Off the Beaten Path Series: Exploring Ohio
While it is often overlooked as a travel destination, a road trip through Ohio can lead you to many unique and exciting experiences that you can't find anywhere else.
Whether you are a proud Ohioan or just passing through, here are a few lesser-known attractions that deserve a pin in your map!
Be sure to order your Ohio Push Pin Map or USA Push Pin Map before you set off so you can properly plan and memorialize your travels through Ohio. You'll soon find out just why it has earned its title as "the heart of it all!"
Dogwood Pass - Beaver, OH
Photo credit: Ohio.org
If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the immersive 1800s experience that has been recreated at Dogwood Pass, a unique living museum nestled in the rolling hills of southern Ohio.
Dogwood Pass is a blast to the past that features over 32 western-style buildings and homes, including stores, a saloon, a jail, and more that will transport you straight to the Gold Rush days. If you stop by between April and October, you can join in on fun activities such as Wild West Shows and tours of the ghost town!
You can also find the Roy Rogers Memories Museum here where you can learn about the life of the famous Western actor and southern Ohio native.
The Wild West-themed museum is located in Beaver, Ohio, a quaint rural village of less than 500 people. While you’re there, you can grab lunch at Emma’s Frosty Kreme & Pizza (their marshmallow milkshake is too good to be true!) and enjoy a slice lakeside at nearby Lake White State Park.
The Wilds - Cumberland, OH
Photo Credit: The Wilds/Facebook
Most Ohioans are familiar with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, but may not know about The Wilds, a unique animal conservation facility located in Cumberland, Ohio.
This former coal strip mine has been repurposed into a gorgeous wild animal habitat covering almost 10,000 acres and housing over 300 animals. The non-profit facility is focused on wild animal conservation with over 25 amazing species represented, including the cheetah, giraffe, and rhinoceros.
During colder months, you can view the animals in their winter habitats while open-air safari tours and other specialty tours are offered spring through early fall. The open-air tours are the most popular, as they allow you to get close-up and personal with the wild animals. You'll be so starstruck that you might even forget your adventure is taking place in the Midwest!
After enjoying a long day of safari tours and animal sightings, you can go “glamping” in a luxury yurt located onsite or camp out at Wolf Run State Park and embark on a fun-filled weekend of boating, kayaking, and swimming.
Cantwell Cliffs - Logan, OH
Photo Credits: Bud Schrader Photography/HockingHills.com
While there is an abundance of beautiful hiking trails in Ohio, Hocking Hills State Park is the most popular destination due to its scenic but easy-to-traverse trails (what Ohio hiking enthusiast hasn't explored Old Mans Cave Trail?!). However, more ambitious hikers looking for a challenge will appreciate Cantwell Cliffs.
The two-mile loop spans over steep cliffs and some parts may require a little rock scrambling. The views will be worth it though, as you will come across interesting rock shelters and breathtaking scenes of the unique rock formations that have been created by millions of years of water erosion.
While in Hocking Hills, you can stay the night at either the Hocking Hills Campground or snag a cabin rental in advance to turn your visit into a weekend adventure. In addition to Cantwell Cliffs, you can explore various other trails and caves, book a horseback tour, and unwind at the Hocking Hills Winery.
Crystal Cave - Put-in-Bay, OH
Photo Credit: Leanna K./Trip Advisor
The village of Put-in-Bay is a popular Ohio travel destination due to its location on an island in Lake Erie, but it is also home to one of the most interesting geological formations you can find in the Midwest.
Discovered by miners in the late 1800s, Crystal Cave's claim to fame is its title as home to the world's largest geode. The walls of the cave itself are made of limestone and concealed by large formations of a blue crystal called celestite.
This one-of-a-kind destination has a rich history, dating all the way back to the prohibition era! The cave is owned by Heineman Winery, which kept itself afloat during Prohibition with tourism revenue from the caves.
Before you head back to the mainland, there is so much more to experience at Put-In-Bay! You can learn about the unique local ecosystem at Lake Erie Islands Nature & Wildlife Center, try your luck at gemstone mining, or spend a day enjoying the beach.
When you're finished exploring, it's time to start pinning! You'll want to grab some Heart Push Pins to mark your favorite destinations, and personalize a few Custom Canvas Prints so you can always reminisce on your adventure through the Buckeye State.