Top 15 Things To Do This Summer In Ohio

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Summer in Ohio has arrived. We still have about five months of warm weather, so let’s make the most of it.

Gas prices may be high, but COVID-19 restrictions have eased and many seasonal favorites are back this year. We’ve rounded up 15 things that should be on your to-do list this summer, whether you want to hit the road for a once-in-a-lifetime experience or are looking for something more laid back here in the Queen City.

High temperatures:Here’s how to beat the heat this summer

Mark your calendar:Here are your can’t-miss events in Cincinnati for June and July

outdoor adventures

Hunt waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Discover over 200 km of hiking trails, biking trails, horseback riding and more in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The park is home to 22 miles of the Cuyahoga River and several streams, making water activities like canoeing, kayaking, and fishing possible. To access one of the park’s most breathtaking attractions, the 60-foot-tall Brandywine Falls, park at the Visitor Center and hike the Stanford Trail.

6947 Riverview Road, Peninsula. nps.gov/cuva.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is full of waterfalls, including the 65-foot Brandywine Falls.

Explore Hocking Hills

Kayaking, canoeing, ziplining and photo opportunities with waterfalls are all within reach at Hocking Hills. Reconnect with nature with a hike to Old Man’s Cave or rent a treehouse for the weekend.

19852 Ohio 664 Logan. explorehockinghills.com.

Nicknamed "North Key West" for its eclectic characters and vibrant nightlife, Put-in-Bay is a town on South Bass Island in the Ohio section of Lake Erie.  A car ferry makes it easy to get to the island, and once there you can hire a bike, golf cart or scooter to get around the friendly town.

Rent a boat in Put-in-Bay

Enjoy Ohio island life in Put-in-Bay. While in the “Key West of the North,” you can cruise Lake Erie by boat or jet ski, or tour South Bass Island by golf cart.

Miller Ferry, 5174 Water Street, Port Clinton. putinbay.com.

Ohio Caverns "crystal king," one of the many formations you will see if you visit.

See the massive “Crystal King” at Ohio Caverns

Find crystal stalactites, stalagmites and other formations at Ohio Caverns in West Liberty. The site offers both a historical tour – which takes visitors through the part of the cave that was originally explored from 1897 to 1925 – and the Natural Wonders Tour, a 1-mile walk through the areas which were discovered later. Ohio Caverns is the largest cavern system in the state and includes the “Crystal King”, a nearly 5-foot-long, 400-pound stalactite that is estimated to be over 200,000 years old.

2210 E. Ohio 245 West Liberty. ohiocaverns.com.

Bike or paddle the Little Miami River

Kayaking or canoeing the Little Miami River is a great way to spend a summer afternoon. However, if water sports aren’t really your thing, you can also bike along the 78-mile Little Miami Scenic Trail adjacent to the river. Better yet, stop at one of the many restaurants and brasseries along the trail.

Visit miamivalleytrails.org for biking. To paddle, see paddling.com/paddle/trips/little-miami-river-ohio.

Little Miami Scenic Trail:This area will be closed for six months from June

Trek:The Best Trails to Visit in Ohio This Summer

Kings Island's signature blue ice cream is a blueberry-based soft serve that has been served at the amusement park for decades.

Refresh yourself with good food and drinks

Try Kings Island blueberry ice cream

You can’t take a trip to Kings Island without picking up the theme park’s iconic blueberry dessert. What started as a menu item inspired by a 1982 Smurfs-themed ride has become one of Kings Island’s most popular and eye-catching treats.

6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. visitkingisland.com.

The Root Beer Stand, at 11566 Reading Road in Sharonville.

Sample homemade root beer at the Root Beer Stand

The family-run Root Beer stand in Sharonville first opened as an A&W Root Beer stand in 1957. The streetside restaurant makes its own version of the soft drink using a secret recipe and water from the property’s 280 foot deep well. Today, it attracts root beer lovers from across the state and also serves a nasty Coney cheese.

11566 Reading Road, Sharonville. therootbeerstand.com.

The rooftop bar offers beer and city views in all directions at the Rhinegeist Brewery.

Drink a beer (or two) on the rooftop or terrace of a brasserie

Nothing screams summer more than drinking outside during the day. Enjoy a cold beer and rays of sunshine on a brewery rooftop or patio this summer. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered at bit.ly/cincybeerpatios with two lists of the best outdoor beer gardens in Greater Cincinnati.

Porch-drinking, part 1:These Cincinnati Breweries Have Great Outdoor Spaces

Here we go again:More great patios at Cincinnati breweries ☀️🍺

Get your thrills on the roller coaster and water park at Cedar Point.

Fun for the whole family

Chase thrills at Cedar Point

Experience 17 world-class roller coasters, an 18-acre water park and beach access in the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World”. Speed ​​fanatics can take a ride on Millennium Force, the park’s 310-foot-tall, 93-mph “giga coaster.” Day passes start at $49.99.

1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky. cedarpoint.com.

Go on a safari adventure

Did you know you can go on safari without leaving Ohio? See rhinos, giraffes and other rare animals in an open natural setting at the Wilds. The two-hour outdoor safari also stops at the Lake Trail and the Carnivore Center. Tickets for the tour are $40.

14000 International Road, Cumberland. thewilds.columbuszoo.org/home.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

A four-hour drive north will take you to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Discover the signatures and instruments of famous musicians, iconic performance wardrobes and more. Open daily, tickets are $25 for children ages 6-12 and $35 for adults.

1100 E. Ninth St., Cleveland. rockhall.com.

Take a cruise on the Ohio River

Embark on a historical tour, sightseeing cruise, or evening boat ride on a BB riverboat. The cruise line offers a variety of events and boat rides all summer long on the Ohio River. Ticket prices vary from cruise to cruise and it is advisable to book in advance.

101 Riverboat Row, Newport. bbriverboats.com.

More family fun:Visit the country’s top-rated zoo

Beat the heat:Cincinnati Water Parks are now open

Parties and events

Hot air balloons take off during the Ohio Challenge.

Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival

Watch more than 30 colorful hot air balloons soar through the skies this summer at the Ohio Challenge Hot Air Balloon Festival. Also watch a laser light show, fireworks, skydiving performance and more. Tickets are $5 walk-in or $15 per vehicle.

July 15 and 16, 4-10:30 p.m. 591 Tytus Ave., Middletown. facebook.com/OhioBalloonChallenge.

Jamming with Janet Jackson at the Cincinnati Music Festival

Superstar singer-songwriter Janet Jackson will headline this year’s Cincinnati Music Festival, which will return July 21-23 after a two-year hiatus. The festival will also feature performances by Charlie Wilson, Ari Lennox, BJ the Chicago Kid and more. See the full program here.

July 21, Andrew J. Brady Music Center, 25 Race St., Downtown. July 22-23, Paul Brown Stadium, 1 Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown. cincymusicfestival.com.

Ohio River Paddling Party

The “biggest boating party in the country” returns this summer on August 6th. Experience the Ohio River two ways: by kayak or canoe, the traditional 9-mile trip, or by paddling the shorter 4.5-mile distance. Register for the event online; costs increase the later you book.

August 6. Schmidt Recreation Complex, 2944 Humbert Ave., Columbia-Tusculum. ohioriverpaddlefest.org.

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