Winter is long and cold in Ohio. Thankfully, there are dozens of hotels within an hour’s drive of your home to help you forget the snow. Then as soon as spring arrives and the snow is replaced with the first crocuses, you can head to Amish country and the Hocking Hills to celebrate. By the time Memorial Day rolls around, you’ll be ready to hit the dozens of theme parks Ohio offers.
The Cherry Valley Lodge promises fun for the entire family. The kids will love the extensive indoor Coco Key Water Resort, and the parents probably will as well. Four two-day waterpark passes are included with the hotel room. But mom will be most thrilled with the pampering she receives at the Banyan Day spa. 2299 Cherry Valley Road, Newark, OH 43055.
The Great Wolf Lodge is like a world of its own, amidst all the theme parks outside of Cleveland. You can use it as a base to enrich your theme park and water park days, or you can simply choose to check in and not leave. The massive indoor waterpark will keep your kids entertained for a full weekend, running around the hotel in shorts and t-shirts, even if it is snowing outside. The waterpark is only open to hotel guests, limiting the crowd factor and rooms are large and can accommodate larger families. Kids will love having their own little cabin within their parents’ room. 800.641.9653.
You can see the twisting roller coaster rides of King’s Island from the windows of the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio, but you might not even notice them. You and your children will be too busy running around the hotel completing the Magi Quest interactive scavenger hunt that makes paintings and statues come alive with one wave of the magic wand. You’ll have a tough time convincing them to trade their wands for their bathing suits, but once they enter the indoor waterpark, they will be equally delighted. Extremely popular in the freezing winter months, this is a great destination year-round. Book well in advance if you want a coveted room with kids’ cabin. 800.641.9653.
This charming motel is set within the heart of Ohio Amish country, on top of a rolling hill, surrounded by picturesque Amish farms and buggies. The farm itself would be a draw for families, even without the Amish attractions as horses are raised on the property and available for trail rides. After breakfast, kids can walk through the park-like grounds and see ducks and geese. Sunday nights are weenie roast nights and bands frequently play on weekends. 5025 State Route 557 Millersburg, OH 44654 1-877-467-9477
A castle sits amidst the beautiful Hocking Hills, complete with turrets, gargoyles, and a drawbridge (non-working). While Ravenwood Castle is a beautiful romantic destination, the adjoining cabins are perfect for families and kids will delight in seeing a real castle in Ohio, as well as adorable pastel-colored guest houses named after popular fairy tales. The castle has a large selection of videos and DVDs for your entertainment. They offer a candlelit dinner, or you can order pizza to be delivered. Breakfast is delivered in a quaint basket down to the cabins. You can then spend the day hiking at the nearby falls, biking the winding roads, or riding the zipline. 65666 Bethel Road, New Plymouth, OH 45654-8936, United States (740) 596-2606
You’ll need more than one night to take advantage of all that Kalahari resort has to offer. You’ll want to get a massage at the spa, to let your husband and kids try out surfing in the waterpark, and then to test everyone’s courage in the new Safari outdoor adventure park with its climbing walls, rope courses, and ziplines. Good thing they frequently have weekend packages available. 7000 Kalahari Drive • Sandusky, Ohio 44870 | Reservations: (877) 525-2427
Castaway Bay is another fun destination in Cleveland’s Cedar Point. They are known as the most kid-friendly waterpark in Ohio and feature daily meet and greets with Snoopy and other Peanuts characters. Every night is filled with fun activities like Peanuts karaoke, storytime with Winnie the Pooh, and a kid-friendly movie. 2001 Cleveland Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870-4403 (419) 627-2500
If you’re planning a trip to Cincinnati to check out the aquarium and take in some museums, Wildwood Inn is a great home base. They feature fun family suites with themes like Aladdin, Pirate Ship, and Speedway that will be a huge hit with the kids. There’s an outdoor pool, and room rates for a double are usually under $100. 7809 U.S. 42 Florence, KY 41042 (859) 371-6300