Ohio Travel Guides

Super useful & totally free travel guides, written by locals who love Ohio

The reflection of Ohio skyline on the Scioto River
The skyline of Columbus, Ohio – the capital city of the Buckeye State

Why We Love Ohio: Some people may not consider Ohio the most exciting place to live, but there’s a reason why Ohio is affectionately dubbed “the heart of it all.” You get to experience all four seasons intensely here with the temperate climate. Ohio’s status as agricultural state means you’ll find plenty of fresh, locally produced food. There’s also a lot of amazing natural phenomena in Ohio, whether you’re looking for parks, bodies of water, or animal sanctuaries. City buffs will find lots to love too. Downtown areas of big cities, such as Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, have many great restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. Whatever you like, there’s something for you – perhaps a lot more than you expected – in the Buckeye State!

Best of Ohio

🏙️ Destinations

Aerial view of Put-in-Bay in Ohio
Put-in-Bay, one of Ohio’s best-kept secrets

Regardless of what you like, there’s undoubtedly a set of destinations you’ll love in Ohio. Some favorite places to visit in Ohio include:  

  • Columbus – There’s a ton to do in Ohio’s capital city. Check out beautiful architecture, great food, hiking trails, and more.
  • Cincinnati – A city of neighborhoods, each with its own flavor. Enjoy many restaurants, bars, and shops, as well as the famous chili.
  • Cleveland – Watch the Cleveland Indians play a game, go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or just spend a fun day downtown.
  • Put-in-Bay – Northwest of Sandusky, one of the most visited Lake Erie islands in Ohio – check out attractions for kids and adults.
  • Dayton – Many of the main attractions here focus on aviation, as this is where the Wright Brothers conceived it.

👉 See the full list of best places to visit in Ohio.

✨ Things to Do

Ohio is a low-key state with a lot to offer to people of many interests. You’ll definitely find an activity you love if you look!

  • Go to the market – Ohio is known for fresh food. Spend a morning at Cincinnati’s Findlay Market, Cleveland’s West Side Market, etc.
  • Walk or bike in nature – Hocking Hills State Park and Caldwell Nature Preserve are just a couple of the places where you can go hiking.
  • Check out the clubs in Cleveland – Cleveland ranks fifth in the country for nightlife. Head over to West 6th Street to be part of the action.
  • Head to a brewery – Check out craft beers at 13 Below Brewery in Cincinnati, Two Tones Brewing Co. in Columbus, and many more.
  • Explore the amusement parks – Ohio has many wonderful amusement parks, including Cincinnati’s Kings Island and Sandusky’s Cedar Point.
Overlooking view of Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio
The popular Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio (photo: Hendrickson Photography / Shutterstock)

🗺️ Where to Stay

The reflection of Cincinnati skyline on the Ohio River
Cincinnati skyline over the Ohio River

If you’re planning a visit to Ohio, it can be hard to figure out where to stay, but there are lots of great options.

  • Columbus – Ohio’s capital has many great activities. See the skyline along the Scioto River, catch a game, take tours, and more. 
  • Cleveland – Home to many cool, interesting districts. Go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or an art museum to experience culture.
  • Cincinnati – Check out the cool neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati, as well as the riverfront and the many wonderful museums.
  • Sandusky – A popular destination for Ohio tourists, this is home to Cedar Point Amusement Park and several indoor water parks.
  • Dayton – The home of modern aviation, with many museums where you can learn about flight. Also, spend time on the outdoor trails.

🛎️ Best Hotels

Whether you want to stay in a bustling city or a quiet rural area, there are hotel options for every budget in Ohio. 

  • 21c Museum Hotel Cincinnati – This Cincinnati hotel is fully equipped with a spa, amazing amenities in each room, and even an on-site museum.
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Cleveland – This Cleveland hotel is right next to Tower City and has rooms with flat-screen TVs, mini-bars, and amazing views.
  • Belamere Suites Hotel – This Perrysburg hotel has an indoor pool, spa services, and a sauna. There’s also free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service.
  • The Lytle Park Hotel, Autograph Collection – Connected with Lytle Park, this hotel is known for hospitality, creativity in decor, cuisine, and entertainment.
  • InterContinental Cleveland – Located on the Cleveland Clinic campus, this hotel is known for great rates, great amenities, and on-site eateries.
Overlooking view of Ohio from Lytle Park Hotel rooftop
Stunning view from Lytle Park Hotel rooftop (photo: Cory Woodruff / Shutterstock)

🚗 Best Road Trips

Overlooking view of the Ohio River and the clear blue sky over it
Driving along the Ohio River

People don’t generally think of Ohio when they think of road trips, but the truth is that there are many scenic routes worth driving here. 

  • Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati – Whether you focus on art museums, waterfalls, national parks, or eateries, there are many worthy stops on this route.
  • Hocking Hills Scenic Byway – This 26.4-mile road will take you to many worthy sites, such as the State Forest Headquarters and Ash Cave.
  • Ohio River Scenic Byway – This is a fantastic drive along the Ohio River, and through many cool small towns with rich histories.
  • Combing Brush Road – This countryside scenic route is actually a favorite for local residents, starting in Washington County.
  • White Oak Hill Road – This drive-in Pike County is particularly mesmerizing in the autumn – it’s a steep road and a unique experience.

⛱️ Best Beaches

View of the lighthouse in Headlands Beach
The lighthouse on Headlands Beach

Ohio doesn’t border any oceans, but it does border Lake Erie for over 300 miles, giving rise to many wide and sandy beaches. Some of the best beaches in Ohio include: 

  • Headlands Beach – The largest natural beach in Ohio, it’s around 27 miles from Cleveland and very popular in the summer.
  • Geneva State Park Beach – The park is 698 acres on the northeastern shoreline of the lake. Many boaters, fishermen, and swimmers love this beach.
  • Cedar Point Beach – Build sandcastles, go on hikes, and play volleyball on this beach, part of the Cedar Point Shores Amusement Park.
  • Maumee Bay State Park – Located in Lucas County, this park protects a natural beach environment and features a popular and unique golf course.
  • Beulah Beach – This beach actually contains a community, with picnic tables, benches, cottages, cabins, and a campground.

⛷️ Best Ski Resorts

Even though Ohio isn’t a state full of mountains or known for snowy slopes, it is home to some pretty great ski resorts. Some of the best Ohio ski resorts include: 

  • Alpine Valley Ski Resort – Located in Geauga County in the snow belt, with seven trails, this resort has more natural snow than any other in Ohio.
  • Big Creek Ski Area Home of Cleveland Ski Club – Home to the Cleveland Ski Club and located in Concord Township, it’s home to five trails for skiers of all levels.
  • Boston Mills Brandywine Ski Resort – Two resorts that are five minutes apart and located just a short distance from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
  • Mad River Mountain – Here, you’ll find 20 trails and Ohio’s biggest snow tubing park. You can even take skiing and snowboarding lessons!
  • Snow Trails – This Mansfield family-owned resort encourages families to enjoy outdoor snowy fun and has a variety of trails.

♨️ Best Hot Springs

As Ohio has many natural areas, it follows that there are many great hot springs as well. Here are some local favorite hot springs in Ohio: 

  • Hayden Falls Park Hot Springs – Located in Dublin, along the Scioto River, this spring is within a park, made to preserve the area’s natural ecosystem.
  • Glen Echo Park Hot Springs – In Columbus, the spring is located within a ravine park with a walkway that contains plenty of local native flora. 
  • Mineral Springs Lake – Located in Peebles, this is a natural spring lake that has a high mineral content and is known for its healing properties.
  • Layton Springs – Located in Clark County, it’s one of the biggest hot springs in Ohio, pumped from a natural spring at 2,000 feet high.
  • Galloway Spring – One of the most loved hot springs in Ohio, it’s located near Cedar Falls Park and provides clear, mineral-rich water. 

🎢 Best Theme Parks

People on one of the rides in Kings Island in Ohio
One of the many thrilling roller coasters at Kings Island! (photo: zamogilnykh / Depositphotos)

Ohio has some great theme parks that will provide you and your family with some of the most memorable times of your life.

  • Cedar Point – A 364-acre park on a Lake Erie island that contains a mile-long beach, restaurant, hotel, and 72 record-breaking rides.
  • Coney Island – Near downtown Cincinnati, it’s a small park on the banks of the Ohio River, home to a huge recirculating swimming pool.
  • Stricker’s Grove – A Hamilton park only open to the public a few days per year. However, when open, it has many unique rides and amenities.
  • Tuscora Park – This is a popular amusement park in New Philadelphia with a ton of appeal for families wanting a fun day outside. 
  • Kings Island – Located in Cincinnati, this is the Midwest’s largest amusement and waterpark, with over 100 water and land attractions.

🖼️ Best Museums

View from the outside of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame building
The cool exterior of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! (photo: f11photo / Shutterstock)

For anyone looking for a fun and educational experience, Ohio is home to some of the best museums in the United States. 

  • The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – Located in Cleveland, this institution is a great place to go for anyone who loves music, even outside of rock and roll.
  • National Museum of the US Air Force – Dayton is known for its role in aviation, and this museum features flying machines that will fascinate people of all ages.
  • Cleveland Museum of Art – Home to over 45,000 permanent exhibits and free to the public. You can see art from all over the world here.
  • Center of Science and Industry – Also known as COSI, this is a great science museum for kids, although there’s COSI After Dark for adults on Thursdays.
  • Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal – Home to the Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati History Museum, and Duke Energy Children’s Museum.

 Ohio Travel Advice

🗓️ Best Time to Visit

Of course, it varies, but many would agree that the best time to visit Ohio is generally from late April to October.

  • 🍂 Fall –  The absolute best time to visit for most, since the weather is pleasant and relatively dry with beautiful fall foliage.
  • 🌼 Spring – With the weather starting to warm up, this is a good time to visit for outdoor activities before the summer crowds.
  • 🌞 Summer – The busiest time for Ohio tourism, peaking in July. A great time to visit for swimming, although it can get very hot.
  • ❄️ Winter – A good time to visit to avoid crowds and see some stunning holiday decorations and festivals, although it can be cold.

🚌 Getting In & Around

In most Ohio cities, it’s easiest to have your own car, although there are other forms of transportation that are useful as well.

  • ✈️ Airports – Most people use primary commercial airports, although there are smaller airports.
  • 🚗 Driving – A car makes transit easier, although you can function without one in big cities.
  • 🚇 Public Transit – Best closest to city centers. Cleveland’s RTA system includes trains and buses.
  • 📲 Ride Share – Uber/Lyft are available almost everywhere, with sparse service in rural areas. 
  • 🚴‍♀️ Biking – There are many bike paths, with Cleveland being particularly bike-friendly.
  • 🛴 Scooters – Scooters are uncommon in Ohio, and a valid license is required to drive them.
  • 🚶‍♀️ Walking – Ohio is relatively walkable, including Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland.

👉 Tips & Things to Know

  • 🌰 – The Buckeyes people eat are candy – Yes, actual buckeyes are nuts that grow on trees, but they’re poisonous raw. Buckeye candy is peanut butter wrapped in chocolate.
  • ⛈ – Be prepared for inclement weather – Weather can be unpredictable, the most damaging potential hazards being tornadoes and floods. Winter storms are also common.
  • 🚦 – Watch out for speed cameras – Many cities in Ohio have speed cameras at traffic lights and on the highway. You can get a ticket in the mail for speeding.
  • 🌿 – Ohio is NOT 420-friendly – At this time, Ohio has only legalized marijuana use for certain medical purposes – know that recreational use is still illegal for now.
  • 🇺🇸 – Politics is a touchy subject – Ohio is a swing state, so be aware Ohio is home to people with strong opinions in both directions. 

🧳 What to Pack

  • ☂️ – Umbrella – Ohio is known for clouds and rain, so you should always be prepared with an umbrella, regardless of the weather forecast.
  • ❄ – Fleece jacket – Ohio weather is notoriously unpredictable. You should bring layers of clothing, no matter what time of the year it is.
  • 🦟 – Bug repellent – If you come in the summer, there are likely lots of mosquitoes. You’re going to want bug repellent to keep them away.
  • 💧 – Water bottle – If you’re going to be active in Ohio, particularly on hiking trails, it’s a good idea to have a supply of water to stay hydrated.
  • 👡 – Sandals – If the weather is hot or warm, it’s a good idea to bring sandals. Otherwise, your feet might get too hot in regular shoes. 

🤓 Facts & Info

  • Population – 11.7 million people
  • Capital – Columbus
  • Largest Metro Areas – Greater Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland
  • Time Zone – Eastern Time (UTC -4 / UTC -5 during daylight savings)
  • Airports – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH), Rickenbacker International Airport (LCK), James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY), Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport (TOL)
  • Colleges & Universities – The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, Kent State University, Miami University, Case Western Reserve University
  • Nickname – The Buckeye State, The Heart of It All, The Mother of Presidents, Birthplace of Aviation
  • Demonynm – Ohioan
  • USPS Abbreviation – OH
  • Governor – Mike Dewine (Republican)
  • CountryUnited States of America

💵 Costs & Budgeting

  • MERIC Cost of Living State Rank – 13th most affordable
  • 3 Star Hotel Room – $80-180+/night
  • 1 Bedroom Apartment Rental – $100-200+/night
  • Rental Car – $40-100+/day
  • Public Transit Ticket – ~$2-4
  • Take Out Meal for Two – $15-30
  • Sit Down Dinner for Two – $25-100
  • Draft Beer – $7-14

FAQs About Visiting Ohio

Is Ohio safe for tourists?

Ohio is a safe destination to travel overall, although it is important to be careful as you would in any destination. Ohio’s crime rate falls in the bottom 50% of US states, even though it contains three of the country’s biggest cities (Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland).

What are the safest areas in Ohio?

The 10 safest areas in Ohio are Olmsted Falls, Sagamore Hills, Broadview Heights, Kirtland, Rocky River, North Ridgeville, and Seven Hills (in or around Cleveland); Waterville and Ada (in Toledo); and Hudson (in Akron).

What are the most dangerous cities in Ohio?

The most dangerous city in Ohio is Canton, followed by Moraine (part of the Dayton metro area), Cleveland, Whitehall (a Columbus suburb), Chillicothe, Cincinnati, Springfield, Dayton, Lima, and Mount Healthy (a Cincinnati suburb).

What is the number one attraction in Ohio?

The number one attraction in Ohio is Cedar Point, with 27.9 million people having visited in 2019 alone. Also commonly visited are Kings Island, Hocking Hills State Park, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

What is Ohio famous for?

Ohio is famous for many things, including being the birthplace of aviation, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the large Amish community, many museums and amusement parks, being the birthplace of Neil Armstrong and Thomas Edison, Cincinnati chili, the cardinal (state bird), and much more.

Meet Our Ohio Travel Expert

Nilani Thiyagarajah

Nilani Thiyagarajah is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. Nilani enjoys exploring the Windy City whenever she has free time. Having grown up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she enjoys seeking and finding all of the best-kept secrets that any area has to offer. Nilani loves traveling and learning about new cultures and plans to do a lot more of it in the coming years!

👉 Read Nilani’s Articles

📰 Ohio Travel Guides

You’ll find many helpful guides to different parts of Ohio on Travel Lemming. Here’s an index to all of the Ohio guides available at this time:

🗺️ Ohio Map