MIAMI VALLEY — Are the rising temperatures making you crave a break from your daily routine? A recent AAA travel survey showed more than 2 million Ohioans ventured 50 miles or farther from home over the Fourth of July holiday. Of these travelers, 1.7 million chose driving themselves rather than flying or other modes of transportation to their destinations.
“A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Ohioans all the motivation they need to plan summer vacations this year,” AAA Public Affairs Manager Cindy Antrican said.
If you are looking for a vacation destination or day trip within driving distance this summer, look no further than Ohio. Spanning 44,825 square miles, the Buckeye State has a lot for families to explore. From islands to amusement parks, it’s easy to find affordable fun without having to leave the state.
Here are seven destinations that are worth the drive and will help you to create lasting memories for years to come.
Known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World,” Cedar Point is the perfect place to get your adrenaline rush. Located in Sandusky, this amusement park overlooks Lake Erie and is home to 18 roller coasters including the new Steel Vengeance, the tallest hybrid roller coaster in the world. Come for the day or extend your stay by staying in one of the many resorts or campgrounds located on or near the property.
Take a safari through 9,000 acres of land at The Wilds in Cumberland, where you can go on a two-hour, open-air safari tour to see giraffes, rhinos and other exotic animals. If that doesn’t sound like enough adventure, they also have ziplining tours, where you can view the animals while going through 10 ziplines. The Wilds has a variety of accommodations including cabin and yurt rental, making it easy to prolong your stay.
Kelleys Island, located in Lake Erie, is known for its natural beauty, sandy beaches, and for the Glacial Grooves. These grooves are 400 feet long, 35 feet wide, and were caused by the slow movement of a glacier. This makes Kelley’s Island one of the best places in the world to see glacial scoring. If you are looking to expand your trip, there are a variety of accommodations on the island; including campgrounds, cabins, and houses to rent.
Long’s Retreat Family Resort
Are you looking for some old-fashioned family fun? Then visit Long’s Retreat Family Resort, situated on a 20-acre lake in Latham. Long’s Retreat Family Resort has a variety of water and outdoor activities, including two large waterslides and paddle boat rentals to keep the entire family occupied.
Known for its large Amish population, Holmes County is home to over 36,000 Amish residents, making it one of the largest Amish communities in the country.
Holmes County makes it easy to explore the countryside by offering a variety of tours. You can also learn about the Amish heritage and view the 265-foot mural at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center.
This area is also known for shopping, with a variety of shops and vendors where you can find everything from furniture to quilts. While you are in the area, make sure to try some of the Amish home cooking.
There is a lot to see here, so if you do plan on staying, there is a variety of hotels and bed and breakfasts to make you feel comfortable.
The Beach Waterpark
Looking to cool off as temperatures rise this summer? Explore The Beach Waterpark. Located on 35 wooden acres in Mason, The Beach offers up family fun with a variety of water slides, a large wave pool, kiddie cove, lazy river and more. There is also a stage for entertainment and cabana rentals available.
The Clifton Gorge
If you or your family love to hike, look no further than the Clifton Gorge. Located in the Village of Clifton, about 15 minutes south of Springfield, the Clifton Gorge features two miles of trails overlooking scenic waterfalls and deep dolomite and limestone gorges.
Afterward, if you are hungry, you can check out the Historic Clifton Mill, a restaurant that is also home to one of the largest working grist mills in existence.
Visit your local AAA office and speak with a travel expert to discover both new and tried-and-true Ohio destinations that will create memorable vacation experiences for your family. AAA members can save on tickets to amusement parks and other entertainment, and also receive discounts on hotel stays and car rental.
Rachel Hensley is a freelance writer for the Piqua Daily Call and Troy Daily News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.