Horse carriage ride at Punderson Manor State Park Lodge
Horse carriage ride at Punderson Manor State Park Lodge (

Outdoor Pursuits Provide Break from Urban Living

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Though the most densely developed region of the state, the northeast boasts plenty of places for outdoor play — including the state’s only national park and a collection of outstanding county parks as well as some of the premier sites in the state-park system.

Seventeen state parks in the area offer a wide range of attractions, from beaches and waterfalls to an 85-year-old Tudor lodge.

A few favorites:

Mohican State Park in Ashland County is considered one of the state’s most popular — thanks to the stunning scenery, including the gorgeous Clear Fork gorge, scattered throughout its 1,110 acres. The Clear Fork ranks among the state’s most popular spots for canoeing — or staying on land and trekking on the 2-mile-long Lyons Falls Trail, one of the loveliest hikes in all of Ohio. Other reasons to visit: 8 miles of mountain-bike trails (with more in the surrounding Mohican State Forest) and the lovely Mohican Lodge, with 96 rooms overlooking Pleasant Hill Lake.

This year, Mohican is set to receive $5 million in upgrades as part of $88.5 million that the state allocated last year for park improvements. First up: additional full-service sites in the 186-site campground. Later this year and next, the expectations include improvements to the campground pool, renovations to the cottages and a new nature center.

Information: 419-994-5125 or

Headlands Beach State Park in Lake County promises the largest stretch of sand in Ohio — a mile-long span perfect for castle-building, beach-walking, sunbathing or all three. As a day-use park, it doesn’t have overnight facilities. What visitors do find: a handful of hiking trails, a concession stand open seasonally, a break wall suited to fishing — and tons and tons of sand.

Information: 440-466-8400 or beach

Dangling an overnight stay with a lake view, Geneva State Park in Ashtabula County claims the newest Ohio state-park lodge — which was opened in 2004. The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake has 109 rooms — almost all with views of Lake Erie — plus bike rentals, outdoor dining, shuttles to nearby wineries and more. The amenities include a 100-site campground, 12 cabins, hiking trails, a boat ramp and a 300-foot sandy beach.

Information: 440-466-8400 or

Known as the centerpiece of Punderson State Park in Geauga County is the 29-room Tudor-style manor house, started in 1929 (but not finished until the late 1940s). The lodge was recently closed for two months to allow updates in the electric and ventilation systems, as part of $6.2 million in planned improvements to the park. Other coming enhancements include an extension of the boardwalk to the cabin area (instead of from the lodge to just the western bank of Punderson Lake), a restroom near the disc-golf course and a new towrope for the sledding hill.In addition to a range of warm-weather activities, Punderson provides a popular spot for winter lovers with a lighted sledding hill, plus miles of trails for snowmobilers and cross-country skiers.

Information: 440-564-2279 or

Northeast Ohio is also home to a few off-the-radar parks worth a look. Among them:

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park, which packs a punch at its compact 167 acres in Portage County. Hiking trails are lined with spectacular rock formations left behind by receding glaciers. Children, of course, should be kept under close supervision.

Information: 440-564-2279 or ledges

Beaver Creek State Park in Columbiana County has at its heart Little Beaver Creek, a state and national wild and scenic river. The park offers hiking, canoeing, mountain biking and horseback riding. Also on-site: Pioneer Village, with the 1830s-era Gaston’s Mill — plus remnants of the Sandy and Beaver Canal, a spur of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Information: 330-385-3091 or

At the recreational center of the small Findley State Park, just south of Wellington in Lorain County, lies the 93-acre Findley Lake, with swimming, boating and fishing. Also there: a 270-site campground; an 18-hole disc-golf course; and a newly renovated nature center, which should reopen this spring after it was closed several years ago because of fire damage.

Information: 440-647-5749 or

Mohican State Park Lodge
Mohican State Park Lodge (


Ashtabula County

Geneva State Park (

Pymatuning State Park (

Lake County

Headlands Beach State Park (

Geauga County

Punderson State Park (

Trumbull County

Mosquito Lake State Park (

Mahoning County

Lake Milton State Park (

Columbiana County

Beaver Creek State Park (

Guilford Lake State Park (

Jefferson County

Jefferson Lake State Park (

Portage County

Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park (

Wingfoot Lake State Park (

Tinker’s Creek State Park (

West Branch State Park (

Stark County

Quail Hollow State Park (

Summit County

Portage Lakes State Park (

Lorain County

Findley Lake State Park (

Ashland County

Mohican State Park (

Headlands Beach State Park
Headlands Beach State Park (Philip Weeks/

Here’s a sampling of popular summertime activities, compiled by Columbus Dispatch staff members:


Pioneer Waterland and Dry Fun Park

Description: The park offers six-story water slides, a lazy inner-tube ride, paddleboats on a natural lake and a sportsland fun area.

Location: 10661 Kile Rd., Chardon (Geauga County)

Open: operating hours vary; call for details

New attractions: four batting cages, Fun Zone Game Arcade, reopening the deep end of the pool, revamping restrooms and upgrades in all areas of the park

Admission: $20.95, or free for children less than 40 inches tall, includes the water park and all dry attractions except Grand Prix GoCarts, Fun Zone Game Arcade and batting cages; $14.95 admission includes four go-kart rides and all dry attractions; Fun Zone Game Arcade and batting cages cost additional.

Parking: $4

Least-busy day: Tuesday

Where to buy tickets/information: at the park and online; 440-285-0910 to confirm operation in the event of inclement weather,


Blossom Music Center

Description: With a pavilion that seats 5,700 and a large lawn area that can seat 13,500 people, the venue allows visitors to picnic, enjoy music and stargaze.

Location: 1145 W. Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls (Summit County)

Performances: May 23 (7 p.m.): Zac Brown Band; June 6 (7 p.m.): Dierks Bentley; June 16 (7 p.m.): Fall Out Boy, Wiz Khalifa; June 20 (7 p.m.): Lady Antebellum; July 8 (7 p.m.): Dave Matthews Band; July 15 (7 p.m.): Train; July 17 (7:30 p.m.): Brad Paisley; July 23 (noon): Vans Warped Tour; July 28 (7 p.m.): Steely Dan, Elvis Costello; July 30 (6:45 p.m.): Kid Rock; July 31 (7 p.m.): Tim McGraw; Aug. 3 (7:30 p.m.): Van Halen; Aug. 4 (7:30 p.m.): Nickelback; Aug. 7 (7 p.m.): Phish; Aug. 9 (7 p.m.): Toby Keith; Aug. 14 (8 p.m.): Joe Bonamassa; Aug. 20 (7 p.m.): Darius Rucker; Aug. 21 (8 p.m.): Idina Menzel; Aug. 28 (7:30 p.m.): Rascal Flatts; Sept. 18 (7:30 p.m.): Ed Sheeran; Sept. 19 (7:30 p.m.): Jason Aldean

Parking: included with ticket; premium spots $15 to $35 in advance

Tickets/information: $20 to $183 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or at; 330-920-8040, 330-916-6068

Cain Park

Description: The park boasts an intimate outdoor covered theater (Alma) and an outdoor covered amphitheater (Evans).

Location: Between Lee and S. Taylor roads (bordered by Superior Road and Hyde Park Avenue), Cleveland Heights (Cuyahoga County)

Performances: June 11 (8 p.m.): Chris Botti; June 16 (8 p.m.): Esperanza Spalding; June 18 (8 p.m.): LTD Plus: Livingston Taylor, Tom Chapin and Eva; June 19 (8 p.m.): Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone; June 25 (8 p.m.): Preservation Hall Jazz Band; June 26 (8 p.m.): Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn; Aug. 1 (8 p.m.): The Beach Boys; Aug. 7 (8 p.m.): Eileen Ivers; Aug. 8 (8 p.m.): Richard Marx, John Waite; Aug. 9 (3 p.m.): Laurie Berkner; Aug. 14 (7 p.m.): Black Violin; Aug. 15 (8 p.m.): Southside Johnny and The Asbury Jukes

Parking: area streets and lots

Tickets/information: $20 to $85; 216-371-3000,

Canton Blues Festival

Description: The two-day event draws 12,000 to 15,000 people annually.

Location: Downtown Canton (Market Avenue N. between 3rd and 4th streets, Stark County)

Performances: June 12 (2 p.m.): Blues Jam; (2:30 p.m.): Gaetanos Underworld; (4:30 p.m.): Sonny Moorman; (6:30 p.m.): Jimmy Thackery; (8:30 p.m.): Tommy Castro; June 13 (1 p.m.): Bongo Joe and Little Steve-O; (2:30 p.m.): The Wanda Hunt Band; (4:30 p.m.): Wallace Coleman; (6:30 p.m.): Biscuit Miller; (8:30 p.m.): Albert Castiglia

Parking: free

Tickets/information: free; one- and two-day VIP passes $50 to $80; 1-800-533-4302,

The Country Fest

Description: Three days of country music and sunshine are complemented by free admission to the venue’s on-site water park

Location: Clay’s Park Resort, 13190 Patterson St. N.W., North Lawrence (Stark County)

Performances: June 11 (4 p.m.): Old Dominion; (6 p.m.): Neal McCoy; (8 p.m.): Eli Young Band; (10 p.m.): the Band Perry; June 12 (4 p.m.): the Cadillac Three; (6 p.m.): Chris Cagle; (8 p.m.): Easton Corbin; (10 p.m.): Thomas Rhett; June 13 (4 p.m.): Mo Pitney; (6 p.m.): Josh Thompson; (8 p.m.): Trace Adkins; (10 p.m.): Miranda Lambert (10 p.m.)

Parking: $5

Tickets/information: $60 to $120 ($220 to $350 for three-day pass with camping included); 330-930-0398,

Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica

Description: The 5,000-seat outdoor amphitheater, formerly Nautica Pavilion, is located along the Cuyahoga River.

Location: 2014 Sycamore St., the Flats, near downtown Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Performances: May 22 (9:30 p.m.): America; May 23 (9:15 p.m.): Steel Panther; May 24 (9 p.m.): Michael Stanley and the Resonators; May 29 (7 p.m.): Third Eye Blind, Dashboard Confessional; May 30 (8 p.m.): “Weird Al” Yankovic; June 6 (7:30 p.m.): Barenaked Ladies; June 9 (8 p.m.): Lindsey Stirling; July 1 (8 p.m.): John Fogerty; July 2 (7:30 p.m.): Brand New; July 14 (8 p.m.): Julianne and Derek Hough; July 19 (6:30 p.m.): Tedeschi Trucks Band, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings; July 21 (7 p.m.): Shawn Mendes; July 24 (8 p.m.): Cake; July 27 (8 p.m.): Incubus; July 28 (6:30 p.m.): Sublime With Rome; Aug. 20 (7 p.m.): the Avett Brothers; Aug. 30 (8:30 p.m.): Brit Floyd; Sept. 4 (6:45 p.m.): O.A.R.; Sept. 5 (6:30 p.m.): Slightly Stoopid; Sept. 8 (7:30 p.m.): Jackson Browne; Sept. 11 (7 p.m.): Rick Springfield, Loverboy; Sept. 23 (7:30 p.m.): Scorpions; Oct. 2 (7:30 p.m.): Hozier

Parking: various lots

Tickets/information: $25 to $87.50 at Ticketmaster outlets (1-800-745-3000) or; 440-247-2722,


Cleveland Museum of Art

Description: The newly expanded museum is known for its extensive collections of pre-Columbian, medieval European, Asian and Indian art.

Location: 11150 East Blvd., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays

Admission: free; a fee for some special exhibits

Parking: free to $14; $8 after 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays

Special exhibits: “The Novel and the Bizarre: Salvator Rosa’s Scenes of Witchcraft” — featuring several of the artist’s prints and drawings (through June 14); “TR Ericsson: Crackle & Drag” — using photography, sculptural objects and cinema in creating installations in honor of his mother (May 23 through Aug. 22)

Information: 216-421-7350, 1-888-262-0033,

Great Lakes Science Center

Description: The center features hundreds of hands-on exhibits, science shows and educational programs.

Location: 601 Erieside Ave., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays

Admission: $14, or $13 for those 60 and older and students with valid ID, $12 for children 2 to 12; additional cost for the OMNIMAX Theater, the Steamship William G. Mather

Parking: $7 in attached garage with a validated ticket

Special exhibit: “Beyond Rubik’s Cube” — a multisensory exhibit celebrating the world’s best-selling puzzle toy (May 30 through Sept. 7)

Information: 216-694-2000,

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Description: The museum honors the players and history of professional football.

Location: 2121 George Halas Dr. N.W., Canton (Stark County)

Open: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day; until 5 p.m. year-round

Admission: $24, or $20 for those 65 and older, $17 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and younger

Parking: $10

Special exhibit: Class of 2015 Enshrinement ceremony and game, 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; tickets start at $35

Information: 330-456-8207,

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Description: The 150,000-square-foot museum features interactive exhibits, costume displays and artifacts.

Location: 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., corner of E. 9th Street and Erieside Avenue, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Open: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, until 9 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays from Memorial Day through Labor Day

Admission: $22, or $17 for senior citizens 65 and older and those with military I.D., $18 for Cleveland area residents, $13 for children 9 to 12, free for children 8 and younger with purchase of adult admission, free with membership

Parking: nearby lots, garages and on-street meters

Special exhibits: “2015 Hall of Fame Inductees Exhibit” — featuring instruments, gear and clothing from Green Day, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Lou Reed and more (until March 2016 ); “Herb Ritts: The Rock Portraits”— the museum’s first photography exhibit featuring not-seen-in-public images from the photographer’s collection, including performers Cher, Bob Dylan, Janet Jackson and Madonna (until next spring)

Information: 216-781-ROCK, 1-888-764-7625


Cleveland Indians

Description: An influx of young talent has invigorated a franchise that had fallen from its heights of the 1990s.

Location: Progressive Field, 2401 Ontario St., Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Home games: May 22-24 vs. Reds; May 25-27 vs. Rangers; June 5-7 vs. Orioles; June 9-11 vs. Mariners; June 17-18 vs. Cubs; June 19-21 vs. Rays; June 22-24 vs. Tigers; July 6-9 vs. Astros; July 10-12 vs. Athletics; July 23-26 vs. White Sox; July 27-29 vs. Royals; Aug. 7-9 vs. Twins; Aug. 11-13 vs. Yankees; Aug. 25-26 vs. Brewers; Aug. 28-30 vs. Angels; Sept. 10-13 vs. Tigers; Sept. 14-17 vs. Royals; Sept. 18-20 vs. White Sox; Sept. 28-30 vs. Twins

Admission: $10 to $100, free for children 2 and younger if sitting on an adult’s lap

Parking: nearby lots

Tickets/information: through Ticketmaster, 1-866-48-TRIBE, team shop locations, at the park or online; 216-420-4200,

Akron RubberDucks

Description: The Cleveland Indians’ Class AA affiliate is a member of the Eastern League.

Location: Canal Park, 300 S. Main St., Akron (Summit County)

Home games: May 19-21 vs. New Britain; May 26-28 vs. Trenton; May 29-31 vs. Erie; June 9-11 vs. New Hampshire; June 16-18 vs. Altoona; June 19-22 vs. Erie; June 27-29 vs. Binghamton; June 30-July 3 vs. Bowie; July 10-12 vs. Reading; July 23-26 vs. Altoona; July 27-29 vs. Bowie; Aug. 7-9 vs. Portland; Aug. 18-20 vs. Harrisburg; Aug. 21-23 vs. Erie; Aug. 27-30 vs. Richmond; Aug. 31-Sept. 3 vs. Erie

Admission: $5 to $9, or $8 for senior citizens and children younger than 12; free for children 3 and younger

Parking: nearby lots

Tickets/information: 330-253-5153; 330-253-5151, 1-800-972-3767,

Lake County Captains

Description: The minor-league team is a Class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.

Location: Classic Park, 35300 Vine St., Eastlake (Lake County)

Home games: May 17 vs. Dayton; May 18-21 vs. Fort Wayne; May 26-28 vs. West Michigan; May 29-June 1 vs. South Bend; June 10-12 vs. Clinton; June 13-15 vs. Kane County; June 25-28 vs. South Bend; July 2-3 vs. Lansing; July 8-9 vs. West Michigan; July 18-20 vs. Bowling Green; July 21-23 vs. Fort Wayne; July 28-30 vs. Lansing; July 31-Aug. 2 vs. Great Lakes; Aug. 11-13 vs. Cedar Rapids; Aug. 14-16 vs. Quad Cities; Aug. 21-23 vs. West Michigan; Aug. 24-26 vs. Dayton; Sept. 5-7 vs. South Bend

Admission: advance tickets: $9, or $10 at gate

Parking: advance fee $6, $8 day of game on gold lots at stadium, private lots off Curtis Boulevard

Tickets/information: 440-954-9467; 440-975-8085,

Lake Erie Crushers

Description: The Crushers are members of the independent Frontier League.

Location: All Pro Freight Stadium, 2009 Baseball Blvd., Avon (Lorain County)

Home games: May 17: vs. Southern Illinois; May 26-28 vs. Evansville; May 29-31 vs. Frontier; June 2-4 vs. River City; June 12-14 vs. Washington; June 16-18 vs. Florence; June 23-25 vs. Gateway; June 26-28 vs. Evansville; July 3-5 vs. Windy City; July 17-19 vs. Schaumburg; July 24-26 vs. Traverse; July 28-30 vs. Florence; Aug. 4-6 vs. Rockford; Aug. 7-9 vs. Frontier; Aug. 18-20 vs. Normal; Aug. 21-23 vs. Joliet; Sept. 1-3 vs. Joliet

Admission: $6 to $14; children 3 and younger free

Parking: $3 on-site

Tickets/information: 440-934-3636 or at stadium ticket office;

Mahoning Valley Scrappers

Description: A short-season Class A team affiliated with the Cleveland Indians.

Location: Eastwood Field, 111 Eastwood Mall Blvd., Niles (Trumbull County)

Home games: June 25-27 vs. State College; June 28-30 vs. Williamsport; July 4-6 vs. Aberdeen; July 15-17 vs. Auburn; July 21-23 vs. Staten Island; July 24-26 vs. Brooklyn; Aug. 3-5 vs. Williamsport; Aug. 6-8 vs. Batavia; Aug. 12-14 vs. Hudson Valley; Aug. 19-20 vs. Batavia; Aug. 21-23 vs. West Virginia; Aug. 30-Sept. 1 vs. State College; Sept. 5-7 vs. West Virginia

Admission: $8; $1 Thursday nights, children 3 and younger free if sharing seat with adult

Parking: $3, on-site

Tickets/information: 330-505-0000;


World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational

Description: The South Course at Firestone Country Club is a meticulously groomed test for some of the best golfers in the world.

Location: Firestone Country Club, 452 E. Warner Rd., Akron (Summit County)

Dates: Aug. 6-9

Admission: one-day ticket $49, Wednesday practice round $25, daily grounds ticket Thursday and Friday $40, Saturday and Sunday $45

Parking: $5

Tickets/information: Ticketmaster (1-888-401-8000), 844-868-7465, or online; 330-644-2299,


Cleveland Browns

Description: The struggling team hopes to return to the playoffs for the second time since rejoining the NFL in 1999.

Location: FirstEnergy Stadium, 100 Alfred Lerner Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Preseason home games: Aug. 13 vs. Washington Redskins; Aug. 20 vs. Buffalo Bills

Admission: to be determined

Parking: lots within walking distance of the stadium

Tickets/information: 440-824-3434, through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000, or online; 440-891-5000,


Northfield Park

Description: One of America’s premier tracks features year-round, live harness racing.

Location: 10705 Northfield Rd., Northfield (Summit County)

Season: Mondays through Thursdays (post times 6 p.m.) through June 4; Mondays through Wednesdays and Fridays June 8 through Oct. 2; live racing Aug. 1; simulcasting daily

Admission: free

Parking: free

Information: 330-467-4101,


Thistledown Racino

Description: The track offers live thoroughbred racing from May to mid-November and simulcast racing.

Location: 21501 Emery Rd., North Randall (Cuyahoga County)

Season: Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (post time 12:55 p.m.) through Oct. 24; simulcasting daily

Admission: free

Parking: free

Information: 216-662-8600,


Akron Zoo

Description: The accredited world-conservation zoo boasts 50 acres and more than 700 animals.

Location: 500 Edgewood Ave., Akron (Summit County)

Big attractions: Grizzly Ridge — the permanent exhibit showcases grizzly bears, bald eagles, red wolves, otters, coyotes and more; Otter Slide — children can slide down an enclosed underwater tube and see the otters up close in their habitat; Journey to the Reef — the temporary exhibit features aquatic animals such as octopuses, seahorses and more.

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, through October

Admission: $11, or $9 for senior citizens 62 and older, $8 for children 2 to 14, free for children younger than 2

Parking: $3 for nonmembers

Information: 330-375-2550,

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Description: The 183-acre zoo has almost 2,000 animals — many in natural settings.

Location: 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County)

Big Attractions: Penguin Shores — for the first time since 2002, visitors can see six African black-footed penguins. The attraction features nest boxes, ledges and a swimming pool for the web-footed birds.

Open: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and until 7 p.m. weekends and holidays, Memorial Day through Labor Day

Admission: $13.25, or $12.25 for senior citizens 62 and older, or $9.25 for children 2 to 11, free for children younger than 2

Parking: free

Information: 216-661-6500,