From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
You’ll find the beautiful city of Toledo located at the western tip of Lake Erie in Ohio. It’s known as “The Glass Capital of the World,” as the region has a long history of innovation in many aspects of the glass industry. At the Toledo Museum of Art, you can visit the Glass Pavilion, which showcases thousands of impressive glass works.
Toledo is also home to a number of other fascinating attractions, including a popular Zoo and Aquarium, the Imagination Station, which is a children's science museum with hands-on exhibits, and several state parks.
Even those who have lived in the city for a decade would agree they haven’t experienced all that Toledo has to offer, while for those new to the region – well, they’ve got a lot to look forward to as well.
Ready to discover the best of Toledo, Ohio? Let’s get started!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Toledo isn’t all hustle and bustle! There are also plenty of state parks and national parks both within and surrounding the area, all of which provide a tranquil escape for those looking to surround themselves by nature.
You’ll find the beautiful Maumee Bay State Park just a 20-minute drive from the Toledo city center. It offers a unique natural environment, as well as numerous state-of-the-art facilities, including a lodge, cottages, golf course, and more. The park is perched on the shores of Lake Erie, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world. There are plenty of activities to be enjoyed here, including fishing, swimming, boating, skiing, hunting, and more.
Less than a 30-minute drive over the Michigan border will bring you to the William C. Sterling State Park. It’s another state park overlooking the expansive Lake Erie and offers recreational opportunities such as over one mile of beach front, a public boat launch, shore fishing on Lake Erie and the fishing lagoons; lakefront camping, a picnic area, wildlife viewing, and six miles of trails for cross country skiing and hiking.
With its scenic Lake Erie shoreline location, East Harbor State Park has a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation, whether it be boating, fishing, swimming, picnicking or camping. It is one of northern Ohio's most popular vacation spots and has been open to the community since 1947. It’s also a favorite among wildlife lovers, with abundant opportunities to spot waterfowl, shorebirds and other species of wildlife in the park's scenic wetlands.
You’ll find the South Bass Island State Park on, you guessed it, South Bass Island, which is just over a 1.5-hour journey from the city. After a short drive and an even shorter ferry trip, you’ll arrive at the scenic, lake-surrounded park. It’s the perfect place to enjoy fishing, swimming, picnicking, ice skating, ice fishing, and more.
When it comes to state parks near Toledo, it just doesn’t get any closer than Audubon Islands State Nature Preserve; in fact, it’s basically in your backyard! The preserve is comprised of Grape and Ewing islands and is the only riverine island community in the Ohio state nature preserve system. Keep in mind that the area is accessible only by private watercraft. There is a small unimproved boat landing, but no other facilities (including restrooms) are present. It is, however, a popular place for kayaking and bird watching.
Still need to get your nature fix? If you’re craving seeing even more of the beautiful scenery that surrounds Toledo, then there are also plenty of hiking and walking trails for you and your family to enjoy.
The Wildwood Metropark Trail is popular among residents and visitors alike, as it features a picturesque river and allows access to a number of other recreational activities throughout the year. It also contains a boardwalk, bridges, nature viewing center, and more, and is best used from March until October. It’s a loop trail that’s approximately 4.7 kilometers in length.
The Outer Park trail is also a 5.8 kilometer lightly trafficked loop trail, however it provides stunning views of colorful wildflowers, as well as slightly more challenging inclines and declines. It’s good for all skill levels and is also best used from March until October, when the weather is at it most favorable. For a hike that’s in a metropark, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
If you find yourself in or near Maumee Bay State Park, then you really must take the time to enjoy this 3.5 kilometer moderately trafficked loop trail. It features stunning views of the lake and is especially popular among bird watchers, thanks to the bounty of bird species that call it home. The trail is great for all skill levels, as it is entirely on boardwalk.
Toledo is home to a bustling and trendy dining scene, so there’s sure to be a restaurant, café, or diner to satisfy your cravings. If you’ve worked up an appetite after a long hike, or simply feel like treating yourself to a delicacy, then you’re in luck. Here are our top restaurant recommendations!
At Real Seafood Company in Toledo, you can enjoy fresh oysters, lobster, shrimp, and the authentic flavors of seasonal and local produce. Of course, there are also non-seafood items on the menu, including pasta, chicken, steak, soup, and salads. You can sit back, enjoy your meal, and take in the gorgeous river views that this restaurant has to offer.
With its unique and exotic menu, The Beirut is exceptionally popular within the city. They’ve been serving the community their ethnic inspired delights since 1977 and are showing no signs of slowing down. Among the menu of delicious, home cooked Lebanese food, you’ll find favorites such as Fatoosh, Grape Leaves, Raw Kibbi, Hommos, Tabbouli, and handmade pizza. Don’t miss it!
Schmucker's Restaurant has been a Toledo dining tradition since 1948. They’re well-known for offerings such as Grandma's Swiss Steak, Chicken over Biscuits, Meatloaf, Pork Chops, and Fried Chicken – not to mention their famous pies, which are available in over 20 varieties, including the much-loved Chocolate Peanut Butter.
Hordes of people flock to Ye Olde Durty Bird, not just for its delicious cuisine and mouth-watering cocktails, but for the venue’s live music too. Among the restaurant’s menu, you’ll find burgers and sandwiches, as well as steaks, chicken, pasta, salads, a kid’s menu, and of course, deserts. We hear the Deluxe Durty Burger is a favorite for many!
Known as “Toledo’s best kept secret”, Rosie’s Italian Grill has been serving the local community authentic Italian cuisine for over 30 years now. Here, you’ll find not just an array of traditional Italian dishes, but also fresh catch seafood from the Florida Keys, Chicago Stockyard steaks, lamb chops, and more. Don’t miss their special events, such as live music, as well as their dessert. We’ve been told the raspberry cheesecake is not to be missed!
After feasting and enjoying all that the hiking trails and state parks have to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Toledo’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking to entertain some little ones? Or perhaps you’ve got some teenagers in-tow who are starting to get a little bored? Either way, these attractions will entertain both children, teens, and adults alike!
With hundreds of interactive exhibits, activities and demonstrations that teach vital science concepts, what’s not to love about the Imagination Station Toledo? With the aim of shaping future scientists and innovators, the Station is a much-loved attraction among families. Both parents and children are sure to have a blast while learning the tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century.
Everyone loves a day out at the zoo or aquarium, but when you combine the two together into one attraction, the whole family is sure to be entertained and intrigued for hours and hours on end! The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium is home to more than 10,000 individual animals representing over 720 species. There are also a wide variety of events, activities, and programs, so there’s certainly something for everyone!
What should you do in Toledo once the sun goes down? We’re glad you asked! Here are our suggested night-time attractions.
Fancy trying your luck at the local casino? Hollywood Casino Toledo is home to a number of table games and slots, but if gambling isn’t your thing, then that’s ok too – the attraction is also known for its live entertainment, high-quality restaurants, and A-grade customer service. It’s the perfect place to go for a fun night out.
There is no shortage of live shows in Toledo, with the Stranahan Theater and Great Hall hosting numerous live performances and entertainment year-round. From comedy acts and musical dramas, to those more suited to kids – there’s sure to be something here that takes your fancy!
What can you do in or around Toledo that won’t cost anything more than a few dollars? The answer: plenty! Here are just two of our favorite attractions within the area that can be enjoyed on the cheap.
For no more than $10 per adult, you can visit the Fort Meigs Historic Site, which was the site of Ohio’s War of 1812. Take part in tea and historic crafts, a blacksmithing 101 workshop, an after dark lantern tour, hearthside cooking class, war reenactments, and so much more. It’s an insightful and educational day out for all.
No time spent in Toledo is complete without a visit to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. The displays will educate you about the importance of the Great Lakes to our national story, including through exhibits, events, tours, talks, and so much more. You can even set foot on historic boats and learn about their fascinating and important past.
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Toledo? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in Toledo that won’t cost you a cent.
The Toledo Museum of Art's purpose is art education and it’s been serving the local community since its founding in 1901. Through innovative programs, exhibits, and events, the museum strives to integrate art into the lives of as many people as possible. You can schedule a self-guided or guided tour, check out the on-site dining options, or even visit the museum gift store.
Self-described as “a museum for plants”, the Toledo Botanical Garden is home to more than 60 acres of display gardens and relevant plant collections. It’s a beautiful and tranquil place to spend an afternoon, so why not pack a picnic lunch and take the time to enjoy your stunning surroundings? Whether you love live music performances, hands-on plant exploration, or original sculptures – there’s something to please everyone here.
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Toledo has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
At Massage Green Spa, you’ll get treated like royalty – all on an affordable budget, of course. They offer full-body massage in several modalities, as well as spa facials and infrared saunas, plus you can even build a package of a combination of treatments to meet your specific needs. With licensed massage therapists and skin care technicians, you can’t go wrong.
Beauty Bar explains that they’re more than just a salon. You see, they’re a circle of artists that take pride in the creative process of hair, nails, massage, and skincare. Enjoy a refreshing facial suited to your skin type, whether dry, oily, sensitive, mature, or more. Additionally, we hear their beauty bar power peels and body bliss treatment are highly recommended!
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Toledo is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
Fitness 19 provides a safe, quality environment for you and your whole family to help you achieve your fitness goals. Whether you’re interested in personal training or classes such as yoga, Pilates, aerobics, kickboxing, Zumba, HIIT, total body toning, or more, you’re sure to find it here. You can even get a free guest pass!
If you’re purely after a place specializing in all things yoga, then Toledo Yoga is the place for you. They’re a Baptiste Yoga Affiliate Studio, which supports you to raise your vitality and physical power, and will empower you to create accelerated results in your overall body strength and confidence. Give it a try!
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend decades within Toledo without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Less than a 2-hour drive from Toledo is Cleveland, a major city within Ohio located on the southern shore of Lake Erie. It’s known for its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as well as other fascinating attractions such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, West Side Market, and Rocky River Reservation. The city is also just a short drive from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a must-visit for any outdoor enthusiast!
Columbus is another major city located within a short drive from Toledo and it’s also the capital of the state. As you can imagine, there are plenty of things to do here. So many, in fact, that you may just want to stay for a weekend or a few days! It’s home to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Museum of Art, and Center of Science & Industry, not to mention endless beautiful and natural attractions, such as the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Highbanks Metro Park, Inniswood Metro Gardens, Columbus Park of Roses, and so much more.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Toledo that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Toledo? Send them our way to email@example.com or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.