40 WAYS TO “ROCK” THE SUMMER FUN IN OHIO
Not only is Ohio a great place to explore, it is also home to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame. Located in Downtown Cleveland, the Hall of Fame has massed quite a collection of rock history. Three floors of concert memorabilia, artists performance outfits, instruments, and more. Rock history that shaped a movement called “Rock and Roll”.
“Rock & Roll was born in Cleveland when Ohio native and
radio disc jockey Alan Freed coined the phrase in 1951.”
To celebrate Ohio’s place in “Rock” history, My Ohio Fun wants to add a little “Rock” to this year’s summer fun challenge. Below you will find our list of 40 things to do this summer, as well as a song by an artist/and or artists that has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We hope you will enjoy listening to many of these classics as you explore our favorite state, Ohio.
Let’s get started! Time to start downloading the tunes.
Since summer is almost here, our first song is by
The Beatles (1988) – Here Comes the Sun
Catch up on your Rock history at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.
Song: Rock and Roll Music – Chuck Berry (1986)
The groundbreaking for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame took place in 1995. Ever since that first shovel, the museum has been making Rock history come alive.
To learn more about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum visit their website.
Enjoy an Ohio small town festival.
Song: Small Town – John Mellencamp (2008)
If you enjoy festivals, Ohio is your stop. Every year thousands make their way to small towns, parks, church parking lots and fair grounds to enjoy one of the many Ohio festivals. Some of our favorite festivals include rib cook-offs, the hot air balloon festivals, the Duct Tape and Beach Glass Festival, the pumpkin festivals, Pierogi and Potato Festival, and how can you not enjoy an ice cream festival?
This year we are continuing to update our Ohio festival page as festival dates are published. For more information about upcoming events click here.
Visit and/or find all of our Ohio Lighthouses.
Song: I Can See For Miles – The Who (1990)
Shores & Island Lighthouse Tour
We love our Ohio lighthouses! Not every state can boast having lighthouses. Each of our lighthouses has a unique history as well as interesting architecture. Take a day and visit one of our beautiful Lake Erie lighthouses.
CLICK HERE for Ohio lighthouse information.
Make sure to also check out:
Maritime Museum of Sandusky
125 Meigs St., Sandusky, OHY 44870 | sanduskymaritime.org
Ashtabula Maritime and Surface Transportation Museum
1071 Walnut Blvd., Ashtabula, OH | ashtabulamaritime.org
Take in a musical, play or comedy act.
Song: Dancing Queen – ABBA (1976)
Opera Western Reserve – Youngstown (NE OH)
Play House Square – Cleveland (NE OH)
Rabbit Run Theater – Madison (NE OH)
The Ohio Light Opera – Wooster (NE OH)
The Youngstown Playhouse – Youngstown (NW OH)
Trumpet in the Land – New Philadelphia (NE OH)
Weathervane Community Playhouse – Akron (NE OH)
Visit one of our Lake Erie Islands.
Songs: The Tide is High – Blondie (2006)
CLICK HERE to learn more about things to do Put-in-Bay as well as transportation information.
Before you go you may want to download your Lake Erie Shores & Islands Travel Guide. You will also want to print off your Lake Erie Shores and Islands Shore Savings Card for even more area discounts.
Explore one of our Ohio wineries or breweries.
Song: I Heard It Through the Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye (1987)
“Did you know the Grand River Valley, located in northeast Ohio grows 50% of Ohio’s grapes and is home to over 2 dozen wineries? ” And did you know every year many of those same wineries harvest their grapes after they freeze to create a special ice wine?
To learn more about the Grand River Valley wineries visit Ohio’s Wine Country.
For more Ohio winery information visit DiscoverOhioWines.com
Get your wild side on. Take a trip to one of our local zoos.
Song: Walk on the Wild Side – Lou Reed
Akron Zoo – Akron (NE OH)
Cincinnati Zoo – Cincinnati (SW OH)
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Rainforest – Cleveland (NE OH)
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium – Columbus (Central OH)
Enjoy a day at an Ohio County Fair.
Song: Let The Good Times Roll – Ray Charles (1986)
Elephant ears. Cheese-on-a-stick. Cotton candy. Fresh squeezed lemonade. Fireworks. Horses. Concerts. Rides. Pie eating contests. What is not to love about a fair?
CLICK HERE for a list of Ohio fairs.
Take in the beauty of one of our local Arboretums or Botanical Gardens.
Song: Garden Party – Ricky Nelson (1987)
“MyOhioFun.com wants to help you find your “zen” this year. Nothing can help relax you more than a walk through nature. Whether you like to stroll through lush gardens or a simple trail, Ohio is full of amazing gardens to explore.”
Click here to view our list of beautiful Ohio gardens.
Cleveland Botanical Gardens -Cuyahoga County (NE OH)
Fellowship Riverside Gardens – Mahoning County (NE OH)
Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens (Central OH)
The Holden Arboretum – Lake County (NE OH)
Secrest Arboretum -Wayne County (NE OH)
Schedel Arboretum & Gardens – Ottawa County (NW OH)
Enjoy a morning hike in one of Ohio’s State or local Parks.
Song: Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens (2014)
If you love exploring the outdoors, Ohio can keep you busy. There are 75 state parks located around the state. They are open every day and they are always free. Hiking, fishing, camping, boating, swimming and more can be found available at the parks. Cabins, campsites, and even lodge accommodations are available at many of the parks.
Click here for a list of Ohio State Parks.
Go fishing on Lake Erie or at one of our Ohio State Parks
Song: The Dock at the Bay – Otis Redding (1989)
Not sure how to fish? Many of our local county parks offer fishing programs, as well as the State of Ohio Division of Wildlife. Make sure you purchase a fishing license. Click here for more information.
Make a run to Ohio Amish Country.
Song: If I Were A Carpenter – Bobby Darin (1990)
Fill up the gas tank, pack your cooler and go enjoy a day or more exploring the Amish backroads of Ohio.
Visit one of Ohio’s Presidential sites.
Song: America – Neil Diamond (2011)
Did you know Ohio is considered the “Mother of Presidents”? Eight US Presidents were from Ohio.
CLICK HERE for a list of Ohio Presidential sites.
Visit one of Ohio’s castles.
Song – Castles in the Sand – Stevie Wonder (1989)
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens – Akron (NE OHO)
Piatt Castles – West Liberty (NW OH)
The Historic Loveland Castle and Museum – Loveland (SW OH)
Visit one of Ohio’s air museums.
Song: Learning to Fly – Pink Floyd (1996)
Historical Aircraft Squadron – Carroll (Central OH)
International Women’s Air and Space Museum (NE OH)
Liberty Aviation Museum – Port Clinton (NW OH)
MAPS Air Museum – Canton (NE OH)
National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton (SW OH)
Visit an Ohio historical home.
Song: Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynrd (2006)
Arms Family Museum
648 Wick Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44502
Hower House Museum
The University of Akron
60 Fir Hill, Akron, OH
330.972.6909 | howerhouse.org
Malabar Farm State Park
4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas, OH 44843
419.892.2784 | malabarfarm.org
Reeves Victorian Mansion
325 E. Iron Ave., Dover, OH 44622
330.343.7040 | doverhistory.org
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
714 N. Portage Path, Akron, OH 44303
For a list of more historical places click here.
Take a train ride.
Song: Downtown Train – Rod Stewart (1994)
CLICK HERE for train information.
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Independence, OH- website
AC&J Scenic Line, Jefferson, OH – website or (Ashtabula County)
The Orrville Railroad, Orrville, OH – website (Wayne County)
(For the train lover their is The Ohio Railway Museum located in historic Worthington, OH. For more info website and Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum located in Bellevue, OH. For more info website.
Visit an area animal refuge like The Wilds.
Song: Wild One – Jerry Lee Lewis (1986)
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (encompasses more than 9000 acres along the shore of western Lake Erie) website
Noah’s Lost Ark, Berlin Center website (Mahoning County)
The Wilds, Cumberland website (Muskingum County)
Take a step back in time and learn about the Civil War and the Underground Railroad in Ohio.
Song: Brothers in Arms – Joan Baez (2017)
James A. Garfield National Historic Site– Mentor – (NE OH)
Hubbard House Underground Railroad Museum, Ashtabula (NE OH)
Hale Farm & Village Civil War Reenactment & Encampment – Bath – (NE OH)
The American Civil War Museum of Ohio, Tiffin (NW OH)
Johnson’s Island Confederate Officers Prison Cemetery, Marblehead, OH (NW OH)
Maritime Museum of Sandusky – Underground Railroad Exhibit
125 Meigs St., Sandusky, OHY 44870 | sanduskymaritime.org
Take a self-guided Underground Railroad Tour. A brochure that offers a narrative as you take the self-guided tour throughout Erie County. Brochures and maps can be obtained from the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Center -East. For more information click here.
Find the Milky Way.
Song: Rocket Man – Elton John (1994)
Observatory Park – Geauga Park District
10610 Clay Street, Montville Twp., OH
John Glenn Astronomy Park
20531 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
Or check out these Planetariums:
Hoover Price Planetarium
800 McKinley Monument, Canton, OH 44708
330-455-7043 | mckinleymuseum.org (Stark County)
Shafran Planetarium and Mueller Observatory at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History
1 Wade Oval Dr., Cleveland, OH 44106
216.231.4600 | cmnh.org (Cuyahoga County)
Lake Erie Nature & Science Center
28728 Wolf Rd., Bay Village, OH 44140
440.871.2900 | lensc.org (Cuyahoga County)
Ward Beecher Planetarium-Youngstown State University (Temporarily closed for repairs)
100 Lincoln Ave., Youngstown, OH
330-941-3616 | wbplanetarium.org (Mahoning County)
Visit one of Ohio’s waterfalls.
Song: Teardrops Fall Like Rain – The Crickets (2012)
Big and Little Lyons Falls – (Mohican State Park) (NE OH)
Blue Hen Falls – Cuyahoga Valley National Park (NE OH)
Brandywine Falls – Cuyahoga Valley National Park (NE OH)
Great Falls of Tinkers Creek – Bedford (Cleveland Metroparks) (NE OH)
Hayden Falls and Indian Run Falls- Dublin (Central OH)
Lanterman’s Mill & Falls – Youngstown (Mill Creek Metroparks) (NE OH)
Upper Falls, Lower Falls and Cedar Falls – Hocking Hills State Park (SW OH)
Enjoy a Cleveland Orchestra Concert at Blossom Music Center.
Song: Firth of Fifth – Genesis (2010)
Plan a summer evening under the stars at Blossom Music Center. Every summer the Cleveland Orchestra moves to it’s summer home. Pavilion and lawn tickets are available. Leave a little early and enjoy a picnic on the lawn. You are allowed to bring in a picnic to enjoy for Cleveland Orchestra concerts. Support your favorite restaurant before heading out. Bring your cooler, blanket and your favorite beverage. Refreshments are also available during the concert.
Click here for concert information.
Visit and snap a picture of all 19 covered bridges in Ashtabula County or visit one of the other covered bridges in Ohio.
Song: Seven Bridges Road – Eagles (1998)
Ashtabula County Bridge information click here.(NE OH)
New – Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Trail app. – click here to sign-up.
Covered Bridge at Lanterman’s Mill – Mill Creek Metroparks (NE OH)
Everett Covered Bridge – Cuyahoga Valley National Park (NE OH)
Fairfield County Covered Bridge information click here. (Central OH)
Experience the “Art” side of Ohio.
Song: Colour My World – Chicago (2016)
If you enjoy art, then plan a day or more exploring Ohio’s art side. Many famous paintings and pieces of art can be found on the walls in Ohio museums. Artist like Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Norman Rockwell, Robert Vonnoh, Winslow Homer, Degas, and more.
Akron Art Museum – Akron (NE OH)
Butler Institute of American Art – Youngstown (NE OH) – Free
Canton Museum of Art – Canton (NE OH)
Cincinnati Art Museum – Cincinnati (SW OH)
Cleveland Museum of Art – Cleveland (NE OH) – Free
Columbus Art Museum – Columbus (Central OH)
Massillon Museum of Art – Massillon (NE OH)
MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art – Cleveland (NE OH)
Toledo Art Museum – Toledo (NW OH)
Take a ride on a paddle or canal boat.
Song: Cruisin’ – Smokey Robinson (1987)
West End of Market St., Zanesville, OH 43701
740.455.8282 | website
St. Helena III Canal Boat
Canal Fulton Canalway Center
125 Tuscarawas Street, Canal Fulton, OH 44614
330-854-6835 | click here.
Valley Gem Sternwheeler
601 Front Street, Marietta, OH 45750
740-373-7862 | valleygemsternwheeler.com
Take yourself out to the ballpark.
Song: Start Me Up – The Rolling Stones (1989)
Cleveland Guardians, Cleveland
Akron Rubber Ducks, Akron
Cincinnati Reds – Cincinnati
Lake County Captains, Eastlake
Toledo Mud Hens, Toledo
Learn to paddle board, kayak or sail a boat.
Song: I Will Go Sailing No More – Randy Newman (2013)
Ohio State Parks – Paddle Ohio – click here.
Breakaway Excursions – website
Burning River Adventures – website
If your not quite ready to take on the river in a kayak, may we suggest a ride on the Nautica Queen? You can not beat a dinner cruise with a sunset.
Shop till you drop on Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale
Song: Key to the Highway – Eric Clapton (2000)
The 2023 BUY-WAY Yard Sale is being held August 10th-12th.
Gas up the car.
Clean out the trunk.
Put on your favorite walking shoes.
Make sure you have cash in your wallet.
Pack a water bottle.
Grab a friend.
For additional information website
Go on a ghost hunt.
Song – Welcome to My Nightmare – Alice Cooper (2011)
Hidden Marietta Tour – “Take local history, mix it with local tales of paranormal and you have the makings of a unique way to tour Marietta.” ~ D. Rock, MyOhioFun.com
CLICK HERE for ghostly things to do in Ohio.
Fly through tree tops on a Zip-Line.
Song: Fly Like an Eagle – Steve Miller (2017)
Go Ape Zip Line & Treetop Adventure – Strongsville (NE OH)
Lake Erie Canopy Tours – Geneva (NE OH)
Tree Frog Canopy Tours – Glenmont (NE OH)
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours – Rockbridge (SW OH)
Visit the Christmas Story House and Museum or Castle Noel
Song: Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney (1999)
Visit Castle Noel in Medina County where it is always a holiday. Take a picture next to Cousin Eddie’s trailer. Slide down the “Christmas Story” slide. Visit “Whoville.”
260 S. Court St., Medina, OH 44256 | castlenoel.com
A Christmas Story House
3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, OH 44109 | achristmasstoryhouse.com
Did you know My Ohio Fun can help plan a special “Finding Santa Claus” Group Tour?
Challenge yourself to eat three local foods.
Song: Burger Man – ZZ Top (2004)
- Eat a pierogi. For places to sample a pierogi click here.
- Enjoy a piece of Amish pie. For places serving the best pie click here.
- Have a piece of Lake Erie fish. Walleye or Perch.
- Master a “Slymans” corned beef sandwich.
- Enjoy a famous Barberton Chicken Dinner.
- Lobster Bisque from The Boardwalk on Put-in-Bay.
- Hot dog from Tony Packos
- Eat one of Swenson’s famous Galley Boy Burger.
- Enjoy a cannoli in Little Italy.
- Try a pazcki.
Be a kid again, take an old fashioned Carousel ride.
Song: Forever Young – Bob Dylan (1988)
Cleveland History Center – Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel – WRHS (NE OH)
Merry Go Round Museum – (NW OH)
Richland Carrousel Park – (NE OH)
Attend a rodeo at Buckin’ Ohio or other Ohio rodeo event.
Song: Ghost Riders In The Sky – Johnny Cash (1992)
Buckin’ Ohio – Medina (NE OH)
Fox Hollow Rodeo – Waynesville (SW OH)
See how many roller coasters you can ride in Ohio.
Song: Thriller – Michael Jackson (2001)
Cedar Point – (NE OH)
Kings Island – (SW OH)
Head to one of Ohio’s beaches and enjoy the day.
Song: Hot Fun In The Summertime – Sly and the Family Stone (1993)
Make sure you stay for the sunsets!
Edgewater Beach – Cleveland Metroparks (NE OH)
Headlands Beach State Park – (NE OH)
Huntington Reservation – Bay Village (NE OH)
Lake Erie Bluffs – Perry Township (NE OH)
Lake Metroparks Fairport Harbor Lake Front (NE OH)
Shores & Island Beaches – click here
Muskingum Watershed Beaches – click here
Explore one of Ohio’s many caves.
Song: Sixteen Tons – The Platters (1990)
CLICK HERE for a listing of Ohio caves.
See a movie the old fashioned way at a Drive-In Theater.
Song: Saturday Night at the Movies – The Drifters (1988)
Here are just a few Northern Ohio drive-in theaters.
Blue Sky Drive-In, Wadsworth, OH website (Medina County)
Aut-O-Rama Twin Drive-In, North Ridgeville, OH website (Lorain County)
Midway Twin Drive-In, Ravenna, OH website (Portage County)
Mayfield Road Drive-In, Chardon, OH website (Geauga County)
Go shopping in small town or “Main Street”.
Song: Material World – Madonna (2008)
Main Street Medina, Ohio – (My Ohio Fun visited Main Street Medina, read about it here.)
Main Street Millersburg – (My Ohio Fun visited Main Street Millersburg – read about it here.)
Main Street Wadsworth, Ohio
Main Street Wellington, Ohio
Main Street Wooster, Ohio (My Ohio Fun visited Main Street Wooster, read about it here.)
Pay respect to the ‘father of rock’, Alan Freed, by visiting his final resting place at Lake View Cemetery.
Song: Faithfully – Journey (2017)
Alan Freed’s Monument is in the shape of a jukebox with his image on one side and a jukebox on the other.
Song: Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley (1987)
Click here for information about Lake View Cemetery.
I hope you have the opportunity this summer to complete one or all forty of the items on this year’s Rockin’ Ohio list.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE YOUR ADVENTURES.
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MyOhioFun.com asks that if you share our list, to please give credit. All travel is at own risk. Please contact the venue for further information regarding the hours of operation, admission fees and age limits.
Article and photos, unless noted by: D. Rock, MyOhioFun.com
Diane Rock is the owner and editor of MyOhioFun.com, NorthernOhioTourism.com and the Tea Cup Rescue Society. She is an avid baker, gardener, Little Free Library owner, who loves to read and travel. She spends most of her days sharing her love of things to do in Ohio, as well as creating destinations and itineraries for group tours and individual travelers.
Editor’s note: Part of this story ran in 2021. The dates and additional events have been updated for the 2023 season. Any use of the above article or images without prior permission, will be in violation of copyright laws.
***Disclosure: My Ohio Fun receives compensation from advertising banners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***