Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Editorial credit: Lynne Neuman /

9 Underappreciated Towns To Visit In Ohio

Ohio, located in the Midwestern United States, is known for its diverse economy, which includes manufacturing, agriculture, and services. It is bordered by Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, West Virginia and Kentucky to the south, and Indiana to the west. Major cities in Ohio include Columbus (the state capital), Cleveland, and Cincinnati. Ohio is a significant transportation destination, with a network of highways and railroads that support its industrial activities.

Several of Ohio's small towns go unnoticed due to the overshadowing presence of Ohio's larger cities and their well-known attractions. Despite their lower profiles, they maintain local traditions, historic architecture, and community events. These nine towns provide a more intimate and authentic glimpse into the state's rural and small-town life and are worth visiting.


Aerial view of Marietta, Ohio.
Aerial view of Marietta, Ohio.

Marietta, Ohio, is a historic town located at the confluence of the Ohio River and Muskingum River. Established in 1788 as the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory, Marietta played a role in the westward expansion of the United States. The town's geography, featuring rivers and hills, contributed to its early development as a transportation and trade hub.

Mound Cemetery features ancient Native American earthworks, including the Great Mound, which is one of the largest conical burial mounds in Ohio. Campus Martius Museum focuses on the history of the Northwest Territory and the early settlers of Ohio, with exhibits that include pioneer artifacts and historical buildings. The Ohio River Museum has exhibits on the history of river transportation and steamboats and includes a restored steam towboat that visitors can explore to learn about life on the river.

Yellow Springs

 The Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
The Little Art Theater in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Editorial credit: Madison Muskopf /

Yellow Springs, Ohio, is a town located in Greene County, known for its progressive culture and natural beauty. Founded in 1825, the town became a hub for education and the arts, largely due to the presence of Antioch College. The town's landscape has hills, forests, and the Little Miami River.

Glen Helen Nature Preserve spans 1,000 acres and includes trails, a nature center, and the iconic yellow spring that gave the town its name. John Bryan State Park has opportunities for hiking and rock climbing, with views of the Little Miami River gorge adding to the experience. Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve features a gorge with waterfalls, trails, and geological formations—a natural setting for exploration and education.


Broadway Avenue in Granville, Ohio
Broadway Avenue in Granville, Ohio. Editorial credit: Kenneth Sponsler /

Granville, Ohio, is located in Licking County and was founded in 1805 by settlers from Granville, Massachusetts. The town is known for its New England-style architecture and its historical significance as a center for education and culture, largely due to the presence of Denison University. Granville is home to hills and woodlands and is in proximity to the Licking River.

Denison University Biological Reserve encompasses several trails suitable for hiking and wildlife observation, providing an opportunity to explore diverse ecosystems. The Granville Historical Society Museum features exhibits and artifacts highlighting the town's local history, offering insights into its development and heritage. Dawes Arboretum includes expansive gardens, numerous hiking trails, and various natural areas, making it a destination for those interested in botany and nature conservation.

Chagrin Falls

East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls, Ohio
East Washington Street in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Editorial credit: Lynne Neuman /

Chagrin Falls, Ohio, is a village in Cuyahoga County, established in the mid-19th century along the Chagrin River. The village grew around the falls that give it its name, serving as a center for milling and industry in its early years. Chagrin Falls is home to hills, forests, and the river that flows through the village.

The Chagrin Falls Waterfall is a scenic spot located in the heart of the village. It is a natural centerpiece for the community. The Holden Arboretum has gardens, trails, and a tree canopy walk. Visitors get to explore a diverse range of plant species and enjoy views from elevated pathways. South Chagrin Reservation has hiking trails, natural waterfalls, and historic sandstone carvings.


Wilmington Commercial Historic District in Wilmington, Ohio
Wilmington Commercial Historic District in Wilmington, Ohio. Image credit: Christopher L. Riley via Wikimedia Commons.

Wilmington, Ohio, is a town located in Clinton County, established in 1810. The town has a history as an agricultural and transportation place, benefiting from its location between Cincinnati, Dayton, and Columbus. Wilmington has fertile farmland and several nearby bodies of water. It is an attractive area for both agriculture and outdoor recreation.

Cowan Lake State Park has opportunities for boating, fishing, and hiking, with trails that provide views of the lake and surrounding landscape. Snow Hill Country Club, established in 1924, is a historic golf course where visitors can play a round of golf amidst a picturesque setting. The Clinton County Historical Society Museum has exhibits and artifacts that explore the local history of Wilmington and the surrounding area. Here, visitors learn about the town's development and heritage.


Front of the Coshocton Carnegie library in Coshocton, Ohio.
Front of the Coshocton Carnegie Library in Coshocton, Ohio. Image credit: Nyttend, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Coshocton, Ohio, is located at the confluence of the Tuscarawas and Walhonding Rivers, established in the early 19th century. Historically, it was a key trading and transportation hub due to its position along the Ohio and Erie Canal. The town is surrounded by river valleys and fertile farmland.

Roscoe Village is a restored 19th-century canal town that has historic buildings and living history tours, a glimpse into the canal era's impact on the region. The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum houses diverse collections, including Native American artifacts and exhibits on Ohio's history. Clary Gardens is a botanical garden with walking trails, a butterfly garden, and an amphitheater. Visitors enjoy various plant species and outdoor performances.


    American Hall across Courthouse square, Millersburg, Ohio
    American Hall across Courthouse square, Millersburg, Ohio. Image credit: Chris Light via Wikimedia Commons.

    Millersburg, Ohio, is a town located in Holmes County, founded in the early 19th century. The town is at the heart of Ohio's Amish Country and is known for its preserved historical architecture and rural charm. Millersburg's geography includes hills, farmlands, and small streams.

    The Victorian House Museum is a historic mansion that showcases Victorian-era furnishings and provides insights into local history through its preserved rooms and exhibits. The Holmes County Rails to Trails is a scenic trail that accommodates walking, biking, and horseback riding. Yoder's Amish Home has tours of an authentic Amish farm, including opportunities to see traditional farming practices and take buggy rides.


    Beautiful aerial view of Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead Ohio.
    Beautiful aerial view of Marblehead Lighthouse in Marblehead, Ohio.

    Marblehead, Ohio, is a village located on the Marblehead Peninsula along the shore of Lake Erie. Established in the early 19th century, Marblehead is known for its rich maritime history and its role in the limestone quarrying industry. Marblehead has rocky coastlines, lake views, and the presence of several natural landmarks.

    Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is home to the historic Marblehead Lighthouse, where visitors can take guided tours and enjoy panoramic views of Lake Erie. Johnson's Island Confederate Cemetery contains the graves of Confederate soldiers who were prisoners of war, with an accompanying museum that provides historical context and artifacts. Kelleys Island, accessible by ferry from Marblehead, has opportunities to explore glacial grooves, hiking trails, and various historical sites.

    Tipp City

    Charleston Falls Preserve Tipp City, Ohio
    Charleston Falls Preserve Tipp City, Ohio.

    Tipp City, Ohio, is a town located in Miami County, founded in 1840 along the Miami and Erie Canal. The town's early development was closely tied to the canal, facilitating trade and transportation. Tipp City features flat, fertile land ideal for agriculture, along with a network of parks and natural areas. The town's historic district includes well-preserved 19th-century buildings.

    The Tipp City Roller Mill is a historic site where visitors can learn about the local milling history through exhibits and preserved machinery. The Miami County Park District encompasses several parks with trails, natural areas, and various outdoor activities. Fulton Farms is a working, sustainable farm with seasonal produce, a market, and family-friendly activities. It is a hands-on experience of local agriculture.

      In Summary

      Ohio is dotted with several underappreciated small towns worth visiting. Marietta, with its ancient Native American earthworks and river museums, is a glimpse into the state's early settlement history. Yellow Springs stands out for its progressive culture and natural attractions, including Glen Helen Nature Preserve and John Bryan State Park. Granville, home to Denison University, boasts New England-style architecture and botanical gardens. These nine towns, often overshadowed by larger cities, provide history, nature, and community spirit. They deserve to be seen.

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