Few things in life are better than exploring your home state.
You’re often genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised by what you’ll find. You’ll likely discover your new favorite town or attraction. And you’ll have something really cool to show visitors or fellow Ohioans who weren’t as adventurous as you were in 2017. That’s why we’re recappping 12 of the best towns we featured last year to bring you a list of 12 unique towns in Ohio to visit this new year. If you visit one town each month, you’ll end the year with a deeper appreciation for Ohio.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
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.
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.
The quaint fishing town of Port Clinton has a unique charm all its own year-round. As a safe harbor for Lake Erie boaters and the “Walleye Capital of the World,” Port Clinton eats, sleeps and breathes fishing. During the colder months, the quiet fishing town almost seems frozen in time. During the summer months, it's bustling with tourists passing through on their way to the Lake Erie Islands.
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.
This historic site of Clifton Mill features a vintage mill fueled by the Little Miami River, a covered bridge, a 1940s-era gas station and a quaint American restaurant. (John Bryan State Park is close to this serene attraction and offers beautiful hiking trails if you’re searching for something more adventurous.) It’s a lovely day trip destination.
With an iconic popcorn shop, beautiful landscaping and a gorgeous little waterfall, it’s impossible to drive through Chagrin Falls without stopping. This charming Cleveland area village is home to just 4,000 residents―and it's an unbelievably beautiful destination for a nice day trip. One of the most popular features of the town is Chagrin Falls, which you can find in the heart of downtown. (And it's what gives the town its name.)
Ohio has island life, and you need to experience it. The Lake Erie Islands are truly incredible. One of our favorites in particular is South Bass Island, often called the “Secret Midwest Playground” and home to the small town of Put-In-Bay—which has plenty to do and see. It's the ultimate summer getaway in Ohio that every Ohioan needs to experience at least once.
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.)
If you’ve ever heard of a place called Utopia in Ohio you should know that it does in fact exist—and it has a strange and unusual history. While Utopia, Ohio isn’t technically a ghost town, it’s pretty close. Along the banks of the Ohio River in Clermont County, you’ll find what some consider to be a ghost town, although the town is still home to some residents. Once upon a time, the small unincorporated community was one of the "phalanxes" (or social communes) established in America in the mid-19th century. Today, it's home to a gas station, a few houses and an underground chapel that may have been used as part of the Underground Railroad.
Tucked away in the heart of Ohio’s Mohican Country, you’ll find the small town of Loudonville. The beautiful town features a gorgeous state park, a quaint downtown, a local museum and a charming mill. Loudonville is especially stunning in the fall time, which makes it the perfect autumn day trip destination.
With more than 150 years of history, a charming train depot and an iconic deli, this small village that's home to just 2,700 residents is one of Ohio's most underrated small towns. Stroll the historic streets, visit the train museum, enjoy the local park and make a day trip out of Dennison.
April Dray/Only In Your State
April Dray/Only In Your State
Take a trip back in time this Christmas and explore the historic downtown of Cambridge, Ohio at the Dickens Victorian Village. Until early January, the town is transformed into old world England during the holiday season, featuring more than 90 scenes of 180 lifelike figures representing typical scenes from Victorian society and Dickens’ novels. Dickens Victorian Village also features scavenger hunts, trolley tours, tea at the Victorian Tea Room and horse drawn carriage rides during the weekends on select dates. Each night,the courthouse lights up for a spectacular show sycronized with Christmas music. It's a must-see end to your visit.
Have you been to any of these unique towns before? What towns are we missing? Let us know!