Summer in Ohio is a magical time.
Hikers hit their favorite trails. Amusement parks are bustling. And sleepy small towns home to less than 3,000 residents come alive with beachgoers, campers and out-of-state tourists looking to seize the day. From canal villages to waterfront towns, the following are 10 of our favorite small Ohio towns that simply come alive in the summertime.
When you want to really get away from it all for a day and see a side of Ohio you may not have ever seen before, consider visiting the Lake Erie Islands. It’s a lot easier than you think—and you can do it in just a day. Take a ferry to South Bass Island, where you'll find Put-In-Bay. No matter your interests, you'll find something to do in this one-of-a-kind town.
This quaint Ashtabula County village is home to just 1,288 residents but it truly comes alive in the summer months when it becomes a popular resort and camping spot. Enjoy stunning views of Lake Erie from this beautiful village.
3. Yellow Springs
If you’ve yet to visit Yellow Springs, you’re truly missing out. It’s home to a population of approximately 3,513 residents, Antioch College, a colorful downtown, a working dairy farm and, (you guessed it), the official "Yellow Spring" the town is named after. This artsy little town offers unique shops, local eateries and small town life at its finest—but the nature scene really thrives here too.
4. Boston Township
Tucked away in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, you'll find this quiet Summit County township, home to just 1,664 residents. In the summertime, the little town comes alive with hikers and explorers passing though.
This charming village also sits in the middle of the stunningly beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park. In addition to hikers passing through, several visitors come to the town in the summer months to board the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, which passes right through Peninsula.
6. Port Clinton
The quaint fishing town of Port Clinton comes alive in the summer months. As a safe harbor for Lake Erie boaters and the "Walleye Capital of the World," Port Clinton eats, sleeps and breathes fishing. No matter the time of year, you're likely to see marina after marina packed with fishing boats, people fishing from the pier and the catch of the day being sold at local restaurants and markets.
Famously known as the home of the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock this Tuscarawas County village is home to approximately 2,220 people. "The Little Switzerland of Ohio" comes alive every summer with visitors touring Ohio Amish Country and the Ohio Swiss Festival in September.
8. Grand Rapids
If you try to find a village like the charming village of Grand Rapids, Ohio, you likely won’t be able to. Along the southern bank of the Maumee River, just southwest of Toledo, you’ll find a restored canal town that’s truly one of a kind. With a population of about 986, it’s a quaint place to live and the perfect place to visit for a day trip. (At the town's Providence Metropark, you can even ride on a canal boat pulled by mules down the restored Miami & Erie Canal.)
At the tip of the scenic Marblehead Peninsula the charming town of Marblehead features the iconic Marblehead Lighthouse, beautiful views of Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay and boating culture. The lighthouse is the Great Lakes' oldest continuously operating lighthouse and is open for tours during the summer.
The historic riverboat town of Marietta, Ohio is known as the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory—and it’s unbelievably charming. The town borders West Virginia and is nestled along the banks of both the Muskingum and Ohio River. It’s known for its Victorian-style houses, rich history, European ambience, brick streets and sternwheelers. Be sure to walk the Marietta River Trail or take a trolley tour to experience the full essence of the town.
Have you visited these towns in the summer before? What’s your favorite town in Ohio to visit in the summer? Share your thoughts, photos and experiences with us!