Looking forward to a peaceful time in Ohio? Well, thanks to its enthralling flora and fauna, the national parks of Ohio truly satisfy nature-loving travelers.
Being the “heart of the United States of America,” Ohio enjoys a combination of plunging as well as deep valleys, plateaus, rugged mountains, sunny beaches along with marking the origin of the ‘corn belt’ in this region. This makes it an ideal all-in-one place for adventure- enthusiasts with activities like hiking, cross-country skiing, sightseeing, paddleboarding, and much more.
Eventually, with diverse areas, the climatic conditions of Ohio are a treat for the visitors as the seasons change as fast as the wind blows. Although only 2 national historic parks enjoy the status of a ‘national park’ here, Ohio is home to more than 80 exotic state parks, 3 National Wildlife Refuges, and various historical sites, which will surely satiate the hunger for a fun-filled time here.
10 Best National Parks in Ohio you must visit!
Let’s look at the 10 best national parks out of the numerous ones when in Ohio to find outdoor adventures!
1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
A perfect break from the pompous city life, Cuyahoga national park is the best getaway from the monotonous lives, thanks to its magnificent dense forests, scenic habitat, chilling waterfalls, and hocking hills and terrains. Between Cleveland and Akron and alongside Cuyahoga River sits this park, speaking glories of the historic canal exploration of the middle ages. Keeping up with its history, even a center for canal exploration has been built on the park’s north side.
Home to various mesmerizing indigenous species of animals and vegetation and towpath trails like the Ohio towpath trail & Erie Canal towpath trail, overlooking the beautiful Cuyahoga River, the Cuyahoga valley national park gives the adventurous ones to experience hiking, mountain biking, ice-fishing, etc.
For the water-lovers, boating on rented boats is the go-to option. On top of it, with the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad running across this national park, the best spots to conduct tours, concerts, and nature retreats, have been provided to the visitors.
How to access it? – Purchase an American pass for an annual subscription, and you are good to go! Moreover, Army personnel and kids are eligible for a discount on the annual pass scheme to visit the Cuyahoga valley national park.
2. First Ladies National Historic Site
Reminding of the important role that the First Ladies of United States played in its development, the First Ladies National historic site is a house converted into a national monument. Divided into two houses: one of First Lady Ida Saxton and the other erstwhile building of City National Bank, this site honors the blood and sweat contributed by the political women of the United States in its grandeur.
The park’s center is home to Ida Saxton’s childhood home, which has been renovated, keeping up with the memories of her and his husband, President William McKinley. On the northeastern side, in downtown Canton, sits this first ladies national historic site, inviting visitors for the entire year to explore the glorious history and celebrate the achievements and tireless efforts of former and present First Ladies of the United States. If you are in Ohio, this place should surely be on your checklist!
3. David Berger National Memorial
Every place has its own history, and this David Berger national memorial is one such park in Ohio, which remembers the unsung heroes of the States.
Carved as broken Olympic rings to symbolize the abandonment of Olympic games at Munich, after the tragic murder of an American sportsperson David Berger and 10 other athletes, this national memorial cum historical site honors their dedication and love towards their nation.
Located in Beachwood near Cleveland, the David Berger National Memorial is administered by the Cuyahoga national park Authority and is connected to the national park service scheme of the city. On top of this, with no restrictions related to visiting days, come to this park to witness the rigor and enthusiasm of the bereaved athletes who lost their lives while fulfilling their dreams.
4. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
Fond of pottery and clay artworks? Well, head fast towards this state-of-art historical park, showcasing earthen mounds of the primitive era, reminding us of the deep-rooted culture of Hopewell practiced by our ancestors.
Thanks to the abundant variety, the earthen works in the Ohio river valley in Hopewell culture national historical park range from different shapes and patterns. Its preserved earthenware gives the inside story of the intricacies involved behind the scenes and the spiritual significance of such with the people of the Hopewell culture.
To know more about the rich heritage of this place, enrolling in a fun course on archaeology would be great. Also, remember to use an aerial map before setting on the path of exploring the earthworks.
5. James A. Garfield National Historic Site
Yes, you heard that right. To be invited to the personal house of the President of the United States is a far-fetched dream, but what if you get to visit one, that too anytime in a year? Visit the James A. Garfield national historic site, which is actually a house-turned memorial of the 20th President of the USA, Mr. James Garfield.
It begins from the historical front porch, representing his wife’s efforts, which kicked off the presidential campaign for James Garfield, followed by the first publicly accessible presidential library. Who knew that the famous front porch, which became a symbol of greeting the public during the presidential campaign, would one day become an important historical landmark as Garfield’s national historic site.
To keep up with the present-day technology, well-structured tours, inclusive of virtual tours, give the visitors a theatrical and interactive experience of the last remnants of Late President Garfield. Visit this James A. Garfield national historic site to be left completely spellbound!
6. Perry’s Victory And International Peace Memorial
Situated on a small land near Put-in-Bay, Perry’s victory and international peace memorial is a national monument to commemorate the outstanding win of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s troops in the Battle of Lake Eerie. A 352-ft Doric Column, its land buried 3 British and 3 American soldiers beneath, symbolizing the peaceful relations between United States, Great Britain, and Canada.
The only international peace memorial with a national park service system remains open for the public from May to October. For a gala time throughout the summer season, festivals like Arts and crafts week are held on the Coast of Lake Eerie. Moreover, it also hosts the biggest Maritime Celebration in collaboration with US Brig Nigeria to remember the rich heritage and history of the country.
Just pay 7$ at the Visitors Center to enjoy the vibrant attractions of this iconic land while taking your children for free. Once you reach the Visitors center, various national park service rangers will be ready in the elevators to happily guide and answer all the queries regarding the historical significance of this park.
7. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
An ode to the selfless and dignified role of America’s first African-American colonel and buffalo soldier, the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers national monument speaks high about the achievements and the successful journey of Colonel Young. From being a slave to gaining a high position in the roller coaster capital of the world, the exemplary confidence of Colonel Charles Young made him fight against all odds of racism and inequality.
Located in an isolated surrounding in Wilberforce, Ohio, his house was converted into a national historical landmark after his death to appraise future generations about his glorious contribution to the country through guided tours and pictures.
Assigned as a national park service site by former President Obama, this in-house museum allows public visitors via prior appointments only. When in Ohio, check with the administration about the opening hours to get a glimpse of the outstanding legacy of Charles Young and other Buffalo soldiers for the country.
8. Fallen Timbers Battlefield And Fort Miamis National Historic Site
A memoir of the revolutionary victory of Americans in the battle of fallen timbers against the British and Native Americans, this place gave northwest expansion to the United States. With 3 sites within it, namely; the Fallen timbers battlefield, the fallen timbers monument, and Fort Miamis national historic site, this national park remains open throughout the year for public visits.
An open flat field that marked the victory of American forces, this piece of land is managed by Metroparks Toledo and is surrounded by commercial properties on either side. The center of the land has a unique spur railroad running through it.
Fallen Timbers National Historic Site
South of the battlefield is this landmark, wholly dedicated to the successful western expansion culminated by the forces in the battle of timbers. At 50 m above the Maumee River, it lets the visitors get a crystal clear view of the beautiful river and experience the cold waves coming from it, acting as a natural corridor for the country.
A Size of 9-acre, this site has 3 components:
a) Famous Statute
A glowing bronze statute running up to 10 ft high stands tall, which depicts American general Wayne and an Indian guide, commemorating the rich history of the United States.
b) Turkeyfoot Rock
Used by the people to conduct ceremonies and offerings, it was a part of the battlefield and, therefore, symbolizes the selfless service of the martyred soldiers in the Battle of Fallen Timbers.
c) Stone Markers
Two in number, these are memoirs to remember the martyrdom of the American and Indian soldiers in this battle.
A national monument built during the British era, it is an archeological site located in the city of Maumee, depicting the historical battle of fallen timbers and the War of 1812. Open for the public during the entire year, this monument cum national park decorated with earthen mounds of ancient time is taken care of by the Metroparks Toledo. It presents a clear view of both the place of battle and the national historic site, sitting just 4 miles away from both the historical landmarks.
Therefore, if you are interested in history and archaic things, visit this national site to know more about the officers who sacrificed for their nation, United States.
9. William Howard Taft National Historic Site
The William Howard Taft national historic site, in Mount Auburn, Cincinnati, is a tribute and memorial dedicated to the former servant President and Chief Justice of the United States, Mr. William Howard Taft. This Greek-style house, which was converted into a historic site, was influential in molding the personality and thought patterns of the former President, who resided here with his family.
Experiencing the maximum footfall, which reaches around 20,000 every year, the William Howard Taft national historic site doesn’t take any entry fee from the visitors. The striking feature of this park is Charlie, an animatronic robot, invented as a replica of William Howard Taft’s youngest son, who resides and takes care of this magnificent house cum memorial site. On top of it, a glimpse of ancient furniture can be viewed by requesting the ranger-guided tours.
10. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
How easy have flights made our lives, isn’t it? There’s no need to think because Ohio is the place where the famous Wright Brothers initiated and invented the ‘first flight of the world.’ But to visit the place where the first idea of a flight emerged is in itself a surreal thought. The Dayton Aviation heritage national historic park, found in Southwest Ohio, is the same historical site where the world’s first aircraft journey began, which totally revolutionized the lives of the coming generations.
Under the National Aviation Heritage Alliance management, this national historical park felicitates the outstanding contribution of the Wright brothers by acknowledging their efforts and promoting newer technology and innovative techniques to develop the aviation and aerospace sector.
It has various sports such as the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, Wright school of Aviation, the Wright Cycle Co. Bike Shop, Aviation Trail Visitor Center, and Museum, as well as the Paul Laurence Dunbar House Historic Site, the pasture where the wright brothers conducted the first trial.
With free entry, the Dayton aviation heritage national park invites visitors to know about the journey which gave birth to the invention of flight in our lives.
So what are your waiting for?
Ohio national parks are unique in their culture and location, thanks to their rich history. Hurry up to this wonderful city, which will definitely prove every penny worth spending with its natural beauty, mesmerizing views, historical landmarks, and huge history.