Cheapskate’s Guide to Ohio

This post is by Anna’s good friend, Shayla Pauley.

cheapskates ohio travel guide

Note: I’m a non-native Ohioan that moved here with my husband (who is a native). I’m learning about Ohio and exploring all it has to offer. I’m smitten with my new home state and think a lot of people would be surprised by how much it has to offer! Even if you are new or visiting the area, you can still have fun and explore the area while saving money. Like my Salt Lake City and New York, NY guides, here is a quick and frugal Ohio travel guide for cheapskates.

A lot of the places I know are on the west side of Cleveland in North East Ohio with the exception of a few state parks and other attractions (islands, etc). I find places by the suggestion of my family and friends sharing their favorites and by my own research.

The east side is beautiful and has a ton to offer as well, I just am not familiar with it (yet!). Same goes for the rest of the state. Ohio has so much to explore and offer that you can’t fit in one post. I’m still trying to explore all the places I can! I have only lived here 2 years and know there is so much more to discover.  

I have not been to every place on my list but most of them I have. Some are on my upcoming “must-see” because I have been told such great things and have to check them out for myself! 

Please comment on your favorite places and add to the list, I am always looking for new places to explore and take my visitors too. Plus, I’m sure I have forgotten some gems in this Ohio travel guide. As I said there is too much goodness for one post! 

Downtown Cleveland and surrounding areas:

  • The Flats in Cleveland has restaurants and bars on the water and there is a water taxi that can take you across to a bar on the other side. 
  • Lakewood, Ohio City and Tremont have some great unique restaurants and shops. 
  • Westside Market. An over 100 year old indoor market with local cuisine, pastries, fruit and veggies and more. A gem to see.
  • Great Lake Brewery Co. is right across from Westside Market and Market Garden Brewery is too.
  • Rock n roll hall of fame
  • East 4th street. Restaurants and bars and shops.
  • The Arcade, downtown landmark and icon.
  • Tower City.
  • University Circle (check out the great museums)
  • The Cleveland Cultural Gardens
  • Sports lovers have a lot of places to check out just depending on their interests. Arenas, games, museums, etc.
  • Cleveland Orchestra is amazing for a night out and is near University Circle.
  • Playhouse Square for musicals and plays (check out the giant chandelier out front)
  • Cleveland Zoo is a beautiful zoo and nicely shaded. 

Metro parks, suburban towns (again mostly westside bc that’s all I know so far…), parks and forests:

– Cuyahoga national forest has water falls and hikes for all.  (Brandywine falls, Blue Hen Falls and more. See their website for trails)

– Hocking Hills (ashes cave & old man’s cave are listed a lot as must see’s, and they’re on my list to discover) 

– The towpath trail in Cuyahoga. You can ride your bike one way and then catch a train ride back the other way for a small fee. 

– David fortier Park in Olmsted falls (Bonus, the downtown Olmsted Falls has a lovely small town feel with a covered bridge and beautiful historic buildings turned into modern day shops including a great ice cream shop, Falls Ice Cream -see favorite ice cream shops below)

-Coe Lake in Berea. Great kids playground plus a lake to paddle board or kayak in. A beautiful pavilion to have a picnic or party. Berea has a cute town center for dinner or dessert as well. 

-Lake Metro parks (east side) 

– Cleveland metro parks. Look up the one closest to where you are. They all offer natural beauty and uniqueness.  Rocky river reservation and Whipps’s ledges are a couple I like but there are SO MANY I have not explored yet! 

-Chagrin Falls (east side)

– Avon (west side. quaint downtown shops and restaurants) 

– Medina has a cute downtown with a historic square and if you have your furry friend along stop at Caroline Musgrave-Ludwig Park in Medina and check out the great open space dog park. My Dog loves it! 

-Hudson (quaint town center)


Lake Erie:

[Growing up in a landlocked state (Kansas) I can honestly say Lake Erie might be my favorite thing about Ohio, which is saying a lot because I love all Ohio has to offer!] 

-Cedar point amusement park and cedar point shores waterpark 

-The Islands

-Huntington Beach in Bay village 

– Mentor Headlands Beach (east of cleveland) (huge sand beach)

-Edgewater beach and whiskey island

Just a few Ohio travel guide addenda:

– The fall is beautiful in Ohio, but All 4 seasons here offer beauty in their own way. For Travel purposes involving adventure or outdoor play, I would say Summer and Fall are the way to go.

-Interesting and unexpected find; Ohio has great ice cream. Just a couple we frequent are

  • Mitchell’s ice cream 
  • Honey hut ice cream inside the metro parks
  • Falls ice cream

**I know I have left out so many great places in this Ohio travel guide, so add them in the comments. I’d love to expand my list!! 


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