When many people think about fun places to visit, Ohio probably isn’t the first place they think of, but that is a mistake.
While Ohio doesn’t have an oceanfront or major mountain ranges, it does have the Hocking Hills, the Ohio River, and a long shoreline on Lake Erie. Known as the Buckeye State, it joined the union in 1803.
The capital of Ohio is Columbus and it is also its largest city. Ohio was settled after the Revolutionary War in 1788 and the first major settlement was Marietta on the Ohio River in the southeast of the state.
The Treaty of Grenville with the Native Americans in 1795 made the growth of the territory inevitable.
No matter what you call it, The Heart of it All, The Buckeye State, or the Birthplace of Aviation, Ohio is one of the best places in the US for art lovers, sports enthusiasts, food lovers, and history buffs.
25 Fun Facts About Ohio
Before you plan your Ohio vacation, why not learn a few things about the Buckeye State, and what makes it special? Ohio really is the heart of the country and here are 25 of the reasons why.
1. Ohio Has a Unique State Flag
Ohio is the only one of the 50 states that doesn’t have a rectangular flag. Its flag is red, white, and blue and has a swallow-tailed shape. It has 17 stars on it since it was the 17th state to enter the union.
2. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located in Cleveland
For all rock and roll fans, a pilgrimage to the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland is a must. Designed by I.M. Pei, the footprint of the building is a record player and the interior pays tribute to the best of the best, the true legends of rock and roll.
A changing array of permanent and changing exhibits and memorabilia provide hours of entertainment. Many of the personal items are here on loan so plan your visit today. The gift store alone is worth a visit.
3. Ohio is the home to two presidents who were assassinated
James Garfield (1881) and William McKinley (1901) were both from Ohio. The National Park Department manages The James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor Ohio which includes his home, and the first established presidential library.
His stunning mausoleum is located in Lawn View Cemetery in Cleveland. The William McKinley Presidential Library & Museum, the Saxton-McKinley House, and the McKinley Monument are all located in downtown Canton.
4. Ohio has 18 lighthouses
Lighthouse lovers can spend days on the shores of Lake Erie visiting all the lighthouses. Marblehead Light House is open for visits from Memorial Day to Labor Day noon to 4 p.m. and climbing the 88 steps to the top affords stunning views.
It is the most photographed structure in Ohio. Lorain Lighthouse can only be viewed from the water and a sunset dinner cruise is the perfect way to do that.
5. Ohio is the birthplace of professional baseball
The Cincinnati Red Stockings were organized by Harry Wright in 1869. Composed entirely of professional ball players, the team proved that professional baseball was a profitable venture. They only spent two years in Cincinnati before moving to Boston and the rest is history.
6. Ohio has more than 200 waterfalls
Of those 200 waterfalls in Ohio, you can visit anywhere from 7 to 15 at Hocking Hills State Park depending on the time of year. In the spring when the thaw is on, most of them are at their most spectacular.
Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 65 feet tall and won’t disappoint. If you don’t mind a challenging hike to see a stunning waterfall then Twin Sisters Falls is worth the effort.
7. Cedar Point Amusement Park in Cleveland is known as the roller coaster capital of the world
From the Cedar Creek Mine Ride a combination of wood and steel that has been thrilling visitors since 1969 to the newest coaster the Top Thrill 2 which travels up to 120 miles per hour.
Then, it provides a free-fall weightless sensation three times in two minutes, Cedar Point earns its reputation for roller coaster excellence and diversity.
8. Ohio is the Buckeye State
The University of Ohio football team is named the Buckeyes after the tree that can be found in every county in Ohio. The buckeye tree has also given its name to a peanut butter and chocolate confection that also originates in Ohio.
9. The Bittner is a Canton favorite
Ice cream lovers flock to Taggarts on Fulton Road to enjoy a Canton tradition invented in 1931. The Bittner is part milkshake part ice cream sundae covered with salty roasted pecans specially delivered from Georgia.
The homemade vanilla ice cream is blended with chocolate syrup and then covered with pecans and whipped cream, it is an unforgettable treat.
10. Ohio is home to the largest cuckoo clock in the world
Sugarcreek is known as the gateway to Amish Country and also as Little Switzerland. For homestyle Amish meals, bakeries, Swiss cheese, and architecture, Sugarcreek is hard to beat.
The 23-foot tall cuckoo clock stands in the town square and figures pop out on the hour. The Ohio Swiss Festival takes place here every September.
11. Lifesaver candy was invented in Ohio
Lifesavers were invented by Clarence Crane from Cleveland in 1912. He was a chocolate producer, and he noticed that sales waned in the summer when chocolate melted. Lifesavers were his answer to this dilemma.
He noticed that they looked like a life preserver and thus the name. The original flavor was peppermint and marketed for bad breath.
12. The Ohio State Fair is one of the largest in the nation
The Ohio State Fair has been around since the 1850s. It takes place late in July into August. More than 1 million people attend over the 12 days with almost 120,000 being the largest single-day total.
In excess of 180 food vendors will be providing the fair food people expect and some that may surprise. The Ohio State Fair has the largest butter sculpture display at any fair in the world.
13. Superman was created by two Cleveland high school students
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster became friends at Glenville High School. In 1931 at age 16 they began creating comics together. They first envisioned Superman as a villain, but that changed quickly. Issue #1 of Superman was published in 1939 and the rest as they say is history.
14, The Wright brothers built their first plane in Dayton, OH in 1897
Orville and Wilbert had a bicycle shop in Dayton, OH, and in this shop, they constructed the plane that would make the first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on Dec. 17, 1903. So while North Carolina may be First in Flight, they wouldn’t be able to claim that without the pilot and plane from Ohio.
15. Springfield’s Heart of Ohio Antique Center is the country’s largest indoor antique mall
This is an antique lover’s dream come true. More than 800 vendors, over 122,000 square feet, and a mile of booths will keep you looking for hours. If you can’t find something to buy here, it probably doesn’t exist.
Need a break? Getting faint from hunger? Mo-Jo’s Café offers a welcome respite from all the shopping. Open 362 days a year.
16. Neil Armstrong the first man to walk on the moon was a native son of Ohio
Neil Armstrong was born outside Wapakoneta, Ohio in 1930. He became the first man to walk on the moon on July 21, 1960. The Armstrong Air and Space Museum is located in Wapakoneta and includes many souvenirs from his career.
17. The Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton
Opened in 1963 the Football Hall of Fame honors players, coaches, and contributors to the game of football. For football fans, Canton is the ultimate shrine to pigskin.
Filled with memorabilia, loads of information, and as much football as even the most dedicated aficionado can stand, bring the family, make it a day, and don’t miss the gift store.
18. Cleveland has three major professional sports teams
Sports lovers can enjoy a tour of the Cleveland Guardian’s Progressive Field and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse home of the Cavaliers. Order tickets to games when you will be in town for a special treat.
Go to their websites for details: The MLB Cleveland Guardians, NFL Cleveland Browns, and NBA Cleveland Cavaliers.
19. Oberlin College is the first interracial and coeducational college in the United States
Oberlin College Founded in 1833 became the first college in the U.S. to admit African-Americans in 1835 and to admit women in 1837. It is still a progressive college where student activism flourishes.
20. Cleveland Heights, OH is the home of the Kelce Brothers Jason and Travis
Jason and Travis Kelce are Professional Football Players with a very popular Podcast called New Heights.
Travis plays for the Kansas City Chiefs and Jason plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. They both have Super Bowl Rings and have brought Ohio to the attention of sports fans everywhere.
21. Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati was founded and owned by a woman
Maria Longworth Nichols Storer made history in 1880, by becoming the first woman to own a large manufacturing enterprise in the United States.
Take a behind-the-scenes tour to see how the famous art pottery is still being made today or sign up for a workshop or course. Tickets are available on their website.
22. The Ohio River forms the 451-mile southern border of Ohio
The Ohio River begins in Pittsburgh, PA where the Alleghany and the Monongahela Rivers meet, and ends 981 miles later in Cairo, IL.
It has played an important role in the history and growth of Ohio and was called La Belle Riviere by the original French explorers. Today you can enjoy a steamboat cruise on the river, fishing, boating, water-skiing, and camping.
23. Murray Spanger is a little-known Ohio inventor
You can thank Murray, a janitor from Canton, for inventing the vacuum cleaner in 1907. His relative W.H. Hoover manufactured and marketed the machine very successfully.
24. Chili is an obsession in Cincinnati
Not chili as you know it but a version that uses Mediterranean spices and sits on top of spaghetti. Don’t visit here without giving it a try. You will love it or hate it, but you won’t forget it. ‘
25. As Ohio Goes So Goes The Nation
No Republican has even won the presidency without winning Ohio. No President of either party has won the election without Ohio since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Ohio good for tourists?
Ohio has something for every member of the family. Enjoy the history, the outdoors, the great food, the arts and entertainment, and the ethnic diversity that makes Ohio so special. Sample great food, take a roller coaster ride, enjoy camping and hiking, it’s all good.
Why is Ohio a great place to visit?
Ohio has 75 state parks, Cedar Point Amusement Park, The Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad, and more Elvis memorabilia outside Graceland than any place in the world. From the shores of Lake Eire to the Ohio River, Ohio offers activities to keep the whole family entertained.
Sports lovers can choose from professional baseball, football, basketball, hockey, and soccer to attend.
What city in Ohio has the most things to do?
Tough choice, it depends on what you enjoy. Canton has the Football Hall of Fame, The McKinley Museum and Presidential Site, The First Ladies National Historic Site, and The Bittner. That is a hard combination to beat unless you love Rock and Roll, The Cleveland Browns, and great art.
Why is Ohio The Heart of it All?
First, the shape of the state of Ohio resembles a heart. Secondly, more than 50% of the people in the country are located within 500 miles of Columbus. It really is physical, the heart of it all.
Does Ohio have beaches?
Ohio has beautiful beaches along Lake Erie. With more than 50,000 lakes and ponds, you will find beaches all over Ohio.
Book Your Trip to Ohio Today!
Winter, spring, summer, and fall Ohio beckons you to enjoy her magnificent hills, waterfalls, beaches, museums, sports teams, delicious food, and people.
So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for – book your trip today and experience for yourself all that Ohio has to offer. Happy travels!