Ohio is full of several fun-filled, impressive manmade establishments and breathtaking nature getaways that simply don’t get enough recognition. Places such as Cedar Point and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as cool as they are, often overshadow the other gems of Ohio that are truly unique—many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world.
The following are 15 of what we believe to be the most underrated places in Ohio that you desperately need to check out.
1) The United States Air Force Museum (Dayton)
Dayton is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force--and admission is FREE.
2) The Great Serpent Mound (Peebles)
The Great Serpent Mound in Adams County features a mysterious snake-shaped mound that you won't find anywhere else in the world.
3) The Newark Earthworks (Newark, Heath)
Built by the Hopewell Indians, these preserved earthworks feature the Great Circle Earthworks, the Octagon Earthworks, and the Wright Earthworks. Together they make up the largest earthen enclosures in the world.
4) Mound City (Chillicothe)
Mounds abound at the world’s largest collection of Indian burial mounds in Chillicothe’s Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.
5) The Golden Lamb Inn (Lebanon)
Ohio’s oldest continuously operating hotel can be found in Lebanon. The hotel features a unique dining experience, complete with antique furnishings and historic rooms upstairs where famous individuals such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and U.S. Presidents have stayed. Many of the hotel's rooms are named and themed after the famous guests.
6) The Chateau Laroche (Loveland)
Also known as the Loveland Castle, this lovely little medieval structure was built by hand--brick by brick--by one man, Sir Harry Andrews. Today it is open for the public to view for $5 a person, and is operated by modern day knights.
7) Old Man's Cave (Hocking Hills State Park)
While the Old Man's Cave hiking trail at Hocking Hills is pretty well-known, its breathtaking scenery, hidden caves and refreshing waterfalls are still fairly underrated.
8) Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park (Nelson Township)
Nelson Kennedy Ledges provides a similar adventurous experience to Old Man's Cave. Portage County is home to this 160-acre park, which features rugged cliffs, unique hiking trails (complete with a "Dwarf's Pass," pictured above) and diverse plant life.
9) Toledo Museum of Art
The Toledo Museum of Art's collection is world renowned, featuring more than 30,000 works of art from all around the world.
10) Oak Openings (Swanton)
Close to Toledo you'll find what's considered to be Ohio's rarest ecosystem (and one of the world's rarest ecosystems) where rare plants and animals, oak forests, sand dunes, savannas, tall-grass prairies and swamp forests all thrive in harmony. The Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is located in Swanton and operated by Metroparks of the Toledo Area.
11) Kelleys Island's glacial grooves
Kelleys Island is home to the world's largest accessible glacial grooves in the world.
12) Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton)
This outdoor museum and sculpture park in Hamilton is every art enthusiast's dream come true. The park features a 10,000 square foot Ancient Sculpture Museum, which displays Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan sculptures that are thousands of years old.
13) The Wilds (Cumberland)
Cumberland is home to Ohio's own safari experience--where exotic animals roam free.
14) The Cincinnati Observatory
On top of Mt. Lookout in Cincinnati are two observatory buildings housing an 11 inch and 16 inch aperture refracting telescope. The Cincinnati Observatory is the oldest professional observatory in the United States, and was a key facility for astronomical research and education at the University of Cincinnati. Regular viewings of the historic telescopes, as well as tours and additional programs, are available to visitors.
15) The Ohio Theatre (Columbus)
Downtown Columbus is home to this historic, fully restored theatre. Be sure to check out the CAPA Summer Movie Series, featuring classic films for just $4 a ticket.
How many of these are you familiar with? What other places are there in Ohio that you think are underrated? Share in the comments below!