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Long Weekend Getaway - drivable from NW Ohio

Hi ladies!  I am looking for suggestions for a 5 day getaway for just DH and I.  We live in NW Ohio and would like to look for someplace that is within a reasonable driving distance (probably a max of 6 hours away).  We already have a trip planned to Toronto, so we're not looking for another big city experience.  We would be traveling later this summer and are looking for a destination that is a little more natural.

We just went to Niagara Falls a little more than a year ago- so that's out.

I have briefly thought about Mackinac Island/City or somewhere along the Western coast of Michigan's Lower Peninsula (Sleeping Bear Dunes, maybe?).  I have also considered Mammoth Cave NP in KY or white water rafting on the New River in West Virginia.  Would this be the best place for us to go rafting?  I just don't know how much there is to do in these areas and if we would be entertained for 5 days.  

I am completely unfamiliar with most of Indiana, western PA, northern IL, etc.  I am hoping that some of you have suggestions or can give me opinions on what I've already thought of.  

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Re: Long Weekend Getaway - drivable from NW Ohio

  • We love the upper peninsula of Michigan for more of a nature experience. There are lighthouses, waterfalls, hiking trails, beaches, shipwrecks, etc.  Although it may be a bit longer than a 6 hour drive, depending what part of NW Ohio you live. Here's a link to their website. (it is also beyond beautiful in the fall when the leaves have changed)

    2nd would be Mackinac Island. It is a great cultural experience. We did horseback riding, bike trails, and some fishing there.  Although I'm more of a "big adventure" type person, and this wasn't adventrous enough for me.  But it was perfect for H.

    You could also do Chicago if you wanted to do another city that isn't too far of a drive. There are lake tours, the zoo, science and industry museum, Sears tower (Willis tower now), Shedd Aquarium, Millenium Park, etc. But to me, 5 days would be too much in Chicago. It is an expensive city.

    There is also Laurel Highlands in PA. They have some awesome whitewater rafting and kayaking. Along with a lot of wineries, and a bike/hike trail that connects to Washington DC.

    Good luck!

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  • I would recommend Traverse City in Michigan. My in-laws go up there quite a bit from the Dayton area and spend a week at a time. We went with them for three or four days a few years ago and it was great. We did a day of going to a bunch of wineries. Another day we went kayaking and then to the beach to swim. There are also shops in Traverse City and some of the surrounding towns, the Dunes, etc.
  • I had considered the Upper Peninsula, but I think that would be better reserved for a longer trip.  I think that we would end up spending too much time in the car and I would prefer to have more time to explore some of the areas.

    Chicago is out.  We've been there and are really looking for a little more nature and a little less concrete. 

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  • I vote for northern Michigan (have you been to Traverse City?) 
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    Here's a link to my blog- I'm in NEOhio with a lot of posts about roadtrips including Western PA, Northern Kentucky and whitewater rafting in West Virginia.  There is def a lot in any of these areas to fill 5 days! 

    In addition to Mammoth Cave you could fill your time in Kentucky exploring the Bourbon Trail, visiting horse farms, touring Churchill Downs, hiking/climbing around Red River Gorge- there's just so much to do!

    If you go rafting through some places like Ace Adventure Resorts in WV, there's a lot to do around their campground including mountain biking, bridge walks, guided climbing, ziplining, etc.

    You could tour Falling Water, raft Ohiopyle, hike around the Laurel Highlands, try out Gravity Hill, visit the Flight 93 Memorial, etc. in Western PA.

    Have you considered Hocking Hills?

    PS- Sorry for the weird font in some of my blogs posts!  I'm not sure what happened but for some reason some posts seem to alternate between large and tiny fonts. 

  • My husband and I are great fans of "road trips", so we never look at a trip in a car as a destination type trip, but enjoy all the sites at various stops.

    If you haven't been to either of the coasts of Michigan, they are both great. If you leave from NW Ohio and drive across to the Grand Rapids area, there is Saugatuck, which is on Lake Michigan and very much like a small New England tourist town. I know, because I lived in Massachusetts for 6 years. Spend a night there, drive up to another town on the lake, (Sleeping Bear Dunes) or all the way up to Traverse City or Petoskey. Petoskey is a lot smaller, but just a simple downtown area. We stayed at Stafford's there, a lovely old fashioned hotel. Traverse City has all the wineries, the cherry festival is (I believe) early July, extremely crowded then. From Traverse City you could drive to St Ignace/Mackinaw City, stay there and take the ferry across to Mackinac Island (yes, Mackinac & Mackinaw are spelled 2 different ways, LOL). On the island there is the Grand Hotel which is super pricey, but you can spend a day on the island walking or riding bikes and see everything, maybe take a horse drawn carriage ride.

    From St Ignace area is about 4 hr drive back to Detroit, then another hour or two to your home.

    You could spend 4-5 days in any of the areas I mentioned, but our preference if it's a vacation is to hop & stop on a straight line. We like history so we generally choose places with a lot of it (DC, Charleston, Gettysburg), but for scenery you can't go wrong with the areas I mentioned.

    Our HM was a flight to San Fran, and over 14 days we spent time in towns all the way down to San Diego. We rented a convertible for the trip, and if you can afford it, the trip I outlined above would be great in one.

    I also use for hotel & restaurant info and plot all our trips on google maps. I also signed up for Budget Travel's website so I could search for road trip type trips. They have a topic right now with exactly that, great road trips. If you go to, it's the best place for travel info.

    Good luck.

  • The drive to NC from Toledo isn't terrible - actually a pretty drive through the mountains.  You can make it the Blue Ridge Mountains in about 8-9 hours from Toledo.  How about Asheville, NC?  Or a quiet cabin in Blowing Rock, NC?

    Another option would be one of the islands on Lake Erie if you want something closer.  Pelee Island is a Canadian Island on Lake Erie with lots of bed and breakfast places.  There's a winery and a few restaurants.  Not a ton of things to do, and definitely rustic, but very relaxing.

    Enjoy your trip where ever you go! 

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