A View of Cleveland lettering in front of skyline

20 Unique Day Trips from Cleveland: One Tank Trips Ohio Destinations

If you’re in Cleveland and are looking for one tank trips Ohio destinations, this list will provide you with some of the best Ohio day trips from Cleveland — all less than a 4-hour-drive away, organized from closest to farthest. 

Cleveland Ohio sign

There are plenty of things to do in Cleveland Ohio with its great mix of both city and rural life. There’s always somewhere exciting to explore in town while being surrounded by the beauty and serenity of Lake Erie. 

But… Cleveland just so happens to neighbor so many other fantastic Ohio cities with must-see destinations, like the Holden Arboretum, The Wilds, and even Amish Country. Cleveland is within a few hours of some travel-worthy, out-of-state spots, too – perfect for a quick road trip or weekend getaway. 

You might be surprised to discover some of the lesser-known Ohio gems right outside Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. So, go pack your day bag and explore some of these one tank trips from Cleveland!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Brandywine Falls, Things to do in Canton
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | photo via @muddyboots_happyheart

Ohio Day Trips from Cleveland

Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Peninsula Ohio

30-minute drive from Cleveland

If you haven’t been to Ohio’s national park yet, you need to! The nearly 33,000-acre park has an abundance of beautiful hiking trails with varying difficulties (more than 125 miles worth) – all so very close to Cleveland.  

If you’re backpacking the state-wide Buckeye Trail, it intersects the park. Make sure to spend some time exploring other areas of Cuyahoga National Park.

Family-friendly activities include traversing through the park on a scenic train ride, picnicking, paddling the river, fishing at Kendall Lake, joining one of the park’s group education or excursion events, and snowshoeing in winter.

Don’t miss exploring Brandywine Falls – one of the park’s most popular features!

Holden Arboretum in Kirtland Ohio

30-minute drive from Cleveland

You’ll see some of the most beautiful gardens in Ohio at the 3,500-acre Holden Arboretum. The arboretum is divided into several sections, each featuring different plant and animal life and cared for to maintain the native habitat. 

The Holden Wildflower Garden shows off the beauty of Ohio’s native plants. Spot graceful butterflies and hummingbirds in the peaceful Holden Butterfly Garden. Walk through the tree tops and across a bridge 65 feet above the ground on the Murch Canopy Walk.

If you hike to the top of the 120-foot-tall Kalberer Emergent Tower, you’ll experience scenic 360 views of not only the gardens but as far as Lake Erie.

views of Akron Ohio

Check Out the Sights in Akron Ohio

45-minute drive from Cleveland

Less than an hour away, Akron is the perfect Ohio day trip destination near Cleveland. There are so many great things to do that it’s hard to choose where to start! 

Here are a couple unique, don’t-miss Akron spots:

Tour the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, a historic estate that’s one of the largest in the US. The National Historic Landmark was once the home of the co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. The beautiful mansion is one of the best Ohio spots to visit around Christmas time, as they adorn the manor with festive decorations. 

Visit the Akron Art Museum, where you’ll find a fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art. The building’s architecture itself is a work of art. 

A couple of other family-friendly destinations include the Akron Zoo and the historic Hale Farm and Village.

The J.M. Smucker Co. Store and Cafe in Orrville Ohio

1-hour drive from Cleveland

Visit the Smucker’s flagship store and cafe to buy unique products from one of America’s most-known and loved brands (they’ve been in operation for more than 120 years). 

The store has for sale from their family of brands a variety of jams and jellies, coffee, peanut butter, pet gifts, kitchen accessories, clothing, and custom gift baskets, too.

Aside from the gift shop and souvenirs, visitors can also have a meal in the cafe. The Smucker Co. Store and Cafe gives you a sense of wholesome Americana while being just an hour away from Cleveland.

J.M. Smucker Co. Store and Cafe - Orrville, Ohio - Cleveland Day Trips
J.M. Smucker Co. Store and Cafe | photo via @pillerofthecommunity

Sip through Ohio’s Wine Country in Ashtabula County Ohio

1-hour drive from Cleveland

Just an hour from Cleveland is the scenic Ohio Wine Country. Have a glass at any (or all) of Ashtabula County’s over 30 wineries. Most of these Ohio wineries have vineyards to explore along with tasting rooms.

Some of the best Ohio wineries include Debonne Vineyards (if you like beer, they also have a microbrewery), Harpersfield Vineyards, Laurentia Vineyard and Winery, M Cellars, and Cask 307 (try their delicious charcuterie and cheese). 

If wine isn’t your thing, there are many idyllic, covered bridges in Ashtabula County. The nearly 230-foot-long Harpersfield Covered Bridge is a local favorite; it reaches across the Grand River. Sit down at the nearby park along the river bank and admire the view. 

Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield Ohio

1-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

If you’re a lover of all things paranormal, you won’t want to miss this Ohio day trip from Cleveland. Tour the “haunted” former Mansfield Reformatory during one of their tours or ghost hunts; they also offer The Haunted Prison Experience around Halloween time. 

Its chillingly beautiful exterior and architecture coupled with a dark history draws in visitors from Ohio and from throughout the US. The Ohio State Reformatory first opened in 1896 and is now nearing 130 years old.

Movie buffs will also want to visit the Ohio State Reformatory. It was the primary filming location of the award-winning 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption

Related: 14 Movies Filmed in Ohio: An Incomplete List

Ohio State Reformatory - Mansfield, Ohio - Cleveland Day Trips
Ohio State Reformatory | photo via @blacknerd94

Visit Sandusky Ohio

1-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Sandusky is, of course, famous for Cedar Point – the Roller Coaster Capital. The Ohio amusement park has been open since 1870 and is the second-oldest operating in the United States. It’s the perfect spot for thrill seekers with 16 roller coasters, a water park, and more. 

But if you visit Cedar Point, don’t make the mistake of missing out on the rest of what Sandusky has to offer

Check Out Youngstown Ohio

1-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Youngstown OH is blooming, especially downtown. If you take the short drive from Cleveland to Youngstown, don’t skip these local favorites.

Indulge at One Hot Cookie! You can’t miss the cute, pink and white trailer that’s home to delectable desserts like the Cherry Cheesecake Cookie or the Death by Chocolate Cookie. If you have a late-night craving, you’re in luck; on Friday and Saturday, they’re open until 2:30 AM. 

Toast at Whistle and Keg. Spend the evening out at this brewery and beer hall with a ton of craft beers on tap. Top-rated pours include CRYOHIO, an imperial IPA from Fat Head’s Brewery; Most Excellent Razberry Limeade, a mead from Crafted Artisan Meadery; and Gumballhead, a wheat beer from 3 Floyds Brewing.

Relax and enjoy the outdoors at Mill Creek Park. Inside the park are also the beautiful Fellows Riverside Gardens and Lanterman’s Mill, which was constructed in the 1840s.

Mill Creek Park - Youngstown, Ohio
Mill Creek Park | photo via @hippie.hiker17

Take a Trip to Amish Country in Holmes County Ohio

1-hour and 30-minute drive from Cleveland

Just a short drive from Cleveland is the world’s largest Amish and Mennonite community! If you embark on this Ohio day trip from Cleveland, there are a few stops you simply have to make. 

Educate yourself about their culture and unique community at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage/Behalt Center, or at Yoder’s Amish Home

Immerse yourself in the slow-living communities of Walnut Creek, Farmerstown, and Charm (yes, it’s charming there), where you can shop, dine, and take in the scenery. Check out the local bakeries and produce stands for deliciously fresh baked goods and produce. 

Ohio Amish Country is also known for its beautiful expanses of rolling hills and farmland; for this reason, many Holmes County roads are designated as scenic byways.

P.S. The world’s largest cuckoo clock is in Sugarcreek (in the neighboring Tuscarawas County).

Escape to Kelleys Island Ohio

2-hour drive from Cleveland

Kelleys Island is the perfect getaway for those embarking on an Ohio day trip

For the easiest (and most fun) way to get around the popular island, rent a golf cart or bike after getting off the ferry. Take a ride and you’ll find some shops and restaurants, hiking trails, sandy beaches, and fantastic views of Lake Erie.

One of the island’s most unique sights is the glacial grooves, which are the biggest in the world at 400 feet long by 35 feet wide and up to 10 feet deep. These Ice Age remnants are an extraordinary National Natural Landmark.

Other things to do on Kelleys Island include kayak rentals and tours, exploring Kelleys Island State Park, touring the Kelleys Island Historical Association museum, and admiring the artwork of the Charles Herndon Sculpture Garden and Galleries

Kelleys Island - Kelleys Island, Ohio
Kelleys Island | photo via @msnikk1282

Visit German Village in Columbus Ohio

2-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

German Village is one of Ohio’s destinations on the National Register of Historic Places. The lovely neighborhood has quaint, brick buildings and idyllic scenery along with fantastic food, culture, and things to do. 

For foodies: have an ice cream cone filled with Salted Peanut Butter with Chocolate Flecks at Jeni’s Ice Cream, or indulge in decadent fudge while you watch it being made at Schmidt’s Fudge Haus

Art lovers can enjoy the Umbrella Girl fountain at the historic Schiller Park, or the contemporary and historic art collection at Keny Galleries.

Catch a production at Actor’s Theater of Columbus, or if you’d rather snuggle up with a book, visit The Book Loft — a massive haven for literature-lovers housed within an old general store, saloon, and other historic buildings.

Explore Attractions in Put-In-Bay Ohio

2-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Put-In-Bay is one of our favorite Ohio day trips from Cleveland. There are so many unique things to do in this Ohio city nestled on a Lake Erie island.

One of the top destinations is Crystal Cave, where you can explore the inside of the world’s largest celestite geode. Yes, you can actually stand and walk inside it—the 12,000-15,000-year-old geode is 35 feet in diameter. Adults can also visit the accompanying historic Heineman Winery, which has been in operation since the 1800s.

Other Put-In-Bay attractions include Perry’s Cave Family Fun Center, the Butterfly House, South Bass Island State Park, Stonehenge Estate, the Chocolate Museum, Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, and the adult-friendly The Sand Bar. 

Put-in-Bay - Put-in-Bay, Ohio
Put-in-Bay | photo via @bayshore_resort

The Olander Park System in Sylvania Ohio

2-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

The Olander Park System is one of the top family-friendly Ohio day trips from Cleveland. Their parks are spread throughout Sylvania and include Fossil Park, Sylvan Prairie Park, Whetstone Park, Olander Park, and Southview Oak Savanna. 

Some of their parks include unique features. Sylvan Prairie Park is a lovely area that’s being rehabilitated to restore the vitality of the natural prairie and wetland environments; visitors can bike, walk, skate, jog, fish, and sled at the park during wintertime. 

Their Fossil Park is one of two great Devonian Era sites in the world. Visitors of all ages can dig for (and take home!) fossilized remains of over 200 different species of prehistoric life, including coral and brachiopods. 

The Wilds in Cumberland Ohio

2-hour and 30-minute drive from Cleveland

The Wilds isn’t just any old Ohio zoo. Visit the nonprofit park and conservation center to experience a safari adventure and see wild animals up close. Even though it’s a short drive from Cleveland Ohio, it’ll feel like you’re on the Savannah thousands of miles away.

This popular destination also offers other outdoor activities, including fishing, horseback riding, and for thrill-seekers, zip-lining. If you want to extend your day trip, you can stay at one of their cabins or check out WildNights at the Outpost (a camping experience outdoors near exotic animals, like giraffes and rhinos).

The Wilds - Cumberland, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
The Wilds | photo via @global_exhibitor

Ohio Caverns in West Liberty Ohio

2-hour and 45-minute drive from Cleveland

Did you know that the largest caves in Ohio are only a couple of hours from Cleveland? 

The Ohio Caverns feature over 2 miles of passageways and a variety of rock formations and colors, including stalactites and stalagmites. Crystal King’s Cave features one of the biggest stalactites in the world—it’s about 400 pounds and five feet long. 

The caverns are open year-round and are explorable by guided tour. There are several types of tours including the Natural Wonder Tour, Historic Tour, Winter Tour (Oct 1-April 30), and the Limestone Tour.

The caves stay about 54 degrees year-round, so make sure to wear a light jacket and sneakers when you visit, even in July!

Clifton Mill in Clifton Ohio

3-hour drive from Cleveland

The historic Clifton Mill is one of the largest, still-standing, water-powered grist mills. Originally built in 1802, the site has since expanded to include an idyllic covered bridge, an American restaurant, Country Store, and vintage gas station with Americana charm. 

The nostalgic 1940s Gas Station Museum is still stocked with original products and authentic relics from the era. Walk across the covered bridge for fantastic views of the Clifton Mill, Clifton Gorge, and the Little Miami River waterfalls.

You’re in for a treat if you visit during the winter, as the property goes all out with Christmas decorations. The whole family will enjoy their display of over 4 million twinkling, festive lights!

Clifton Mill, Clifton OH
Clifton Mill

Idle-Hour Ranch in Troy Ohio

3-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Idle-Hour Ranch is a family-owned farm in Ohio with a diverse array of activities. Aside from the farm, their zoo features animals of all shapes and sizes from camels to kangaroos and even anteaters. Plus, you can feed the kangaroos and take a ride on a horse or camel!

The Ranch also offers gem and fossil mining and a gift shop. If you want to extend your stay, you can camp overnight in genuine tipis. 

It’s a great Ohio day trip from Cleveland especially during the fall months when they host bonfires, hayrides, and a fun, six-acre corn maze. 

Hocking Hills State Park in Logan Ohio

3-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Hocking Hills is a treasured Ohio state park with beautiful scenery and diverse flora and fauna. It’s received international acclaim for its waterfalls, caves, idyllic cliffs, gorges, and native wildflowers.

Visitors can hike and explore some of Hocking Hills’ various caves including Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, and Whispering Cave. Other famous trails showcase Cantwell Cliffs and Cedar Falls, the latter of which features grottos, waterfalls, blankets of hemlock, and tall rock walls.

Other things to do at the park include disc golf, camping, hunting, and fishing. You can also tag along on one of the park’s regularly scheduled group outings that feature activities like archery, kayaking, and family-friendly educational classes. 

Hocking Hills State Park, Logan - Places to Visit in Winter
Hocking Hills State Park | photo via @itsciaradawn

Day Trips from Cleveland Outside of Ohio

Explore Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

2-hour and 15-minute drive from Cleveland

Wander across the state line into Pennsylvania and experience Pittsburgh. 

There are so many great things to do in Pittsburgh, but here are a few to get your day trip from Cleveland Ohio started. 

Explore the beautiful Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This Pittsburgh staple is one of the oldest-operating conservatories in the US, featuring seasonal flower displays and rotating exhibits, a nationally-recognized orchid collection, and plenty of butterflies. 

Art enthusiasts—don’t miss The Andy Warhol Museum, The Frick Art and Historical Center, or Randyland, the latter of which features an eclectic collection of Randy Gilson’s artwork. 

Niagara Falls in New York

3-hour and 30-minute drive from Cleveland

Niagara Falls is less than 4 hours from Cleveland, making it the perfect Ohio day trip. The world-renowned destination is nestled between the borders of Ontario, Canada and New York state. 

With waterfalls that drop more than 160 feet, it’s no wonder that it’s a revered, natural landmark and stunningly beautiful. One of the falls, Horseshoe Falls, is the most powerful in all of North America. 

Make sure you wear a raincoat or poncho if you get up-close-and-personal with the Falls, unless you want to get soaked!

Niagara Falls NY
Niagara Falls

More Tips for Taking Day Trips from Cleveland Ohio

When you embark on your next Ohio day trip from Cleveland, you shouldn’t need much. Pack a day bag and travel to one of the many fantastic, next-door Ohio destinations we’ve provided, or discover some on your own!

If you find an interesting city while you’re exploring, be sure to check their community events calendars to see what’s happening while you’re passing through. You never know what you might stumble upon, from art festivals to fairs to concerts and more. 

views of downtown Cleveland Ohio

Frequently Asked Questions about Day Trips From Cleveland Ohio

What is there to do less than an hour away from Cleveland Ohio?

Take a short drive and explore all of Akron, get lost in nature at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and wander along the beautiful botanical gardens of the Holden Arboretum. 

What are the most popular Ohio day trips from Cleveland?

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Amish Country in Holmes County, Mohican State Park in Loudonville, and even outside of Ohio, Niagara Falls in New York state are some of the most popular Ohio day trips from Cleveland. 

But there are so many other amazing Ohio destinations for you to explore! Whether it’s one on our list, or one you discover on your own, the Buckeye state will not disappoint.

What about things to do in Cleveland?

Cleveland itself will keep you occupied with plenty of things to do. Check out the renowned Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the family-friendly Greater Cleveland Aquarium, the food-lover’s paradise (Cleveland’s Little Italy), the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, or beautiful Lake Erie lighthouses.

Check out our guide on spring things to do in Cleveland, Canton, and more

Explore Amazing Things to Do on Day Trips From Cleveland Ohio

These perfect day trips in Ohio from Cleveland are just some of the many wonderful things to do in Ohio. Hopefully you’re inspired to drive and take a fun day trip away from Cleveland to discover some of these best places to visit in Ohio.

Looking for more Ohio day trip ideas?

Adventure awaits in the Buckeye State!

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