Cedar Point as seen from Kelleys IslandOhio and adventure may not automatically be linked in the same sentence, but I’m here to change that perception. Ohio may be the home of presidents, rock and roll and Ohio State football, but that’s only the beginning. If you take the time to dig a little deeper, you’ll discover a state rich in thrill-seeking, teeth-clenching, adrenaline-pumping experiences full of adventure that the teens and young adults in your family crave.

Roller coaster enthusiasts have flocked to Cedar Point, the Roller Coaster Capital of the World, for years, but the new Gatekeeper promises to draw more crowds. This world record breaking ride, featuring the longest wing coaster with the longest drop in it’s category, promises to deliver hair-raising excitement. And while my teens are all about surviving terrifying experiences, if the thought of whisking through the air twisting and turning at speeds up to 67 miles per hour makes you want to lose your lunch, you’ll be happy to know that Cedar Point has a tamer side.

South Bass Island, located a short drive and ferry ride away in Lake Erie, will trick you into thinking you’re in a tropical setting and offers visitors many of the popular activities that you may expect from coastal towns. If your teens long to parasail, kayak through the eye of the needle off Gibraltar Island,  jet ski, snorkel and scuba dive, they’ll have the opportunity in Ohio.  Put-in-Bay hosts many fun, family friendly and educational events throughout the season that make it perfect for a family vacation in Ohio, but during some festivals it may be a more appropriate getaway for grown ups.  A quick glance at the events calendar will ensure a family friendly visit and if you travel during the week, in late spring or at the tail end of summer you’ll also miss some of the larger crowds.

A little further south, you can experience the hum of the racetrack as sports cars or motorcycles buzz along the track vying for that number one position at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Lexington. You can root for your favorite driver in the stands or take lawn chairs and stake out a grassy area along the fence. Race enthusiasts are welcome to camp in a Family Camping area which is separated from the normal camp ground, allowing you to avoid some of the party atmosphere that is associated with races.

Hocking Hills State Park

Ohio State Parks also offer activities for adventure seekers in Ohio. Four of the parks- Perry, Pike, Maumee and Richland Pike- welcome riders to traverse over 38 miles of winding trails and open areas on their ATV’s, rewarding riders with breathtaking views. Children between the ages of 12 and 16 are welcome to ride when accompanied by an adult. John Bryan State Park and Hocking Hills State Forest also offer rock climbing and rappelling to experienced climbers who have their own equipment.

If the thought of zip lining across a cable looking down at the ground some 70 feet below bores your teens, perhaps its time to give them something that will really get there heart pumping. Hocking Hills Canopy Tours offer a nighttime zipline adventure known as NightFlight. If ziplining through the air at night doesn’t cause your thrill seekers heart to accelerate, you must have a major dare devil on your hands.