When in Cleveland, Ohio, you can easily access art museums, family-friendly activities, and cultural events. However, sometimes you might crave a change of pace and scenery, so it only makes sense to escape to a new locale for a weekend or a few days. With a short drive from Cleveland, you can explore neighboring small towns or enjoy the fresh air while out hiking. After settling into your Cleveland vacation rental, venture out to the greater Ohio area or nearby states for an unforgettable trip. Here’s a look at the seven best weekend getaway spots from Cleveland.

mad river gorge trail
Source: Flickr/Kyle Hartshorn

1. Niagara Falls, New York

Hear the roar of the water as you finish your 3 1/2-hour drive to Niagara Falls, New York. The Maid of the Mist, a cruise boat, takes your family out to the base of the falls, where water splashes onto the decks and you have a stunning view. Board an elevator for the 175-foot drop to the base of the falls at Cave of the Winds. Once you leave the elevator, there are walkways and stairs to get a closer look at Bridal Veil Falls. From the top of the Niagara SkyWheel, your family gets views of both the New York and Canadian sides of the falls and the city below.

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2. Springfield, Ohio

Less than three hours brings you to the town of Springfield, Ohio, for a weekend of family fun. Mad River Gorge & Nature Preserve features some great cliffs of varying heights to spend an afternoon climbing. Built in 1908, the Westcott House is the only prairie-style home built and designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the state, and it’s open for tours to learn more about his philosophy in designing homes. Play a game of mini golf, pet the animals, hit a ball, and do so much more in an afternoon at Young’s Jersey Dairy. Don’t forget to get ice cream when you need a break from your fun.

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3. Rochester, New York

Head northeast on a four-hour drive for a vacation rental in Rochester, New York. Close to the shores of Lake Ontario, Seabreeze Amusement Park is a fun day for your family. The park includes coasters, kiddie rides, and thrill rides to please everyone in your family. Gasp in awe as you take an African safari in the Seneca Park Zoo. This charming zoo houses both native and exotic animals. Take a walk down Sesame Street at the Strong National Museum of Play. The museum includes a variety of interactive exhibits, including one for video games. Do a little stargazing at the planetarium at the Rochester Museum and Science Center.

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4. Parkersburg, West Virginia

Unwind and relax in the little town of Parkersburg, West Virginia, that sits on the banks of the Ohio River along the state’s border. Take a boat ride out to the small island in the center of the Ohio River to tour an 18th-century Palladian-style mansion at the Blennerhassett Island Historic State Park, and learn more about the local history. Pick up lunch from the Broadway Sandwich Shop for a picnic in the Parkersburg City Park. After dining al fresco, work off your meal with a stroll around the walking trails or go for a dip in the public pool. Find out more about the state’s history in the energy field at the Oil and Gas Museum.

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5. Charleston, West Virginia

Pull up to your vacation rental in West Virginia’s capital city, Charleston, after a little more than three-and-a-half-hour drive. Tour the West Virginia Capitol Building and grounds to see the tallest building in the state when you include the dome. After touring the capitol building, take a peek at the Governor’s Mansion that dates back to 1925. On the weekends, locals flock to Capitol Market, where you can pick up anything from fresh fruits to books and clothing. Get in a little retail therapy at the Charleston Town Center, a local mall with more than 100 stores.

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6. Gary, Indiana

In a little less than five hours, your family can spend a weekend away in Gary, Indiana, along the shores of Lake Michigan. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore offers 15 miles of hiking trails and beaches on the lake, where you can dig your toes in the sand, go ice fishing in the winter, and hike on the trails. Tour the birthplace of one of the best-known singers, Michael Jackson, and learn more about his life and career at the Birthplace of Michael Jackson Museum. In the early evening, visit Marquette Park to see the unique statues and sculptures and walk along the tree-lined paths.

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7. Kalamazoo, Michigan

Drive a little over four hours to reach a weekend of family fun in Kalamazoo, Michigan. As a college town, Kalamazoo has a trendy downtown area so you can do a little shopping or to wander around in the evenings. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum covers history, science, and technology, but children love The Mystery of the Mummy exhibit with its exotic artifacts. Tour the VerHage Fruit Farm and Cider Mill to try your hand at picking apples and to watch a cider-making demonstration. Before leaving, grab a dozen from the doughnut shop and a bottle of cider from the country store to take back to your vacation rental.

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