Day Tripper

Full-blown vacations are wonderful, but sometimes a day is all you need to refresh. These three excursions pack in the fun — and we’ve got options to extend your stay to another day if you’re not ready to go home. 
Falling for Niagara Falls

While a trip to Egypt or Italy might still be out of the question, we’ve got a world wonder right in our backyard, making this the perfect time to re-discover the American side of Niagara Falls. And once you’ve snapped the perfect photograph from Goat Island, you’ll find out what the locals already know: The falls are just the beginning. 

Pack your poncho. New, fully electric boats take visitors to the base of Niagara Falls for an eco-friendly twist to on this classic attraction. Along the way, you’ll enjoy amazing views of the American and Bridal Veil Falls before getting sprayed by the larger Horseshoe Falls. Some 600,000 gallons of water fall each second, so plan on gettingto get wet.

Go for a spin. Starting outside Niagara Falls State Park, paved recreational trails lead four 4 miles to Whirlpool State Park, DeVeaux Woods State Park and Devil’s Hole State. Pick up a rental from Reddy Bikeshare, and head north for beautiful views of the river and gorge.

Stand underneath a waterfall. The whole family will love Cave of the Winds, a series of boardwalks and decks that take you practically underneath Niagara Falls. Standing on the Hurricane Deck is a highlight: tThe power of the waterfall is so intense it really feels like you’re in the midst of a major storm.

Winery hop outside of town. The Niagara region is famous for ice wines, made from hardy, cold-weather grapes left to freeze on the vine. Thoroughly ripened, they make a unique dessert wine. (Not into wine? The Niagara Wine Trail also has a meadery, breweries, distilleries and a cidery, too.)

Join a history lesson. Niagara Falls’ position on the Canadian border made it a major stopping point along the underground Underground rRailroad. The small museum at the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center does an excellent job sharing the stories of freedom seekers and abolitionists.

Order dessert. Three- course prix fixe menus at Savor mean you may as well indulge — especially considering the total bill works out to $25 per person. Since meals are prepared by highly qualified students at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute, you’ll get a great meal at a great price.

Extend Your Stay
Nearly a hundred years old, the Giacomo Hotel exemplifies the prosperity of Niagara Falls in its heyday. Art deco architecture shines inside and out and even the standard rooms have rich European decor. Best of all, the hotel is walking distance to the city’s most iconic attractions, including Cave of the Winds and Niagara Falls State Park.

At Play in Put-in-Bay

Number one on the bucket list for Put-in-Bay will always be to take int the view from the top of Perry’s Victory and International Peace Monument Memorial (, but once you’ve crossed that off your list, it’s time to explore all the food, wine, nature and fun the island has to offer. 

Get up close to nature. Lake Erie Nature and Wildlife Center boasts a new 900-square-foot expansion, including a new mural by local artist Janet Stearns, a big picture window to see the nature and wildlife on the island and an exhibit detailing the island’s geologic origins.

Take on the Foodie Trail. From a lobster omletteomelet at Pasquales Café to a sStromboli at the Put-in-Bay Pizza Co., the Foodie Trail is full of places to refuel, including Mojito Bay, where you can enjoy a drink with your toes in the sand.

Find fun at Perry’s Cave. It’s said that, in the days leading up to the Battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry rested and drew water from a nearby cave. Today Perry’s Cave is a recognized natural landmark as well as a site with plenty to do, including a car museum, miniature golf and a rock-climbing wall.

Sip and see. Heineman’s Winery was opened in 1888 by a German immigrant, Gustav Heineman, and it still makes a lengthy list of wines — and also is also home to Crystal Cave, the world’s largest geode.

Explore the woods with little ones. Dodge Woods Storywalk Trail runs through a young forest nature preserve and is home to a trail featuring laminated pages of a book. Kids go from station to station, learning about nature and improving their reading skills along the way.

Extend Your Stay
The Anchor Inn Boutique Hotel was originally built as one of the village’s largest and most well-appointed homes. Since 2017, it’s been a nine-room hotel, just as well-appointed while offering a refined stay not far from where the action is downtown.

Cleveland Calling

When Moses Cleaveland set foot on land where the Cuyahoga River met Lake Erie, he envisioned a small town, not unlike those in his native Connecticut. But Cleveland (the first A was dropped, legend has it, to fit the word in a newspaper headline) instead grew to be the largest city on Lake Erie, as swarms of immigrants came to work in the mills and factories that soon dotted the city’s landscape. They worked hard and played hard, and, even today, there’s a full lineup of activities for everyone.

Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. There’s a lot to see in this I.M Pei-designed masterpiece, including an exhibit on Super Bowl halftime shows (in honor of Cleveland hosting the NFL Draft). Plus, the museum isn right on the lake, just a short hop away from Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar, where you can dine right on the water.

Hit the beach. What’s the point of visiting Lake Erie if you don’t swim in it? Edgewater Beach, on the city’s near west side, is pet- friendly and active. A new beach house, opened in 2017, features all the amenities needed to make it, well, a day at the beach.

Get on the water. From its base in tThe Flats, Paddle CLE offers reservations to stand-up paddleboard both on the Cuyahoga River and in Lake Erie.

Treat yourself. Cathy’s Creamery specializes in gourmet ice- cream sandwiches. First you choose your cookie from options like sugar, peanut butter and chocolate brownie. Next up is the ice cream, offered in more than a dozen flavors, including banana pudding, salted caramel and truffle. Finally, you pick a topping such as toffee, Oreos or chocolate sauce. Even better is that Cathy’s is located in tThe Arcade, one of the city’s most historical and beautiful buildings.

Hit the West Side Market. More than a place to get food, it’s a glimpse into Cleveland’s past and present, with everything from produce to fresh pasta to baked goods representing generations of history. Also, it’s at the center of Ohio City, a walkable neighborhood with shops, microbreweries and always something going on.

Extend Your Stay
The Kimpton Schofield Hotel has quite a past. In the 1960s, a modernistic glass façade was installed on the Schofield building at the corner of Euclid Avenue and East Ninth Street. But in the early 2010s, that façade was removed and the red brick beneath it was restored to its grandeur. The hotel features a great new restaurant, Betts, and is within walking distance of all downtown destinations.