Cleveland is the perfect jumping off place for a myriad of interesting and affordable day trips. In less than two hours, you can be frolicking on a Lake Erie Island or getting up close with wild animals at America’s favorite zoo. If you prefer indoor activities, three excellent museums will certainly amaze you – one in Toledo, one in Canton and the other in Dover. With each of our five recommendations, we’ll also throw in a lunch suggestion. You’ve gotta eat – no matter how much fun you’re having.
Toledo Zoo
2 Hippo Way
Toledo, OH 43614
(419) 385-4040

Everyone from seniors to the youngest of the young will surely find something to delight in at the Toledo Zoo.  Built in 1900, this zoo repeatedly wins top honors for being one of, if not, the best zoo’s in the United States. Included with your paid admission, in addition to seeing all the animals, you’ll also be allowed admission to their aquarium. Hottest new attraction at the zoo in this writer’s opinion is their baby polar bear cub born this past December. For lunch, head over to Greg’s Grill on Sylvania Avenue and try their truffle fries.

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell

Pro Football Hall Of Fame 
2121 George Halas Drive N.W.
Canton, OH 44708
(330) 456-8207

Whether you obsess over your fantasy football team, or you just enjoy a high school night under the lights, you’ll find plenty of interesting football related exhibits at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In addition to the many fine exhibits, construction is underway for the adjacent outside stadium, where you can catch some of the area’s most interesting games. Canton has always been a power house for high school football teams and continues today to turn out some of the best athletes around. For lunch or dinner, head over to Belden Village Mall and enjoy a farm-to-table feast at The Rail, home of fabulous local burgers and brews.

Museum Of Art
2445 Monroe St.
Toledo, OH 43620
(419) 255-8000

Toledo has long had a reputation for being a leader in glass, so it’s no surprise that their art museum has one of the largest glass collections around. Internationally acclaimed, there is a entire glass pavilion dedicated to art glass in all its many shapes and forms. Don’t miss the rest of the building, with over 30,000 objects on display covering art throughout the ages. For lunch, go no further than the Museum Cafe – fresh salads and great sandwiches are only steps away.

Related: 5 Most Scenic Walking Trails In Cleveland

Photo Credit: Doug Bardwell

Miller Ferry – Catawba Dock
5174 E. Water St.
Port Clinton, OH 43452
(419) 285-2421

When summer heats up, there’s nothing like a ride on the water. Miller Ferry will take you and your bike (or your car) from the mainland over to either Put-In-Bay or Middle Bass Island for a day away you won’t soon forget. Ask about their Family Fun Pack when you purchase your tickets. For one low price, you’ll get admission to a bevy of Put-In-Bay’s best attractions, sure to fill your day and then some. For lunch, try the fish tacos at The Goat, and for dinner, slowly sip a hand-crafted cocktail as you watch the sunset from The Upper Deck above the Boardwalk.

The Warther Museum
331 Karl Ave.
Dover, OH 44642
(330) 343-7513

Ernest Warther was a master carver for his entire life, carving the most intricate scale models of locomotives, which have been declared priceless works of art by the Smithsonian. Warther originally worked with woods, but progressed to ivory and pearl. His largest piece is an actual working replica of the Empire State Express, all done in ivory and measuring eight feet in length. For refreshments, you are in wine country, with many wineries to choose from. You might start at Swiss Heritage Winery and enjoy one of their 17 different wines accompanied by some Broad Run cheese.

Related: Best Scenic Drives Near Cleveland

Doug Bardwell is a freelance writer, traveling the globe in search of unique experiences to share with his readers. He writes about travel, tech and the active life from his base in Cleveland, Ohio. Doug’s work can be found on