Father’s Day Ohio Style
By Michael Evans

If you’re lucky enough to have a father as adventurous and active as mine, then you likely love finding ways to explore Ohio with new experiences, especially on Father’s Day. And, if you and your dad don’t typically step out of your comfort zone, then Father’s Day is the perfect time to spice things up a bit. Ditch the neckties and sweaters, and instead invest in a fun-filled Ohio adventure with your old man. Because, after all, what do you get for the guy who has it all (including way too many socks)?

Here are a few ideas of things to do with your dad on Father’s Day – or any day – in all corners of Ohio. Make memories this year, and be sure to take lots of photos while doing it (and post them on social media with the hashtag #OhioFindItHere). If you find yourself in a time crunch and unable to pull together some last minute planning, consider buying a greeting card for your dad and writing or printing out a voucher to place inside, which will let your dad know you have something really cool planned!

Paddle Boarding

Last summer, I introduced my dad to the sport of paddle boarding through a company called The Stand Up Guys, based on Portage Lakes in Akron. My dad initially felt it would be totally out of his league, for a number of reasons. But, as any good son would do, I basically pressured him into taking the leap of faith, trusting that he would be fully capable. After a demonstration from The Stand Up Guys, they adjusted our oars, showed us the tricks to getting on (start on your knees then work your way up to standing), and taught us how to paddle (keep your arms straight, one on top of the oar, one halfway down, creating a triangle with your arms and the oar). We were soon off on our own in the wide open waters!

My dad did great on his first paddle board trip, and I encourage you to take your dad out as well! Another company I have tried in the past is Project 908, based in Columbus and Central Ohio. They will come to you to deliver the boards on whatever body of water you’d like to use them! You can also try Stand Up Paddle Boarding Cincinnati.

Canoeing & Kayaking

If you want to be on the water, but don’t feel that paddle boarding is quite your speed, you can always try a traditional canoe or kayaking experience with your dad. You can go tandem in one of these watercraft, or each get your own and paddle side-by-side. The main difference between canoeing and kayaking is the type of oar you have (single blade in canoes and double blade in kayaks), So, whichever of these lightweight boats you decide upon, you will be able to find seemingly endless places offering rentals in Ohio.

Some suggestions of unique and scenic canoe and kayak spots in Ohio are: Kayak The Bay in Put-In-Bay (where you get to explore all around the Lake Erie island), Trailhead Canoe Livery in Stark County, Trapper John’s Canoe Livery just south of Columbus, Loudonville Canoe Livery, and Little Miami Canoe Rental in Warren County.


If you’ve got a really daring dad, take him zip-lining! I was able to convince both my mom and my dad to come along for the ride at the tallest, fastest, and longest zip-line course in the state of Ohio: Tree Frog Canopy Tours in Mohican Country. My dad was like a pro by the end of our 7-line course, complete with two rappels. I don’t think I even saw a single drop of sweat while he did it, either!

Other great spots in Ohio to experience the thrill of zip-lining with your dad include: Common Ground Canopy Tours in Oberlin, O-Zone Zipline Adventures in Warren County, and The Wilds Zipline Safari in Cumberland.

Baseball Games

Ohio has tons of avenues for going to watch a good ol’ baseball game with your pops! Our two professional MLB teams, the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians, have tickets ranging in price from just a few bucks to a couple hundred dollars. Or, you can also get seats at minor league games such as the Akron RubberDucks, Columbus Clippers, Dayton Dragons, Mahoning Valley Scrappers or Toledo Mud Hens. There’s even the option to head to a college, high school or  little league game! It doesn’t matter on what scale you go watch baseball: no matter what, it is the perfect summer activity for a dad and his kids!


Chowing Down
If all of these outdoor activities get rained out, or if you end up needed to grab a bit to eat after a day of dad adventures, then you can never go wrong filling your father’s belly with some good eats. What type of food do I consider to be “dad dining”? The types of places that come to mind are barbecue joints, seafood restaurants, and good ol’ fashioned brew pubs. Thus, some great ideas for places I’d take my dad on Father’s Day include: Millstone BBQ in Logan, Youngstown Crab Company, Tony Packo’s in Toledo, and Thurman Cafe in German Village, Columbus! But, I am sure any unique spot you can find would be great for a Father’s Day meal!

About the Author

Michael Evans is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Public Affairs Journalism and currently works for The Ohio Department of Transportation as a Legislative Liaison. Michael is additionally the creator of OHventures, an Ohio tourism blog that focuses on outdoor adventure and active lifestyle. He has many hobbies, including writing, hiking, biking, rock climbing, canoeing, running, lifting weights, traveling and photography. You can write to Michael at ohventuresblog@gmail.com.