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Road trips from Cleveland

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Best Road Trips From Cleveland

Cleveland | Photo Credit- Matt Boulton

Representing modernization with a rustic flair, Ohio’s second-largest city, Cleveland is full of interesting things. The city is full of theatres, museums, and good food. While the city itself has a lot to offer, the rest of Ohio does too. With cities like Columbus and Cincinnati in close proximity, you’ll want to leave the Cleveland attractions for a bit and jump off to some truly spectacular road trips. Road trips are the best to explore adventures the rest of Ohio has to offer.

Here is a list of some of the best road trips from Cleveland. Be it short, be it long, you’ll find all of them here. So, let’s get started.

1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Photo Credit – Doug Kerr

If you’re are looking for short and sweet road trips from Cleveland, this one is for you. The drive takes just 30-40 minutes and the destination is a natural paradise. It is Ohio’s only national park and is free to visit. The best part is that it can be visited at any time of the year.

The park is home to hills, forests, Brandywine Falls. the active Cuyahoga River and more than 125 miles of hiking trails. Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail is one of the five major trails and is especially famous among bikers. It runs through the park for 20 miles. Other famous biking trails include the East Rim Mountain trail for off-road biking and Summit Metro Parks’ Bike & Hike Trail for a fun family activity.

For hiking, The Ledges Trail will take you around sandstone ledges and is just 2 miles long. The destination is perfect to view the sunset from.

The National Park is also home to the tiny town of the Peninsula. Here, you can rest, grab a meal and also hop aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway for a themed train tour.

2. Canton

Cantón | Photo Credit – Diego Robayo

Another one among the road trips from Cleveland that are perfect for a day trip. The drive from Cleveland takes just an hour. You can drive through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and cover both destinations in one go.

The city is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and has a rich art and music scene. The downtown area has lots of music venues and art galleries. William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum is the final resting place for America’s 25th President. It is a major historic site in Canton. The Canton Classic Car Museum is another one. It has more than 40 rare and classic cars, making it a must-visit for car lovers. After cars, for planes, you can visit the MAPS Air Museum. Some other historic sites include First Ladies National Historic Site and the National First Ladies Library. The Feline Historical Society is a paradise for cat lovers. If you’re interested in art the Museum of Art is worth your time.

The football enthusiasts must visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with exhibits, a museum, and a Super Bowl theatre that displays the game in a unique way.

A short drive from Canto offers some of the most stunning rural scenery in northeast Ohio.

3. Geneva, OH

West Liberty Street | Photo Credit – Jason Miklacic

Just 49 miles away from Cleveland lies the quaint little area of Geneva -on-the-lake. The village offers several outdoor activities and exciting indoor activities. The Geneva State Park is home to beautiful sandy beach and hiking trails. To beat the summer heat you can take a dip in the lake and for some beautiful tan, you can sunbathe on the shoreline. You can also cruise through the waters on the back of a jet ski and explore the freshwater marshes.

For golf enthusiasts, Allison’s Mini Golf is the spot. You can also get a taste of history here as it is the oldest miniature golf course in the entire United States in continuous operation. Grumpy’s Lemonade is a popular place for a drinks break as it offers sweet and refreshing drinks.

To explore Lake Erie at its best, water sports are the way. Options vary from jet skis, kayaks to paddleboards. Rentals are easily available. Best Coast Water Sports provides rentals as well as lessons.

Wine tasting is another popular activity the area offers. The Old Firehouse Winery is open all year round and owing to its historic charm, is an attractive place to be at. The winery is popular for being home to some of the finest wine in northeast Ohio and the historical Erieview Park Ferris wheel which is still open for rides.

4. Sandusky

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Sandusky | Photo Credit – Rona Proudfoot

This is one of the best road trips from Cleveland because the waterfront in Sandusky makes every day feel like bliss. You can choose to cut the trip short to a day trip by just visiting Cedar Point amusement park and hopping on a ride aboard the Jet Express to Put-in-Bay, but the small town has a lot more to offer.

Cedar Point amusement park is one of the most famous places in Ohio. Some of the must-take rides are Professor Delbert’s Frontier Fling, the heart-palpitating Power Tower, and Top Thrill Dragster. The park also has family-friendly rides and if you don’t want to take any entertainment venues got you covered. The waterpark section of the park has fun slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, and other fun activities.

Merry-Go-Round Museum will surely make you feel nostalgic as it features historical merry-go-round artifacts. Maritime Museum of Sandusky features the history of maritime activity over the years in Sandusky Bay. 

While in town you can also visit nearby Put-in-Bay or Kelleys Island on Lake Erie. Jet Express is an exciting and fun ferry trip to explore the islands and lighthouse attractions. To explore the Lake Erie shoreline, cruises offer tons of trips. The most popular cruise is the Island Hopping Cruise.

5. Hocking Hills State Park

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Old Man’s Cave | Photo Credit – See1,Do1,Teach1

This is one of the most romantic road trips from Cleveland. The scenic drive takes around three hours which is neither short nor long. The park is one of the most famous state parks owing to its tranquil location also for being home to beautiful waterfalls, caves, sandstone cliffs, and lush vegetation.

Hiking is the best way to explore the park. All five of the hiking areas have trails ranging from various skill levels. Old Man’s Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Conkle’s Hollow and Rockhouse are some of the main hiking attractions. Apart from hiking, canoeing, ziplining, horseback riding, and rock climbing are some of the other fun activities the park offers. The John Glenn Astronomy Park is a recent addition to the park and is worth your time. It pays homage to astronaut and Ohio native John Glenn. Stargazing is a fun activity here. If you’re visiting on Friday or Saturday, you can book in advance to be a part of one of the public programs.

Lastly, the park is also home to one of the most popular waterfalls in the state, Cedar Falls. It is easily accessible with just a half-mile hike. The best time of year to experience Cedar Falls is during the spring or the fall, summers are the worst because the falls tend to dry up if there is little or no rainfall.

6. Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Niagara on the Lake | Photo Credit – AL.Eyad

If you’re looking for a cross-border destination for your road trips from Cleveland, the pleasant small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is perfect. The town is a national historic site of Canada as it is home to several historic buildings. Queen Street is a historical roadway as it is home to many significant buildings and tourist attractions. These buildings further house shops and galleries which are quite good for a shopping spree.

Fort George organises many interesting exhibitions. Live musket firings are the most famous one as it is when the ancient rifles fire in a huge puff of smoke. For some breathtaking views, you can climb up the gun emplacements.  

Horse-drawn carriages are a fun romantic way to explore the town. The tour takes around 40 minutes and guided narration by a local guide is also available.

For a scenic, relaxing walk, head to Queen’s Royal Park. The park provides unparalleled views across Lake Ontario to the Toronto skyline. You can also relax under large shade trees. Simcoe Park is another great spot to relax at. For kids, it has a playground and a free water park. You can also take a short scenic drive to the Niagara Parkway and spend some time admiring the beauty of the famous Niagara Falls.

7. Amish Country

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Amish Country | Photo Credit – Christian Collins

If you’re searching for peaceful and relaxing road trips from Cleveland, Amish Country is perfect for a peaceful weekend getaway. HolmesAdamsGeaugaWayne, and Tuscarawas counties all together make Ohio’s Amish country.

The 160 miles of the Amish Country Byway is one of the most scenic Scenic Byways in Ohio. You’ll pass through the rolling hills, quaint homes, B&Bs, boutique resorts, and a lot of serene parts.

The towns of Charm, Walnut Creek, Millersburg, and Berlin are in close proximity to each other and can altogether be explored in a day. Holmes, Tuscarawas, and Knox counties are famous for baked goods as well as hearty breakfasts.

The country is home to several cheese factories in the region. Some of the popular ones are Guggisberg Cheese Sugarcreek and Heini’s Cheese Chalet in Berlin, their samples are a must-try. You can also see how local cheese is made, tours are happily offered. To get more of farm life, The Farm at Walnut Creek in Sugarcreek offers its visitors’ wagon tour of the land during which you can also interact with some of the animals like zebras, camels, emus, and kangaroos.

The Victorian House Museum in Millersburg is a hub of information on Ohio’s largest Amish settlement. The museum displays glassware, furniture, and period pieces.

8. Buffalo, NY

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Niagara Falls, Buffalo | Photo Credit – Carol Norquist, NGC Chairman

This is one of the best options for fall road trips from Cleveland. The drive to all the eye-catching architecture, sweet bars, and quirky neighborhoods take just three hours.

Buffalo is a laidback city on the shores of Lake Erie with an unorthodox art scene and gorgeous Art Deco architecture. The city offers plenty of outdoor activities for the adventurous. And in spite of being the 2nd biggest city in the States, there’s definitely a friendly, small-town feel here.

Niagara Square is the central hub of Buffalo’s radial street pattern and the oldest part of the city. There is a small, peaceful garden with numerous signs explaining the history of the beautiful Art Deco buildings surrounding the square.

Located in Buffalo’s cultural district, the Albright-Knox Gallery has a remarkable collection that includes work by artists like Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Frida Kahlo. 

The city is also home to the Buffalo Botanical Gardens combines extraordinary architecture and landscaping with trees and flowers from all over the globe as well as the Buffalo Zoo which includes lions, giraffes, red pandas, and cute capybara.

9. Pittsburg

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Pittsburg | Photo Credit- Jeff Futo

If you want the destination of your road trip rich in the arts and culture scene, Pittsburgh is the one for you.

Firstly, it is home to four Carnegie Foundation museums. The Museum of Natural History is the most famous one. It has exhibits exploring dinosaur fossils, the science behind the discovery and understanding of the earth, animal life, and much more. The museum is not just for adults, it has attractions for kids too. Discovery Basecamp, interactive exhibits, Bone Hunter’s Quarry are some of the favorites. Carnegie Science Center, The Andy Warhol Museum, and the Mattress Factory are some other museums where you’ll find plenty to explore.

Pittsburg is also home to one of the country’s largest fountains. It is located in Point State Park and symbolizes the birth of Ohio.

Next, for outdoor enthusiasts, Downtown Pittsburgh offers various hiking trails and some of them even lead to beautiful waterfalls. In summer, you can also try kayaking in the river. For some fun, you can visit The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Here you can find many animals like Masai giraffes, lions, rhinoceroses, African elephants, and zebras. In winters, you can even play with a flock of penguins.

10. Ann Arbor, MI

Best Road Trips From Cleveland
Huron River, Ann Arbor, MI | Photo Credit – NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

Ann Arbor is a top-notch college town as it is a hub of delicious restaurants, lively bars, world-class art museums, and funky boutiques.  From Cleveland, it is a three hours drive.

The town is also perfect for a family trip as there are various family-friendly activities on the way as well as in the ‘Tree town’. Being home to the University of Michigan it has plenty to offer. It’s a must to grab delicious sandwiches at the legendary Zingerman’s Deli.  For some water adventure, the picturesque Huron River offers ample opportunity for canoeing, kayaking or tubing. You can bring your own water gear, or rent from the Argo and Gallup Park Liveries. For fly fishing, this river has some of the best bass and carp fishing. Guides and instructors are also available.

To see work by Pablo Picasso, The University of Michigan Museum of Art has it and much more. For some more art visit the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Lastly, if you manage to secure tickets, watching a game at “The Big House” (The University of Michigan Stadium) is one of the best things you can do in this town.

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