Winter in Ohio
Winter in Ohio doesn’t have to mean cabin fever. There are activities statewide to satisfy the whole family during the season.
By Sara Sybert
Traveling in Ohio during the winter isn’t always ideal, but you can make memories to last a lifetime when you enjoy some of the activities going on throughout the state during these sometimes-dreary months. When the kids, or your spouse, start to get cabin fever, pack up and head to one of these nearby destinations for a ton of fun.
Skiing, Snowboarding and Tubing
Thanks to the hilly areas of the state, skiing lodges abound. Just outside of Akron, in Peninsula, are the Boston Mills and Brandywine Ski areas, which can accommodate up to 20,000 people per hour. There’s skiing and snowboarding available on 18 different trails for those of all skill levels. The steepest slope in Ohio is found at Boston Mills and is called Tiger Run.
Not too far from Columbus is Mad River Mountain, which prides itself on being the largest winter resort in the state. Mad River Mountain offers a ski and snowboard school learning center, the National Ski Patrol, bubly Tubing Park with 1,000-foot lanes, a slope side equipment rental featuring more than 700 pairs of skis and snowboards and the largest ski lodge in Ohio featuring a bar, retail space, cafe and group space.
Alpine Valley Resort in Geauga County is in the snow belt, so it gets more natural snow than any of the other ski resorts in Ohio. There are 11 trails for skiers, snowboarders and tubers, and more than 100 instructors for its ski school to help you feel like a pro on the slopes. Trail levels range from beginner to expert, so there’s something to give everyone a taste of what gliding down the mountain is like. The lodge offers a cafeteria, deck and lounging area, and there are rental options for those who need to borrow gear.
Just as there are plenty of places to hit the slopes in Ohio, there are even more options for ice skating, a popular winter activity for families.
Cincinnati’s Fountain Square has been a gathering place in the Queen City for nearly 150 years and in the winter, it becomes a popular spot for festivities and ice skating. Visitors to Fountain Square can rent skates, enjoy the concession stand and hang out in the warming tents. Just a little north, in Dayton, is ice skating at RiverScape MetroPark. There is a pavilion over the rink, and it hosts skates through the beginning of March. You can take advantage of skating lessons, skate and rink rentals, a concession stand and tons of other activities. Not all of us were built for the outdoors, so if you prefer to be indoors head to the Ohio State Ice Rink in Columbus or Hobart Arena in Troy.
For those who really enjoy spending time in the Great Outdoors, winter hiking is a popular activity. For this, there are several options available. The always-popular Hocking Hills State Park in Logan offers seven main hiking trails, and all of them are one-way loop trails so you don’t have to worry about getting lost. Also in Southeastern Ohio is Wayne National Forest, where you’ll find about 300 miles of backpacking and hiking trails for all skill levels. If you head to Northeast Ohio, you’ll run into Cuyahoga Valley National Park with more than 125 miles of hiking trails for a variety of abilities and Mohican State Park, which has trails between 0.2 and 2.5 miles.