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One-Tank Road Trips in Ohio

What goes with summer? Sandals, tank tops and road trips! Ohio has a little something for everyone, from sports fans to nature lovers to music aficionados. Here are just a few. Fill ’er up and take off!

Child playing drum set

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland, OH | Sunday – Wednesday, 10 AM – 5 PM; Thursday – Saturday, 10 AM – 8:00 PM | Ticket prices vary

The one and only Rock Hall is in Cleveland, and it’s a must-see for rock lovers of all ages. You’ll find educational programs, live music on the plaza stage and souvenirs from coffee mugs to custom Les Paul guitars. The Library and Archives are packed with artifacts documenting the history of rock & roll, including the new free and virtual exhibit, “Local Music U Want: Northeast Ohio Punk and New Wave.” Tickets to the Rock Hall are $28 for adults, with discounts for children, Northeast Ohio residents, first responders and college students. Kids 5 and under and members get in free.

Picture of waterfall in cave at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio

Hocking Hills

State parks, a national forest, hiking trails, caves, waterfalls, festivals, a thriving art community — Hocking Hills, Ohio, is truly a national treasure. You’ll find a huge variety of activities and attractions, from ziplines to spas to Appalachian music and culture — even a pencil sharpener museum. Whether you’re making a day trip, crave some camping or long for luxury, Hocking Hills is the perfect summer getaway close to home.

Polar bear in zoo exhibit

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland, OH | 10 AM – 5 PM | Ticket prices vary

Lions, tigers and bears are just the beginning. The zoo’s 183 acres offer chances to interact with wildlife from around the world. Just one example: The RainForest includes more than 10,000 plants and more than 600 animals from the jungles of Asia, Africa and the Americas. Kids 2 and under get in free.

Grandfather and grandchild wearing headphones and looking at airplanes in a museum

National Museum of the US Air Force

Dayton, OH | 9 AM – 5 PM | Free general admission

The Wright brothers were Ohio natives, so what better place for a museum dedicated to aviation history? With more than 360 items on display, it’s not just for aviation fanatics. Just about anyone will find something of interest. Take a wild ride on a flight simulator. Tour preserved aircrafts used by three presidents. Watch a 3D movie. Or shop for souvenirs, from T-shirts and jewelry to hand-carved or 3D laser-cut model airplanes. Admission is free, but there is an additional cost to experience their flight simulators and the Air Force Museum Theatre.

Amish buggy vehicle being pulled by a black horse on a country roadway

Amish Country

Spanning five counties, Ohio’s Amish Country offers a chance to unplug and sample a simpler way of life. Tour the backroads, dine on homestyle recipes passed down for generations or visit the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center. Shop for antiques, handcrafted furniture, homemade soap, quilts and quilting supplies. Camp or stay at a bed-and-breakfast, hotel or inn.

Closeup of a butterfly sitting on a plant

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Columbus, OH | 10 AM – 5 PM | Ticket prices vary

With exhibits that change throughout the year, the conservatory and gardens is home to hundreds of plant species from the Himalayas, rainforest, desert and Pacific Islands. Visit several glass greenhouses, including a Victorian-style structure build in the 1800s. You’ll also find art collections, including the Chihuly Collection featuring Dale Chihuly’s intricate glass artwork. The conservatory and gardens account for 40 acres of the 88-acre Franklin Park, and it’s just a couple of miles from downtown Columbus.

Containers of popcorn

Wyandot Popcorn Museum

Marion, OH | May 1 – October 31, Wednesday – Sunday, 1 PM – 4 PM | Ticket prices vary

As stated on their website, “Come to the circus!” Here at the popcorn museum you will discover an immense collection of popcorn wagons and peanut roasters, all under a giant, colorful circus tent. Not only is this one of the only popcorn museums in the world, but you’ll be able to find an abundance of antique poppers here. Tickets are $6 for adults, with discounts for seniors, children and groups.

The Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio

Ohio State Reformatory

Mansfield, OH | 11 AM – 4 PM | Ticket prices vary

The Ohio State Reformatory checks multiple boxes: on the hunt for the supernatural? Check. Looking to relive The Shawshank Redemption? Check. Or, are you simply wanting to enjoy some Romanesque architecture? Check! No matter your interest in touring, don’t forget to dress warmly; the building is not heated so tours can be quite cold! Self-guided tours are $25 for adults, with discounts for students, seniors and military. Children 6 and under are free! If you’d like a more in-depth experience, the inmate confessions tour is $45 for adults, again with discounts for students, seniors and military.


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