Summer Time in Ohio

As the weather warms we prepare for the changing of the season. Like the rain watering the flowers the warmer weather makes Ohio’s outdoor options grow. Ohio does not disappoint in the summer.

We have big plans for this Summer. We are excited to visit some more sports teams, see the new stuff at The Ohio History Center, goto a Drive in, and see a bunch of different roadside attractions along the way. So stay tuned over the next few months for a flurry of posts and reviews about the great state of Ohio.

Want to see the state, plan a trip with the help of Ohio’s tourism board or other helpful sites. Or just use our suggestions (click for more info):

Goto an Amusement Park:
Kings Island
Cedar Point
Coney Island
Zoombezi Bay

See a Show:
Fraze Pavilion
Blossom Center for the Performing Arts
Riverbend Music Center
Express Live – Columbus
Toledo Zoo Ampitherater

See a game:
Dayton Dragons (the hardest seats to get in pro sports)
Cleveland Indians
Columbus Crew
Columbus Clippers
Cincinnati Reds
Toledo MudHens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Lake County Captains

Goto a Zoo:
Columbus Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
The Toledo Zoo

Go to a park:
Ohio State Parks
National Parks in Ohio

Goto a Festival:
Ohio Festivals – a crazy good list of them.

Goto a Museum:
Cleveland History Center (formerly Wester Reserve Historical)
Cincinnati Museum Center
Toledo Museum of Art 
Dayton Art Institute

Go for a Drive:
Ohio Roadtrips

While we hope this gave you some great ideas for the summer, this is just a small portion of things to do in Ohio.




Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

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Update: The museum is expanding  

The National Museum of the United States Air Force

 10 03 2009

Rating: ***** <>


Quick Review: A must stop if in Dayton. Free to the public and worth the time to drive there.
UPDATE: The museum is planning on expanding

The Air Force Museum is one of the best museums in the nation. It has the world largest collection of American Air Force airplanes. Not just pictures and artifacts but also the full sized planes. When documentaries talk about the history of flight it is hard to put everything into scale. The museum helps a lot. The ability of to see everything from the 1911 Wright flyer to the modern B2 is amazing.

As has been said, museums can not just be houses of artifacts but must help to teach in someway. This one does. With videos, pictures, planes and memorabilia one feels as if they are walking through history itself. If you want an even more in-depth experience take a guided tour. The staff (many volunteer retired Air Force Airmen) is quite knowledgeable and happy to answer any questions one might have.

The best of the museum is only accessible on the Presidential Hangar tour. Here is where all of the former Air Force Ones and many of the experimental aircraft are housed. I recommend go just to see the aircraft Kennedy took to Dallas. The tours do fill up fast and it is recommended to sign up early to guarantee a spot.

The museum also has an Imax, showing mostly space and Air Force movies, a gift shop, with a large selection of Air Force books and posters, and a café, with good food at a reasonable price.

If in Dayton this is a must visit. If not for the sheer history of the place, then for the awe inspiring grandeur of the planes on display.

Quick Tip: It is known locally as Wright – Patt Air Force museum due to be located onthe Wright Patterson Air force Base. Also check out the license plates in the parking lot. Most states are represented on a Saturday.

Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

Post #5

Ceasar Creek

20 04 2009

Rating: ****


Quick Review: A nice lake with good hiking trails.

Cesar Creek is one of Ohio’s many state parks. It is half lake, half trails. 43 miles of trails make it a great place to hike. With 2,830 acres of water and no horsepower limit on your boat it is a fun place to be on the water.

Hiking in the park, as with most southwestern Ohio parks, is mostly through two distinct environments. Meadow, or Prairie, hiking at the park is nice but not as well maintained as some of the other parks. This is not a bad thing however, allowing for great views of plant succession. Forest hiking is great with many of the trails following the lake. The deeper parts of the forest are not as old growth how ever.

The lake itself is an awesome place to go to boat or even swim. With a decent beach front and multiple boat ramps the park offers many opportunities to get wet. Watch out though many people means many problems. However avoid the weekend rush and the park can be one of the best places to go locally.

A good place to start any visit to the park is the welcome center. With displays on the history of the park and region and even movies to watch it is a nice place to begin. Have a question? Ask a park ranger there. They enjoy helping. Don’t know what trail to take? The park rangers will know what the best one is for the season.

Also located on the premises is a “Pioneer Village.” This is more of just an outcropping of old building than a real “Village.” Having not gone when the village has its historical actors working I can not comment on how well they do, but I can say that it is busy when festivals are held so they must be popular.

Quick tip: Ask a park ranger!

Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

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US Route 35 (Ohio portion)

15 05 2009

Rating: ***


Quick Review: A scenic view of southern Ohio. A great view of the hills.

Running form Indiana in the west to West Virgina in the east this is one of the most scenic roads Ohio has to offer.  Offering many historic landmarks and attraction along the way this is one drive not to miss.

Starting in West Virgina and traveling west one first notices the many hills and dlaes the area has to offer. This is the great thing about the road. It changes with the landscape of southern Ohio. While in the hills one will start to see the land level out and many farms pop up.

The city of Rio Grande is home to one of these farms. Named after it’s famous owner the Bob Evans farm is home to the original Bob Evans and the Bob Evans Museum. All though the food is great, it has become a little to copperate to capture the feel of being “Down on the farm.”

After a few more miles one will arrive in Chillicothe, Ohio’s first Capital. This is a historic area with Adena Mansion and Techumseua Outdoor Drama. A small but not to be missed place. After this however the road becomes a little baren until you hit Jeffersonville Outlet malls and the start of the Dayton-Xenia metro area.

Xenia is home to many great places. Just be carefull of stormy weather as the town has a history of tornadoes. Dayton is Ohio’s 4th largest city (58th largest in the nation) and has a limitless wealth of things to do. Travelling further down the road one comes to the more inhabited side of the road.

After having left the country side of Eastern Ohio the road starts to get to be a little harder to follow. Winding through Trotwood and towards Eaton it makes many a turn. Enjoy the small midwest feel as you pass the small villages that dot this side of Ohio.

Eaton is a small county seat with very little to see along the road. To truly enjoy this part of Ohio one must travel more off the beaten path. Eaton, Camden and Greenville are a journey unto themselves.

Finally the road ends up meeting I-70 and going into Indiana. This is the site of the famous “Welcome to Ohio” archway and the end of the journey along one of Ohio’s most scenic  routes.

Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

post #3

Five Rivers Metro Parks


Five Rivers Metro parks is adding a Tree Tower to the Cox Arboretum park. This tower will be a 30 foot tall structure with a platform on top to view the park and surrounding area.

Rating: *****


Quick Review: Outdoor activities for everyone.

The best way to start out a review of the Five Rivers Metro Parks is by listing the parks goals


  • To be recognized as the leader in land protection; caring for what we have and adding what we need.
  • To connect today’s 21st century audience with nature and conservation.
  • To be recognized as an indispensable leader in the quality of life, wellness and economic vitality of the community.
  • To be recognized as a responsible steward of the Montgomery County taxpayers dollars and as returning a value for those dollars

The Five Rivers Metro Parks are located in and around Dayton, Ohio and Montgomery County. The parks are more and more every year than what one would expect from outdoor recreation. The park system is changing to meet the needs of the 21st century person. Here is a list of a few of the activities: hiking, boating, cycling, rock climbing, general fitness, horseback riding, gardening, bird watching, plant observing, and more. The metro park system has three types of parks, urban parks, natural area parks, and garden parks. The metro park system is also more than just one park, but a system of parks, trails, bike paths, and rivers.

What is nice about the parks is that they are basically free and open for a long period of times. The parks offer educational activities for every age group.

Here is a highlight of some of the parks. Some parks to not miss.

Cox Aboretum is a 189-acre facility is a place for visitors to escape among trees, shrubs, specialty gardens, mature forests, and prairies. Cox’s hosts many educational programs through out the year. Cox is located in the middle of the South Dayton area near the Dayton Mall. Cox is easily accessed and can be enjoyed in a few hours or most of the day. Cox’s has many plant species to look at. Cox’s also host an annual butterfly house in the summer. Cox is great for the young and old because the trails are paved or not on a great incline. Cox is the perfect place to go on a warm summer evening to look at the flowers.

Germantown Metro Park is also one of the park systems gems. Germantown MetroPark is located twenty minutes from Dayton. Germantown MetroPark is the most diverse and significant natural area managed by MetroParks. Germantown has a wonderful small nature center (check the their website for hours) with a great staff of park rangers to assist one in getting to know the park and it’s natural beauty. The great thing about the nature center is the park rangers can tell you which part of the park to aviod because of washed out areas or down trees, espically in early summer. The rangers also put on a great deal of natural education activities. Germantown Metropark is a hikers paridise withover 15.9 miles of wooded trails for walking and hiking. The park also allows group camping for organizations involved in environment activites. The park has wooded areas, praries, streams, and creeks. The Twin Valley Backpacking Trail is also accessable from the park.

There is something for everyone to do: go downtown to Riverscape and watch the foutian in the summer, canoe at Eastwood Metropark, cross country ski at Englewood Metropark, horseback ride at Carriage Hill Metropark, moutian bike at Huffman Metropark, or look at the beautiful flowers at Alluwood Garden Metropark. The Metropark system has something for every age group, ability level, interest, and expereince. The Fiver Rivers Metropark system is one of the best in the state of Ohio.

Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

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Ohio State Route 725

2 06 2010

Rating: ***

State Route 725 is one of many Ohio state routes worth the drive. State Route 725 is in the southwestern portion of Ohio. It has ends at the Indiana state line about 9 miles west of Camden and U.S. Route 42 sout of Spring Valley. State Route 725 is not the longest route in Ohio, but surely one to not be missed.

The eastern start to the route is begins near Spring Valley. The route then winds through until it reaches Bellbrook.  Bellbrook is know for Jonathan Winters and writer Erma Bombeck, not that one will see either in the city or historical site to them.   The next point along the way is Washington Township. Washington Township has many national and local stores and restaraunts along the route. The Town Hall Theatre is also along the route.   Along the drive you will next go into the Dayton Mall Area with its many shops and restaraunts. A short drive near  Route 725 in the Dayton Mall area you will be able to get to Cox Arboretum. Cox Arboretum is a 189 acre garden park with many flowers to look at.  The next town you will wind your way through on Route 725 is Miamisburg.  While in Miamisburg make sure to stop off at Rons pizza for a pizza or a delicous sandwich. After leaving Mamisburg on Route 725 you will be venturing into small towns with farms in between.  Germantown is the next village on route. The portion of 725 near Germantown passes by Germantown MetroPark. Germantown MetroPark has many nice hiking trails and good nature center.  The next to villages on Route 725 are Gratis and Camden.  Camden is near Hueston Woods State Park, a nice place to go for a boat ride, hike, or a stay at the resort.  After leaving Camden State Route 725 nears its completion when it turns into Route 44 in Indiana.

State Route 725 is a great drive with many small towns and scenic roads. The western part is the most spread out with rolling hills and farms. The eastern part is more populated with towns full of shops, theatres, restaraunts, and activites. State Route 725 is a great drive for a Sunday afternoon when the weather is warm and sunny. One is sure to find something to see along the way.

Repost: Free Summer Fun in Ohio Series

post #1

This the first post of many where we will be reposting some of our older posts. We will be showing some of the fun FREE things to do in Ohio during the SUMMER.

Hocking Hills State Park

23 07 2009

Rating ****


Quick Review: State park loaded with tons of outdoor activities and camping.

Review: Hocking Hills State Park is best summed up by what is said on its website:

“Hocking Hills provides a variety of recreational opportunities in a splendid natural setting. Towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges lure the hiker and naturalist and serve as a backdrop to popular facilities and accommodations.”

Hocking Hills is located near Logan, Ohio. When going to Hocking hills one can spend the day hiking, fishing, playing games, doing archery, swimming (seasonal), enjoying nature programs, visiting the visitors center. camping, ice fishing (seasonal), and visiting the near by area. One thing to mention is that a rock climbing/rappelling area is available in the adjacent Hocking Hills State Forest. An easy hike or drive if you wanted to do rock climbing while on your stay to Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills has lots of camping opportunities. Hocking Hills has basically four camping options. Lets start at the most basic and work our way up. Hocking Hills about 12 – 13 camp sites without electricity, 156 with electricity, 3 camper cabins, and 40 cottages. This gives a person many different options to what kind of camping they would like to do. The most popular and probably hardest to get are the cottages, so book well in advance (months). Major holidays in the summer like Labor Day, July Fourth, and Memorial Day probably fill up the fastest. What is nice is that Hocking Hills website gives a person a great way to see if cottages are available. So visit the website or call before traveling to the park. These cottages, are gas-heated, air-conditioned, family housekeeping cottages that sleep up to six persons, have showers, gas burning fireplaces, complete kitchens, dining areas, and screened porches. This would meet the needs of any family camping. There are also group camping sites for perfect for any youth or adult organization.

One of the most popular activities to do while at Hocking Hills is hiking. The are 26 miles of hiking trails located on the park. The trails range from easy with handicap access to difficult. Most of the trails are of a moderate difficulty. One great trail to take is the Old Man’s Cave Trail. This is the place to see a mile long gorge, waterfalls, sandstone cliffs, rock formations, and the 149 foot tall hemlock said to be the tallest tree in Ohio. The rock formations have names like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, Eagle Rock, and Whale in the Wall.  The major reason to go on Old Man’s Cave Trail is to see old mans cave, the rock shelter that was once the home of Richard Rowe, a 19th-century hermit.  What is fun to do is to make a list of all of the features of Old Man’s Cave Trail and then while on the trail try to make sure to find each thing, a scavenger hunt of sorts. What is great about the trails in the park is that a hiker gets to see many different rock formations, trees, and natural landscapes. Some of the trails in the park are also sections of the Buckeye Trail. The park has many maps available for the trails. Visit the visitors center or park office for a map.

There is tons to do at Hocking Hills State Park for a long stay or just one day. The park is easily explorable without staying the night. The park could also be the jumping off spot for a visit to the surrounding area. In the Hocking Valley there are lots of shopping opportunities,  the Adena Mansion and Gardens to visit, other nature parks, and many tourist activities. This truly is a beautiful part of Ohio.

Hocking Hills State Park is a great park to visit for the day or the week. This park will connect or reconnect one with all of nature’s grandness while also providing an experience one is not going to forget.