Maumee Bay State Park

25 Spectacular Places to Visit in Ohio in Winter This Year

Winter is an amazing time in Ohio. Each region offers something unique, from the icy shores of Lake Erie to the snow foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. If you’re looking for places to visit in Ohio in winter, your calendar can be packed with skiing, hiking, or just enjoying a great meal and a glass of wine.

Best Places to Visit in Northwest Ohio

Maumee Bay State Park | Oregon, OH 

Maumee Bay State Park is one of the most breathtaking state parks in Northwest Ohio. On the shore of Lake Erie, the park is a convergence of beach, cliffs, forest, and wetland. The winter offers a fascinating new experience of the outdoor world.

Visitors flock here throughout the winter months, ready for winter hikes and exploring the frozen beaches. The beach features fascinating ice formations created by the cold temperatures and the winds moving off the lake.

Also, winter offers the chance to see rare wildlife that you might not spot elsewhere, especially in the wetlands of the park. You might want to hike to a lighthouse for a pristine view of Lake Erie in the winter too. 

Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon - Places to Visit in Winter
Maumee Bay State Park | photo via @lilbeanphotography

Kalahari Resorts | Sandusky, OH

Going to a water park in Northern Ohio in the middle of the winter sounds crazy. But, Sandusky’s top indoor water park, Kalahari Resorts, draws visitors at every time of the year. This resort features a stunning 173,000 square feet of fun.

There’s something for everyone here, from a wave pool to waterslides, splash pads, a swim-up bar, and much more. The temperature outside may be frigid, but it’s summer all year long at Kalahari Resorts. It isn’t hard to see why this resort is one of the most popular places to visit in Ohio in winter!

Oak Openings | Swanton, OH

Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, located in Swanton Ohio, is one of the largest and best nature parks in the region. At 5,000 acres, it showcases all the natural features that make Ohio so beautiful at every time of the year.

This area is truly one-of-a-kind with a wide range of terrain from savanna to sand and wetlands. It’s the perfect environment for rare birds and plant life to thrive.

Additionally, Oak Openings has more than 70 miles of trails, making it ideal for hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. No matter how you choose to get around, you don’t want to miss the winter scenery here. 

Oak Openings, Swanton - Places to Visit in Winter
Oak Openings | photo via @t.g.bundy2

Ohio Caverns | Salem Township, OH

The Ohio Caverns have been termed the “most colorful caverns in America.” These enormous underground passages are the biggest ones that you can find in the state, and some of them feature ceilings more than 100 feet high!

You can access tours here during every season, showcasing the unique and breathtaking attractions of the caverns. Amazingly, the caverns remain 54 degrees at all times, which might feel pretty toasty compared to the weather outside!

A special tour is available in the winter, highlighting special parts of the caverns that aren’t accessible during the summer. It’s one winter activity in Northwest Ohio that you don’t want to miss.

Ottawa Park | Toledo, OH

Ottawa Park is the largest park in the Toledo area and has dozens of activities and events going on at every time of the year. It’s an especially popular spot during the winter when visitors flock to the park for outdoor ice skating, sledding, skiing, and much more.

The ice rink is set up once the temperature drops every year. You can rent skates and participate in free skating, or watch a hockey game. The many trails throughout the park are popular for cross-country skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing.

On top of that, Ottawa Park is a top spot for sledding and snowboarding. It’s not hard to see why this amazing park remains busy no matter what the temperature is outside.

There are even more things to explore in Toledo and Northwest Ohio during winter!

Ottawa Park, Toledo - Places to Visit in Winter
Ottawa Park | photo via @jenn.kyoan.mccullough

Best Places to Visit in Northeast Ohio

Amish Country | Millersburg, OH

Northeast Ohio is Amish Country, and it’s worth a visit during any season. However, winter is an especially beautiful time to tour this region and its charming inns and cozy getaways. The snow makes the farmland both peaceful and beautiful, making this a perfect spot for a romantic weekend retreat.

Every place you find will have unique offerings: beautiful furniture, delicious food, scenic views, and fantastic homemade goods. You can even find plenty of family retreats, including kid-friendly getaways where children can experience farm life and explore the surrounding countryside.

If you want a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of normal life, Amish Country is one of the most perfect places to visit in Ohio in winter.

Snow Trails Winter Resort | Mansfield, OH 

It should come as no surprise that there are countless places to enjoy fun in the snow in Ohio. Snow Trails Winter Resort is one of the best destinations in Northeast Ohio for skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing.

No matter how much experience you have on a slope, the resort has great offerings for you, from equipment rentals to lessons and slopes of all skill levels.

There are special events scheduled regularly here. On certain days of the year, visitors can enjoy glow tubing, for which the trails are lit artificially for a ride that you’ll never forget.

For more opportunities to hit the slopes, check out all five ski resorts in Ohio!

Snow Trails Ski Resort, Mansfield -Places to Visit in Winter
Snow Trails Ski Resort | photo via @kaitlinnmp13

Cuyahoga Valley National Park | Peninsula, OH

Cuyahoga Valley National Park lies just a short drive outside Cleveland. Just beyond the hubbub of the city, you’ll find a beautiful and peaceful natural space that draws visitors all year long.

Winter is an amazing experience in Cuyahoga Valley. The park features a variety of terrain, from forest to farmland to nature preserves, all situated around the Cuyahoga River. The colder temperatures and falling snow offer the chance to spot rare wildlife and see some of the most breathtaking views in the region.

Whether you want to go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, or hiking, a trek through the snowy hills of Cuyahoga Valley is well worth the trip.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Peninsula - Places to Visit in Winter
Cuyahoga Valley National Park | photo via @worldwidehoneymoon

The Chalet | Strongsville, OH 

Almost everyone has been sledding during the winter. But, you’ve never experienced sledding like it is at The Chalet in Strongsville, just outside of Cleveland. It looks out over the surrounding land of the Cleveland Metroparks, offering a breathtaking view of the Ohio countryside.

The huge toboggan slides are some of the biggest and fastest in the state, stretching a total of 700 feet. They’re refrigerated, which means that they’re in service from late fall to early spring, whether snow has fallen or not.

When you climb aboard, you get to look out on the gorgeous view before taking a ride at 50 mph down Ohio’s most famous toboggan course. Make sure to call ahead because reservations are required!

A Christmas Story House | Cleveland, OH

If you’re a fan of the cult classic film “A Christmas Story,” you need to drop by the Christmas Story house in Cleveland. This was the actual home used to film the movie. In 2004, the home was turned into a museum as an exact replica of the house from the film.

Visitors can stroll through the rooms where Ralphie and his family lived and see the infamous leg lamp won by Ralphie’s “Old Man.” You can even stay overnight if you book your visit ahead of time!

You can visit the house at any time of year, but winter is when it shines most authentically. Any fan of the movie needs to stop by this museum if only to say one of the famous lines.

Check out more possible stops on a day trip to Cleveland and winter things to do in Northeast Ohio!

"A Christmas Story" House, Cleveland - Winter Festivals
“A Christmas Story” House | photo via @robby_robinette

Best Places to Visit in Central Ohio

Mohican State Park | Loudonville, OH

Ohio is full of state parks, so it can be difficult to choose which ones are really worth visiting — even in the middle of winter. Mohican State Park in Loudonville should be on everyone’s list.

The woodlands surround the Mohican State Scenic River, offering amazing trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. The natural attractions of the park are worth seeing, including the frozen waters of Lyon’s Falls and Clear Fork Gorge.

Fishing is also a popular activity throughout the winter. And, the park trails are maintained for snowmobiling if you prefer a slightly different way of getting around.

Mohican State Park, Mansfield - Winter NE, Places to Visit in Winter
Mohican State Park | photo via @spiffycolumbus

Mad River Mountain | Zanesfield 

Mad River Mountain Resort is one of the top skiing and snowboarding resorts you can find in not only Central Ohio but in the entire state. With plenty of local hotel options and on-site dining, this is no rural ski site.

Many visitors book rooms and stay for several days to make sure that they can enjoy all the attractions of the resort, from ski slopes to food, snow tubing, and more.

The vertical drop here is 300 feet, and there are many slopes to cater to every person’s skill level. This includes a total of 20 ski trails and several areas for beginners, terrain parks, and a tubing park. The park has the largest snow-making operation in Ohio, ensuring that conditions are optimal all winter season. 

Pine Acres Reindeer Farm | LaRue, OH

Every child knows that Santa Claus keeps reindeer at the North Pole, but you can find them at Pine Acres Reindeer Farm in LaRue Ohio as well! This one-of-a-kind farm offers regular events where kids can see and interact with a real herd of reindeer.

Most of the herd consists of friendly and gentle females who kids get to pet and feed! The farm is only open seasonally, so it’s worth a visit when you get the chance. You may also get the chance to spot Santa Claus himself and take a carriage ride through the snowy farm.

Franklin Park Conservatory | Columbus, OH

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of the most popular and beautiful tourist attractions in Central Ohio. But, it’s one of the most worthy places to visit in Ohio in winter when the gardens are covered in snow.

No matter how cold it gets outside, the conservatory features a lush display of some of the rarest plants from around the world, including many tropical plants! This amazing experience is a welcome step out of the cold winter world and into one that’s always green and blooming.

In addition, you can enjoy special events and classes during the winter, as well as displays of certain plants. In January, for example, the conservatory showcases orchids in a lush and colorful display that’s amazing for midwinter.

Franklin Park Conservatory, Columbus - Winter Central Ohio, Places to Visit in Winter
Franklin Park Conservatory | photo via @doorstar

Chestnut Ridge Park | Caroll, OH

Chestnut Ridge Park is one of the best and most beautiful nature preserves in Central Ohio. It’s just one part of the Black Hand sandstone ridge, spanning 486 acres at the farthest foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

The park gets its name from the chestnut trees that cover the area, providing breathtaking views throughout every season. You’ll also find sugar maple, American beech, black and red oak, and hickory trees.

There are many hiking trails here, which draw outdoorsmen throughout the winter for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. A small pond offers fishing throughout the year too. The park is particularly beautiful in the winter and is well worth a chilly hike for the view!

Find out more of what Central Ohio offers during winter!

Chestnut Ridge Park, Carroll - Places to Visit in Winter
Chestnut Ridge Park | photo via @hallielor

Best Places to Visit in Southwest Ohio

Christmas Lights Display | Clifton, OH 

Clifton is a small town in Southwest Ohio with a big reputation for its Christmas lights display! These “legendary” lights come alive before the holidays every year, drawing visitors from all over the state. But, what exactly makes the light display so special?

The town doesn’t just decorate homes and buildings. The display, which includes more than 4 million lights, covers the bridge, gorge, mill, river and riverbanks, trees, and more.

There’s a light show of epic proportions every night between Thanksgiving and the New Year. It even features a Christmas village with a light and music performance!

Clifton Mill at Christmas, Clifton - Places to Visit in Winter
Clifton Mill at Christmas | photo via @g_p_hall

The Christmas Ranch | Morrow, OH 

The Christmas Ranch is a life-size Christmas village located on a real ranch in Morrow Ohio! This seasonal event is open between Thanksgiving and the New Year for Christmas cheer that harks back to old-fashioned family holiday season celebrations.

Most impressive is the ranch’s massive lights display, with more than 350,000 lights. Stay for a music and light show, take a train ride around the grounds, have a cup of hot chocolate, and meet Santa to tell him your Christmas wishes!

The Christmas Ranch, Morrow - Places to Visit in Winter
The Christmas Ranch | photo via @melaniegwynn_smith

Great Wolf Lodge | Mason, OH 

Great Wolf Lodge in Mason is an indoor water park that offers summertime fun throughout the year! There are 15 waterslides and tons of other attractions here that draw visitors even throughout the coldest months of the year.

The park features a four-story water fort, splash pad, lazy river, hot springs hot tubs, and waterslides for visitors of every age. If you’re missing summer fun in the middle of the Ohio winter, Great Wolf Lodge is one of the best places to visit in Ohio in winter!

Entertrainment Junction | West Chester, OH 

In case the name doesn’t give it away, Entertrainment Junction is one of the top train museums in Southwest Ohio. This indoor facility is 80,000 square feet of family-friendly attractions all related to the world of trains.

But, you could probably describe it as more of an indoor amusement park devoted to all things trains. The venue features the largest indoor train display in the world, a funhouse, a play area, and a self-operated train. Train-loving kids and adults alike will love exploring this indoor amusement park.

Entertrainment Junction, West Chester - Places to Visit in Winter
Entertrainment Junction | photo via @thomaswoodenrailway

Shawnee State Park | West Portsmouth, OH

Outdoors enthusiasts can’t afford to miss the winter beauty of Shawnee State Park. This 1,095-acre park breaches the land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Ohio River, offering some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll find anywhere in Ohio.

There are two lakes in the park, making it a popular place for fishing, even during the winter months. Visitors also flock to the park throughout the winter for sledding near the lodge, hiking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and enjoying the serene snowy views.

These places only highlight a few of the winter things to do in Southwest Ohio!

Best Places to Visit in Southeast Ohio

Dickens Victorian Village | Cambridge, OH 

The Dickens Victorian Village is one of the most fascinating and unique attractions in Southeast Ohio! Every year before the holiday season, this simple town transforms into a life-size replica of a Victorian Christmas village.

Visitors can wander the streets and see dozens of scenes with more than 200 life-size models dressed in authentic vintage clothing from the period! Many of the scenes depict famous stories like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” You may even spot familiar figures like Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim.

This fascinating holiday presentation is one of the most extraordinary displays you’ll find anywhere in the state. And, it’s free to all visitors too!

Dickens Victorian Village, Cambridge - Places to Visit in Winter
Dickens Victorian Village | photo via @kyd227

Equestrian Ridge Farm | New Plymouth, OH

There’s nothing quite like taking a winter horseback ride, which you’ll find out for yourself when you visit Equestrian Ridge Farm in New Plymouth. This beautiful farm is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, housing horses of all types.

Visitors can stop by at any time of the year to get a riding lesson or enjoy a guided tour. But, it’s well worth visiting in the winter when the fallen snow offers a peaceful outing and creates a winter snowscape like you’ve never seen before.

Hocking Hills State Park | Logan, OH

Hocking Hills State Park is one of the best-known state parks in all of Ohio! Visitors come from all over the world throughout the year. But winter offers a particularly amazing experience thanks to its unrivaled forest snowscapes and famous frozen waterfalls.

The most popular winter hike is a six-mile trek from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave. You can explore the frozen falls, some of which are truly enormous.

There are actually dozens of waterfalls to visit in Ohio!

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

Ravenwood Castle | New Plymouth, OH 

Have you ever wanted to visit or even stay in a real castle? As it turns out, there’s a castle in Southeast Ohio and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Ravenwood Castle lies just outside of Hocking Hills State Park and features one of the most unique and breathtaking places for a winter getaway.

Filled with beautifully furnished rooms, the castle is worth visiting in any season. But, winter is a great time because not only is it the offseason, but the castle offers unparalleled views of the surrounding winter wonderland.

Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve | Rockbridge, OH

Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve is another breathtaking region of the Appalachian foothills that’s well worth a visit. Crowned by black sandstone cliffs, the nature preserve features one of the deepest gorges in Ohio and is filled with waterfalls.

It’s one of the perfect places to visit in Ohio in winter for exploring, especially when the falls freeze over and create beautiful ice formations. The trails here are maintained well and easy to navigate, making this a great winter destination for visitors of any age and ability.

Find more Southeast Ohio winter things to do!

Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve, Rockbridge - Places to Visit in Winter
Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve | photo via @maverick.tales

Choosing the Best Places to Visit in Ohio in Winter

Winter in Ohio doesn’t have to mean hunkering down at home. Instead, it’s the perfect time to explore! Whether you want to grab your skis and fly down a slope or enjoy a glass of wine in Amish Country, these amazing winter getaways in Ohio have something for everyone.

However, you aren’t limited to this list of our recommendations. We can give you more than a dozen other things to do in Ohio in winter as well!

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