best things to do in ohio this summer

39 BEST Summer Things to Do in Ohio

When summer arrives and the kids are out of school, you might find yourself wondering how to fill your time. The good news is that there are countless summer things to do in Ohio.

Here, we’ve outlined all the best activities, events, and festivals in each region of Ohio. Whether you want some great food, time in the great outdoors, or free music, you’ll find it somewhere in the Buckeye State!

outdoor clock garden in sandusky ohio
Sandusky Ohio

Things to Do in the Summer in Northwest Ohio

Celebrate at Bash on the Bay | Put-in-Bay


Put-in-Bay is an island on Lake Erie that draws tourists every year to enjoy its beaches, untouched nature trails, and other attractions.

Every year in late August, the island is the site of Ohio’s premier country music festival — Bash on the Bay. The weekend-long event features big names like Brad Paisley and the Zac Brown Band.

Visit Marblehead Lighthouse State Park | Marblehead

Marblehead Lighthouse is one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses in the United States. These days, it serves as both a lighthouse and a museum, detailing the history of the Great Lakes and the keepers who lived there. It offers stunning views of Lake Erie too.

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

Explore Maumee Bay State Park | Oregon

Maumee Bay State Park is a stunning state park and nature reserve on the coast of Lake Erie. It includes campgrounds with both tent pitches and RV hookups, as well as public facilities — playgrounds, showers, and restrooms. The park is also home to 5 miles of hiking and biking trails.

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

Ride a Roller Coaster at Cedar Point | Sandusky

Cedar Point is arguably one of the most famous tourist destinations in Ohio, and it’s not hard to see why. This one-of-a-kind amusement park has more than 70 rides and attractions, including 16 of the best roller coasters in the country. There’s nothing like riding a roller coaster right on the banks of Lake Erie.

There’s more to Sandusky than roller coasters. Check out all the other things to do in Sandusky Ohio to get the most out of your visit.

Cedar Point - Sandusky, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Cedar Point | photo via @barge_guy

Catch a Flick at Sundance Kid Drive-In | Oregon

The Sundance Kid Drive-In is Northwest Ohio’s premier drive-in movie facility, featuring two outdoor screens and a concession stand.

The drive-in offers a nostalgic experience that will bring you back to the 1950s while enjoying the newest films. You can eat popcorn, pizza, candy, hot dogs, and other concession items during the show.

Sundance Kid Drive-In - Oregon, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Sundance Kid Drive-In | photo via @jkkfrank80

See Prehistoric Rock Formations at Glacial Grooves | Kelleys Island

Kelleys Island is a stunning island on Lake Erie, offering some of the most beautiful nature reserves and vineyards on the Great Lakes.

One of the most fascinating attractions is the island’s Glacial Grooves. These rock formations have been around for more than 18,000 years and offer the chance to spot ancient marine fossils.

Glacial Grooves - Kelleys Island, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Glacial Grooves | photo via @where_w3_go

Play in Food at St Marys Summerfest | St Marys


The annual St Marys Summerfest is a craft and vendor show and all-around summertime celebration. The event includes a beauty pageant, vendors of all kinds, kids’ activities, and much more. The most unique activity might be the Pudding Dive and Slide, which welcomes you to play in chocolate pudding.

St Marys Summerfest - St Marys, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
St Marys Summerfest | photo via St. Marys SummerFest

Cook Your Buns Off at the Northwest Ohio Rib Off | Maumee


Do you consider yourself a grill master? Then, throw your hat in the ring at the annual Northwest Ohio Rib Off competition, taking place in late July. But be warned — You’ll have some stiff competition!

If you don’t want to compete, you can always come to eat and play other quintessential Ohio games, like cornhole. Or, enjoy the live music, crafts, and other activities.

Northwest Ohio Rib Off - Maumee, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Northwest Ohio Rib Off | photo via @deetsbbq

Northeast Ohio Summer Things to Do

Raise a Glass in Ohio Wine Country | Geneva

Around Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio is wine country, with countless vineyards offering lakeside views. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of locally-made wine (and often a gourmet dinner) on the coast. Geneva is one of many places where you can enjoy the fruits (literally!) of Ohio winemaking.

Geneva Wine Tours

Walk the Northeast Ohio Lavender Trail | Canton

The Northeast Ohio Lavender Trail is a connection of lavender farms throughout the Lake Erie region, concentrated in and around Canton. You’ll find a unique experience at each stop, with plenty of opportunities to pick your own flowers and learn about the many ways to use lavender at home.

You can enjoy a variety of other things to do in Canton Ohio as well.

Explore the Cleveland Botanical Garden | Cleveland

The Cleveland Botanical Garden is a part of the larger Holden Arboretum. These enormous gardens offer both indoor and outdoor displays of thousands of plants, both native to Ohio and from all over the world. The exhibits rotate seasonally, with something new at every time of the year.

If you’re visiting the garden with kids, the Children’s Museum of Cleveland isn’t too far away.

Cleveland Botanical Garden - Cleveland, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Cleveland Botanical Garden | photo via @anyakopyra

Pet Animals at the Majestic Meadows Alpaca Farm | Medina

If you have a little one who loves animals, visit Majestic Meadows Alpaca Farm. This unique petting zoo has animals of all kinds, not just alpacas.

You can also feed, pet, and interact with llamas, miniature sheep, horses, donkeys, potbellied pigs, cows, goats, camels, and even kangaroos. There’s a giant tortoise named — what else? — Sheldon too.

Majestic Meadows Alpaca Farm - Medina, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Majestic Meadows Alpaca Farm | photo via @majesticmeadowsalpacas

Explore West Side Market | Cleveland

West Side Market is one of Ohio’s most famous tourist attractions. This enormous open-air market is a place where you can find everything from gourmet food to fascinating antiques and handmade decor. Located in Cleveland’s Historic District, it’s the best place in the city to support local businesses!

Stop and Smell the Roses at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens | Akron

The Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens is a historic mansion, once a family home of the founder of Goodyear Tires. These days, it’s part museum, part botanical garden.

You’re welcome to tour the 65-room mansion and learn about the fascinating history of the place, which played a significant role in 20th-century Ohio.

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens - Akron, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens | photo via @ohio.traveler

Chase a Waterfall at Brandywine Falls | Cuyahoga

Ohio is full of breathtaking waterfalls, but few are as well-known — or oft-visited — as Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The majestic waterfall descends approximately 65 feet.

A hiking trail offers unique angles from above the falls. It’s only about 1.5 miles long and has easy terrain, making it a great choice for families with young kids.

Brandywine Falls Ohio - observation deck - Brandywine Falls, Spring Things to do
Brandywine Falls – observation deck

Celebrate Your Roots at the Ohio Scottish Games & Celtic Festival | Berea


Whether you can trace your lineage back to Scotland or not, you’re welcome to participate in the annual Scottish games at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in late June.

The activities at this event can get pretty intense, with competitions like ax throwing and the stones of strength. In addition, you get to enjoy music, dancing, whisky tastings, and more.

Ohio Scottish Games & Celtic Festival - Berea, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Ohio Scottish Games & Celtic Festival | photo via Ohio Scottish Games & Celtic Festival

Things to Do in the Summer in Central Ohio

Dance in the Street at Fore!Fest | Dublin


Every year in early June, Dublin Ohio is the site of Fore!Fest. This weekend-long music and drinks festival takes place in Bridge Park with performances for visitors of all kinds.

The event is free, with parts of food and drink sales going to charity. Everyone is welcome to enjoy cold beer, great tunes, and community.

While you’re visiting for Fore!Fest, experience more Dublin Ohio things to do.

Fore!Fest - Dublin, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Fore!Fest | photo via @devinhenrymusic

Celebrate Music and Arts at ComFest | Columbus


Every summer in Columbus brings ComFest, a free, non-profit-driven music and arts festival. The theme of the event is unity and community, bringing together local artists and Columbus residents alike.

The celebration takes place in Goodale Park in Columbus’ Victorian Village and features a wide variety of street fair displays and entertainment.

Pick Some Flowers at the Coshocton Sunflower Festival | Coshocton


Summer is sunflower season, and celebrating this larger-than-life flower at the Coshocton Sunflower Festival is one of the best summer things to do in Ohio.

This festival usually takes place in early August when the sunflowers are in bloom. You’ll get the chance to enjoy live music, food from local food trucks, craft vendors, and more than 30 varieties of sunflowers.

Coshocton Sunflower Festival - Coshocton, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Coshocton Sunflower Festival | photo via @yrileyy

Take Part in a Tradition at the Ohio State Fair | Columbus


The Ohio State Fair in Columbus is one of the biggest and most famous summer traditions in the state. It’s also one of the oldest state fairs in the country, having been celebrated for the first time in 1850.

These days, it’s considered a family tradition for people from all over the Midwest, drawing them to Columbus in late July.

If you love the state fair, check out the summer county fairs in Ohio too.

Ohio State Fair - Columbus, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Ohio State Fair | photo via @6drone4

See Animals up Close at The Wilds | Cumberland

You might have always wanted to go on a safari, but did you know that you can do that without leaving Ohio?

The Wilds is a part of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, located just outside the city in Cumberland. Here, you can get up close with animals like cheetahs, giraffes, ostriches, zebras, and even some you’ve never heard of!

Similar to The Wilds, Ohio has many other things to see before you die.

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

Groove at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival | Gahanna


For almost a quarter of a century, this annual blues and jazz festival has been a celebration of music, culture, food, and more. It’s impossible to keep your toes from tapping as you listen to the music, which includes live performances from local and international artists alike.

Additionally, there’s plenty of amazing food and drink to be found, all from local vendors.

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival - Gahanna, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival | photo via Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, Gahanna, OH

Take a Stroll Along the Scioto Mile | Columbus

The Scioto Mile is a mile-long riverside walking path that winds through downtown Columbus. It’s well worth visiting at any time of the year.

But summer is a particularly fun time with activities and events through the mile’s nine parks! It’s the ideal place to experience events, like the Rhythm on the River Music Festival and other live musical performances.

Celebrate Your Irish Heritage at Dublin Irish Festival | Dublin


It’s estimated that almost 10% of Americans have Irish ancestry, but even if you’re not a part of the crowd, you can party at the annual Dublin Irish Festival.

This summer event in Dublin Ohio, features live musical entertainment, arts and crafts, great food and drinks, and tons of other activities.

Dublin Irish Festival - Dublin, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Dublin Irish Festival | photo via @orockphotos

Southwest Ohio Summer Things to Do

Enjoy Some Tunes at the Neighborhood Concert Series | Cincinnati


Summer is a great time to enjoy outdoor concerts and music in the park. In Cincinnati, you can find a variety of performances by the Cincinnati City Symphony throughout the summer. These tend to vary between parks, so you can always find one in your area!

Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati Ohio
Great American Ball Park | photo via @bulldawg_photography

Catch a Game at the Great American Ball Park | Cincinnati

Nothing says summer in Ohio like taking the family to the ballpark. Attending a Reds’ game is a great family-friendly summer thing to do in Cincinnati – add in some ballpark favorites like a hot dog, ice-cold beer, and a post-game fireworks show, and you’re in for a great time!

Grab an Oar at the Ohio River Paddlefest | Cincinnati


Going boating is a great summer activity, but nowhere does it quite like Cincinnati. The annual Ohio River Paddlefest takes place in early August. More than 2,000 people on average travel the 9 miles of river that passes through downtown Cincinnati using kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and other watercraft.

Get a Thrill at Kings Island | Mason

Ohio is home to many amazing amusement parks, and Kings Island in Mason is one of the best. The park covers 364 acres and features both a water park and amusement park rides. It has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Ohio since it opened in 1972.

Kings Island - Mason, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Kings Island | photo via @elijahs611

Explore Loveland Castle Museum | Loveland

Loveland Castle is a museum and replica of a medieval castle located in Central Ohio. This stunning castle was built in the 1920s by World War I veteran Harry D. Andrews. He loved all things related to medieval culture and worked on building the castle himself for more than 50 years.

Loveland Castle Museum - Loveland, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Loveland Castle Museum | photo via @primeview97_photography

Say “Prosit!” at the Germanfest Picnic | Dayton


German or not, everyone is welcome to raise a beer stein in celebration at Dayton’s annual Germanfest Picnic.

This event takes place in mid-August, offering visitors the chance to put on their lederhosen and enjoy authentic German beer, food, and music. There are many events throughout the festival, including a fashion show and fun-filled competitions.

While you’re not at the Germanfest Picnic, explore more Dayton Ohio things to do.

Enjoy and Learn at the Ohio Valley Indigenous Music Festival | Springboro


The Ohio Valley Indigenous Music Festival is an annual weekend in early June dedicated to Native American music, instruments, food, and knowledge.

Everyone is welcome to celebrate with performances of indigenous flute music, arts and crafts, and a variety of other vendors and activities. This is a great family-friendly event that everyone will enjoy!

Watch the Hot Air Balloon Glow | Washington Court House


Hot air balloons are cool enough on their own, but how about a nighttime hot air balloon launch? Every year in late June, visitors flock to Fayette County to enjoy wine tastings, live music, craft beer in a beer garden, and delicious food from local vendors.

But the event really takes off (pun intended) with the hot air balloon “glow” — a nighttime hot air balloon launch followed by a fireworks show.

For more views of color in the sky, attend other Ohio hot air balloon festivals throughout the summer months.

Things to Do in the Summer in Southeast Ohio

Raise a Glass at Brewed on the Bikeway | Athens

Do you enjoy a cold glass of craft beer? Are you a passionate cyclist? You won’t want to miss participating in Brewed on the Bikeway. This 21-mile bike trail in Southeast Ohio connects craft breweries between Athens and Nelsonville, offering cyclists the chance to taste delicious, one-of-a-kind beers at every stop.

Brewed on the Bikeway	- Athens, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Brewed on the Bikeway | photo via Bike Athens Ohio

Hike in Hocking Hills State Park | Logan

Hocking Hills State Park is one of the largest and most famous state parks in Ohio. Nestled at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains, the park draws tourists for its many miles of hiking trails, as well as stunning natural caverns, waterfalls, and wildlife.

The terrain varies in difficulty, which means there’s something for everyone at Hocking Hills. 

Chapel Cave (21 Horse Cave) - Hocking Hills, Ohio
Chapel Cave (21 Horse Cave) Hocking Hills State Park | photo via @hikinghockinghills

Explore Lake Hope State Park | MacArthur

Lake Hope State Park is another of Southeast Ohio’s many amazing nature reserves. This almost 3,000-acre park is just one part of Zaleski State Forest. Here, you’ll enjoy public campsites and a variety of outdoor activities — fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming in the lake.

Lake Hope State Park - MacArthur, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Lake Hope State Park | photo via @614explorer

Paddle Along at Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival | Marietta


Southeast Ohio is a haven of great places to explore nature, and they all come together in Marietta. So, it’s no surprise that this is where an event like Rivers, Trails & Ales takes place. This grassroots festival combines events centered on craft beer, hiking, and watersports in an all-in-one celebration.

There are plenty more things to do in Marietta Ohio as well.

Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival - Marietta, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival | photo via Rivers, Trails & Ales Festival

Dive Into the Ohio Caverns | West Liberty

There’s no end to the amazing natural offerings in Southeast Ohio. One of the best is the Ohio Caverns in West Liberty. Popularly termed “America’s Most Colorful Caverns,” they follow paths 2 miles into the Earth. You can tour these breathtaking caverns, which range in size from 30 to 103 feet tall.

If you like, you can explore a variety of other caverns and caves in Ohio.

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

Dance to Appalachian Music at Washboard Fest | Logan


You might have heard of the washboard as an instrument used in folk music, but did you know that Logan Ohio is the site of the last remaining washboard manufacturer?

Every June, downtown Logan becomes the site of an annual washboard music festival, complete with live musical performances, food vendors, arts and crafts, and tons of other family-friendly activities.

Washboard Fest - Logan, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
Washboard Fest | photo via Washboard Fest

Find Something Unique at the National Road Yard Sale | St. Clairsville


If you love yard sales, the National Road Yard Sale in Southeast Ohio might make you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.

The early June event kicks off in St. Clairsville and runs 824 miles up the Ohio border, with countless vendors, antique booths, farm booths, and so much more. There’s no telling what you’ll find! 

National Road Yard Sale - St. Clairsville, Ohio - Summer in Ohio
National Road Yard Sale | photo via Historic National Road Yard Sale – US 40 Sales

Finding Summer Things to Do in Ohio

Along Lake Erie, tourists are flocking to beaches. In Southeast Ohio, they’re hitting up mountain trails for hiking. In between are vineyards, family festivals, and county fairs galore. It’s impossible to be bored in Ohio in the summer — if you only know where to look!

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