Summer Family Fun!
It’s Memorial Day- in my opinion it’s the official kick off to Summer Family Fun! This year I have an excess amount of enthusiasm for family fun as my kids are now 12 and 10 and share my love for all things summer. Over the past 10 years, I’ve made it a habit every May to research local websites for upcoming events. I save key links to my ‘Fun’ bookmarks folder and copy/paste all the dates and times for the events that most interest me… primarily free music concerts. This may seem over-the-top, but I want to get the most out of the next 3 months so it’s worth the effort. After I compile my Summer To-Dos in a Goggle doc, I share the file with close family and friends and the fun begins. Now, I am sharing my favorites with you, Northeast Ohio, in hopes that you too will have a summer full of family fun!
Like I said, outdoor music is a summer fave for our family and NEOH does not disappoint! It seems every town, borough and city has something to offer in terms of outdoor music. Below, I have listed the Akron area options, but check your local area park or township websites for their summer music lineups.
For Young Families
For Families with Teens and College Kids
- Lock 3 Live
- Falls Fridays at the Cuyahoga Falls amphitheater
- WONE’s Rock the Lock at downtown Akron’s Lock 3 amphitheater
For more outdoor music options outside of Akron visit: Northeast Ohio Family Fun
Food & Ethnic Festivals
Food, music and fun- three great reasons to plan a festival day! We really enjoy the Irish festivals as we follow our favorite band The New Barleycorn. The kids get up and dance to the lively music and everyone in the audience sings along. If you need to get in touch with your roots, here are a few suggestions to get you started!
- Irish Festivals
- Italian Festivals
- Festivals of Every Kind:
Outdoor Movie Nights
Our anticipated blockbuster movies for the summer are outdoor movies! Though we regularly turn our back deck into a theater throughout the summer, we also enjoy the occasional movie on the big screen. There are plenty of options throughout Northeast Ohio thanks to the metroparks, local communities and area shopping destinations like Crocker Park and Legacy Village. If you still want to see the latest summer blockbusters on the big screen, don’t forget about
- Northeast Ohio outdoor movies on the lawn (and indoor options for beat-the-heat days)
- Northeast Ohio Drive-In Theaters
Make it a goal to take the kids to at least one ballgame this summer. My first pick for the most enjoyable family fun experience would be to take the kids to an Akron Rubber Ducks Game. It’s a real crowd pleaser with entertaining activities for the kids between innings and fantastic fireworks at every home game on Fridays and Saturdays. If you have money to burn, a second option is to head up to Cleveland for a Guardian’s Game. Lastly, if you’d rather play than watch, check out a local softball league in the area. Over the summer, make it a regular family event with the kids cheering you on from the stands with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
Tickets & Schedules:
- Akron Rubber Ducks:
- Tickets https://www.milb.com/akron/tickets
- Schedule https://img.mlbstatic.com/milb-images/image/upload/milb/jvkkr1ea8idnhgt7cang.pdf (fireworks game schedule)
- Cleveland Guardians:
Join a local Akron league at Akron Recreation and Parks!
When it’s time to cool off in Northeast Ohio, there’s more than just swimming pools to beat the heat. All three metroparks (Summit, Cleveland and Cuyahoga Valley) offer options to kayak, paddle board, canoe or tube (rental options available). Additionally, there are numerous splash pads across the region and wonderful public beaches along the Lake Erie shoreline. Take a look at just a few of the options for cooling off when the temperatures soar:
Canoeing, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding
- Hinkley Reservation
- Silver Creek Metropark Rentals
- Cuyahoga River Water Trail
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Float the River in Cuyahoga Falls
Splash Pads & Pools
- Akron Pools & Splash Pads
- Cuyahoga Falls Splash Pad
- Hudson Splash Pad
- Medina Splash Pad
- Public Beaches
- Water Parks
Water Ski Show
If you prefer to enjoy your water sport from dry land, you will certainly enjoy an evening water ski performance by the Chippewa Water Ski Show Team. Throughout the summer, the team performs on Wednesday nights in Norton, Ohio. For your visit, pack a picnic, beverages, bug spray and blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy the show. Check their website for showtimes!
One of our favorite summer outdoor activities is biking the Towpath as a family. When planning a biking day, we try to incorporate a fun destination. This could be stopping for lunch in Peninsula, for ice cream in Boston or for a buttery ear of sweet corn at Szalay’s Farm. Following the Towpath Map, it’s easy to find trailheads and parking within a few miles of our destination. If you’re wanting to bike a longer distance, consider the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Bike Aboard. For $5 per passenger, you can ride the train one direction and bike back to your starting point or vice versa. Our favorite route is hopping the train at Botzum Station to downtown Akron Northside station and biking all the way back! Planning a bike trip takes a little planning, but it’s well worth the effort. Check out our best biking, hiking and outdoor activities below.
- Ohio & Erie Towpath
- Ohio & Erie Towpath Map
- Summit Bike & Hike
- CVSR Bike Aboard
- It’s a good idea to review the safety guidelines provided by the Ohio & Erie Towpath with your children before venturing out.
Bike Rentals & Bike Shares:
- Summit Bike Share. *Free for residents and visitors of Summit County by providing a valid drivers license and a signing waiver. We love this option!
- Century Cycles
- Pedego E-Bike Rentals
- Valley Bike Rental in Cuyahoga Valley
- Ohio City Cycles
Parks and Rec Activities:
- Archery- Summit Metroparks
- Archery- Cleveland Metroparks
- Hiking- Cleveland Metroparks Trail Challenge
- Hiking- Summit Metroparks Spree For All
- Fishing- Summit Metroparks
- Fishing- Cleveland Metroparks
Farmer’s Market Fun
There’s nothing better than fresh produce in the summertime! My favorite? Hands down, I love sunny yellow tomatoes- bright, lemony and sweet. Visiting a farmer’s market is a wonderful way to expose your children to new fruits and vegetables by allowing them to make a selection of their own.
- Cleveland Area Farmer’s Markets
- Northeast Ohio’s Best Farmer’s Market RecommendationsSzalay’s Farm & Market– an Akron favorite
- Cuyahoga Valley Farmer’s Market at Howe Meadow
- Medina Square Farmer’s Market
Animals, Critters & Nature Fun:
When summer boredom hits, it’s a great time to take the kids on an animal or creature adventure. We are year-round Akron Zoo members ($97 a year) and my kids have enjoyed every visit. For being a smaller zoo, they do a great job of keeping things interesting for the kids. The latest addition to the Akron Zoo family are the White-Cheeked Gibbons; they are very fun to watch! No matter your budget, there are great options to peak your child’s animal interests. Many of the local parks offer free programs. Here are a few options to get you started.
- Akron Zoo
- Cleveland Zoo Petting Zoos
- Fairlawn Nature Center
- Akron Fossil & Science Center
- Summit Metroparks Children’s activities
This one’s on my summer bucket list! I hate to admit it, but I’ve never taken the kids to the fair. I may have some childhood trauma from my last visit…back in 1982. After an evening full of lemonade, pork rinds and one windy North Carolina mountain road, me and my 3 sisters ‘returned’ all our food on the way home in the back of my mother’s station wagon. After a few therapy sessions, I believe I am ready to brave the fair with kids in tow and find out what all the hoopla is about! Here are some of Northeast Ohio’s best biggest fairs:
- July 25th- July 30th Summit County Fair
- July 31st- Aug 6th Medina County Fair
- Aug 8- Aug 11th Cuyahoga County Fair
More Great Summer Resources:
- Northeast Ohio Family Fun
- Downtown Akron Partnership
- Summit County Metroparks
- Cleveland MetroparksAkron Parks & Rec
- Fairlawn Parks & Rec
- Cuyahoga Valley National Parks
- The Cleveland Bucket List
What’s on your Summer Bucket List?
While many of you plan to tackle the yard this weekend or grill out with the fam, I will be planning my bucket list for Summer 2023. Lucky for you, I’m sharing it! So mulch away and grill those hot dogs Northeast Ohio, I’ve got you covered for the next 3 months of summer family fun!
For more family fun, bookmark our blog page at MarriedLifeCounseling.com.
Do you have a Summer Family Fun event to share? By all means do tell and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be sure to check out your recommended event!
Jamie Dunlap joined the Married Life Counseling team as Intake Coordinator. She has a diverse background in marketing, team management, and customer relations. Jamie is a Copley gal, married to her high school sweetheart, Greg, and mom to two spirited children who keep them very busy and sleep-deprived.