7 Fall Activities You Can Only Do in Ohio

Ohio isn’t often put in the same category when it comes to vacations as say Florida, New York, or California. But that’s a mistake, especially in the fall. Ohio has so many unique adventures that cannot be found anywhere else. The following are just a few suggestions.



Image courtesy of the National Parks Service.

The scenery in Ohio changes quite a bit in the fall. From the shores of Lake Erie in the North to the rolling mountains of Appalachia in the South, the changing of the leaves create a whirlwind of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. One of the best places to see these colors of fall is in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Cuyahoga Valley has some great hiking trails along rivers and waterfalls. However, if hiking isn’t your thing, the area has tours by train that will take you through many of the scenic locations throughout the park. You can read more here.

Want something more fast paced? Get thrills and chills at the Roller Coaster Capital.

Cedar Point - Halloweekends

Image courtesy of Cedar Point.

While the “Roller Coaster Capital” title is self-proclaimed, Cedar Point deserves it. The amusement park is built on a long, narrow peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio, on Lake Erie. Cedar Point has 17 roller coasters, including 6 of the top 50 coasters in the world, including many that have broken various world records. In the fall, the park puts on what they call “Halloweekends,” where the park transforms into a giant haunted theme park. There are thrills for all ages from Snoopy’s Great Pumpkin Fest for kids to many special events such as dinners that are Halloween themed. Learn more here.

Next is an old Ohio tradition – county fairs.

County Fair

Image courtesy of the Wayne County Fair

Ohio county fairs can start as early as June, but fall is when they really get good. By the fall many crops and animals have reached peak maturity. Food, rides, and shows are staples of a good county fair. You can also catch races, tractor pulls (ever seen a tractor powered by multiple jet engines?), and my favorite—demolition derbies.  Some demo derbies include vehicles that are not your traditional car…for example there are combine demo derbies at some county fairs.  There are still some fairs left this season. Check out what is coming up here.

What about a traditional American sport? Football!

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Image courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame during football season. While professional football was born in neighboring Pennsylvania, Ohio has hosted the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton since the 1960s. At the Hall of Fame you can learn about legendary players and coaches and NFL history, all while in the midst of the football season. Frequently on the weekends, the Hall of Fame will show films dedicated to particular individuals who have left a mark on pro football. You can learn more here.

Visit Amish Country at the height of the harvest.

Amish Country

Image courtesy of Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Ohio’s Amish Country is located in Holmes County and the surrounding counties (about halfway between Cleveland and Columbus). The Amish are a still-practicing traditional religious group that has turned away from many modern conveniences such as electricity and motorized cars. Farm work is done by hand with the help of horses. Non-Amish (also know as “Englishmen”) are frequently welcomed. You can buy Amish good, have traditional meals, and stay at quaint bed and breakfasts. You can find more details at the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau.

Next is a family friendly and educational event—Boo at the Zoo … Jack Hanna’s Zoo.

Jack Hanna

Image courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Jack Hanna is a world renowned zoo keeper who has multiple television shows that help to educate and advocate for animals. He is greatly credited with turning around the Columbus Zoo, making it one of the most respected zoos in the country. During October, the Columbus Zoo holds extended hours for “Boo at the Zoo” on the weekends. You can come see the park dressed up in Halloween fun. In the fall you can also visit “Jack Hanna’s Fall Fest” and have the opportunity to meet Jack Hanna himself! You can see all the events happening at the zoo’s website.

BB Riverboats

Image courtesy of BB Riverboats

Take a scenic tour of the Ohio River on a traditional riverboat. Back in the 1800s, the Ohio River was busy with riverboat traffic and that tradition lives on today on scenic tours. The Ohio River can be breathtaking in the fall months as the leaves change colors across the rolling hills of southern Ohio. There are many options for riverboat tours and many of them have fall themes. BB Riverboats is one of the larger operations based in Cincinnati. They even have a bourbon dinner cruise just for the fall.

Ohio is a very unique place in the fall. So much to see and do, whether it is a romantic getaway or a family vacation. Come, join the fun in Ohio!