There is more to the United States aside from The Big Apple, Hollywood, and Las Vegas. If you know where to look, you’ll find that the other states are well worth the visit as well. They are hidden gems, as we’d like to say. It is a shame to miss out on exploring these amazing states but that is what we are here for. This time around, we’d like to introduce you to a midwestern U.S. state that is part of the Great Lakes region. This time, we are going to talk about The Buckeye State, The Birthplace of Aviation, and The Heart Of It All – Ohio.

According to archeological evidence uncovered by expert, Ohio was believed to be inhabited by nomadic people back in 13,000 BC. The people that lived in the area were kept busy with cultivating plants and crops such as sunflowers, squash, and possibly corn. Aside from agricultural fare, the early inhabitants also partook in hunting animals. In the following millenia, the people in the are that is now known as Ohio used the land’s capabilities to its fullest. This helped them evolved into more advanced civilizations that thrived on hunting, gathering and farming.

As time progressed and Native Americans began inhabiting the land, Ohio became the home of the Fort Ancient people, the Whittlesey Focus people, and the Monongahela Culture. However, the three cultures began disappearing in the 17th century. It is believed that succeeding tribes absorbed the early inhabitants to turn them into one of their own. Most of the Native People who were in Ohio by the early 19th century were forced out by the Indian Removal Act of 1830, thus signaling the end of an era.

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Former President Thomas Jefferson (Source)

On February 19, 1803, then President Thomas Jefferson signed an act that created the boundaries and constitution of the state despite Congress never passing a resolution to consider Ohio as the 17th state in the U.S. Ohio’s official inclusion into the Union is officially recognized to have occured on March 1, 1803 which is when the Ohio General Assembly first gathered to convene.

In its early years into statehood, Ohio had three capital cities; Chillicothe, Zanesville and Columbus. THe first was made the capital of the state between 1803 to 1810. Then the title was moved to Zanesville for two years after which, it was returned to Chillicothe up until 1816. After that, the capital was moved to Columbus as it was the geographic center of the state. To this date, Columbus holds the distinction of being Ohio’s capital.

In the following decades, Ohio became home to distinct individuals that were a part of US history. In fact, a total of eight U.S. President were from Ohio during their election. The presidents include  Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, William Howard Taft and James A. Garfield. Because of this feat, Ohio is considered as the Mother of Presidents, a moniker it shares with Virginia.

Ohio’s years as a state are truly worth studying for historians but this time around, we are discussing it as travelers and backpackers. Before you ready yourself for a week or month’s worth of vacation in The Buckeye State, you should at least take a gander at some of the important things a traveler should know.

How To Get To Ohio?

Ohio is a relatively small state. In fact, it ranks 34th when it comes to land mass. Getting to it is pretty easy if you are coming from some of the bordering states like Michigan to the north west, Pennsylvania to the east, and Indiana to the west. Moreover, the Ohio River forms a border with West Virginia in the south east and Kentucky to the south. It is also worth noting that it borders Ontario, Canada with Lake Erie to the north. If you are coming from these states, you may need to take a few hours of driving.

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An aerial view of Toledo, Ohio’s skyline (Source)

If you are coming from farther regions in the U.S. or from other parts of the world, there are several airports that offer international flights. Some of the major airports include the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport, John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Rickenbacker International Airport and James M. Cox International Airport.

These airports offer flights from major airlines such as American Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, United Airlines, and many more. When it comes to their flight paths, they go to various major cities such as New York, Dallas, California, and more.

What Are The Major Cities In Ohio?

If you are looking for an adventure in the state’s biggest cities, then you’re in luck as there are quite a few that are worth visiting. The largest city in terms of population and landmass is, of course, Columbus. Other major cities include Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, and Dayton. These cities are key points in Ohio and as such, they have quite a few tourist attractions within them.

Don’t limit yourself in traveling to these major cities though as even the rural areas in Ohio are great. Ohio is a state with a strong sense of agriculture so expect to see vast green lands filled with farms and livestock.

What Is The Climate In Ohio?

Ohio’s climate is considered as humid continental climate as called by the Koppen climate classification. That is the case in most parts of the state though but in the southern regions of Ohio, the climate is considered as humid subtropical. In the state, summers are typically hot and humid all throughout. On the other hand, winters are not in the extremes but temperatures remain pretty cold still. In terms of precipitation, rain is moderate all year round.

Ohio’s climate is pretty good for tourists as there are no extreme temperatures or weather conditions to be worried about. However, just to be on the safe side, just to weather checks before you visit. Overall however you don’t have to worry about heavy bouts with rain.

When is the Best Time to Visit Ohio?

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A panoramic view of Columbus skyline (Source)

In terms of weather, it is good to know that you do not have to worry too much as temperatures remain stable at the middle-ground whether it be through winter or summer. That is why when visiting Ohio, you need only to worry about the deals in hotels and the number of tourists the state attracts.

If you are hoping to avoid heavy crowds while taking advantage of regular room rates, then you should visit Ohio from the days between August to December. These are the months with the least amount of visitors in the state. On the other hand, the busiest months in the state are from June to July. During these days, hotel rates are generally cheaper as owners are trying to attract more customers.

Overall, Ohio is a great state to visit the entire year. Understandably, you’d want to check out this great state when the rates at hotels and airlines are at their lowest. That way, you can focus your budget on the attractions and restaurants up ahead.

With these important details tackled, it is now time to talk about some of the best things you can see and experience in the wonderful state of Ohio.

Unique Activities in Ohio

When hearing about Ohio, A lot of things usually comes to people’s mind. One of which are roller coasters because, here, you can find the Cedar Point, which is known as the Roller Coaster Capital of the World due to several roller coasters that it has. It is also the birthplace of some notable people such as the former President William Taft, Neil Armstrong, John Glenn, and so much more. Ohio is also known for its candies and other goodies like the Smucker’s Jellies. But there’s more to Ohio than these which will make you want to visit it even more.

Ohio has many things to offer that makes it one of the states in the US that are worth visiting. It even has several spots for those who are looking for some off the beaten path activities. If you are looking for some unique things to do in Ohio, here’s a rundown of what we can recommend. We’re sure that these activities will make your Ohio trip so unique that you will always remember it.

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1Drive through Amish Country

Amish County in Autumn (Source)

If you’re looking for an activity to escape the city, try driving through the Amish Country. Here, aside from the Amish people’s simpler lifestyle and work, you can also get to enjoy beautiful and tranquil landscapes and other sights to see. In addition to that, you can also spend some time at the award-winning Amish Country Theater where you can get to see amazing live performances that often features The Beachy’s (an Amish comedy trio), Fannie Mae, and ventriloquist Ken Groves. It’s one of the unique things to do in Ohio that is perfect even for families.

Going around Amish country is a great experience as it will help you look back at simple times. The structures and everything else in this country remains very simple but don’t be quick to judge as we’re sure that you’ll enjoy this place still. It’s the experience you’re after when visiting Amish country and nothing else.

2Go museum hopping

Seems familiar? Nope, these aren’t from the official Lego museum. These are some of the display items from the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum (Source)

Almost every city or state in the world has its museums that are surely worth visiting. Ohio has several museums that are worth talking about too. However, there are several of them that are not like the usual type of museums that we’ve gotten used to but are still worth the visit as it will surely make your trip different but memorable. Here are some of them.

Toy and Plastic Brick Museum

If you or your kids love Legos, visiting the Toy and Plastic Brick Museum is one of the unique things to do in Ohio. It’s not the official Lego museum, though, but you will still find displays made of Lego and other building plastic toys.

Even if you are an adult, we’re sure that you are fond of action figures and Legos so this is certainly a treat for you. In this museum, you’ll see amazing creations by expert builders as well as rare finds. If you have the extra cash, be sure to buy something from the souvenir store. There are toys, clothes, and other collectibles in there.

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House of Trash

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The House of Trash’s Greenhouse made out of plastic two-litter bottles (Source)

Seeing garbage is an eyesore but, apparently, it’s one of the cool and unique things to do in Ohio. Just to be clear, this place isn’t a dumpsite, though, and this attraction isn’t as gross as it sounds. Rather, it’s a place that is entirely made of recycled materials that illustrate how to get the most out of recycled materials and create self-sufficient energy.

While it may seem odd to visit a museum solely focused on trash and garbage, don’t be quick to judge as this place is every bit as amazing as we tell it is. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and this place remains to be a solid testament to that phrase. This museum was built on years of efficiency and recycling and it deserves all the attention it can get.

Living Bible Museum

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Visitors admiring the realistic wax figures (Source)

Visiting the Living Bible Museum is also one of the unique things to do in Ohio as you will feel like you’re taking a trip inside the bible. This is because the museum has wax displays of characters in the bible that depicts stories from the bible. It’s like you’re in Las Vegas’ Madame Tussauds’ wax museum minus the celebrities but with added stories – bible stories.

Every figure on the Living Bible Museum is made with a ton of care and effort. If you look closely, you’ll see that the artists put in effort at even the most minuscule detail. The resulting product are amazing pieces of art that one can’t easily take his or her eyes off.

3Explore Castles

Squire’s Castle in Winter (Source)

Ohio has plenty of castles too. Some of it are original while others are built a century or more ago. But regardless if it’s original or not, exploring these castles are still one of the unique things to do in Ohio.

One of the best castles to visit is Squire’s Castle. Built in the early 1890s, this castle offers a nice spot for those looking for some of the picturesque ruins that are great for picture taking. The place also offers a serene atmosphere that’s great for those looking for a spot to relax.

Aside from Squire’s Castle, Loveland Castle is also one of the castles that are worth visiting in Ohio. However, unlike Squire’s Castle, here, you can get to see pieces of weaponry displayed as the place was initially built to pay homage to the Knights’ strength and courage in medieval times.

What’s even better is that these castles in Ohio can be rented out for special events like weddings, parties, and other formal gatherings too. Some castles offer ghost tours as well, like the Squire’s Castle. The stories and the ambiance of the place make such tour all the more exciting.

If you want to visit this castle at its best, we suggest going to it during the winter. When we visited Squire’s Castle, it was still covered in snow and it became a winter wonderland then and there.

4Explore the Crystal Cave

A post car showing the Crystal Cave’s entrance (Source)

If you want a more unique outdoor activity, exploring the Crystal Cave is yet another one of the unique things to do in Ohio. While it is named as Crystal Cave,  it’s not the kind of the usual cave that you think of. Apparently, it’s a large geode; the world’s largest geode, by the way.

Discovered in 1887 by Gustav Heineman’s workers as they were digging for a well, this “cave” will make you feel as if you are in a different world once inside it. This is because the Crystal Cave is filled with celestite crystals that are 8 to 18 inches long from its roof to its walls.

To explore this magical cave, you’d have to go down 40 feet beneath the Heineman’s Winery. Tours are available daily. However, the operation hours vary. From Mondays to Saturdays, the cave tours begin at 11 AM; Sundays, tours start at 12 PM and conclude at 5 PM. That said, be sure to plan your schedule ahead.

5Try out some unique local food

Slices of home-made Ohio Valley-Style Pizza (Source)

Ohio may have several unique attractions to offer but its unique local foods are also worth talking about and getting a taste of it is one of the unique things to do in Ohio too. Yes, Ohio is full of unique stuff that it even has some intriguing foods to offer too. Some of which are the Ohio Valley-style pizza, pawpaw, and the blue moon ice cream

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Ohio Valley-Style Pizza

Enough with the argument on whether or not pizzas should have pineapples. Here’s a new one to argue about: should your pizza be warm or (partially) cold? Because in Ohio, many of its locals like it partially cold. But we’re not talking about some common pizza flavors here. Rather, we’re talking about Ohio’s local pizza.

Ohio Valley-Style Pizza is unlike the usual pizza that we usually see in pizzerias that were slathered with tomato sauce and filled with meaty toppings and melted cheese and sometimes topped with bell peppers. Ohio’s cheese pizza is still slathered with tomato sauce and has a layer of melted cheese, though. But what makes it unique is the added layer of cold grated mozzarella cheese which makes each bite both cool and hot.

This is Ohio’s answer to Chicago’s deep-dish. While it may not be as popular as that, you can guarantee that it is just as tasty and maybe even more. Trust us when we say that you’ll find the unique blend of hot and cool ingredients satisfying.

Pawpaw

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What pawpaw looks like (Source)

Pawpaw is a fruit that’s available in many places in North America. However, its place of origin is in Ohio. Also, it’s not as widely known today than it is before but it’s a fruit that you will love due to its creamy texture and taste that resembles tropical fruits like mangoes and bananas. In fact, George Washington, as well as many Native Americans enjoy it as their favorite dessert.

Pawpaw can’t get any better than the one here in Ohio. There is an assortment of dishes made with this fruit and you’ll find deserts, appetizers, and many more. This sweet treat is something you can buy in Ohio’s supermarkets and local wet markets so be sure to try them out.

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Pawpaw on pizza and a pawpaw-flavored drink (Source)

Blue Moon Ice Cream

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Who would think that this simple ice cream would taste extraordinary that many people would even debate about its taste? (Source)

The blue moon ice cream is also very popular in Ohio because of its controversial taste. In spite of its basic color, the blue moon ice cream doesn’t taste like the ocean, the sky, or cotton candy. Some say that it tastes like almond extract but others swear that it tastes citrus. There are also several people who say that its taste resembles fruity-flavored cereals like Fruit Loops, Trix, or Fruity Pebbles. No one can exactly tell what it tastes like. One thing is for sure, though, it’s one of the must-try food in Ohio. Try it out to see what it tastes like to you.

You can find blue moon ice cream in a ton of places and restaurants in Ohio. Regardless of what it tastes like for you, blue moon ice cream is certainly something you cannot miss out on in Ohio. It’s the perfect sweet end to the scrumptious dishes in Ohio.

Ohio is one of the places in the United States that has a lot of attractions that are perfect for every age group and interest. If you’re looking for activities that will take your travel experience to a whole new level, these activities that we recommend are for you.