best things to do in toledo ohio

BEST Ohio Day Trips from Toledo to Enjoy in 2024

Looking for the best Ohio day trips from Toledo? We’ve got you covered!

Toledo, Ohio is known for many things. First off, there’s its location. Situated in the northwestern corner of the state and at the western end of Lake Erie, it’s the last Ohio city before entering Michigan.

Then there’s the matter of accessibility. Check out any map, and you will see that Toledo is ringed by major and minor highways and byways.

Not only do three interstate highways, I-80, I-90, and I-75 intersect just outside the city, but two other interstates, I-475 and I-280 run right through the city. As if this weren’t enough, US Routes 20 and 24, and Ohio Highways 2 and 65 also serve the city.

What this plethora of roads means is that no matter where you are in The Glass City, you’re within convenient traveling distance to a fun-filled day trip.

Maumee Bay State Park - Oregon, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Maumee Bay State Park | photo via @flicksbyzo

Ohio Road Trips from Toledo

Enjoy Nature Year-Round at Maumee Bay State Park

20-minute drive from Toledo

Maumee Bay State Park offers something for everybody who loves to be in the outdoors. Escape the Ohio heat in the cooling waters of Lake Erie or stroll the park’s large sandy beach and gaze out at the 64-foot-high Toledo Harbor Lighthouse which has been standing guard since 1904 five miles across the water.

For golfers, there’s a golf course. Or if you have a knack with a bow and arrow, there’s the 7-land archery range which is free, but strictly on a BYOB basis. (Bring your own bow and arrow.) Speaking of BYOB you can bring your own bike and ride along the paved trail at the lake’s edge or if you prefer, just stroll and take in the freshwater expanse at your feet.

Fortunately, the opportunities don’t end when winter sets in. This park for all seasons offers cross-country skiing on Mouse Trail, sledding on its highly rated sledding hill, or when conditions permit, ice skating on the lake.

Related: Best Ohio State Parks to Explore This Year

Marblehead Lighthouse - Sandusky, Ohio - Marblehead Lighthouse
Marblehead Lighthouse | photo via @danmasters

Experience the Life of a Lighthouse Keeper in Marblehead, Ohio

1-hour drive from Toledo

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live the rugged life of a lighthouse keeper you can find out at Marblehead.  This charming Lake Erie Town is best known for the Marblehead Lighthouse which is still in operation after 100 years.

Presently a state park, it is also the site of well-preserved houses that were once homes to the lighthouse keepers and their families. One serves as a museum.

Not far away is Johnson’s Island, with a storied history. Not only is it the site of a confederate army cemetery, but it also served as a POW camp.

Related: 29 Historic & Unique Lake Erie Lighthouses in the United States

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

Hop on a Ferry to Put-in-Bay

1.75-hour drive from Toledo

Located on Bass Island, Put-in-Bay may be a small town, but it promises a plethora of activities to suit everyone – families, couples of all ages, and groups of party-seeking friends. To start with there’s the relaxing ferry that will usher you from Catawba Island.

You can get an overview of what the day holds by taking the Put-in-Bay Tour train. It offers you the choice of staying on board for the entire loop or using it as a hop-on-hop-off shuttle when you see something that appeals to you. And you will see a lot of appealing activities. 

How does sampling wine at a winery that has a crystal cave housing the world’s largest geode sound? Or if you have a family in tow, there’s a Family Fun Cave Center; a wildlife nature center; and several museums devoted to the history of the island.

But do save time for shopping in the downtown area and eating at one of Put-in-Bay’s highly rated restaurants before heading back to Toledo. However, not everyone does head back. You also have the option of booking a room at one of the town’s hotels and taking in the island’s nightlife. 

Related: Vineyards & Wineries in Ohio You Must Visit This Year

Cedar Point, Sandusky - Spring in Northwest Ohio - Ohio Beaches
Cedar Point

Thrill and Chill at Cedar Point Amusement Park

1.25-hour drive from Toledo

Visitors from all over the Midwest and beyond travel to Cedar Point to ride the Iron Dragon and the Blue Streak. These thrilling structures of turns and plummeting drops are the reason Cedar point is known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World.

But if you’re not into stomach-dropping heart racing experiences, you can enjoy the beach or frolic in the water park while the rest of your gang rides the rails. 

Related: Stay, Play, & Eat Local: Your Sandusky Ohio Vacation Planning Guide

Wyandot Popcorn Museum - Marion, Ohio - Toledo Day Trips
Wyandot Popcorn Museum | photo via @barriekealoha

Have a Popping Good Time at the Wyandot Popcorn Museum

1.5-hour drive from Toledo

Although you may associate popcorn with a trip to the movies, back in the days when circuses were at their height of popularity, no trip to the Big Top was complete without a bag of freshly popped popcorn.

And while the Wyandot Popcorn Museum in Marion Ohio doesn’t sell popcorn, its vintage red, white, and blue circus tent houses an impressive collection of popcorn machines and peanut roasters, some of which date back to the 19th Century, all of which have been restored to their original condition.

Now about that lack of popcorn, if you check out The Wyandot Popcorn Museum website they assure you that your microwave at home provides the best popping conditions.

Related: Best Museums in Ohio to Explore Any Time of Year

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland - Things to See Before You Die, Columbus Day Trips, Ohio Museums, Cleveland Children's Museum
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | photo via @wheresraetoday

Relive Your Musical Memories at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

1.75-hour drive from Toledo

The good thing about Ohio is it’s a small state, so you can easily travel between its major cities. For example, Cleveland is less than two hours away, and if you’re a rocker of any age, you know that’s where the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located. So you can pack up the car and prepare for a musical day.

There’s live music on the plaza stage. But this trip can be more than a spectator experience. You can play an instrument in The Garage and make your own musical memory.

And since you won’t want to come home empty-handed, their gift shop stocks rock and roll souvenirs to suit any vacation budget – from key rings to Beatles Collection Items. Plus if you’re a resident of Northeastern Ohio, a first responder, or a college student you get in free as do children under 5.

Related: Amazing Things to See in Ohio Before You Die

Ohio Caverns - West Liberty, Ohio - Ohio Caves
Ohio Caverns | photo via @mmphotos99

Try Your Hand at Spelunking at Ohio Caverns

2-hour drive from Toledo

Located just outside Liberty Ohio, you’ll have a chance to see caverns that are billed as the most colorful in the United States. Open year-round, Ohio Caverns offers tours of varying lengths. The Natural Wonders Tour includes the most formations. 

The Natural History Tour revisits the cave’s discovery and subsequent history. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a chance to see the world’s largest stalactite.

Related: Spectacular Caverns & Caves in Ohio You Have to See

Additional Ohio Day Trip Destinations

Frankenmuth, Michigan
Frankenmuth | photo via @a.jimenez.u

One Tank Trips from Toledo in Michigan

Experience Bavaria in Frankenmuth, Michigan

2-hour drive from Toledo

You’ll want to set out early on this day trip because a day in Frankenmuth offers a constant flow of activities. There’s its world-famous Christmas shop open all year round; not one, but two indoor water parks, and a zipline park for the adventurous. 

However, if you lean towards more sedate modes of travel, you can take a riverboat cruise or ride in a horse-drawn carriage down the streets of Little Bavaria. 

As its name suggests, Frankenmuth is draped in Bavarian tradition. If your whistle needs wetting, you can sample a brew at the Frankenmuth Brewery. And since nothing goes better with a Bavarian beer than a Bavarian pretzel, you can even learn to roll your own pretzel. 

But save your appetite for dinner because Frankenmuth is known worldwide as the home of Bavarian chicken dinners. Served family style, you can pile your plate high with buttered noodles, vegetables, mashed potatoes, German-style breads, and of course roast chicken and gravy. 

Related: Exploring Lesser-Known Things to Do in Frankenmuth

Additional Nearby Michigan Destinations to Explore

St Joseph River - South Bend, Indiana - Toledo Day Trips
St Joseph River | photo via Wikimedia Commons

Day Trips from Toledo in Indiana

Ride the Rapids in the Middle of South Bend, Indiana

2.5-hour drive from Toledo

South Bend Indiana may be best known as the home of Notre Dame University, but did you know it’s also a water wonderland?

You can white water raft on the St Joseph River that runs through the heart of the city. Or if you prefer your adrenaline to course more slowly through your body, you can kayak or canoe in calmer sections of the waterway.

South Bend, as is fitting for an academic town, is also home to museums of all sorts from art and history ones to hands-on children’s museums and one devoted to vehicles built by the storied Studebaker car company of old.

And of course, you can’t journey back to Toledo without singing a round of Hail, Hail to Old Notre Dame on the university’s beautiful campus.

Additional Nearby Indiana Destination to Explore

best things to do in toledo ohio

More to Do in Toledo Ohio

And now that your wanderlust is sated, for now, you can settle back in Toledo, a city once overlooked by people who viewed it as a manufacturing town with little to offer once the work day was through.

Toledo has come a long way since those days. So park your car and plan to take advantage of all the great things to do in Toledo: its bustling arts and culture scene, explore its history, or just kick back in one of its picturesque and serene city parks… until wanderlust strikes again, that is!

Additional Destinations that Make Great Ohio Day Trips

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