Get ready for the ultimate 7 fun Ohio road trip ideas adventure! Whether you’re a long-time resident or a first-time visitor, Ohio has something spectacular in store for you. With over 30 years of exploration under my belt, I can guarantee that this state has it all.
From the buzzing vibes of High Street in Columbus to the legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, your Ohio journey promises a good time at every turn. Buckle up and join me on seven captivating road trips that are perfect for you and your loved ones. We’ll be making stops in Hamilton, Cincinnati, Marietta, Columbus, Canton, Dayton, and Toledo – in no particular order.
Experience the ultimate donut adventure on the famous Butler County Donut Trail in Hamilton, Ohio! With over 16 participating shops, this is the ultimate trail for donut lovers. Collect stamps at each location and earn yourself a cool purple Donut Trail t-shirt when you complete your card.
Among my personal favorites were the mouthwatering Buckeye donut from Jupiter Coffee & Donuts and the delectable creme brûlée donut from Holtman’s. But the choices don’t end there! You’ll also find must-try options at Central Pastry Shop, the Donut Hole, and Stan the Donut Man. Join the fun and indulge in this crowd-pleasing concept – you won’t be disappointed!
Experience the best of Hamilton at the Courtyard by Marriott, located in downtown with convenient access to various attractions. Across the street, you’ll find the Municipal Brew Works brewery for a great local beer experience. The hotel is situated on the edge of the picturesque Marcum Park, featuring a fantastic splash pad and river access.
During my stay, my dad and I enjoyed exploring Hamilton’s main streets and browsing the unique boutiques. The town is filled with incredible street art, including murals, sculptures, and a statue of Alexander Hamilton himself.
When it comes to dining, Hamilton has something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for a retro drive-in or a gourmet eatery with amazing craft cocktails and trivia, you won’t be disappointed.
At Jolly’s car hop, we indulged in chili dogs, fries, and ice-cold root beer. I couldn’t resist the mouthwatering Going Back to Cali burger (complete with bacon, Swiss cheese, and avocado) at Billy Yanks, especially after devouring a plate of deep-fried deviled eggs – a truly heavenly appetizer.
And don’t forget to try the Spam Fries, a must-try dish that’s also perfect for capturing Instagram-worthy photos.
My dad and I had a blast at the Pinball Garage, playing vintage pinball games like KISS, Beatles, and Game of Thrones. Afterward, we treated ourselves to a delicious banana split and dipped cone with crunch coat from Flub’s.
One place that came highly recommended was the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, with 300+ acres and over 80 sculptures to explore. We loved cruising around in a golf cart to see the sculptures and checked out the indoor ancient sculpture museum. It’s definitely a must-see attraction.
Cincinnati—Easily One of the Best Ohio Road Trips
Experience the vibrant city of Cincinnati, where you’ll find two iconic symbols: Fiona the hippo and the delicious local chili. At the historic Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the oldest zoo in the country, you can embark on an exciting animal-filled adventure. From birds of the world to an elephant reserve, a reptile house, and even a world of insects, there’s something for everyone.
While Fiona, the world’s most famous hippo, and her brother Fritz steal the spotlight, there’s so much more to discover in Cincinnati. Explore the Neon Museum, a treasure trove of vintage neon signs that will transport you back in time. And don’t miss the Cincinnati Art Museum, where you can immerse yourself in world-class exhibits and galleries, all for free.
Experience the true taste of Cincinnati with a visit to Skyline Chili. Don’t miss out on their legendary creations like the three-way, four-way, and five-way, where chili and spaghetti come together in a delicious harmony.
And when it’s time for dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth at Graeter’s Ice Cream. The Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip flavor is a beloved choice among locals and visitors alike. Don’t leave Cincinnati without trying these iconic culinary delights.
Enhance your Cincinnati experience with a stay at the 21C Museum MGallery Hotel. Enjoy spacious and stylish rooms, along with access to a stunning art gallery and a prime downtown location. Discover the city’s highlights on foot while immersing yourself in top-notch accommodations.
For more art to love, the Taft Museum of Art is a Cincinnati hidden gem featuring a captivating collection that includes breathtaking landscapes, Chinese art, European masterpieces, and even antique pocket watches from the mid-1600s. You’ll definitely want to see Robert S. Duncanson’s breathtaking landscape murals.
Discover Cincinnati’s vibrant street art scene in the charming Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. Immerse yourself in the incredible murals that adorn the walls as you take a leisurely stroll through this artistic haven. Don’t miss a visit to Findlay Market, a historic offering with gourmet food products and the freshest fruits, veggies, and flowers. Plus, it is a prime spot for people-watching.
Explore the enchanting town of Marietta, Ohio, where delightful streets and one-of-a-kind shopping adventures are waiting for you.
Treat your taste buds to heavenly Mexican dishes at Tampico Mexican Restaurant or elevate your dining experience at Austyn’s, a beloved local establishment with 20 years of excellence. And if you’re a fan of antique hunting, the Antique Mall of Marietta is your ultimate destination, filled with endless treasures that will make time fly by.
Immerse yourself in history with a tour of the 1855 gothic revival Castle Historic House Museum, once home to the esteemed John Newton. But be warned, this haunted location is not for the faint of heart. Tours are available from April to December.
See the captivating Start Westward monument that is sure to impress. Currently undergoing preservation, this awe-inspiring landmark is a must-see. Immerse yourself in history at the 100-year-old Lafayette Hotel on Front Street. Indulge in charming antique-filled rooms and savor delicious dining options, such as the delightful brunch at The Gun Room.
Unwind by strolling along the picturesque riverfront, taking in the natural beauty of this charming river town. For a comprehensive exploration, hop on a 90-minute trolley tour and discover all that Marietta has to offer.
Explore the vibrant food scene in Columbus with a food tour from Columbus Food Adventures. Hop into a mini-van as they take you to some amazing eateries ranging from Vietnamese to food truck tacos and Nepalese cuisine. You’ll get a taste of the city’s diverse culinary offerings.
Calling all shoppers! Columbus is a shopaholic’s paradise. With impressive shopping centers like Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place, you can indulge in days of retail therapy. Easton alone attracts a staggering 30 million visitors annually with its mix of chain, upscale, and designer shops.
Don’t miss out on browsing through stores like Nordstrom, American Girl, Crate & Barrel, and Melting Pot. Polaris has its own unique features, including Madewell, Pottery Barn Kids, and Saks Fifth Avenue.
German Village is my favorite spot in Columbus. Sink your teeth into a delicious sandwich at Katzingers Delicatessen (I go for #11), and then get lost in the enchanting world of books at The Book Loft of German Village. With its 23 rooms filled with thousands of books, it’s a haven for book lovers.
Treat yourself to a heavenly cup of coffee from Stauf’s Coffee Roasters and satisfy your sweet tooth with a macaron or delightful pastry from Pistacia Vera, a decadent bakery.
For a truly amazing experience, visit the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Explore the 13 acres of stunning gardens, exotic plants, and breathtaking sculptures. Pay close attention to the impressive 18-piece Dale Chihuly collection and witness glassblowing in action. Whether you visit the cafe or participate in year-round programming, you’ll be captivated by this Columbus gem.
Want to experience the best of Canton on your Ohio road trip? Don’t miss out on the must-see attractions!
Start your adventure at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the birthplace of professional football. Explore the Super Bowl rings and bronze busts of the Hall of Fame inductees – it’s truly incredible. Allow yourself at least an hour to fully appreciate this iconic spot.
Canton has more to offer than just history and football. Don’t miss the chance to visit the National First Ladies Library and Historic Site. You’ll be amazed by the beautiful dresses and china on display, showcasing the elegance of the past.
For a unique experience, head to Gervasi Vineyard, an Ohio gem with a tasting room, top-notch restaurants, accommodations, and charming retail shops. Take a wine tour, enjoy a delicious meal at The Bistro (named one of America’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants by Open Table), or relax with a drink at The Still House.
There’s even a family-style Sunday brunch!
Hungry? Canton won’t disappoint. Start your day with a visit to Cultured Coffee & Waffles, where you can indulge in their decadent waffles (Hell’s Chicken with buffalo dip and blue cheese is amazing!) or enjoy a cup of Joe.
For lunch, make a stop at Taggart’s Ice Cream Parlor, a local institution that offers soup, sandwiches, and salads. Don’t miss their signature dessert, The Bittner, with roasted pecans and chocolate syrup – it’s sinfully delicious.
And if you have some extra time, take a quick trip to Hartville, less than twenty minutes away. Visit the family-owned Hartville Kitchen Restaurant, Marketplace & Flea Market for a mouthwatering lunch and make sure to pick up some baked goods and candy to take home with you. With three locations to explore, shoppers will be in paradise.
Discover the wonders of Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation! Even on a quick visit, this city will amaze you. Dive into history at the Carillon Historical Park, with over 30 buildings and the iconic Wright Flyer III. Friendly costumed interpreters will guide you along the way.
And don’t miss the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at the Wright-Patton Air Force Base, the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum. Its exhibits are so mind-blowing, you’ll forget about the steps you’ve taken.
Hungry? Treat yourself to the best pizza ever at Wheat Penny Oven & Bar, but definitely start with the Eggplant Fries. Wheat Penny’s perfect crust, upscale toppings, and creative combinations will leave you wanting more.
And in the Oregon Historic District, explore the cool nightlife, Mike’s Vintage Toys, Bonnett’s Book Store, and indulge at Lily’s Dayton, a fantastic upscale eatery offering a killer brunch menu, all within 12 square blocks. Dayton is waiting to amaze you!
And now we come to a town that will literally blow you away if you give it a chance. Toledo was one of the few towns in the country that truly wowed me. It is huge, and you need a game plan rather than driving here and there, so consider staying at Maumee Bay State Park for an overnight, being sure to take in the many amenities and lovely sunsets along the waterfront.
Glass is king in Toledo, so touring the Glass Pavilion is a must. Expect world-class attractions (over 5000 items), displays, resident artists showing off their skills, and a fantastic venue that will make your jaw drop.
Across the street is its sister attraction, the Toledo Museum of Art, with as robust art installments (think Rubens, Degas, and Picasso) as any museum in the country. I thought it rivaled DIA in Detroit, but it had its only special flair and focus. This museum is free, with onsite parking and touring exhibits you’ll want to experience as well as the old.
A second free attraction is the Toledo Botanical Gardens, with 60 acres of lavish sculptures, annual and perennial blooms, and themed gardens. Also in Toledo is the Sundance Kid Drive-In, showing back-to-back shows on two big screens.
For food choices, Real Seafood Company was my favorite, offering Parmesan Encrusted Flounder, white cheddar hash browns, and a delicious shrimp cocktail. Real Seafood sits along the Maumee River and is perfect for an after-dinner stroll and seeing the Toledo skyline once you are finished eating.
Toledo has several great breweries, too, so if you fancy a flight, make your way to Maumee Bay Brew Pub. Or, if you’d prefer sweets, Holey Toledo knows how to make a killer donut.
Two Toledo, Ohio, crowd-pleasing restaurants are Schmucker’s and Tony Packos. Wear stretch pants for Schmucker’s because after a huge comfort food lunch or dinner, save room for a slice of homemade pie from the 25+ varieties.
At Packo’s, a Hungarian food joint made famous by M*A*S*H TV show star Jamie Farr; the Chicken Paprikas was my top pick with Hungarian dumplings.