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Best Places to Visit in Ohio

Ohio is home to a wide range of attractions, from sprawling parks with stunning waterfalls to bustling cities and college towns. To help you decide where to go during your next trip to the Buckeye State, U.S. News took into account its diversity of attractions, affordability and outdoor offerings (among other factors) to determine the best places to visit in Ohio. Have a favorite? Vote below to help decide next year's list. (Note: Some of the below destinations may be affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Check with the CDC and the U.S. Department of State before traveling.)


Best Places to Visit in Ohio

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    #1 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Whether you're a nature lover, an art enthusiast, a sports fanatic, a foodie or a combination of them all, Cleveland will appeal to you. The city's 18 parks offer everything from hiking trails to golf courses to a zoo, while Progressive Field is where you can watch the Cleveland Indians play baseball. Other Cleveland must-dos include viewing the Cleveland Museum of Art's 61,000-plus works and learning more about music legends at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Don't leave without grabbing a bite to eat at the West Side Market.

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    #2 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Renowned author Charles Dickens once called Cincinnati "one of the most interesting [cities] in America," and after visiting, you'll have to agree. The city is home to several neighborhoods, each with their own distinct flair. Eden Park (a popular green space with 186 acres) can be found just outside of the picturesque Mount Adams neighborhood, while the historic Over-The-Rhine district is where you'll find Findlay Market, Cincinnati Music Hall and some of the city's best shops, bars and restaurants. While here, be sure to try some of Cincinnati's famous five-way chili.

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    Columbus, OH

    #3 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Ohio's capital city has no shortage of things to do. Active travelers will appreciate the miles of walking, jogging and bike trails available at the Scioto Mile. Nature lovers can spend a few hours exploring Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Architecture buffs can admire the charming buildings that comprise the historic German Village neighborhood. Foodies won't want to miss dining at North Market. And for sports fans, there's Huntington Park, where the Columbus Clippers (a minor league baseball team) plays.

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    #4 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Located along the banks of Lake Erie, Sandusky beckons to water lovers and thrill-seekers. In addition to boasting proximity to waterfront trails and beaches, the town is home to Cedar Point, an amusement park that features some of the world's tallest and fastest roller coasters. The attraction also offers rides designed for little ones, plus a sports center and a water park. Outside of Cedar Point, travelers will find additional family-friendly facilities, including the Merry-Go-Round Museum and Kalahari Resorts & Conventions Sandusky, the largest indoor water park in the state.

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    Hocking Hills State Park

    #5 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    With its stunning caves and breathtaking waterfalls, Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio is one of the state's most beautiful destinations. Inside the park, you'll discover miles of hiking trails, including the Ash Cave Gorge and Ash Cave Rim trails, which lead to Ash Cave (the largest recess cave in Ohio). You can also follow the 6-mile-long Grandma Gatewood Trail from the welcome center to Old Man's Cave (Hocking Hills' most popular area) before continuing on to Cedar Falls, where you'll find the park's largest waterfall by volume.

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    #6 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Put-in-Bay, which sits less than 23 miles northwest of Sandusky and is accessible via the Jet Express ferry, is one of Ohio's most-visited Lake Erie islands. On Put-in-Bay, visitors can take Island Transportation's Tour Train to get an overview of the island or explore must-see attractions like Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial and the Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center on their own. Those traveling with kids will also want to check out Perry's Cave Family Fun Center, which features a butterfly house, a miniature golf course, a rock climbing wall and a giant maze, among other amenities.

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    Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    #7 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Head to Cuyahoga Valley National Park to enjoy a relaxing outdoor escape away from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities like Cleveland and Akron. During the warmer months, this national park offers ample hiking, biking, fishing and kayaking opportunities, as well as fun kid-friendly activities, such as junior ranger programs and seasonal train rides. Plus, Cuyahoga Valley turns into a winter wonderland during the cooler months, drawing winter sports enthusiasts interested in spending their vacation snowshoeing, cross-country skiing or sledding.

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    #8 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Canton is a must-visit destination for sports lovers. Nicknamed the Hall of Fame City, Canton is best known as the birthplace of the NFL and the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Football fans can tour the museum to admire its bronze busts of 300-plus Hall of Famers, browse artifacts from recent players and see dozens of Super Bowl championship rings. For those who aren't a fan of the game, Canton offers plenty of other attractions and amenities worth checking out, including a classic car museum, multiple breweries and the William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum.

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    Athens, OH

    #9 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Athens offers a diverse mix of attractions. This college town is where you'll find Ohio University's main campus, which features more than 100 species of trees, the 45-foot-tall Civil War Soldiers Monument and peaceful Wolfe Garden in its historic College Green area. You can also peruse the exhibits at The Dairy Barn Arts Center, sip a craft beer (if you're at least 21 years old) at a local brewery and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, kayaking and fishing at Strouds Run State Park.

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    Dayton, OH

    #10 in Best Places to Visit in Ohio

    Dayton is the birthplace of aviation, so it's hardly surprising that many of its main attractions focus on flying and the history behind it. At Wright Brothers Hill and the John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum, visitors can get a glimpse into the lives of the innovative pilots and learn more about the first practical aircraft they created. Travelers will also want to check out the National Museum of the United States Air Force – the world's largest and oldest museum dedicated to military aviation history – and the National Aviation Hall of Fame for more aviation background.

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