Sometimes, the best places are the hidden gems that take awhile to find. Ohio is full of all kinds of fascinating spots that are tucked away in nature preserves or located a few miles off the beaten path. From little known natural wonders to unique town replicas you wouldn’t expect, here are 10 fascinating palces in Ohio that you might have trouble finding on a map.
1. Ghost Town (Findlay)
Created by the Galitza family, this unique roadside attraction in Findlay features a replica of an 1880s-era ghost town that was first open to the public in the 1950s. Today, the ghost town has been restored after a period of abandonment and even features arts and crafts vendors and antique and flea market vendors on select dates.
2. Chapel Cave (Hocking State Forest)
April Dray/Only In Your State
Many people are familiar with popular caves in Ohio such as Old Man’s Cave and the Rock House―but few people know about "Chapel Cave" (also known as "21 Horses Cave") hiding in the Hocking Hills. It’s a hidden gem in the Hocking State Forest that you won’t find on any park or nature preserve maps, but you can find the trailhead less than 5 minutes away from the Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve entrance in Rockbridge, Ohio.
3. Benson Ford Houseship (Put-In-Bay)
The interior of what is now the Benson Ford Houseship, which originally transported iron and coal for Ford motor company, was designed by Henry Ford for his own personal use. (It is also rumored that Thomas Edison once boarded this ship.) The ship was decommissioned in 1981. Four years later, the front part of the ship was removed and perched over Lake Erie on the island of South Bass Island to create a truly unique holiday home.
4. Natural Bridge (Rockbridge State Nature Preserve)
April Dray/Only In Your State
The Rockbridge State Nature Preserve in the small town of Rockbridge features a natural bridge that stretches more than 100 ft. long – and it’s truly incredible. (After steady rainfall, the water trickling down into the ravine increases and forms what locals call "Rockbridge Falls" beneath the bridge.)
5. The Golden Bear Lodge (West Salem)
The Golden Bear Lodge in West Salem, Ohio is quietly tucked away in a 65-acre forest. It’s a truly spectacular lodge that can sleep up to 20 people. Outside, you'll find multiple hiking trails to explore and a large pond stocked with fish. It is located at County Road 175 West Salem, OH 44287.
6. Hidden Falls (Hocking Hills State Park)
If you’ve ever heard of "Hidden Falls" along the Old Man’s Cave trails within Hocking Hills State Park, you should know that it does, in fact, exist—and it’s probably a lot easier to find than you think. Located no more than 50 yards from Cedar Falls, a little-known, seasonal (and off the map) waterfall is hidden behind a boulder.
7. Landoll's Mohican Castle (Loudonville)
Landoll’s Mohican Castle is one of those pleasantly unexpected places—and when you step foot onto its grounds, you feel like you’ve stumbled across an enchanted Ohio secret. Located in Loudonville, this lovely little getaway features gorgeous suites, murder mystery dinners and other amenities sure to make you feel like the king/queen of this whimsical castle in the middle of the forest. You'll find it at 561 Twp. Rd. 3352, Loudonville, OH 44842.
8. "Ohio's Smallest Church" (Coolville)
Just off of U.S. 50 on County Road 63 in Athens County, you’ll find "Ohio’s Smallest Church." Open 24/7, this tiny chapel, known as "Healing Chapel," is a non-denominational refuge for passerby to stop for some private prayer time. Measuring about 10 x 14 ft., Healing Chapel contains only four short pews, a small pulpit, a collection box and a bulletin board for posting prayer requests and testimonies.
9. Moonville Tunnel (McArthur)
The abandoned coal mining town of Moonville in southeastern Ohio near McArthur (Vinton County) was founded in 1856, when the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad ran through the area's woods. One structure of the town that remains today is the Moonville Tunnel; a haunted tunnel where legend has it the ghost of a man who was killed instantly by a train passing through the tunnel wanders along the track bed near the old tunnel at night.
10. Dogwood Pass (Beaver)
Most people don’t know there’s an impressive replica of an Old West town tucked away in the hills of southern Ohio. Dogwood Pass near Beaver, Ohio was built to look and feel as authentic as possible, complete with bath houses, saloons and gun fights. Step back in time into the Old West at this unique town that’s anything but ordinary. It's located at 722 Adams Rd., Beaver, OH 45613.
Have you been to any of these places? What other fascinating places are there in Ohio that are off the beaten path? Share your experiences and reccommendations with us!
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