While summer will always be the ultimate family vacation season, there’s no reason to stay home all winter. There are many fun things to do in Ohio in the winter, and getting away for a quick weekend adventure helps stave off cabin fever. Planning and looking forward to a trip helps the months of winter fly by! Check out these winter family getaways in Ohio and start planning your winter retreat!
Fun Winter Family Getaways In Ohio
Being cooped up in the house all winter can make you go a little stir crazy. Why not embrace the winter season and make some memories with your family?! These fun winter family getaways in Ohio are great for a short day trip or an extended weekend escape.
Ohio Indoor Waterparks
When it comes to awesome Midwest winter family getaways, indoor water parks are the best! Running around in bathing suits, enjoy waterslides and lazy rivers, almost make you feel like you’re on a tropical vacation. Ohio has several great indoor waterparks to choose from, so you have plenty of opportunities for a fun family weekend this winter.
- Kalahari Resorts Sandusky is the Midwest’s largest indoor waterpark and there’s so much more than a waterpark here. They have a wide range of accommodation and dining choices, plus a spa, movie theater, game room, bowling, mini-golf, laser tag, and more.
- Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark Sandusky is another Sandusky destination for a fun family winter weekend. Overnight lodging, on-site dining, an arcade, and a Build-A-Bear workshop are just a few of the fun things to do at Great Wolf Lodge Sandusky.
- Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark Mason is the best spot for families in Southern Ohio looking for a winter weekend getaway. They have the same great activities as the Sandusky location, with the convenience of Cincinnati nearby!
Ohio State Park Lodges & Cabins
If you’re looking for fun family getaways in Ohio where you can spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, you have to check out the Ohio State Park Lodges! It might be too cold for camping, but winter is the perfect time to enjoy Ohio’s state parks. And these coveted lodging options are hard to get in the summer; reservations may be a little bit easier to get in the winter. These state park lodges and cabins are the perfect winter family getaways in Ohio.
There are eight Great Ohio Lodges located in Ohio State Parks. These aren’t your typical rustic state park accommodations; they are modern facilities with lots of amenities like swimming pools, golf courses, and marinas. No matter what part of Ohio you live in, there’s a Great Ohio Lodge near you!
- Burr Oak
- Deer Creek
- Hueston Woods
- Maumee Bay
- Mohican Lodge
- Punderson Manor
- Salt Fork Lodge
If you prefer something a little cozier, there are several State Park cabins in Ohio as well. These cabins make for great budget-friendly winter family getaways in Ohio. With a cabin, you’ll have the great outdoors at your doorstep, and a chance to spend a cozy family weekend together. After a day of hiking, spend the evening playing board games, reading books, or watching movies. Since winter is the off-season, you can get some great deals at these state park cabins
- Buck Creek State Park
- Cowan Lake State Park
- Dillon State Park
- Hocking Hills State Park
- Lake Hope State Park
- Malabar Farm State Park
- Mohican State Park
- Pike Lake State Park
- Pymatuning State Park
- North Bass Island
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Hocking Hills Region
Hocking Hills is one of the most beautiful areas of Ohio in any season. With rolling hills, rock formations, waterfalls, and miles of hiking trails, it’s one of the best destinations for a weekend getaway in Ohio. Of course, hiking to frozen waterfalls is a magical experience that is highly recommended; just have good traction on your shoes or even some added traction like Yak-Trax as it can get slippery!
Besides the state park cabins, there are tons of cute lodges and bed-and-breakfasts throughout the region. You can even rent a treehouse or a train caboose for your Hocking Hills accommodation. There’s also plenty of shopping and dining, but some quirky family activities include the Pencil Sharpener Museum and the Columbus Washboard Company Museum. Teach your kids about the “olden days” at these fun museums. There’s plenty of fun Hocking Hills winter activities for the entire family!
Hocking Hills Winter Hike
Cleveland Family Winter Weekend Getaway
For families in northeast Ohio, Cleveland is a great choice for a weekend family getaway. Lake Erie might look a little different in winter, but that’s all the more reason to visit Cleveland during the different seasons. A few of the best things to do in Cleveland in winter include:
- Visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park; Ohio’s only National Park
- Head to Strongsville for a toboggan ride at the Chalet
- Take a hike on snowshoes at North Chagrin Reservation
- Go snow tubing at Polar Blast in Northfield, near Cuyahoga
- Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- Head to Cleveland Public Square to see outdoor art installations or go ice skating at the outdoor rink (skating rink currently closed due to COVID)
- Find a Cleveland script sign (there are six scattered around the city!) for a fun family photo
- Shop at the West Side Market, Cleveland’s oldest indoor/outdoor market
- Visit the Cleveland Botanical Garden
Toledo Family Winter Weekend Getaway
For families in northwest Ohio, southern Michigan, and eastern Indiana, Toledo is a great choice for a winter family weekend getaway. Toledo has always been at the heart of America’s industrial cities and has undergone renovation and revitalization in recent years. Outdoors or inside, these are a few of the best Toledo attractions:
- Toledo Museum of Art
- The Cannaley Treehouse Village of Metroparks Toledo
- The Toledo Zoo and Aquarium
- Explore Toledo’s heritage at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in the Toledo Maritime Center
- Visit Toledo Metroparks for all kinds of outdoor adventure, including ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Columbus Family Winter Weekend Getaway
Ohio’s capital city is centrally located, so no matter where you live in Ohio, you’re within “weekend getaway distance” of Columbus. Whether you prefer family weekend getaways with a lot of art, culture, or outdoor adventure, there’s something for your family in Columbus.
- The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
- Visit the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
- The Columbus Museum of Art
- Visit the headquarters of the Ohio History Connection at the Ohio History Center
- Legoland Discovery Center
- Visit Easton Town Center for shopping, dining, hotels, and entertainment
- Explore the unique neighborhoods of Columbus, like Short North and the German Village
- Visit North Market, another historic Ohio public market
- Visit COSI, the Center of Science & Industry (currently closed due to COVID)
- Get outside at a number of Franklin County Metro Parks
Dayton Family Winter Weekend Getaway
Dayton is another fun Ohio weekend destination for families, especially if you have kids (or adults!) that are into aviation. Once nicknamed “the Gem City” for its beauty and upkeep, a weekend getaway to Dayton just might surprise you. A few of the best Dayton attractions include:
- Visit the Wright Brothers National Museum
- Tour the National Museum of the United States Air Force
- Learn about science at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery
- Visit the Dayton Art Institute (currently closed due to COVID)
- Visit historic buildings and exhibits at Carillon Historical Park
- Enjoy one of many parks in the Five Rivers Metro Parks
Cincinnati Family Winter Weekend Getaway
If you live in Southwest Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky, Cincinnati is the best place for Midwest winter family getaways. The great Cincinnati area has so many fun things to do for families; one weekend will never be enough to see it all. A few of the best winter things to do in Cincinnati include:
- Go for a walk along the river; check out all of the cool bridges, crisscrossing from Ohio to Kentucky and back, and look for interesting public art along the way. Don’t miss Smale Riverfront Park!
- Study the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo and Aquarium or visit Newport Aquarium across the river
- Support local businesses by shopping at Findlay Market, Ohio’s oldest public market
- Visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
- Check out the American Sign Museum
- Go ice skating at Fountain Square
- Admire the Art Deck Union Terminal before heading inside to the Cincinnati Museum Center
American Sign Museum
Butler County Family Winter Weekend Getaway
Just outside Cincinnati, Butler County offers an entirely different kind of weekend getaway for families. As opposed to the “big city” attractions of Cincinnati, a visit to Butler County is all about small-town charm and quintessential Midwest towns, like Hamilton. With nine unique towns in Butler County, there are plenty of fun things for the whole family to enjoy.
- Eat your way along the Butler County Donut Trail
- See the world’s largest indoor train at EnterTRAINment Junction
- Burn off the donuts at Get Air Trampoline Park
- Shop for unique items at Jungle Jim’s
- Check out the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park
- Visit the WEB Extreme Entertainment for go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, bowling, and more
There’s plenty of fun winter activities that will make great winter family getaways in Ohio! It’s time to make some memories with your family…are you ready to plan your winter family weekend getaway in Ohio?