Known as the Buckeye State, Ohio has a rich heritage and culture. You'll find world-class sports, a vibrant arts scene, and award-winning dining experiences. In addition, Ohio is famous for the Columbus Zoo, hiking in the Hocking Hills, Cincinnati food tours, and the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. You'll encounter the very best Ohio hospitality and landscapes within its small towns and landscapes, which are well worth a visit.
Think chalets and cheese, and you'd imagine a vacation in Switzerland. Swiss people originally settled in Sugarcreek, so you'll see lots of heritage here, including wooden houses and the world's largest cuckoo clock. There's also an Amish community here, so there's an excellent opportunity to discover more about the lifestyle—and you can even ride in a traditional buggy.
People once came to Yellow Springs for the waters' healing properties, but today there's so much more to see in this small town. The Little Miami Scenic Trail is popular with cyclists, while the Clifton Gorge and John Bryan State Park have excellent hiking trails. Yellow Springs is also well known for its rich arts scene, including galleries, live performances, and several festivals throughout the year.
Bedford lies just outside Cleveland and is an attractive historic town with interesting buildings like the 1832 Hezekiah Dunham House. A small museum tells the history of Bedford, including the stories of early settlers in the area. Each year, Bedford has a strawberry festival that brings visitors to the town. However, people also come here for one of the best waterfalls in Ohio. The Great Falls of Tinkers Creek are 15 feet tall and 80 feet wide, and there are good walking trails nearby.
Marietta is one of the most historic small towns in Ohio and is best known for its scenic waterways. The Muskingum River Trail is especially popular and has hand-operated canal locks and an abundance of wildlife. It's a lovely walk, and the river here is navigable from Marietta to Dresden. Kids will enjoy the water slides at the Marietta Aquatic Center and the skateboarding park and softball area.
Millersburg is an interesting small town and is right at the heart of Amish culture. You'll find exquisite gifts at the Amish Country Soap and Candle Company and arts at the Newtowne Gallery. Wine and beer tours that tout local produce are also very popular in Millersburg. Look out for the shops selling beautiful Amish quilting and other traditional crafts. Hotel Millersburg also has a wonderful exhibition of quilts and Amish crafts.
Greenville is a quiet, small town today, but it once played a critical part in Ohio's history. The Treaty of Greenville was a landmark document that enabled settlers to buy land and establish roots in the area. Today, you can explore the Treaty Line Walk through the town and visit the Garst Museum to find out more about this historic event. The Darke County Fairgrounds come alive once a year with rides, food stalls, and agricultural exhibitions.
Cambridge is one of the most attractive towns in Ohio, with elegant red brick buildings and a warm welcome. The town has become known for glass production and is popular with collectors who appreciate the antique glassware. Today, you'll find glass-making demonstrations and shops selling locally produced items for sale. Cambridge is also near Salt Fork State Park, which is popular with golfers, hikers, and other lovers of outdoor activities.
A lighthouse has dominated the town of Marblehead since 1822 and is an iconic feature on Lake Erie. Visitors can take a tour to the top of the famous lighthouse, where there are some incredible views across the lake. Or, relax in a waterfront restaurant to enjoy seafood and other local produce. There are boat trips from Marblehead that sail on Lake Erie, so you can also admire this charming town and lighthouse from the water.
Only 500 people are living in Peninsula, but this beautiful town has a lot to offer visitors. There are plenty of independent stores and galleries, including the Yum Yum Sweet Shop, the River Light Gallery, and Peninsula Village Antiques. However, Peninsula is also the gateway to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park with fishing and hiking trails. Train enthusiasts will love a ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad nearby.
Waynesville dates from 1797 and is famous for being the Antiques Capital of the Midwest. And they're not kidding! This small town has around 100 shops and restaurants, many of which have a link to the antique market. Start at Waynesville Antiques Mall and explore the area. There are also walking tours here and a small museum. Aside from antiques, Waynesville is also famous for hosting the annual Ohio Sauerkraut Festival.
Oberlin is famous for its liberal arts college and, as a result, has a large cultural program in town. Oberlin College has over 3,000 students, so in addition to student-centered activities, you'll find poetry slams, concerts, and galleries to enjoy. There are musical events, too, and a wide range of courses and seminars. Like any great college town, you'll also find cafes and bars to relax in. Try the Hotel at Oberlin for some excellent fine dining.
German Village is just outside Columbus and is a world away from big city life. Here, you'll find a delightful community steeped in its German roots and heritage. Take a walking tour to learn more about the history and culture here. There are craft beers all over town, so you can sample the excellent brewing. And dining out is, of course, a Germanic experience. There's the fifth-generation family-run Schmidt's Restaurant and Banquet Haus and the cinnamon rolls at Kittie's, among several other good eateries.
Milan is a small town with 1,400 inhabitants, but it is home to a very famous resident. The inventor Thomas Edison was born and grew up in the town, and his childhood home is now a museum about his life. The Milan Historical Museum is another gem that details the town's past and includes more information on Thomas Edison. There's also a good flea market in Milan and some cozy cafes to enjoy coffee and cake.
Twinsburg is a charming small town that lies between Cleveland and Akron. There are some good trails in the area, including Liberty Park, and golfing is popular. Twinsburg has some nice places to eat, including Sassy's Bar and Grille. But the one thing Twinsburg is most famous for is celebrating twins. Each August, there's a festival called Twin Days, dedicated to twins across the world.
Granville has a reputation for being a welcoming town, but there's something else that makes it stand out from other Ohio towns. Here, you'll find Alligator Mound, a prehistoric sculpture of a four-footed animal thought to have been created by the Hopewell people. The Newark Earthworks are similar and just three miles from Granville. Other Granville attractions include the historic Bryn Du Mansion, where polo is played, and the Robbins Hunter Museum.