the best state parks in ohio

State and national parks in Ohio provide outdoor enthusiasts a playground in the great outdoors, from the beachy northern shores of Lake Erie to the forested foothills of the southern Appalachian Mountains. Bird watching, cross-country skiing, canoeing, disc golf, and wilderness trekking are just a few of Ohio’s year-round activities. You’ll find that Ohio’s 83 state parks, two National Historic Sites, three National Wildlife Refuges, and the varying seasons make your favorite outdoor activities a unique experience each time.

Our list of Ohio’s top national and state parks will help you find the most excellent spots to visit.

#1. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

the best state parks in ohio
Image Source: National Park

In Ohio, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a wonderful location for outdoor activity. As a matter of fact, the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail, one of the 125 miles of available pathways, is a popular route for runners and cyclists. Off-road biking is encouraged on the East Rim Mountain Bike Route, while families can use the Summit Metro Parks’ Cycle & Hike Trail. At the park, biking is a well-liked hobby, and there are several bike stores nearby. Moreover, every ability level is covered by the park’s hiking paths, and Peninsula, a small hamlet, is situated there. All year long, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway provides themed train excursions.

#2. Wayne National Forest

One of Ohio’s greatest places to explore undeveloped nature is the Wayne National Forest. It covers more than 833,000 acres over 12 counties and provides hiking, biking, ATV, horseback riding, and primitive camping opportunities. The park has patches of private land, so it’s crucial to look out for signs indicating that you’re on someone else’s property. With 300 miles of trails, the park provides a wealth of hiking and riding activities. In addition to conventional campsites, the park provides some other camping choices, including the ability to rough it. Before your visit, it is wise to do some study on the layout and any necessary permits.

#3. Hopewell Culture National Historic Park

the best state Parks in ohio
Image Source: TripAdvisor

Since Native American Indians constructed the clay mounds by hand 2,000 years ago, the Hopewell Culture National Heritage Site in Chillicothe, Ohio, is regarded as hallowed territory. Six of these earthworks, which are significant ceremonial and spiritual relics of the Hopewell civilization, are preserved in the park. Although the park hosts public activities all year long, a solo visit is one of the greatest ways to appreciate the value of the location. Before your visit, it is helpful to get an aerial plan of the earthworks so that you are aware of what you are viewing.

#4. Maumee Bay State Park

One of the most ecologically State Parksin Ohio is Maumee Bay State Park, which is located on the beaches of Lake Erie. It offers several paths for outdoor leisure, such as those snowmobiling, mountain biking, and ATVs. Bird viewing is one of the most popular pastimes since the region is home to more than 300 different bird species, including bald eagle breeding pairs. Every spring, hundreds of bird watchers go to the park to observe the warbler migration since it is located along a portion of the 312-mile Lake Erie Birding Trail.

#5. Hocking Hills State Park

the best state parks in ohio
Image Source: TripAdvisor

Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park is a well-liked destination for vacations and entertainment. It is characterized by waterfalls, caverns, sandstone cliffs, and lush flora and is located in one of the state’s most serene regions. The fall is the busiest season for vacations, so book your accommodations as soon as you can. Besides, Old Man’s Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Conkle’s Hollow, Cedar Falls, and Rockhouse are the park’s five main hiking destinations. A wide range of outdoor activities is also available, such as rock climbing, horseback riding, ziplining, and canoeing. 

Furthermore, the John Glenn Astronomy Park can be rented for one of the Friday public presentations and is located in the greatest spot in the area for stargazing.

#6. Salt Fork State Park

One of the State Parks in Ohio is this. With 17,000 acres of recreational space, Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County, Ohio, is the biggest state park in the state. However, it has two marinas, Salt Fork Reservoir, a 10-station archery path, and one of Ohio’s biggest inland beaches. There are 14 different hiking paths in the park, some of which can be used for snowmobiling in the winter and have differing degrees of difficulty. A 3,000-acre lake, two marinas, and one of Ohio’s biggest inland beaches are also there.

#7. John Bryan State Park

Image Source: TripAdvisor

In Ohio’s John Bryan State Park, a limestone gorge chiseled by the Little Miami River can be found. Meanwhile, the 752-acre park contains nine paths, making it simple to spend a whole day exploring wildlife and nature. One of the greatest parks in the state for winter trekking, it allows you to take pictures of frozen waterfalls as they tumble down. Also, it is a park at the gate near Yellow Springs if you’re going for a day trip and take the main route through the Clifton Gorge Natural Preserve. For this hike, allow four to six hours.

#8. Malabar Farm State Park

Author Louis Bromfield, who won the Pulitzer Prize, established the renowned Ohio state park known as Malabar Farm. Surprisingly, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall exchanged vows there on a property with a main house and outbuildings in 1945. There are several structures on the open-air property, along with fields where there are goats, poultry, and calves. Also, special events happen all year round, and in the summer, wagon trips are available. Finally, the fall and the maple syrup festival in the spring are two excellent times to visit the farm.

#9. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

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Six locations with ties to the history of flying and aviation make up the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. The Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center, the Paul Lawrence Dunbar State Monument, the Carillon Historical Park, the Huffman Prairie Flying Field, the Wright Cycle Works, the Hoover Block, the Hawthorn Hill, as well as the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial, are all included. In the early 1900s, Orville and Wilbur Wright trained to fly the Wright Flyer III at the Huffman Prairie Flying Field.

#10. Blackhand Gorge State Nature Reserve

In Newark, there is a state park called Blackhand Gorge State Natural Preserve with paved, level paths and interesting scenery. The 4.3-mile Blackhand Trail, which is one-way and does not make a circle, is the most well-known path. The Blackhand Trail and the Licking River are adjacent, and several unpaved nature paths are between a half-mile and two miles long. Sections of the Licking River are open to fishing, although rules must be consulted with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

#11. Kelleys Island State Park

Image Source: TripAdvisor

The state park on Kelleys Island, which is bordered by Lake Erie and features spectacular geology, is perfect for both leisure and relaxation. A playground, picnic shelter, volleyball court, and electric and non-electric campsites are available at the campground. The camp office offers game rentals in addition to renting out numerous sizable yurts. The island has simple routes of varying lengths for hiking, and in the warmer months, visitors enjoy the 100-foot public beach. Kayaking and boating are other common summer activities. Furthermore, visitors can do ice fishing, ice skating, and cross-country skiing throughout the winter.

#12. Deer Creek State Park

Due to the variety of its landscape and animals, Deer Creek State Park is one of the best state parks in Ohio to visit. It contains a nine-hole disc golf course, a public golf course with 10 ponds, seven hiking-only paths, and a 17-mile equestrian trail. Also, the reservoir is well-liked for swimming, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and boating, and the expansive beach provides plenty of room. There is a variety of rustic to contemporary lodging options available, such as campsites, cottages, cabins, and a lodge. Additionally, two special campsites can house up to 100 people and horses.

#13. Geneva State Park

Image Source: TripAdvisor

On the northern beaches of Lake Erie, Geneva State Park is a handy location for outdoor enjoyment. Besides, the six-mile multi-use route connects all areas of the park to a 300-foot public beach, and the marina offers fishing excursions for walleye and perch. Geneva on the Lake is a tiny resort town with an eclectic mix of stores, eateries, and doughnut shops that have been in operation for more than 60 years. In addition, accommodation choices include a campsite, cabins, lodges, and cottages.

#14. Tar Hollow

Tar Hollow is also one of the state parks in Ohio that offers lots of options for exploration. As most paths are many miles in length, it is excellent for serious hikers. Moreover, there are 25 miles of bridle routes and separate biking trails. The 21-mile Logan Backpacking Route is suitable for experienced hikers, and the Logan Hollow Campsite offers camping. There is a beach for swimming at Pine Lake, which is a hidden gem for canoeing, rowing, and kayaking. Fall is the ideal season to go since the deep woodland transforms into a sight of color.

What is the Most Breathtaking State Park in Ohio?

According to an examination of evaluations for Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park, the park’s beauty is mentioned in around 62% of them.

What is the Most Tourist State Park in Ohio?

According to the occupancy rate, East Harbor State Park, which is located on the shores of Lake Erie, receives the most visitors. Camping, boating, fishing, and swimming are all available at the park. There are trails, disc golf, and lots of space for wildlife viewing.

What is America’s First state park?

Tennessee’s Fall Creek Falls State Park. The park has 26,000 acres of cascades, gorges, waterfalls, streams, and hardwood woods in addition to Fall Creek Falls.

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