Cleveland January 16, 2023
Visit These 12 Incredible Charming Small Towns Near Cleveland, One For Each Month Of The Year
Cleveland may be the Best Location in the Nation, but the surrounding area is full of magic, too. Today, we’re going to take a virtual visit to 12 small towns within an hour and a half of Cleveland that are perfect for a day trip or weekend escape. The beauty of any small town is that it’s filled with incredible, authentic places to eat, shop and visit… and many of the local businesses are mom-and-pop-style, meaning you won’t find them anywhere else. These small towns near Cleveland are well worth a visit, so gas up the car, buckle up, and prepare for an epic road trip.
January: Chagrin Falls
As soon as the hustle and bustle of the holiday season wraps up,
shifts from a touristy hot spot to an intimate local gem. This town of 4,000 has a beautiful historic district filled to the brim with shopping and dining opportunities, plus two urban waterfalls. When chilly, these waterfalls may ice over, or they may provide a flowing contrast to the still snow-covered landscape. Several local restaurants overlook the falls, providing a visual treat as you immerse your senses. This convivial community is a true treat to visit, and it warms visitors' hearts each and every winter.
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022, USA
Peninsula is a remarkable place for nature lovers. In addition to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, this Summit County community of 500 is also home to
Boston Mills Ski Area
, which makes for an awesome wintertime adventure. The main strip of town is situated along Route 303, featuring cozy shops and restaurants where you can warm up. Elsewhere in town, deliciously cozy spots like
The Wine Mill
beckon to visitors with rustic vibes and seasonal decor. Explore snow-kissed trails at Canal Lock 29, Tree Farm Trail, and the Peninsula Towpath, or swing by the Boston Mill Visitor Center to learn about all that the national park has to offer.
March: Kelleys Island
You might not think of an island as a small town, but Kelleys Island is both the name of the Lake Erie landmass and the tiny village of circa 300 residents located on it. Each March, the spring season ferry starts operating, allowing visitors the opportunity to escape to this local paradise once again. The small community is home to iconic
that are unlike any other in the world, plus one incredible
that hides insight into indigenous residents of yesteryear. Visit wineries, sculpture gardens, beachy shores, and hiking trails on this amazing island near Cleveland.
Kelleys Island, OH 43438, USA
When April showers are battering the Lake Erie snowbelt region, it's worth escaping beyond the Cleveland Metropolitan Area. Millersburg, part of the
Amish Country Scenic Byway
, is endlessly charming. This historic Holmes County community boasts around 3,000 residents, who maintain a slower pace of life. Holmes County is home to the second-largest Amish population in the nation, meaning visitors can expect to encounter homestyle cooking, delicious bakery, and fine craft furniture along their travels. Plus, since the area wasn't remarkably glaciated during the last ice age, you'll be treated to views of rolling hills that simply don't exist in Cleveland. Countryside beauty abounds in this small community!
Millersburg, OH 44654, USA
When the May flowers are in bloom, a vibrant escape on Lake Erie's southern shore is in order. Geneva-on-the-Lake, a community of under 1,000 in Ashtabula County, is an incredible place to steal away. From the Strip (a touristy collective of shops, restaurants, and parks) to Geneva State Park, there's no shortage of fun for visitors. The Lodge at Geneva-on-the-Lake, one of the coziest places to stay in town, also has an
incredible wine shuttle
that will take you through Northeast Ohio's wine country. The area just might leave you inspired... after all, it has inspired some memorable figures over the years, including one former resident who went on to create Oldsmobile.
Geneva-on-the-Lake, Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH 44041, USA
is a vibrant college town with a massively influential history. This Lorain County town has under 9,000 residents today, but it was once a bustling abolitionist community with a big role in the Civil War. Today, it's artsy and diverse, and June spotlights this with the Oberlin Chalk Walk. The charming community is full of unique shops, delicious dining, and abundant history. Take some time to visit the
Oberlin Heritage Center
to learn all about this community's role in yesteryear and the future, and immerse yourself in nature at the Oberlin Arboretum for some added fun.
July: Olmsted Falls
Olmsted Falls is famously home to
Grand Pacific Junction
, a Victorian shopping district that was revitalized and brought to life throughout the 80s and 90s. This Cuyahoga County community boasts roughly 9,000 local residents, and its four square miles of cityscape are all land... which is a bit ironic, considering that the community is named for original owner was Captain Aaron Olmsted, a wealthy trader between New England and China. While the town is arguably known for its foodie and shopping scene, it is also home to hidden gem
David Fortier River Park
, which hides a little waterfall and a covered bridge. When the weather is warm, you'll love exploring all that Olmsted Falls has to offer.
Olmsted Falls, OH 44138, USA
Before the chill of autumn sets in and while the flowers are still blooming, you absolutely have to swing by
. Known as the Village of Lake Captains, this New England-style nautical community in Erie and Lorain counties is home to just under 11,000 residents. It was once a fishing community and haven for small boats, but today it has a more modern flair. Autumn brings the coveted Woollybear Festival, but summer is all about Main Street Beach, jet skiing, and hiking at Vermilion River Reservation. Take some time to shop while you're in town... there's so much to discover here!
In the latest stretches of summer and the earliest hues of fall, Conneaut is a truly charming place to visit. As part of the
Lake Erie Coastal Scenic Byway
, the beauty of this Ashtabula County community is undeniable. It's home to some 12,000 residents, but it feels tiny and private. With two scenic covered bridges, wineries, and a stunning beach in Conneaut Township Park, this earthy, sleepy community is arguably picture perfect. Picnicing at the beach is always a treat, especially when boats are passing the picturesque lighthouse. If you're interested in exploring the history of this area, you'll want to budget time to visit the local railroad museum and the
Conneaut Area Historical Society
As autumnal charm overtakes the region, the seat of Medina County gets particularly festive.
is home to some 26,000 residents, but its past life as a small farming community is hidden in its essence. In fact, the
is just south of Historic Medina Square, and it feels a bit like a miniature West Side Market. While shopping here is loads of fun, the Square has its own flair. Visit mom and pop shops or hike through the pop-up Saturday markets... or steal away from the hustle and bustle for some time at Medina Lake. With beautifully maintained Victorian architecture, glowing lights, and an iconic gazebo surrounded by greenspace right at the center of town, you'll love this pretty community.
November: Cuyahoga Falls
As the weather cools around the region,
starts to feel especially warm and welcoming. This Summit County city is home to some 51,000 residents, but it maintains a small town atmosphere despite population booms. A modern-meets-historic downtown district, a vibrant art scene, delicious foods, and sweeping views of the Cuyahoga River are characteristic of this charming community. Gorge Metro Park and Cuyahoga Valley National Park add greenery to the area, offering excellent hiking opportunities. All in all, there's something in this community for everyone!
Kirtland is a beautiful community in Lake County, home to circa 7,000 locals. With Chapin Forest Reservation providing excellent views of the Cleveland skyline, the Holden Arboretum entrancing visitors with art and landscaping, and
Lake Metroparks Farmpark
immersing visitors in small town life, this charming community can't be beat. While all these sites are particularly charming when covered in snow, one of the best December highlights in Kirtland is the annual
Historic Kirtland Nativity Exhibit
, which douses the area with some 150,000 colored lights. The exhibit is free to visit, making this old-fashioned community a must-visit destination during the holidays.
These small towns near Cleveland will help you curate an incredible year of road trips. What other destinations within 90 minutes of Cleveland would you add to this trip? Let us know in the comments!
Want to add more oomph to your yearly adventures? Check out
twelve awesome eateries in and around Cleveland for more local fun. Address: Cuyahoga Falls, OH, USA Address: Vermilion, OH, USA Address: Medina, OH 44256, USA Address: Olmsted Falls, OH 44138, USA Address: Oberlin, OH 44074, USA Address: Geneva-on-the-Lake, Geneva-On-The-Lake, OH 44041, USA Address: Peninsula, OH 44264, USA Address: Millersburg, OH 44654, USA Address: Conneaut, OH 44030, USA Address: Kelleys Island, OH 43438, USA Address: Kirtland, OH 44094, USA Address: Chagrin Falls, OH 44022, USA
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