This post may contain affiliate links for which I may earn a small commission if items are purchased via the link. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
Planning a trip to Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids and wondering what to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids? We’ve got you covered! Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers plenty of family-friendly activities and opportunities for kids to explore nature and learn about the environment. It’s one of the best National Parks to visit with kids!
Before you start exploring the park, visit the Boston Mill Visitor Center or the Canal Exploration Center, where kids can participate in educational programs, view exhibits, and pick up Junior Ranger booklets. One of the smallest National Parks, Cuyahoga Valley is visited by 2.2 million people each year. Read on for the best things to do in Cuyahoga Valley with kids and our Cuyahoga Valley National Park itinerary.
How to get to Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Wondering what the closest airport to Cuyahoga Valley National Park is? If you are traveling from out of state, the best airport to fly into will be CLE, the park is just 25 minutes from Cleveland.
If you are driving from nearby cities, both Pittsburgh and Columbus are around 2 hours away.
Best time to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Spring is a beautiful time to visit as the park comes to life with blooming wildflowers.
- The weather is usually mild, making it great for hiking, birdwatching, and enjoying the scenery.
- Keep in mind that spring showers are common, so be prepared for rain and bring an umbrella or rain coat.
- Summer offers warm and pleasant weather, making it ideal for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.
- The Towpath Trail is a popular spot for biking during this season.
- Be prepared for higher visitor numbers during the summer months, especially on weekends and holidays.
- Fall is a favorite time to visit due to the stunning foliage as the leaves change color.
- We visited in early October and it was freezing (low 50s) so keep that in mind if cold isn’t your thing! Coming from Florida where it was in the 90s still, this was quite a shock for us.
- The cooler temperatures are great for hiking, and the fall scenery is particularly picturesque.
- Crowds tend to be moderate, especially in early to mid-October.
- Winter can be a great time to visit if you enjoy the snow and cold weather.
- You can go sledding, cross-country skiing, or snowshoeing if there’s snow on the ground.
- Be aware that some facilities and services may have reduced hours or be closed during the winter season.
Where to stay when visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Looking for family friendly lodging near Cuyahoga Valley National Park? You’re in luck, there are plenty of options!
Camping near Cuyahoga Valley National Park
While there is no camping inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park, there are several campgrounds near Cuyahoga Valley National Park. These include tent, RV and cabin campgrounds.
Best family-friendly hotels near Cuyahoga Valley National Park
There are many family friendly hotels near Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so where you stay will depend on many factors such as how many people are in your traveling party, what hotel you have status with, etc. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Akron Stow, which was just 15 minutes from the visitor center.
Check out the map below to find other family friendly hotels near Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Things to bring when visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids
- National Park Journal: We bring our National Park Journal on every trip to a National Park and Milana fills it out as we visit different sights.
- Hiking boots: You’re going to want a quality pair of hiking boots for your kids! It rained for a few days before our visit so there were lots of wet, slick leaves on the ground. Be sure you have a good pair of non skid shoes!
- Hiking backpack: I have been using the Osprey Daylite for years and still love it as my hiking backpack.
Things to do in Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids
Best kid-friendly hiking trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers several family-friendly hiking trails that are suitable for kids. These trails are relatively short, easy, and provide opportunities for kids to explore nature and learn about the park’s environment. Here are some of the best hiking trails for kids in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
- Buckeye Trail to Blue Hen Falls:
- Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip
- Highlights: This trail takes you to the picturesque Blue Hen Falls. It’s a short hike with a rewarding waterfall view at the end.
- Brandywine Gorge Trail:
- Distance: Approximately 1.4 miles round trip. We did the full trail but most just went to the waterfall. If you want to just see the waterfall, it’s a quick walk from the parking lot but I recommend doing the full trail!
- Highlights: This trail offers a great view of Brandywine Falls, a 60-foot waterfall. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the falls overlook.
- Towpath Trail:
- Distance: Variable (you can choose your distance)
- Highlights: The Towpath Trail follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal and offers a flat, easy route for biking or walking. You can choose how far you want to go, making it suitable for all ages.
- This trail is best for bikes.
- Beaver Marsh Boardwalk:
- Distance: Approximately 0.7 miles round trip
- Highlights: This boardwalk trail is perfect for kids to observe wildlife in a wetland habitat.
- You’re likely to see birds, turtles, and other creatures.
- This was a stroller friendly area with lots of bikes too.
- Octagon Shelter Loop Trail:
- Distance: Approximately 0.6 miles round trip
- Highlights: This easy loop trail is near the Octagon Shelter and provides a pleasant forested walk.
- Haskell Run Trail:
- Distance: Approximately 0.7 miles round trip
- Highlights: This trail takes you along Haskell Run, with opportunities for kids to explore the stream and enjoy the forested surroundings.
- This would be more fun in the summer, when the kids can get wet without freezing to death.
- Ledges Trail:
- Distance: Approximately 1.8 miles round trip
- Highlights: While slightly longer, the Ledges Trail offers interesting rock formations and rock steps for kids to climb. It’s a bit more challenging but still suitable for older children.
- This was our favorite hike and one of the best hikes in Cuyahoga Valley National Park!
Junior Ranger program in Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Just like other National Parks, Cuyahoga Valley has a Junior Ranger program. Be sure to stop at the visitor center to pick up an activity booklet before setting out to explore the park.
The Junior Ranger program is a great way to make a visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park educational and interactive for kids. It encourages them to explore the park, learn about its natural and cultural history, and develop a sense of stewardship for our national parks. Plus, it’s a fun way for kids to earn a souvenir badge or certificate to commemorate their visit.
Visit the Everett Covered Bridge
The only covered bridge inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the Everett covered bridge. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the bridge and when you reach it, you will see the only remaining covered bridge in Summit County. Once here, you can take some side trails if you want to go on a hike.
Books and games about Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Where to eat with kids near Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Looking for restaurants near Cuyahoga Valley National Park? If you’re looking for a snack or quick bite to eat, be sure to check the two Trail Mix stores within the park.
While not inside the park, the nearby city of Akron has lots of dining options to choose from as well. We also passed Szalay’s Farm & Market while driving to a trail and it was packed on a fall weekend. We stopped for some corn and hot dogs and picked up some produce to snack on from their market.
As you can see, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of the best National Parks to visit with kids. If your kids like exploring in the woods, they will love this park. Want to save this to read later? Pin one of the images below.