June 2011 Issue
Across the state, you'll find free, cheap and worth-the-splurge travel ideas.
Even though the economy is beginning to look up, it’s still smart to search for bargains. Over the past few years, we’ve learned a thing or two about conserving cash, especially while traveling. Here, we pass along some wallet-friendly getaway tips.
When a trip out of the country — or even out of the state — isn’t in your budget, head to these Ohio attractions for an out-of-the-ordinary experience.
At the Wilds
in Cumberland, explore open-range habitats with African animals — like camels and oryxes — from a safari transport. There’s also a carnivore conservation center, with cheetahs, African and Asian wild dogs, and a variety of bird species within the Wilds’ 10,000 acres of woodlands, grasslands, wetlands and lakes. Daily tours are a good deal, ranging from $15 to $30 per person, but to do the Wilds on the cheap, visit the 10-acre butterfly habitat, which is specially seeded to encourage a diverse butterfly population, and has a free walking trail. 740/638-5030, thewilds.org
Ohio has a wealth of art museums that carry the work of world-renowned artists and offer free general admission (excluding special exhibits). Others, like the Taft Museum of Art
in Cincinnati and the Columbus Museum of Art
, are free on Sundays, while the Akron Art Museum
offers free admission on the first Sunday of each month.
Cities like Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus have free monthly art walks, and Lincoln Park in Cleveland’s Tremont
neighborhood has free summer music, ballet and theater performances. Smaller cities offer accessible art, too. Nelsonville, for example, has Final Fridays on the Square
, held the last Friday of every month (except December). Aside from gallery openings, visitors enjoy drum circles, dancing and street performers. Yellow Springs
, known as an artists’ community, has two daylong street fairs, held on June 11 and Oct. 8, which showcase the best of this eclectic community, while Worthington
has a two-day art festival, June 18–19, in the historic business district where visitors will also find restaurants, shops and a farmers market.
If culinary tourism is your thing but you can’t cough up the cash for multiple fancy meals, head to Columbus, where the food cart scene is taking over the city, one mobile kitchen at a time. Bethia Woolf offers gastronomic tours of these carts and more through her company, Columbus Food Adventures
. Take a tour of the city’s many food trucks and restaurants, including a taco truck tour, a sweet treat tour, a Short North food tour and an Alt Eats tour, featuring some of Columbus’ best ethnic cuisine. Tour prices range from $45 to $60 and include plenty to eat and transportation in an air-conditioned van. 800/838-3006, columbusfoodadventures.com
Grown-ups enjoy wine offerings and cooking classes at The Lodge at Geneva on the Lake. Now kids can join the fun at Kids Grape Camp
, an experience for youngsters and adults that includes a one-night stay at the lodge, dinner followed by a kids cooking class with the chef, a trip to a local vineyard, nature walk and breakfast and lunch. 866/806-8066, thelodgeatgeneva.com. Camps run July 14–15 and Aug. 4–5 and cost $199 for three people. Additional children are $35 each and adults are $40.
at Hueston Woods State Park provides families with one night of lodging, s’more fixings, firewood to use in the outdoor fire pits, a movie rental, hiking kit, two hours of geocaching and a coupon book. 800/282-7275, huestonwoodsstateparklodge.com. Starts at $139 per night for a family of four.
The lodges at Punderson, Mohican, Salt Fork, Shawnee, Burr Oak, Hueston Woods and Maumee Bay state parks offer Stays for A’s
, which rewards little Einsteins and their parents with $10 off the price of overnight lodging for every A on their report cards. 800/282-7275, ohiostateparklodges.com
Check out the state parks for other booking deals. Burr Oak
, for example, offers a free night after two nights in the lodge. Book late and save money at Honey Ridge Cottage
in the Hocking Hills. With a two-night minimum stay, families can save 10 percent if they book three days prior to arrival. Check honey-ridge.com for details.
Rock around the clock in Cleveland with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
package at the Cleveland Wyndham Hotel, which includes overnight accommodations and free valet parking, breakfast for two, two tickets to the Rock Hall with a complimentary shuttle, 10 percent off Rock Hall store items and a six-month Rock Hall trial membership. 216/615-7500, wyndham.com. Starts at $121 for a room with two double beds.
For $57 per person, fans of music and adventure can purchase tickets to both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Cedar Point in Sandusky through the Rock and Ride
package. 419/627-2350, cedarpoint.com
See two of Cincinnati’s most popular attractions through the Ride and Roar
package. For $334, families get four tickets to Kings Island, four tickets to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden and a two-night stay in one of three area hotels, which includes breakfast. 800/791-4FUN, ohioslargestplayground.com
The ever-popular Roar and Explore
in Columbus is back with a two-night stay at Drury Inn & Suites, four tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, four tickets to Zoombezi Bay and four tickets to COSI for $375. 888/795-7924, experiencecolumbus.com
Ft. Rapids Indoor Water Park Resort offers a Melt Down
package. For just $180, a family of four can enjoy four two-day water park passes, four $5 arcade vouchers, four ice cream cones and hotel accommodations for one night. 877/33-SPLASH, fortrapids.com
Stop by Huntington Park on Sundays for Bob Evans Family Day with the Columbus Clippers
. For $15, a family of two adults and up to four children (ages 18 and under) can sit in either the left-field bleachers, the lawn seating area or in the standing room area. To receive additional discounts, visit any participating Bob Evans restaurant and pick up a coupon for $3 off the $15 admission price.
School’s out for summer, and the Put-in-Bay Villas School’s Out Special
gives families a chance to celebrate with a four-bedroom villa that sleeps up to eight and has three bathrooms, a living room with a plasma television, a fully equipped kitchen and a free overnight rental of a six-passenger golf cart, for a total savings of $155 off the regular price. Starts at $275; a five-bedroom villa can be booked for $325.
The villas also offer the Put-in-Bay Jet Away Getaway
, perfect for a smaller family vacation. Book a room that sleeps up to four or a suite for six and get a complimentary golf cart rental for each day of your stay, a continental breakfast and a coupon booklet. Starts at $169 per night for a room that sleeps four; $199 for a room that sleeps six. 888/742-7829, putinbayvillas.com
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
in Logan is tucked into some of the state’s best scenery. This year, the inn is offering a package deal to coincide with the Washboard Music Festival, which has free admission. With the Strum-Inn and Hum-Inn
package, guests enjoy a two-night stay in a garden-view guest room during the festival (June 17–18) accompanied by a cheese and fruit plate, a four-course meal at the inn’s restaurant and a full breakfast each morning. The package also includes a tour of the Columbus Washboard Company and a complimentary washboard. Starts at $399 for two nights.
If you can’t make it to the Hocking Hills for the Washboard Music Festival, visit The Inn at Cedar Falls this summer or fall for the Outdoor Adventure Inn
package, which allows guests to choose between ziplining, skeet shooting, an ATV or scenic air tour, or horseback riding. The package also includes a picnic basket and bottle of wine, a brown bag lunch to take on your excursion and dinner for two. Starts at $369 per couple for one adventure per person; $589 per couple to choose two. Room rates are not included. 800/653-2557, innatcedarfalls.com.
Sometimes it’s hard to scrape together the cash for concerts and
performances. Luckily, Ohio has a host of free music festivals that
bring the best of rock, bluegrass and more to venues near you.
Enjoy performances of touring artists and local musicians at the Bicentennial Park pavilion in Columbus during Rhythm on the River
. Bring a blanket or a chair to the park on July 8, Aug. 12, Aug. 26 or Sept. 2 and enjoy free live entertainment. musicintheair.org
Once a year, Athens comes alive during Boogie on the Bricks
. On July 16, venture to Court Street for a day of free entertainment, local food, contests and, of course, live music. boogieonthebricks.com
Dance along the Ohio River throughout the summer during Party in the Park
at Yeatman’s Cove in Cincinnati. This free outdoor event includes live music on Wednesdays through Aug. 17. party-in-the-park.com
Check out the full calendar of concerts at Lock 3
in Akron, where you can hear live performances of tribute bands that pay homage to The Who, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Neil Young, the Eagles and more. lock3live.com
This year, Defiance hosts its annual Music in the Parks
series starting on June 2 in Veteran’s Memorial Park. Throughout the summer, people bring lawn chairs and blankets to various county parks for big band, swing, polka and orchestra music. Additional concerts will be held on June 23 at Canal Park, July 27 at the Defiance College quad and Aug. 4 at UAW Park. All concerts start at 7 p.m. and, on Aug. 4, there will be an ice cream social prior to the show at 6 p.m. visitdefianceohio.com
OK, it’s not quite the same as a tropical vacation, but Ohio’s beaches still offer bright sand, cool surf and plenty of opportunities for lazing and playing. For free refreshing fun along Lake Erie, venture out to Edgewater Park
in Cleveland, East Harbor State Park
in Lakeside-Marblehead, Maumee Bay State Park
in Oregon or Headlands Beach State Park
in Mentor. Many of these parks have affordable lodging and recreation options nearby.
Planning a summer birthday celebration? Tired of the same old bowling party? Check out some of the state’s affordable birthday packages. Kings Island
in Mason offers parties that include discounted admission for guests (with free admission for the birthday boy or girl), a reserved area for one hour with a choice between two meals and a VIP parking pass for the guest of honor. visitkingsisland.com
Hueston Woods State Park’s
Party in the Park on Sunday afternoons includes a two-hour birthday celebration with swimming, fossil hunting, pizza and game tokens for only $8 per person. ohiodnr.com
Finding a bargain is what Ohio Travel Deals
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and receive a weekly email featuring a pre-packaged Ohio travel offer — at more than 50 percent off.