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Looking to fill your days with a little adventure with the best day trips in Ohio?
As travel lovers who thrive on varied scenery, the vibrant landscapes of Ohio appeal to us. From the captivating tales of the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway to the adrenaline-pumping stories surrounding Cedar Point, the landscape of Ohio paints a picture we’re itching to step into.
Imagine driving through picturesque byways, awed by Ohio’s wonders, and capturing memories at every stop. Join us as we share our curated list of Ohio’s unforgettable day trips to places we’re all yearning to explore.
Best Day Trips in Ohio
Ready to pack up your car and hit the road in search of the most fun day trips in Ohio? Whether you’re in a brand new Tesla, loading up your pickup, or perusing an eclectic inventory of wrecked cars for a deal on the car of your dreams, you’ll find somewhere great within driving distance in Ohio.
Start creating a lifetime of memories by taking one (or more) of these unforgettable day trips!
Where should I go on a road trip in Ohio?
Ohio is a treasure trove for road trippers.
Start with the iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, then relax by Lake Erie’s serene shores. Journey through the culturally rich Amish Country Byway and experience the breathtaking Hocking Hills Scenic Byway. For families, Columbus offers a wonderland of kid-friendly stops.
Whether you’re seeking nature, culture, or a simple getaway, Ohio delivers.
Ohio day trips for couples
Looking for a romantic day trip in Ohio?
Ohio, with its mix of scenic beauty and rich culture, offers couples idyllic getaways right at their doorstep. Envision a drive through the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway, where historic bridges meet serene landscapes.
For a cultural immersion, the Amish Country Byway unveils a world of simplicity and charm. And if the sound of cascading waterfalls beckons, destinations from Hayden Falls to Brandywine Falls await.
Covered Bridge Scenic Byway
Couples will love the romantic drive through the Covered Bridge Scenic Byway.
You’ll find four covered bridges on this route, with plenty of quiet countryside and natural beauty. Be sure to check out the Rinard Bridge! This 66 mile route is open year round. The Covered Bridge Scenic Byway is an easy day trip from Columbus.
Waterfall road trip of Ohio
Ohio is full of scenic waterfalls, which makes for a fantastic road trip. We’ve included Ohio’s most popular waterfalls here, plus some of our favorites.
Starting from Columbus, check out Hayden Falls (in Dublin). It’s a gorgeous location, in a scenic gorge with a boardwalk and overlook area. From there, check out Indian Run Falls, also in Dublin, Ohio.
Heading to the north and east, just past Akron, make sure you stop at Brandywine Falls, which feature terraced waterfalls with boardwalk viewpoints. There are countless falls in this area to check out, including the Great Falls of Tinder Creek, (suburban falls in Viaduct Park), Chagrin Falls (easily accessible near the main street of Chagrin Falls town), and Columbia Beach falls, which cascade into the ocean. If you’re looking to do a little hiking, check out Buttermilk Falls, which are accessible by a hiking trail.
To the west of Columbus, you’ll find the gorgeous Charleston Falls, in the Charleston Falls Nature Preserve, with hiking trails, a nature boardwalk, and restrooms.
To the southeast of Columbus, check out the more remote Cedar Falls, with a shallow pool among cliffs and grottos. You’re not supposed to swim here, but that doesn’t stop most people.
Amish Country Byway
If you’re interested in taking in a little unique culture, the Amish Country Byway is a great choice.
Be sure to check out the Farmer’s Produce Auction during growing season, plus the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center and Yoder’s Amish Home. Any time of year, there are fun tours, comfort food, and a relaxed vibe. A 76 mile drive, in northeast Ohio.
Ohio day trips for families
There’s an interesting mix of Ohio day trips for kids. From the peaceful vibes of Seneca Lake to the educational corners of the COSI Center in Columbus, we shed light on what you can expect. Dive in and see which ones align with your family’s travel style.
Seneca Lake Loop
The Seneca Lake Loop makes for a fantastic Ohio day trip for families.
There’s plenty to do here for kids and adults alike, including swimming, boating, fishing, or just hanging out by the lake. It’s a short dive – only 22 miles – which is perfect for kids’ shorter attention span. Be sure to see Seneca Lake Park, Kennonsburg, and the West Shore Cottage area. This is a great year-round trip, with ice skating in the winter.
Fun things to do in Ohio with kids
Since most kids don’t necessarily love time on the road, here are some of our favorite fun things to do in Ohio with kids. Depending on your starting point, use these as the inspiration for a day trip that will make the kids happy.
Here are some of our top picks for kids:
- Cedar Point amusement park, Sandusky
- Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- The Wilds safari, Cumberland
- Kings Island Amusement Park, Mason
- The Children’s Museum of Cleveland
- COSI Center of Science and Industry, Columbus
- National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton
- Ohio Caverns, West Liberty
- Cleveland Museum of Art
- Castaway Bay indoor water park, Sandusky
- A Christmas Story House, Clevland
- Veteran’s Spray and Play (also known as the Dinosaur Park), Delaware
- The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, Newark
- Smiley Park Children’s Garden, Van Wert
- Spangler Candy Company, Bryan
- Velvet Ice Cream Factory, Utica
- Olentangy Indian Caverns, Delaware
- Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Columbus Ohio day trip
As Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus is a perfect home base for great day trips.
It’s just a short drive from gorgeous waterfalls like the Hayden Falls. Within a couple of hours in any direction, you’ll find great cities like Newark, Cleveland, Cincinnati, as well as smaller towns like Millersburg. If nature is more your jam, Columbus is an easy drive to Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Hocking Hill State Park.
What is the best scenic route from Columbus Ohio?
Uncover Ohio’s best-kept secret as you navigate the stunning Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, a road trip that promises more than just a change of scenery – it’s an escape from the ordinary!
Hocking Hills Scenic Byway
Looking for the most scenic highway in Ohio? Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is generally considered the most scenic drive from Columbus.
You can access the start of the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway at the intersection of state Route 374 and U.S. 33 in Rockbridge. It’s a 30 mile drive, which lets you take much of what Ohio has to offer, including valleys, rolling hills, meadows, and charming small farms. You can do this drive year round.
Though Hocking Hills is known as the most scenic day trip from Columbus, there are plenty of other options.
Cleveland is a busy city on the shores of Lake Erie, and only just over two hours drive from Columbus.
This is the place to get your rock and roll on at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or record a jam session at the Garage. The family friendly Christmas Story House and West Side Market are perfect to round out your itinerary.
Only an hour and a half away from Columbus, Cincinnati is packed with fun things to do, whether you’re into sports, performing arts, culture, or just great food and drink.
Be sure to check out the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and Findlay Market. Baseball fans will love the Great American Ball Park.
Want to check out Amish country?
Millersburg is a quieter town, perfect for exploring Amish culture. Be sure to visit Hershberger’s Farm and Bakery, Guggisberg Cheese Factory, and the Village Antique Emporium.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Looking to get outdoors and spend some time in nature?
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a beautiful park just under two hours’ drive from Columbus. There’s plenty of hiking, from groomed trails to more adventurous treks. Be sure to check out the stunning Brandywine falls. The kids will love the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, but there are adult wine tasting train trips as well.
Looking for more great day trips from Columbus? Wayne National Forest, Mohican State Park, Dayton, Newark, Yellow Springs, or Hamilton may be the ticket.
Ohio seems to offer something for everyone, from scenic byways that promise stunning vistas, to amusement parks that look like teen magnets. We’re rebuilding our Ohio to do wish list with excitement and can’t wait to dive into the experiences that await!
Do you have any suggestions for this list of the best day trips in Ohio? Let us know!