. The Crawford County Fair in Bucyrus is another great one and home to the Bratwurst! The kids will love the rides and the exhibits are enough to keep everyone interested!
Cedar Point Sandusky Ohio
Lake Erie has some many cool places to see and we end our list just hanging around the shores of Lake Erie and her islands. Cedar Point is truly an all-day adventure and be sure to reward yourself by getting there early and hitting the most popular rides first before the lines get long. One of the top Roller Coaster destinations in the world, the park offers rides for all age groups and are broken down into themed areas.
Cedar Point also is home to a popular water park a beach and on-site hotel called the Breakers. We opted to stay in Sandusky where the hotels were less expensive but still close to the park.
Off to the Lake Erie Islands!
Yes, you read that right, islands, in Lake Erie. When your teenager says Put-in-Bay is a really cool place it must be cool. This place gives a new meaning to the word diverse and the three islands we visited round out our list of 7 really cool things to do in Ohio.
We decided to make Ohio’s Put-in-Bay the home base” island for our next three days and explore from there. It was the only one of the three islands that offered a way to get to the other islands without returning to the mainland. After a search of Put-in-Bay Hotels and Rentals, we decided on the Put-in-Bay Resort due to its close proximity to the downtown area and the photos of a beautiful swimming pool. We soon learned that the best way to get around the island was on Put-in-Bay Golf Carts which we booked online before arriving.
We were a little overwhelmed at just how much there was to do at Put-in-Bay and should have planned more than one day to see the island. We explored a cave, fished at the Aquatic Center, tours the Put-in-Bay Winery and saw a vineyard, and my husband picked one of the bucket list when he was able to fly in an open cockpit airplane at the local airport! The kids loved the pool and the amusement park just behind the resort.
Next Stop Middle Bass Island
A short 15-minute jaunt across the bay on the Sonny S boat and we arrived at Middle Bass Island. We were forewarned that the pace was quite a bit slower over here than at Put-in-Bay but there was still lots to see and do. We were fortunate to meet a “local “ who shared over lunch a little bit about the history of the island and what was once known as the Lonz Winery. Now a State Park operated by the state of Ohio, it has a huge marina that was pretty full of boats of all sizes. We explored the island on bicycles which were rented where we landed.
On To Kellys Island
Our final stop on our list of seven was the nostalgic Kellys Island. Straight out of a postcard picture of old-time America the island was dotted with pristine homes and well-manicured lawn and gardens. This was the largest of all of the island that we visited and again the trust golf cart was the way to get around. The Glacial Groves were really cool and a must see! We enjoyed a great lunch at a local place called the Village Pump where we had some of the best fish ever called Lake Erie Perch. We rode the Jet Express Ferry boat over and back to Put-in-Bay departing from the downtown area.
Ohio has so much to offer and while these seven great locations made for one of our best family vacations ever, you too can explore the great State of Ohio and find your favorite places as well.
This is a guest post by Steve Conway, a techie by profession and a passionate traveler who loves to soak up the sun, swim in azure waters and explore far-off destinations that hold the promise of great adventure.