While Vermont and New Hampshire might get more national attention for their beautiful displays of fall foliage, residents of Northeast Ohio know that our autumn colors are just as breathtaking. Our slice of paradise is bursting with sprawling parkland, sparkling lakes, wooded roadways and trails where you can get a taste of our seasonal beauty—you just have to know where to go.
We rounded up 12 of our favorite places to see fall foliage in the area—including some parks, waterfalls and covered bridges—so grab your camera and get ready to fall in love with Ohio all over again!
Note: Most of Ohio's best fall colors occur in the middle of October, but you can still see some leaves changing all throughout September. For the most accurate prediction, check out this fall foliage map from the Smoky Mountains National Park website.
Photo courtesy of Richard McBride via the Ashtabula Covered Bridge Festival
Nestled in the extreme northeast corner of Ohio, Ashtabula County is chock full of stunning places to view fall leaves, due to its dense deciduous forests and sparse population. For the best views, drive south on State Road 534 from Geneva to Windsor, where you'll be treated to miles and miles of vineyards as well as two of the county's 19 covered bridges. We recommend visiting on the second weekend of October when the Ashtabula County hosts their annual Covered Bridge Festival—full of entertainment, rides, games and a festive parade!
The Bedford Reservation, nestled just above the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Bedford, features a deep gorge carved out by Tinker's Creek, full of picturesque vistas and waterfalls. In the forests, you'll find mature trees adorned with yellow, orange and green and other abundant wildlife. The area also offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, picnicking and horseback riding. But to get the most out of your scenic visit, we recommend heading straight to the overlook along Gorge Parkway, which boasts one of the best views in Northeast Ohio.
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This centrally located national park is just a short distance from Cleveland and Akron, but its many acres of untouched scenery and countless species of plants and wildlife make it feel like it's worlds away. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is perhaps the most popular outdoor destination in the state, and frequently makes lists of "must-visit" parks in the country. During the fall, this is even more true! The trees explode into color, providing a warm and welcoming atmosphere for leisurely hikes and picnics. If you're interested in taking a hike while you're there, make sure to check out our complete guide to hiking in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
This popular, outdoorsy destination is filled with some of the most interesting scenery in the country, from breathtaking sandstone cliffs and waterfalls to caves and colorful forests. During the day, you can hike, bike and fish your way around the hills, or visit the charming towns nearby. And while locals and visitors alike flock to Hocking Hills for the camping, we highly recommend booking a cabin for a weekend or longer. Most of these cabins are outfitted with hot tubs, fireplaces, hammocks and spectacular views (of course). On your way, don't miss out on the chance to stop by Ohio's Ravenwood Castle, which has repeatedly been named one of the coolest destinations in the state.
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If a visit to the Holden Arboretum isn't on the top of your fall to-do list, then stop everything you're doing and head over right now. This famous arboretum is practically an outdoor playground that features cultivated gardens, trails and interesting attractions like the Murch Canopy Walk and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower, which stands 120 feet above the forest floor. Not only will you have a blast exploring all of the interesting fauna among the bright autumn colors, but you'll also be able to stand in the trees and catch a breathtaking view from above. Need we say more?
Holmes County, the heart of Ohio's Amish Country, is certainly one of the most charming places in the state. On any given day, a leisurely walk or drive in the area will reveal narrow, winding roads, horse-drawn carriages, roadside farm stands, wavy fields of corn and a variety of beautiful trees. During the autumn months, these trees (including maples, oaks and buckeyes) explode into vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, transforming the county into something out of a fairy tale. But don't take our word for it—according to National Geographic, Holmes County is one of the top 10 places in the world to see fall foliage.
If you're not ready to give up the fun of summer quite yet—don't worry, we get it. Head out to Lake Erie Bluffs on the coast, which offers the perfect mix of summertime lake activities and scenic fall views. If it isn't too cold, you can take a kayak or canoe out on the water and experience the shoreline views of trees and trails first hand. There's also a 50-foot observation tower where you can get a 360-degree perspective of Lake Erie and the best of Ohio's natural fall beauty!
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Lanterman's Mill dates back to 1845 and is recognized as one of Mahoning County's most historic landmarks—and one of its most picturesque! The mill sits adjacent to the Mahoning River and overlooks Lanterman's Falls, which makes for a great photo from the outside. But don't leave without venturing in—the mill still offers stone-ground flours and gifts to the public, and is staffed by knowledgeable people who can inform you about the history of the area!
If you want to find a place to enjoy the season within the city, pay a visit to the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park just outside of Cleveland. The lush grounds host more than 30 gardens, all designed and cultivated by distinct cultural or nationality groups, representing the diversity and multiculturalism of the city. The area is even more gorgeous in the fall when trees all over the park turn a startling bright yellow and shed their leaves. The gardens are often driven through rather than explored by foot and admission is free!
Photo courtesy of Kyle Lanzer via Cleveland Metroparks
Cleveland Magazine calls the Rocky River Reservation one of the best places in the state to view fall leaves, and we tend to agree! The reservation includes a nature center, marina and stables along with interesting hiking trails so you can see the fall foliage up close. While you're there, make sure to take advantage of the Fort Hill Stairs, which ascend 90-feet above the east and west branches of the Rocky River, providing an optimal view of the area's fall foliage.
Perhaps the most picturesque destination in Cleveland, the ruins of Squire's Castle stand proudly in the heart of the North Chagrin Reservation. After a hike in the woodlands (or a rousing game of golf at the Manakiki Golf Course), set out a picnic in front of the castle. From here you can admire the beautiful architecture, soak in the autumn sunshine, and capture pictures of the colorful foliage. While there, make sure to share the story of builder Feargus B. Squire, whose wife supposedly still haunts the grounds.
Photo courtesy of the Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
Built in 1915, the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a spectacular example of architecture from the era. The home once belonged to the founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Frank Seiberling, but was opened to the public after his passing. It now stands as a beloved Akron landmark and has even received the title of "best historic home tour in America" by the readers of USA Today. Tour the house and marvel at the antique furniture and detailing, but don't miss out on a turn through the gardens. During the fall months, a picnic outside allows you to view the marvelous mansion and the surrounding color all at once.
Did we leave out your favorite spot in Northeast Ohio to see fall colors? Let us know in the comments!
We can't believe it—summer is almost over. The Fourth of July has come and gone and your family will be shopping for back-to-school bargains before you know it.
But don't pack up your pool floaties and sunscreen yet! We still have a few weeks before the season is officially finished, which gives us plenty of time to squeeze in a little more summer fun. From splashing around at local water parks to meandering through local museums, here are some of our must-do end-of-summer activities for you and your kids in the Akron and Canton area!
We live in one of the best regions of the United States for fresh produce and locally produced meats—and you can find an unbeatable selection at your local farmers' market! Bring the kiddos with you and let them pick a few ingredients to use in your meals for the week and buy a few treats to enjoy on the way home! Many local markets also have live music, games and face painting to entertain the whole family. Here are the best farmers' markets near Akron and Canton.
The Akron Canton Jellystone Park is a family-oriented camp and theme park that features a water park, miniature golf and gem mining! Join Yogi Bear as you swim in the 500,000-gallon pool or eat homemade ice cream from the Pick-a-Nic Basket food stand. Plus, you can make it a weekend affair by staying in one of their adorable cabins or by setting up a tent and enjoying the great outdoors!
Do you have an aspiring pilot in your family? This internationally known museum focused on aviation will teach you and your kiddos all about the history of flight. Their interesting displays, interactive exhibits and historical archives will keep you entertained for hours. You're welcome to explore the museum on your own or you can take one of the free guided tours!
While trains might not be the most convenient way to travel anymore, they are certainly one of the most fun! Kids will love taking a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which winds through Cuyahoga Valley National Park and features spectacular views of Ohio's landscape. While each of their routes comes with its fair share of adventure, the CVSR hosts kid-centered events throughout the year. You can find their full event schedule here.
Photo courtesy of the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens
Located in one of our favorite Akron neighborhoods, Merriman Valley, Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens is a fantastic place to spend a summer afternoon! Take a day and explore their stunning gardens along with the magnificent castle-like residence that once served as the home for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company's founder, Frank A. Seiberling. They also host a variety of fun kid-centered events and workshops throughout the summer, so make sure to check out their calendar before you go.
Say goodbye to summer with the help of some furry (and some not-so-furry) friends at the Akron Zoo! With 25 acres of exhibits and guest amenities, your kids will have a hard time running out of things to do. See animals from all over the world up close, ride the train, spin around on the carousel, and marvel at the Wild World Animal Show. Admission is just $12 for adults, $9 for kids ages 2 to 14, and free for kids 2 and under. And don't forget to stop by the Komodo Kingdom Café to fuel up during your adventure!
While we love to enjoy ice cream year-round, for some reason, it just tastes better in the summer. Good thing the Akron and Canton area is bursting with delicious ice cream spots where you can say a sweet goodbye to the season—some of which have been around since the 1930s or earlier! Here are some of our favorites in the area.
Located in Akron, Laser Quest is the perfect spot to escape the heat for a few hours. Bring the whole family and navigate the expertly designed course, ducking behind obstacles to hide from the other team, but make sure to watch your back. We're sure your kids will love this heart-pounding adventure—and the chance to tag you out!
The Akron Art Museum is a work of art itself. With gorgeous architecture and dramatic steel and glass walls, you can peruse incredible art while looking out over the warm, summer day. They display stunning pieces of modern art, photographs and sculptures, which will take you all day to explore. Plus, this season, they are hosting several fun children-centered events that will help your child unleash a bit of their creative side; check out the museum's calendar for a full list!
Sky Zone Trampoline Park is a dream come true for little adventurers, filled with trampolines that span from wall to wall. Enjoy freestyle jumping on the massive trampolines, engage in a game of dodgeball on a bouncy court, or dive headfirst into the foam zone! People of all ages are guaranteed to have fun here.
Photo courtesy of the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum
Before summer ends, take time to visit the McKinley Presidential Library & Museum—where kids can enjoy the hands-on activities at Discover World and take a step back in time in the Street of Shops. Pay your respects to former President William McKinley, and enjoy the incredible view of Canton, by hiking up the 108 steps to the top of the Monument, where the president and his wife, Ida, are buried.
What fun activities will you do to say goodbye to the season? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley National Park1.4 Miles Brandywine Falls is one of the most gorgeous sights in Ohio making this trail one of the most trafficked in the park. While it might be busy when you go, we promise the views are worth it! This trail starts at the historic Inn at Brandywine Falls and follows the edge of the gorge, eventually taking you down to creek level. If you want to avoid the crowds, try parking at the Stanford House and hiking the 3.8-mile trail through the woods. 1.7 Miles The Ledges hike is one of the most iconic trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Traverse the intermediate hike or drive straight to the parking lot to reach the Ledges Overlook, which offers breathtaking views of the valley. This trail is rocky and rough, so make sure to wear sufficient footgear and adhere to any closure signs for your safety. 3.4 Miles This 3.5-mile loop is perfect for trail running or for walkers looking for a good workout. Not only does this trail offer plenty of hills to get your legs burning, but it's located along the river, giving you the chance to spot plenty of beautiful wildlife. We recommend avoiding this trail after rainfall as it can get pretty muddy. Insider tip: At the beginning of the loop, take a left to go down the hill so you don't have to climb up it at the very end! 3.7 Miles Nearing four miles, this loop hike will lead you through some of the most beautiful rolling terrain in the park. Park at the Valley Parkway which intersects the trail and is a more secluded section of Cuyahoga Valley and then hit the trail! Along the way, you'll see creeks, a picnic area and the lovely Deer Lick Cave.
Photo courtesy of Rosati's Frozen CustardEnd your day on the highest note at Rosati's Frozen Custard, a famous Ohio spot for a good reason. They offer fresh, creamy custard that is made in-house and serve it in cones, sundaes, shakes and even blended with different toppings. Plus, their neon and vintage building is the perfect spot to hang out and snap a few shots for your Instagram!