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Published: Thursday, 6/26/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

TOURISM

Ohio a Top 10 summer destination

Travel study finds there’s much to like

BY MARISSA MEDANSKY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Hailey Meeker, 10,  feeds parakeets at the Keet Retreat exhibit at the Toledo Zoo.  The Bowling Green youth, along with her father, Mike; mother, Sara; and sister, Jazmin, 3, were taking in the new exhibit that allows visitors to interact with the birds. Hailey Meeker, 10, feeds parakeets at the Keet Retreat exhibit at the Toledo Zoo. The Bowling Green youth, along with her father, Mike; mother, Sara; and sister, Jazmin, 3, were taking in the new exhibit that allows visitors to interact with the birds.
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Fill up the gas tank and grab a few maps — Ohio has been ranked among the nation’‍s top states for summer road trips.

In a list of the best and worst places to hit the highway, Ohio landed a ninth-place ranking this season. Its Top 10 status was good enough to beat out most of the Midwest, including neighboring Michigan and Indiana.

Oregon, Idaho, and Minnesota topped the rankings overall while West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Mississippi were at the bottom of the list.

The list was compiled by WalletHub, a personal-finance themed social network. Explaining what prompted the study, WalletHub communications director Raz Daraban said that group members “thought summer would be the best season for road trips” and wanted to help people better prepare.

Mr. Daraban said the rankings considered 21 metrics in total, but four main categories were used: affordability, weather, traffic conditions, and access to fun or scenic attractions.

WalletHub senior analyst John Kiernan was tasked with compiling the list, he added.

Ohio’s strong showing in the WalletHub rankings did not surprise Tamara Brown, the public relations manager at TourismOhio, an office of the Ohio Development Services Agency. Tourism was a $38 billion state industry last year, she said, with Ohio attracting about 195 million visitors in 2013. Many of those tourists came from surrounding states.

“Think about where Ohio’s located,” said Ms. Brown, noting the state’s excellent system of roadways. “Most of those folks are driving in.”

Northwest Ohio, of course, boasts its fair share of attractions, including the Toledo Mud Hens and Toledo Zoo; Cedar Point and other Sandusky-area resorts; fishing and boating on Lake Erie; and scenic parks for warm-weather activities. Indoor attractions like the Toledo Museum of Art also can be attractive during the summer because of special exhibitions, said Rich Nachazel, president of Destination Toledo.

Mr. Nachazel said 86,900 hotel rooms were rented in Lucas County during the month of May, which can give insight into larger visitation trends. He anticipates the figures will rise during the summer.

“With the kids out of school, summer travel is a little different.”

Contact Marissa Medansky at: mmedansky@theblade.com or 419-724-6368.



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