Road trip destinations in the Buckeye State

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Staff report

Ready for a road trip?

From hot-air balloon races and prestigious artwork to exploring Native American heritage, Ohio offers some little-known but captivating experiences.

Here’s a sampling of road trip destinations in the Buckeye State, put together by TourismOhio. To learn more, go to and the calendar of events.


The Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival, Friday-Saturday (Middletown): A sanctioned hot-air balloon competition, the Ohio Challenge Balloon Festival features 30 participants in a race to win the coveted Ohio Challenge Trophy. Take a balloon ride, visit the car show and catch the ever-favorite night balloon glow. The festival also will showcase food, music and carnival rides.

Cincinnati Music Festival, next Thursday-July 28 (Cincinnati): This major annual event brings top R&B, jazz and blues performers to Paul Brown Stadium. Charlie Wilson, Jill Scott and MC Lyte are set to headline this year with additional guests Common, The Roots and Cincinnati native Bootsy Collins. Spend the weekend in Cincinnati and experience remarkable live music, delicious local food and shopping.


Tecumseh! Outdoor Drama, Now-Sept. 2 (Chillicothe): Since 1973, the story of renowned Shawnee leader Tecumseh has attracted more than 2.5 million viewers nationwide. Outdoor stages at the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheater allow attendees to feel a part of the action as horses thunder past and canons reverberate. More than 100 people are involved in the show along with horses, cannons and battle sequences that bring the entire experience to life.


Jazz & Rib Fest, Friday-Sunday (Columbus): This annual event on the downtown Columbus Scioto riverfront features two stages with local, regional and international jazz artists. Relax and enjoy barbecue ribs and chicken while listening to headlining artists Arturo Sandoval and special guest Jane Monheit, the JuJu Exchange, Euge Groove, Peter White and more. Admission is free.

Dublin Irish Festival, Aug. 3-5 (Dublin): One of the largest of its kind, this three-day Irish festival expects to bring thousands of guests to Dublin this year. Seven stages, 65 acts and over 500 performers promise hours of entertainment. Headliners this year include Sharon Shannon, Gaelic Storm, We Banjo 3 and the Willis Clan, among others. Learn an Irish dance, watch traditional Celtic sports and get a taste of Irish culture and food from more than 40 vendors.


Celina Lake Festival, July 27-29 (Celina): Dive into this weekend-long festival featuring crafts, rides, food and more. Memorable attractions include the Amphicar “Splash In.” This year, which marks 50 years since the last cars rolled off the assembly line, is slated to bring the largest amount of amphibious cars to-date. Visitors will also enjoy a fireworks show and Beatles tribute band.

National Tractor Pulling Championships, Aug. 16-18 (Bowling Green): One of the most prestigious truck and tractor pulls on earth, the National Tractor Pulling Championships features dozens of machines and competitions. Feel the vibrations of pure pulling machine engines in “Pull Town USA” and enjoy live music performances, food and drinks while cheering on your favorite truck and tractor pull contestants.


Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Balloon Classic, July 27-29 (Canton): Watch in awe as 65 hot-air balloons from across the United States take flight to celebrate this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement. The weekend will feature five hot-air balloon flights, including a magical “Night Glow” on Friday night. Listen to live music, enjoy dozens of food vendors and watch the night sky light up Saturday evening at the annual fireworks show. Stick around or come back Aug. 3-5 for the Fashion Show, Induction, Gold Jackets autograph session, Maroon 5 concert and more.

Swiss National Day Celebration, Aug. 4 (Sugarcreek): Celebrate Switzerland’s Independence Day right here in Ohio. Join the Village of Sugarcreek, the Little Switzerland of Ohio, in a full day of fun with the “Run for Gnome,” a fun run, music, food, bouncy houses and face painting. Finish off this fun-filled, free admission day with a fireworks show.