Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls ©Jeff Burcher

For most people, the national parks conjure up an image of large flowing rivers, abundant wildlife, scenic hiking trails and miles of untouched valleys, mountains and canyons. Cuyahoga Valley National Park defies this stereotypical image and creates a recreational haven with its own unique style and flavor. You can hop on a train that whisks you through the scenic views of the park, or visit several old homes, stores and mills rich with the history of years past. Play a few holes at one of the four golf courses, enjoy a concert, or attend a dance with live music. Cuyahoga Valley National Park entails a hodgepodge of activities to enjoy due to its prior status as a national recreation area. Nestled between the bustling urban cities of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga allows locals and visitors an enjoyable getaway with plenty of entertainment.  It became a national park in 2000, and is considered an “urban national park” due to the close proximity to two major cities. During the winter, plan to hit the slopes at the Boston Mills/Brandywine Ski Resort, or spend the day with the kids sledding down the hill at the Polar Blast Snow Tubing Park. Don’t forget to book a train ride with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for a fun “Polar Express” themed excursion during Christmas time featuring cookies, hot chocolate, elves and a special visit from Santa Claus himself. 

Ledges Overlook - Sunset At Cuyahoga Valley National Park ©Jeff Burcher

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a volunteer based program that exists to allow visitors to experience the beauty and diversity of Cuyahoga Valley National Park through a unique and enjoyable venue. Along with the “Polar Express” themed ride, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers a variety of themed excursions to create a memorable experience. A popular way to ride is through the Bike Aboard, where visitors can bike in one direction and then catch the train back. Another favorite is the “Grape Escape” wine tasting excursion, where visitors are served five different wines with complimentary hors d’oeuvres. Each month features different wines to taste, so plan accordingly. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also offers trips featuring gourmet meals with special and unique themes for each month, so book your excursion and enjoy a relaxing ride with delicious food and spectacular views. Check out the “Day Out With Thomas”, a family friendly train ride with special activities and events geared toward children who love “Thomas the Tank Engine”. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a great way to explore this diverse national park and personally connect with the rich historical roots of the area. Don’t miss out on this memorable and unique experience!