Here in Ohio, small town pride runs deep.
Some of the state’s best-kept secrets are hiding in the small towns with populations of less than 10,000. From the birthplaces of famous American figures to waterfront towns will unparalleled beauty, Ohio’s small towns have a lot to be proud of—and plenty of reasons to welcome visitors with open arms. Here are 14 of the most welcoming small towns in Ohio where you’ll feel like family when you visit:
1. Grand Rapids
This charming village is located along the southern bank of the Maumee River, just southwest of Toledo. This restored canal town is truly one of a kind, with a population of about 986. (You can even ride on a canal boat pulled by mules down the restored Miami & Erie Canal.)
With just under 10,000 residents, this small city in northwestern Ohio is the proud birthplace of astronaut Neil Armstrong. This quaint town is located on located on the Auglaize River and you'll want to visit the next time you're in the area. A few places you'll want to check out while you're here include the Armstrong Air & Space Museum and The Temple of Tolerance.
This Montgomery County town is home to about 5,500 residents. With strong German roots, it's a charming town that was founded in 1804 by German-speaking settlers from Pennsylvania. Although it covers a little more than four square miles, there's a lot of history to observe in Germantown.
Here in Ohio, the small town of Huron is a gorgeous lakeside town that’s somewhat of a hidden gem to Ohioans not from the area. If you find yourself in northern Ohio this summer, you need to take a day and visit this quaint Lake Erie town. Be sure to stop by the Huron Boat Basin Marina and Amphitheater, Nickel Plate Beach and Huron Lake Front Park while you're here.
Milan is the proud home of the birthplace of the famous American inventor Thomas A. Edison (pictured.) Milan is a village in both Erie and Huron counties, with a population of approximately 1,351.
6. Chagrin Falls
Residents and visitors alike can agree that Chagrin Falls is an enchanting little town. Maybe it’s because it’s centered around a gorgeous waterfall. Maybe it’s because it has a delightful popcorn shop that’s one-of-a-kind. Maybe it’s the friendly people you meet while you’re there. Whatever the reason, Chagrin Falls in northeast Ohio is a delightful small town you simply have to visit.
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.
8. 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.
At the tip of the scenic Marblehead Peninsula, the charming town of Marblehead, (with a population of approximately 891), 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 small town of Zoar, Ohio is a historic German village most people in the state (surprisingly) don’t know about. Beautifully preserved and full of fun places to explore, you’ll fall in love with this little-known town. The village of Zoar has more than 50 of the original historic structures and buildings still standing today. Consequently, the town has preserved much of its old world charm.
Home to the private liberal arts college, Oberlin College (the first American higher education institution to admit female and black students,) this progressive little town has a close-knit community, a rich history and a lively arts and cultural scene. In 2012, it was voted one of the state’s "Best Hometowns" by Ohio Magazine.
12. 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.
Home to the breathtakingly beautiful Mohican State Park, the village of Loudonville (population of 1,625) is a true gem for nature lovers. The Mohican River flows right through the town and park. Popular activities here include smallmouth bass fishing, canoeing and hiking.
One of the most charming, overlooked towns in Ohio is Granville. It’s a quaint college town with New England charm, it’s full of history and there’s plenty to do and see. The town prides itself in its history and heritage. You'll find several historical markers and museums throughout town.
Have you been to any of these great small towns? What other small towns would you add to this list? Share your thoughts and experiences with us!