Roadtrip from Columbus OH
July 1, 2008 7:25 AM   Subscribe

Roadtrip ideas from Columbus OH

I am planning to to go on a 2-3 day long roadtrip this summer. I moved to Columbus, OH recently and am not familiar with the surrounding region's attractions. So please tell me some interesting natural, cultural, artistic points of interests that's worth a visit on a roadtrip starting from Columbus.

posted by Pantalaimon to Travel & Transportation around Columbus, OH (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well, there are several cities you could do for that kind of a road trip: Detroit (the Tigers, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Henry Ford museum, Detroit Science Center, lots of great music, casinos), Cleveland (rock and roll hall of fame, Indians, other stuff?), Cincinnati (great zoo, contemporary art museum, museum center, newport aquarium, Kings Island amusement park, other stuff), Indianapolis, even Nashville, probably.

There's also Kings Island.

Lots of parks and camping -- here's a list.

Give me some more details about what you'd like to see, how far you'd like to drive, who's going with you?
posted by dpx.mfx at 7:38 AM on July 1, 2008

Cleavland would be a good trip. Do the Hall of Fame and then head over to Sandusky for Cedar Point.
posted by jaythebull at 7:40 AM on July 1, 2008

Mansfield, OH (~ 1 1/2 hour north); throughout the summer months they have tours of the Old Mansfield Reformatory (of Shawshank Redemption fame).

Malabar Farm State Park and Mohican State Park are both beautiful. Malabar Farm is the former estate of Louis Bromfield, and Bogie and Bacall got married there. Both of these parks are ~1 hour north of Columbus.
posted by xena at 7:41 AM on July 1, 2008

What are your interests? Cleveland has a decent indie rock scene and good restaurants, and the art museum recently reopened after being closed for renovations. And the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a very nice place to hike and camp.

Also Pittsburgh - it's probably around a 3 hour drive, and is worth a visit.
posted by boomchicka at 7:52 AM on July 1, 2008

Also (farther away, maybe for a longer trip) Chicago and Toronto. Chicago will be maybe a 6-hour drive, Toronto probably closer to 7, but both well worth the trip.
posted by boomchicka at 7:57 AM on July 1, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far. I am definitely interested in checking out the major cities. I am not a big fan of camping, though I do like to check out natural scenary. I will be going with a friend.
posted by Pantalaimon at 8:14 AM on July 1, 2008

Not exactly a roadtrip, but perhaps a 1/2 day trip:
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
I'm going up next week for it, and it looks like tons of fun.
posted by dicaxpuella at 8:24 AM on July 1, 2008

I can certainly vouch for Cincinnati. The zoo is world-class, the Museum Center has three museums in one, the Art Museum is quite lovely (and the parks surrounding it are great all on their own; there's a fantastic conservatory - Krohn - on the grounds), the Contemporary Art museum is top-notch, and the Aquarium (over the river in Newport, KY) is pretty cool (but rather pricey, I think). Just outside the city proper is Coney Island, which is kind of dumpy but really fun in a campy sort of way. We have lots of great restaurants, too.

Oh, on your way to Cincinnati from Columbus, you'd go past Ft. Ancient and Serpent Mound, both very cool. You can also go canoeing in several different places just outside the city. Email me if you'd like more information.
posted by cooker girl at 8:28 AM on July 1, 2008

Welcome to Columbus. If you don't like camping, but like nature, check out cabin rentals in Hocking Hills as well. There are many, many to choose from, and they range from the rustic to the fully stocked hot tub variety.

We tend to default to Pittsburgh for our weekend getaway trips. It's a short drive and there are enough things to do to make it worth it. (There are quite a few "What to do in Pittsburgh" AskMe questions.) We used to go to Pittsburgh for IKEA too, but there's now an IKEA in Cincinnati, which would be worth a trip if you are into that sort of thing.
posted by Otis at 8:44 AM on July 1, 2008

Nthing Newport Aquarium and Cincinnati Museum.

Also the Columbus Zoo recently purchased and renovated an adjoining water park (Zoombezi Bay) that's getting great reviews locally.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:31 AM on July 1, 2008

Detroit is very cool, but also very hard to get to know without a local guide. If you are in to American history, Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI would take up your entire trip, easily.

It would be an easy day trip to Lehman's Hardware, the Amish hardware store. Lots of non-powered equipment. Can get crowded and touristy, but they've got stuff you don't see every day.
posted by QIbHom at 9:51 AM on July 1, 2008

Seconding the Hocking Hills. It's beautiful there, not too far to drive (about an hour's drive south from Columbus) and the scenery is lovely. Some cute little towns - Logan, Nelsonville, Athens. Maybe not far enough for a 3-day roadtrip, but certainly worth a day or overnight trip.

I'd also suggest Louisville, which has a ton of things to do and enjoy, great food, good live music and Churchill Downs.
posted by essexjan at 10:24 AM on July 1, 2008

I grew up in Cleveland (and worked in Columbus for 6 years) so I am a bit biased. I think that trying to hit both Cleveland and Cincinnati in 2-3 days is a bit aggressive if you're starting from Columbus. It might be tight, but you could probably head north to Cleveland (with a pitstop in Mansfield to see the prison), zig west to Cedar Point (and/or do stuff by the Lake Erie islands), and then south-ish to Dayton (Wright Patterson AFB?) and then back east to Columbus.

If you're looking for artistic events, Cleveland is an easy call. Check out the schedule at Blossom, the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. (There are also other more pop-ish performances at that venue -- this year has 3 Doors Down, Dave Matthews, etc.). The Cleveland Museum of Art has a world-famous collection. The Rock Hall of Fame might or might not be your cup of tea, but it's a big draw.
posted by QuantumMeruit at 10:44 AM on July 1, 2008

You may find this google map I made a while ago to be of use. It outlines (roughly) the farthest you can get from Columbus in 5 and 7 hours driving, with some points of interest (mostly national parks) in the boundaries.

We had a lot of fun on a 3-day trip to Johnstown, PA, but we're geeks and enjoyed the flood history and old buildings (and beer). Cincinnati was another good weekend. Many nice museums there.

Though you didn't ask, on weekends, visiting the Metro parks is great if you like nature. I thought they were just regular swings-and-picnic table affairs for a while, and they're definitely not. Highbanks, Slate Run, and Chestnut Ridge have been favorite so far.
posted by fidelity at 11:26 AM on July 1, 2008

If you find yourself traveling north on I-71 between Columbus and Cleveland, you must stop at the GOASIS (exit 186 in Ashland). They have unusually large and clean bathrooms, a great selection of fresh foods, homemade candies, a full-service Starbucks and kiosks you can use to print directions or make mix cds. And in my experience, the gas prices are usually at or below average. Happy Roadtripping!
posted by shannonm at 7:51 PM on July 1, 2008

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