There are so many attractions and things to do in Ohio! At nearly 45,000 square miles, this midwestern state has lots to offer, from outdoor adventures and island getaways to roller coasters, art, and music. Stick with us—we’re going to explore the best Ohio tourist attractions, on and off the beaten path!
Places to Visit in Ohio
Let’s begin our tour of Ohio in the great outdoors. Home to beautiful state parks, forests, rivers, and trails, it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, where hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding—and simply meandering through natural surroundings—is a fulfilling way to spend the day.
Then we’ll head to Put-in-Bay—a tiny Lake Erie island community that’s big on fun! This immensely popular Ohio getaway offers a wide variety of activities from spring through to late fall, drawing over 750,000 visitors each year! After our offshore journey, we’ll head to Cedar Point, then return to the mainland, and immerse ourselves in some of Ohio’s best art and music attractions. Ready? Let’s go!
Hocking Hills State Park is a stunning 2,356-acre park located only 3 hours south of Cleveland. Home to steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls, shady gorges, plants and wildflowers, the state park is contiguous with the 9,000 acre Hocking Hills State Forest, where numerous tree species—pine, oak, beech, hemlock, maple, ash, poplar, and hickory—thrive. Exploring these woodlands is one of the best things to do in Ohio and a favorite activity of locals and visitors alike.
Hocking Hills is a perennial favorite among backpackers and hikers. With its stunning scenery and accessible trails, the park is equally well-suited to solo and group trekking. If you prefer to hike in the company of others, consider a guided tour with the park’s naturalist, Thursdays through Sundays, or try one of the seasonal hikes—October is usually the best time of year to view the resplendent fall foliage that transforms Hocking Hills into a magical landscape, carpeted with vibrant red, yellow and orange leaves. And don’t forget to explore the Old Man’s Cave trail, a six-mile hiking route steeped in Ohio history.
No discussion of Hocking Hills would be complete without mention of its many waterfalls, which cascade down the park’s spectacular bedrock gorges. They’re a sight to behold. To gain a different perspective, hop—or rather, step carefully—into a rented canoe, and paddle along the 102 mile long Hocking River. You can even take to the air with the Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, and see the rugged landscape from above!
John Bryan State Park
Though smaller than Hocking Hills, Ohio’s John Bryan State Park is, at 752 acres, still vast. Located in Greene County, this gorgeous park surrounds Clifton Gorge and is a popular Ohio tourist attraction that’s well-loved by outdoor enthusiasts.
The scenic Little Miami River that runs through the park is perfect for canoeing. Launch off at Jacoby Road, and meander along the winding waterway, taking in views of towering cliffs, majestic sycamore trees, and historical landmarks. And if you’re an angler, you’ll be pleased that anyone with a valid Ohio fishing license is permitted to fish from the river, home to panfish, rock bass, and smallmouth bass.
The John Bryan State Park trail system is open to hikers and cyclists. Traverse the park’s nine walking paths, or hit the singletrack, and enjoy mountain biking across 9 miles of varied trails, from level ground to log jumps and creek crossings to uphill ascents. Or, try your hand at rock climbing! 30 to 60 foot-high limestone cliffs are suitable for beginner to intermediate climbers—and offer a great view of the park!
When it’s time to cool down, relax in a designated picnic area, complete with tables, grills, and drinking water, or choose from one of over 60 campsites. There’s also a comfortable day-use lodge—complete with fireplaces!—available from the start of the May to the end of October. It’s a great place to recoup after a day of hiking and riding.
Did you know that one of Ohio’s must-visit tourist attraction is just a short ferry ride from Port Clinton and Catawba? We’re talking about Put-in-Bay—a village located on South Bass Island, Lake Erie. Home to a small number of permanent residents, the population swells during the summer months, attracting hundreds of thousands of day-trippers, cottagers, cyclists, vacationers, and party animals.
There’s always something to do in Put-in-Bay. Enjoy a sun-soaked day in the pool with a drink in your hand at Blue Marlin pool bar (check out the swim-up bar and VIP cabanas!), or take a relaxing stroll through the 33 acres South Bass Island State Park. If you’re a Put in Bay history buff, you’ll appreciate the Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial, Aquatic Resource Center, and Lake Erie Islands Historical Society. And there’s no shortage of wining and dining—a diversity of wineries and restaurants abound, providing refreshment and fare to satisfy any appetite.
Bringing the whole family to Put-in-Bay? They’ll love gemstone mining at Perry’s Cave, and butterfly viewing at the adjacent Butterfly House. If those activities are too sedate, try your hand at the unique War of 18 Holes mini-golf course, or hit the water in a canoe, kayak or jet-ski. Want even more excitement? Book a helicopter or biplane ride, and get a bird’s-eye view of the busy downtown, green landscape, and sparkling water below!
Given its close proximity to mainland Ohio, Put-in-Bay is a popular one-day destination with many can’t miss things to do—but there’s no need to leave so soon. Longer-term visitors are well-served by comfortable accommodations, from hotels, cottages, and condominiums, to specialty properties and large-scale dwellings suitable for big groups and families. Just be sure to book in advance!
Cedar Point isn’t just big—it’s the second-oldest operating amusement park in America, and often referred to as “the roller coaster capital of the world”. With 18 unique roller coasters, including the soon-to-be-complete Steel Vengeance—the world’s longest, tallest, fastest hybrid coaster—it lives up to that reputation.
From the Woodstock Express—ideal for beginner riders—to the outrageous Top Thrill Dragster (those uninterested in dropping over 400 feet at 120 miles per hour need not apply), there’s excitement to be had at every turn! But Cedar Point is about more than just roller coasters. Thrill rides, a great selection of family-friendly and kid-safe rides, and special events all summer long mean that a trip to Cedar Point will be a real crowd pleaser.
Don’t forget the live entertainment, from dancers and singers to themed shows and instrumental performances—or the tasty treats, thirst-quenching drinks, and range of special activities, from glass blowing to a barnyard petting zoo. If you’re looking for something to do in Ohio, you’ve got to go to Cedar Point.
Cleveland Museum of Art
Taking an Ohio road trip? Make sure you stop at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Open six days a week from Tuesday through Sunday, general admission is free. That’s a small price to pay for a world-class art experience!
At 592,000 square feet, including 130,000 square feet of gallery space, the museum is massive—and beautiful. The 39,000 square foot atrium, with its plentiful seating, abundant natural light, and lush greenery, is a wonderful gathering space, and a work of art in and of itself. Upgraded amenities, including a cafe, parking garage, and improved restroom facilities, make visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art a pleasure.
The art collection is comprehensive—over 45,000 chronologically arranged pieces reflecting 6,000 years of history illustrate the global journey and evolution of humankind’s artistic expression over six millennia. Little wonder that visitors praise the facility; the great lengths to which its curators go are reflected in myriad artistic themes and mediums.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Looking for something to do in Ohio that rocks? Then roll on over—and please pardon the puns—to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame! Only a 12-minute drive from the Cleveland Museum of Modern Art, the Rock & Roll Hall of fame is a must-see stop on any one-tank road trip through Ohio.
Rock n’ roll originated from jazz, gospel, blues, boogie-woogie and other musical styles, weaving its loud, colorful stories and melodies through America’s cultural fabric. From ABBA to ZZ Top, over 320 artists have been inducted into Cleveland’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—and you can learn about them all, under one roof.
Visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is easy. The venue is open every day and almost year-round. Tickets are affordably priced, available to seniors and youth at discounted rates—and kids under five get in free! On the first floor, you’ll find the main hall, home to many films and exhibits, including the Legends of Rock and Roll—highlighting iconic artists such as The Beatles, James Brown, and Guns n’ Roses.
But that’s just the beginning—with five levels, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has something for everyone, providing extensive insight into this important musical genre through galleries, multimedia exhibits, live performances, and even a broadcast studio!
You’ll Never Run out of Things to do in Ohio
If anyone ever tells you that there’s nothing to do in Ohio, take them to The Buckeye State, and have a great time proving them wrong. There’s so much to explore! Surround yourself with nature, party the day away, thrill to the excitement of a high-speed ride or gain a newfound appreciation for music and art. It’s all here, waiting for you.