5 one-tank road trips from Cleveland, Ohio

Use this guide for inspiration for your next locally-based road trip from Cleveland—without needing to stop for gas

Mother Goose Land in Canton, Ohio. | Photo: Alexandra Charitan

Between high gas prices, limited vacation days, and chaotic air travel, taking a local road trip is more appealing than ever this summer. These five destinations are all within 300 miles (round-trip) of Cleveland, Ohio, making them ideal for quick getaways. Spend less time at the pump and more time enjoying the road. 

If you’re in an electric vehicle, we’ve noted whether you can expect to find chargers along each route as well. 

1. Mansfield, Ohio

Total mileage: 160 miles

Ohioans may have differing opinions on whether Mansfield lives up to its official nickname as “The Fun Center of Ohio,” but this centrally-located city offers up several compelling destinations worthy of a day trip or longer. One of its other nicknames, the “Carousel Capital of Ohio,” is easier to prove: The Historic Carrousel District is home to dozens of businesses and shopping opportunities, including Richland Carrousel Park, which features the “first new, hand-carved carrousel to be built and operated in the U.S. since the 1930s.” 

Mansfield is probably best known for being home to the Ohio State Reformatory (OSR), which opened in 1896 and housed 154,000 inmates during its nearly 100 years in operation. Three years after it closed in the early ‘90s, the imposing structure was used as a filming location for the big-screen adaptation of a 1982 Stephen King novella; nearly 30 years after The Shawshank Redemption became a sleeper hit, the OSR offers guided and self-guided tours, overnight ghost hunts, and other events year round.

Related Celebrating 25 years of ‘Shawshank Redemption’ at the once-abandoned prison where it was filmed

Don’t miss: Located just down the street from OSR is Biblewalk, a museum featuring displays depicting Bible stories populated by wax figures—some of which have been repurposed from other celebrity-themed museums; The Ohio Bird Sanctuary rehabilitates native birds in a protected natural habitat offering education and birding opportunities; and the Buckeye Express Diner serves up classic eats from inside of a vintage red rail car.

Stay: Overnight at The Paddock Inn Bed & Breakfast, or camp by the water at the Clearfork Marina & Campground

Charge: EV chargers are pretty sparse the closer you get to Mansfield, but they can be found at car dealerships and Walmart.

2. Jamestown, New York

Total mileage: 292 miles

Jamestown, New York’s main claim to fame is as the birthplace of Lucille Ball, and today the city attracts fans with several Lucy-themed attractions, including the Lucy Desi Museum, colorful murals, statues, and the Lake View Cemetery, Ball’s final resting place. Jamestown is also home to the National Comedy Center, which features interactive exhibits and memorabilia from comedy greats such as Richard Pryor, George Carlin, and, of course, Ball herself. 

Related 6 must-see stops in Lucille Ball’s New York hometown

Don’t miss: After an afternoon of belly laughs, grab a hot dog and milkshake at the Fifties Grill & Dairy, or enjoy a drink at one of the many restaurants and bars that line the shores of scenic Chautauqua Lake. Visit the Fenton History Center to learn more about Jamestown through artifacts and archival materials, and stretch your legs with a hike at Panama Rocks Scenic Park

Stay: Overnight at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel for great views, or camp at the Chautauqua Lake KOA Holiday.

Charge: There’s an EV charging station at the Lucille Ball Memorial Park, so you can charge while visiting two statues of Ball, including 2009’s infamous “Scary” or “Ugly” Lucy, which was redone (but thankfully not replaced) in 2016.

3. Chester, West Virginia

Total mileage: 218 miles

The northernmost city in West Virginia is located just south of the Ohio River and across from East Liverpool, Ohio, to the north and the Pennsylvania border to the east. Chester is home to the World’s Largest Teapot, which operated as a barrel-shaped ice cream, hot dog, and soft drink stand (this is still “pop” country) until it was refashioned into a teapot and moved to its current location in 1990. 

The tri-state region was once a hub for the pottery and ceramics industry, and collectors can still visit the Fiesta Tableware Company Factory in nearby Newell, West Virginia, to take a factory tour or stock up on seconds and retired colorways at the retail outlet. 

Related These ‘World’s Largest’ roadside attractions prove that sometimes, bigger really is better

Don’t miss: The Pottery City Antique Mall offers several levels of unique, vintage items; the Hilltop Drive-In Theater has been showing movies and selling concessions every summer under the stars since the 1950s; and cross the river on the circa-1905 Newell Toll Bridge, one of the last privately owned toll bridges in the country (prepare to pay $1 round-trip for cars and 5 cents for pedestrians).

Stay: Overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in Newell, or camp at the Tomlinson Run State Park Campground.

Charge: EV chargers are in short supply in this region, so your best bet is to charge along Interstate 80 before you turn onto the more rural Route 11.

4. Canton, Ohio

Total mileage: 120 miles

Located nearly 20 miles south of Akron, Ohio (the cities share a domestic airport and similar post-manufacturing-boom Rust Belt vibe), Canton is home to the Pro Football Hall of Fame due to its status as the birthplace of the National Football League. But whether you’re a fan of sports, American history, or sweet treats, you’ll find something in this underrated Northeast Ohio town. 

Before the NFL, Canton was probably best known as the home of William McKinley, who served as the 25th President of the U.S. until his 1901 assassination in Buffalo, New York. Today, the William McKinley Presidential Library and Museum is located in Canton, and McKinley himself is interred in the nearby McKinley National Monument. There’s also the First Ladies National Historic Site—comprising the Ida Saxton McKinley Historic Home and an Education and Research Center—which was established in 2000.

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Don’t miss: Take a break on the drive south to stretch your legs at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the only national parks in the northeastern U.S.; visit the remnants of Mother Goose Land, a former storybook park; and satisfy your sweet tooth at Chubby’s Treats, where soft serve is served from an ice-cream-shaped building, or Milk and Honey, a locally-owned diner and ice cream shop that transports you back to the 1940s.

Stay: Overnight at the Poggio Amorelli Bed and Breakfast, or camp at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort: Akron Canton.

Charge: There are several chargers located near the Akron-Canton Airport and one located close to the Pro Football Hall of Fame so you can charge while you explore the museum.

5. Sandusky, Ohio

Total mileage: 126 miles

Roller coaster enthusiasts will find no shortage of thrill rides at Cedar Point, the crown jewel of Sandusky, Ohio. Located on an island in Lake Erie, Cedar Point offers enough rides (more than 70, including 18 world-class roller coasters), live shows, and amusements to keep the whole family busy for days. But the area is also full of opportunities to explore the scenic lakeshore, other quaint island communities, parks, and historic attractions, including Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island. 

Don’t miss: Take a tour of Thomas Edison’s birthplace in Milan, Ohio; see the Marblehead Lighthouse, one of Lake Erie’s most-photographed landmarks; and get up close and personal with more than 200 animals at the Lagoon Deer Park, including deer, llamas, goats, peacocks, elk, emu, and miniature donkeys.

Stay: Overnight at the Put-in-Bay Resort or camp at Kelleys Island State Park.

Charge: EV chargers are located at Meijer grocery stores and several hotel chains along the route.