Located in the Great Lakes Region and along the southern shore of Lake Erie, Ohio has a lot to offer visitors looking for a relaxing vacation destination. Choose a lakefront cottage or cabin to spend your days soaking up the sun, fishing for your dinner, and kayaking. If you prefer a weekend away in a big city atmosphere, Ohio has you covered with plenty of urban attractions. Find your new home away from home by booking a stay at one of many Ohio vacation rentals. To get you started, here’s a peek at the eight best weekend getaway spots in Ohio.

1. Sandusky

the maverick roller coaster at cedar point
Source: Flickr/Craig Lloyd

Enjoy the summer sunshine with a vacation rental in Sandusky on the shores of Lake Erie. Bring your own boat to enjoy a day of fishing, or book a charter with Badman Charters. Kids love spending the day at the Cedar Point Amusement Park with its thrilling roller coasters and more sedate kiddie rides. You can even grab some of your favorite fair foods, such as corn dogs and pretzels, while in the park. If you want to cool off in the summer heat, check out the Castaway Bay or Soak City water parks to let the kids race down the slides while you relax on the lazy river.

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2. Mansfield

ohio state reformatory
Source: Flickr/Nicolas Henderson

Mansfield might be a small town, but it offers a plethora of activities for everyone in your family. Your kids will clamor to be the first ones in line for a tour of the Jones Potato Chip Factory, and don’t forget to pick up some chips in the gift shop to take back to your vacation rental. Another kid favorite is the Arts and Science Discovery Center at Richland Academy with its hands-on activities. Spend some time appreciating the detailing and hard work that goes into creating a carousel pony at the Carousel Center. Ghost hunters flock to the Ohio State Mansfield Reformatory for a tour. This formidable building is believed to be haunted. In the evenings, take the family for a quick bite at Doc’s Deli or enjoy a more leisurely meal at Rocky’s Pub.

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3. Cincinnati

riverfront cityscape

Hit the big city with a weekend away in Cincinnati. The kids can spend an afternoon learning about science and the natural world with a visit to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum or opt to get wild at the Cincinnati Zoo. If the weather is good, the entire family can test their courage with the rides at the Coney Island Amusement Park. Don’t forget the cultural aspects of the city. Score tickets for a performance at the Cincinnati Music Hall, or gaze at the artwork at the Cincinnati Art Museum with its excellent permanent collection. Spend an afternoon shopping at the Findlay Market with its selection of fresh meats and produce.

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4. Boston Village

boston mills historic district
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

When traveling with older family members or ghost lovers, check out a vacation rental in Boston Village. Some locals refer to the nearby Boston Mills area as Hell Town. This area was once filled with thriving mill towns and big industry. When the area began to decline, the government created the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This park includes forested areas and the remains of homes that families were forced to leave when the park was created. It has a mysterious feel, and there are rumors of ghosts. Spend a weekend hiking in the park and exploring the remaining structures.

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5. Toledo

lukas county courthouse

Toledo is a major city sitting on the shores of Lake Erie. Over the weekend, book tickets and attend a performance of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra. Kids enjoy a day spent at the Toledo Zoo with a chance to see the behind-the-scenes tour. Visit the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse or arrive in time for the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Festival, featuring fun activities for the entire family. History lovers can take a tour of Fort Meigs. This fort saw action during the War of 1812. Learn more about the local area at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, and climb aboard one of the freighters that traverse Lake Erie.

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6. Yellow Springs

clifton mill waterfalls
Source: Flickr/J. Todd Poling

Explore the outdoors with a weekend in Yellow Springs, which sits within easy driving distance of the Glen Helen Nature Reserve. This reserve is a haven for hiking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. Take a tour of the Yellow Springs Brewery and sample some suds. For families with children, Young’s Jersey Dairy is the must-see place in the area. The dairy offers a variety of family-friendly fun, and you can fill up on the freshly made ice cream and cheeses. Don’t forget to pick up some to take back to your vacation rental.

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7. Cleveland

cleveland cityscape

You have a weekend of non-stop fun ahead of you in Cleveland. Start your visit outright with a tour of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to learn more about music legends, such as Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Janis Joplin. The Cleveland Museum of Art offers a diverse collection of artwork in various mediums that cover more than 1,000 years. Film buffs enjoy touring the A Christmas Story House. It’s the actual house used in the cult classic movie, “A Christmas Story.” Open seasonally, the Memphis Kiddie Park offers roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, mini golf, and a plethora of kiddie rides to thrill everyone in your family.

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8. Columbus

columbus ohio

As the capital city of Ohio, Columbus provides vacation rentals in the heart of town or in one of the smaller neighborhoods, each with its own flair. If you arrive in one of the warmer months, stop by the Franklin Parker Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to enjoy the sunny weather and flowers, plants, and trees in full bloom. Take the kids to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, where they can hop along with the kangaroos or squeal in delight or fright in the reptile house. Get excited about science with hands-on activities at COSI Columbus and stay for the show at the planetarium.

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