Our family recently took a trip to Ashtabula County to explore some new areas. Ashtabula County is just east of Cleveland and is comprised of Ashtabula, Conneaut, Jefferson, Geneva-on-the-Lake, and a few smaller towns. It’s a great place to visit for a weekend, or even a day trip if you’re in the greater Cleveland area – only about an hour’s drive.
While Ashtabula County is best known as Ohio Wine Country (see my favorites here), there is also some hiking, beaches, and other fun areas to explore.
Hiking at Indian Trails Park
The first thing we checked out was the Smolen Gulf Covered Bridge – the longest-covered bridge in the U.S.! There are two entrances to the park, one is under the covered bridge and the other is off East 24th Street. We walked the paved trails at the covered bridge and the dirt trails were at the East 24th entrance. That area also included a boardwalk, some river views, and the site of an old train disaster site. If you walk under the bridge, you can still find old sandstone and wood pilings that were part of the original arches of the bridge. We liked both trails and paths and we liked having options, so you can choose how you’d like to experience nature.
Canoeing the Grand River
This was personally my favorite experience. We rented canoes at the Grand River Livery. They also have kayaks available. We did the two-hour canoe ride, and it was SO peaceful and beautiful. This is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in nature in a unique, peaceful way while having an opportunity to see some wildlife along the way. The folks who run the livery are also incredibly kind, definitely consider a canoe trip!
Biking the Western Reserve Greenway Trail
This biking path goes over 50 miles, so you could make this alone an entire day’s adventure! There are multiple entry points so you can decide where you want to start/stop. Read here for more information on the different parking lots and entry points onto the trail.
Playing or relaxing at Walnut Beach Park
This beach was really nice and clean. Our kids loved it because they have a pirate ship playground in the sand! We ended up spending most of our time in that area of the park. You are able to swim here as well. This would be a great place to catch the sunset in the evening.
Exploring Ohio Wine Country
As previously mentioned, it’s not a proper trip to this area without a winery visit! We had dinner at Laurello Vineyard and loved it. They have so much seating both inside and outside. We went on a Friday and there was also live music. Some great food options and one of my favorite Ohio reds, the Christopher II, is here. There are also wine slushies available.
Enjoying Some Meals
One of my favorite parts of traveling is trying local restaurants. We ate dinner at Harbor Halycon (right by Walnut Beach!) which is American cuisine. After eating dinner here we walked down the street to Blended for some delicious ice cream. In the morning for breakfast, we ate at Little Pie Shop & Café, which is a quintessential diner. On our way to canoeing, we stopped at The Station Drive Thru. This is a to-go spot, but they have some great breakfast options as well as smoothies and coffee.