Exploring all throughout the Buckeye State

My family and I are explorers at heart.

In our home is artwork of U.S. national parks, and we’ve enjoyed traveling all around to places small and large. I love showing our girls that there is so much to the world out there, and we have found there are just so many neat places to check out.

So when we moved to Ohio last early summer, we began to make a list of places we would like to see in our new state.

• Cedar Point: This is a must. Betsy and I have great childhood memories of visiting this rollercoaster wonderland, and we delighted to see our girls light up when checking out the massive theme park.

• Marblehead: The Sandusky area reminds us a lot of Northern Michigan, where we came from, no spot more than the lighthouse at Marblehead. We checked out this place not long after we moved here, and the Great Lakes waves crashing into the rocks provided us a sense of comfort.

• Columbus: Betsy’s brothers family lived in the Columbus area for a long time, so we were well-versed on Ohio’s capital city. COSI is a family gem, and my life and girls love the shopping the area has to offer.

• Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Strangely located not far from a couple of major interstates, this is a stunning diversion from the urban landscape of the Cleveland-Akron area. This was our first “aha” moment after moving here — there is nothing like the waterfalls of this park back in our neck of Michigan. The beauty was stunning and made us realize that many Michiganders who criticize the Buckeye State simply have no idea what all it has to offer.

• Cleveland: I have been able to see both professional baseball and basketball games here, and its stadium area is very welcoming. Restaurants, hotels and shops make this a fun place to spend a weekend. On my list to check out later — the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and catching a production at Playhouse Square.

• Toledo: I’m a Tigers fan, so having the team’s Triple A affiliate this close has been fun. Fifth Third Park is a great place to catch a game and get close to the action. Same with the Toledo Walleye. Our family also found its way to the Toledo Museum of Art, which incredibly, offers free admission.

• Hocking Hills: We recently spent a family one-night getaway, scouting out this special area to figure out the best time to spend a little more time there in the future. We hiked a handful of the trails, and were blown away by the caverns, waterfalls, elevation and just plain beauty. We will be back, taking our friends from Michigan in tow.

This doesn’t even take mention of all of the countless mini-adventures we’ve found right here in our own backyard in Northwest Ohio. I’ve written whole other columns about all of the fun right here within our fingertips.

There are plenty of other spots and areas on our family’s wish list, and we can’t wait to get out and about this spring and summer.

I’d encourage everyone to take a chance to soak in all that makes this state (and any state if you are reading from another) great.

What are your favorite spots in Ohio? Email me at jeremyspeer@advertiser-tribune.com, and I’ll include them in a future column.

Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin, The Courier in Findlay and the Review Times in Fostoria. He can be reached at jeremyspeer@advertiser-tribune.com.