8 Most Charming Small Towns In Ohio

The historically significant state of many castles, memorials, lighthouses, and museums commemorating its rich past, comes complete with beautiful natural surroundings to engage in all kinds of outdoor pursuits. Each of these quirky little towns in Ohio has big hearts with a lot to offer for their visitors. 

Marblehead

Marblehead
Marblehead Lighthouse.

Set on the Marblehead Peninsula separating Lake Erie and Sandusky Bay, the picturesque town of Marblehead gets perpetual outdoor enthusiasts visiting its scenic surroundings and lake for fishing, boating, and hiking, among other wilderness pursuits. The town's namesake Lighthouse on the north shore of Lake Erie is the oldest operating lighthouse in the Great Lakes region. Upon exploring and learning its historical significance to the region, one can scavenger the area around it, set a picnic, fish and traverse Sandusky Bay, the Kelleys Island, and Cedar Point. The East Harbor Beach is a must-visit during summer, while the Main Street also reflects the town's beach vibe, complete with ample opportunities to shop, eat, and get entertained. 

German Village

German Village, Ohio
The gardens in the German Village area of Columbus, Ohio.

German Village is one of the region's most historic and popular villages. It is best experienced by foot along the architecturally magnificent homes with impeccable landscaping and through the brick streets of the back neighborhoods. Having begun as a German settlement, the footprints of the immigrants are most prominent in the heart of the picturesque village. The place is dotted with quaint coffee shops on the cobbled streets, brick buildings, and the Schmidt's Sausage Haus with authentic German cuisine reminiscent of the time. One can feel transported into a European town while having a coffee on an outdoor café patio with a cream puff from Schmidt's. The notable Book Loft is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country, composed of 32 rooms and a patio to enjoy a read in the fresh air. Schiller Park is also perfect for enjoying the outdoors with a picnic. 

Geneva-on-the-Lake

Geneve-on-the-Lake
Aerial View Of Lake Erie Costal Town, Geneva On The Lake Ohio.

Set on Lake Erie, the lovely small town of Geneva-on-the-Lake is full of the quintessential 1950's holiday atmosphere. The sandy beach, braced by donut and ice-cream stands, provides for opportunities to engage in active water fun, sun-tanning, and simple relaxation to the sound of the waves, all-day-long. Several arcades, including the original arcade of the town that is still open and running, along with the Ferris wheel, provide endless entertainment for families to enjoy. For more pastime options, miniature golf and antique stores are calling one to explore. With little having changed from the 50s-era, perhaps the biggest takeaway from the town is the wholesome vibe of vacations-past.

Loudonville

Loudonville, Ohio
Wolf Creek Grist Mill, Loudonville, Ohio.

Another town with a European-country vibe, Loudonville is set in Central Ohio as a favorite among those who appreciate everything simple and beautiful, with the scenic Mohican State Park containing various nature trails and three waterfalls, a castle to explore, and quaint country shopping. The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities to partake, such as rafting, canoeing, playing mini-golf at the Mohican Adventures, or climbing the Fire Tower. The park's European-style Landoll's Mohican Castle, built by Jim Landoll after his Europe tour during World War II, hosts tours and events. The Mohican Gorge Overlook is another atmospherically scenic place of the town.

Loveland

Loveland, Ohio
A Castle built by the Boy Scouts in Loveland, Ohio.

Known most for its historic Loveland Castle, Loveland is a lovely, five-square miles town with the 19th-century charm, set in the greater Cincinnati area, with the Little Miami River, that is a popular spot for canoeing and biking along the shores. The famed castle, also known as the Chateau Laroche, was built by one man, in medieval style, with towers and ramparts that today comprise a museum and a rentable venue for events. There is the Christian Waldschmidt Homestead Museum, the Johnson Nature Preserve, and the Little Miami State and National Scenic River with hiking trails and kayaking opportunities among other unique and diverse attractions.

Marietta

Marietta, Ohio
Marietta cityscape.

Established in the place of a long-gone native settlement, the old riverboat town of Marietta is scenically perched on the banks of the Ohio River, as the remnants of the significant but forgotten culture, the Hopewell. Having disappeared around 500 AD, they left behind mysterious earthworks, the Quadranou Mount that visitors come to explore today. The town, filled with historical value and adventure, also comes with many museums, including the Ohio River Museum and the Campus Martius Museum, where one can learn about Marietta from its perspective as the first European settlement in the Northwest Territory. Another must-visit is the renowned Gothic Revival-style Castle, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Put-in-Bay

Put-in-Bay
Aerial view of Put-in-Bay. Editorial credit: LukeandKarla.Travel / Shutterstock.com

Put-in-Bay is only accessible by Miller Ferry or the Jet Express but still attracts many guests from the mainland for its colorful wartime past as an official base of operations for Oliver Perry during the War of 1812. History enthusiasts flee to the town to see the place from which Perry took sails to defeat the British and the gigantic Greek Doric column. Perry's Monument, constructed in his honor, now set at the International Peace Memorial commemorating the long-lasting peace between Britain, Canada, and the U.S, is a major attraction. The Put-In-Bay Refuge Harbor and the Lake Erie Islands Historical Museum are just ten minutes away with historical pieces and exhibits. Perry's Cave is a geological wonder with the Family Fun Center for activities such as playing mini-golf, touring a butterfly house, mining for gold, and exploring the Cave. The Crystal Cave across the street is actually a winery, and Ohio's oldest family-owned, at that, with the world's largest geode, found underneath its base.

Yellow Springs

yellow springs, ohio
Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs. Editorial credit: Madison Muskopf / Shutterstock.com

The small and lovely town of Yellow Springs was set base two hundred years ago on the location of the namesake healing spring known for its curative powers. Upon entering the town, one may have time-traveled back half-a-century into the 1960s era, reflected in the town's vibe and exterior, with décor and signage on local businesses. Home to Antioch College, the artsy town comes with a creative and quirky heart. Tourists also flee to the scenic town for the myriad of outdoor pursuits to engage in, such as cycling the Little Miami Scenic Trail or hiking in the state park. Tourists also love delving into shops, boutiques, and galleries in the center of Yellow Springs, where one can buy original artwork, jewelry, and knit graffiti. The casual atmosphere is reflected in the cultural diversity on the streets, community events throughout the year, such as festivals and flea markets, and laid-back cafes and burger joints. 

These beautiful towns of Ohio were established on historical grounds but maintained a casual atmosphere with thought-through pursuits to engage in. Upon enjoying the natural surroundings and delving into the historical insights, one will feel rested physically and emotionally.

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