Are you looking for the best national parks in Ohio?
There are so many things to do in Ohio. And in reality, there is only one national park in Ohio, but there are tons of national monuments, cemeteries, and historic sites.
These Ohio national parks range from beautiful natural landscapes to solemn memorials to stunning works of architecture.
Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, I know a lot about my home state – including the best Ohio national parks.
Here I am giving you the 12 best national parks in Ohio for your trip to this amazing state.
12 Coolest National Parks In Ohio
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park holds the title of being the only national park in Ohio. And this natural wonder is truly a sight to see.
As a matter of fact, it’s one of the best national parks in the Midwest!
This national park is filled with amazing hikes, beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking greenery, and even some wildlife.
The most well-known attraction in Cuyahoga Valley National Park by far is the awe-inspiring, 65-foot Brandywine Falls. There are more stunning Ohio waterfalls throughout the park and the Buckeye state.
If you’re looking for something a little less strenuous for your time at this lovely Ohio national park, you can get a glimpse of all the greenery while taking a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
William McKinley National Memorial Library & Museum
If you find yourself in Canton, Ohio, you should certainly spend some time at the William McKinley National Memorial Library & Museum.
Honestly, there’s so much to see and do at this national historic site in Ohio.
The museum portion acts as the final resting place of William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States. It also includes dozens of William McKinley artifacts.
And the library portion is filled with all of your favorite books. If you feel like learning a little more about William McKinley after your time at the museum, there are definitely books at the library that can fulfill your interest.
And if you’re more of a science fan, this amazing attraction also boasts a hands-on science center and a planetarium.
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail
The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail actually winds its way through a whopping sixteen states – and one of them happens to be Ohio.
This trail follows the route of famed adventurers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they ventured from Pennsylvania to Oregon.
You too can follow this trail (or, rather, a section of it). Along the way, you’ll be able to hike, boat, and horseback ride.
That said, you cannot hike the entirety of this historic trail, but the portion in the Buckeye State makes it one of the coolest national parks in Ohio!
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site
Of all the historical places in Ohio, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site is among the most popular.
Wilbur and Orville Wright – more famously known as the Wright brothers – are credited for being the first people to successfully invent, build, and fly the motor-operated airplane.
And most people associate these brothers with Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, as that’s where their first successful flight took place.
But only a few people know that these entrepreneurial brothers actually have ties to Ohio as well. As a matter of fact, these two brothers learned the basics of their craft at a little machine shop in Dayton, Ohio.
Today, you can learn all about the Wright Brothers are their successes at the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site.
As a matter of fact, a visit to the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Site is one of the coolest things to do in Ohio. And certainly, it is one of the best national parks in Ohio!
While in Dayton, you can also visit the Dayton Art Institute and Carillon Historical Park.
Dayton National Cemetery
Dayton National Cemetery is one of only a dozen cemeteries in the U.S. that has been given the title of a national monument.
This cemetery serves as the final resting place for over 55,000 people, many of whom are veterans.
It is actually one of only a handful of U.S. cemeteries that is home to veterans from every single major U.S. conflict. A major reason this is considered one of the most interesting national parks in Ohio.
A few of the noteworthy people at Dayton National Cemetery include Henry W. Downs, Oscar Wadsworth Field, and Tommy Henrich.
First Ladies National Historic Site
While there are many national parks in Ohio – and throughout the United States – dedicated to various presidents, there aren’t many that give the First Ladies the recognition they deserve.
The First Ladies National Historic Site helps to remediate this problem.
This national park in Ohio is actually situated in the home of First Lady Ida Saxton-McKinley, the wife of President William McKinley.
Within its walls, the First Ladies National Historic Site includes a library modeled after First Lady Abigail Fillmore’s collection.
And another library that is the main National First Ladies Library.
It also includes a theater and a large exhibit on all of the First Ladies of the United States.
The First Ladies National Historic Site is situated in Canton, Ohio.
While in the area, be sure to the Gervasi Vineyard and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
David Berger National Memorial
The David Berger National Memorial was built in remembrance of David Berger, a U.S.-born Israeli athlete who was killed during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany.
(In addition, there were ten other Israeli athletes murdered at the event.)
This tragic incident is memorialized by a beautiful sculpture at the Jewish Community Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.
Created by renowned local sculptor David E. Davis, this metal sculpture depicts the five Olympic games cracked in half to signify the heartbreak of this tragedy.
It is one of the most historical places in Ohio that you can choose to visit.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site
Based on this list of National Parks in Ohio, you already know that the state of Ohio has ties to President William McKinley. But he’s not the only president with ties to the Buckeye State.
President William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, actually grew up in Ohio as well.
As a matter of fact, you can visit his two-story childhood home at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati, Ohio.
While there, you can explore relics from President Taft’s life and admire the architecture from that time. In other words, it’s perfect for both history buffs and architecture aficionados.
And since you’ve already made your way to the big city, you can take advantage of all of the things to do in Cincinnati.
You can say hello to the animals at the Cincinnati Zoo, spend a few hours at the Cincinnati Museum Center
Stop and smell the flowers at the Cincinnati Botanical Garden, and check out the funky American Sign Museum.
As a matter of fact, there are so many things to do in Cincinnati that you might as well make it an Ohio weekend getaway.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
President William McKinley and President William Howard Taft aren’t the only U.S. presidents to come from the state of Ohio.
President James A. Garfield is part of the ranks as well! As a matter of fact, there are a whopping eight presidents from the Buckeye State.
The James A. Garfield National Historic Site is obviously dedicated to President Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, in particular.
And this Ohio national park is special because it is actually home to the first U.S. presidential library!
Like the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site also served as Garfield’s home prior to becoming president.
But unlike Taft, Garfield used his home as part of his presidential campaign.
He would give speeches to his supporters from his front porch, creating a casual style of campaigning known as the front porch campaign.
While at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site, you can see this famous front porch, explore the rest of the house, and learn about President Garfield’s contributions to the United States.
North Country National Scenic Trail
The North Country National Scenic Trail cuts through eight states, including Ohio, making it one of the coolest national parks in Ohio.
It is actually just one of only eleven national scenic trails in the country. It’s definitely one of the best hikes in Ohio.
Along the way, you’ll come across parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and game areas.
You’ll also see gorgeous nature, intriguing cultural spots, and important cultural landmarks.
And if you’d like to continue this adventurous journey, the North Country National Scenic Trail actually connects to the famous Appalachian Trail in Vermont.
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial may be one of the most eye-catching national monuments in Ohio.
This towering column stands tall on the small island of Put-in-Bay, Ohio. In order to reach the island (and the memorial), you’ll need to take a ferry.
Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial was constructed to honor those who fought at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.
It is also used to signify the long-lasting peace between the U.S., Canada, and Britain.
While at this national park in Ohio, you can pay your respects at the memorial, learn a bit of history at the visitor center, and even become a junior ranger.
And while you’re in the area, be sure to check out everything else that Put-in-Bay has to offer. The Butterfly House and South Bass Island State Park are two of the best places to stop at.
You might even want to consider extending your stay on the island, as Put-in-Bay is one of the most romantic getaways in Ohio.
Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site
Situated in modern-day Toledo, The Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site was where the Battle of Fallen Timbers took place in 1794 during the Northwest Indian War.
As a matter of fact, this battle was quite a decisive one in the Northwest Indian War, as the ten-year war came to an end about a year later.
This is why it is one of the coolest national parks in Ohio: it was the turning point in the war!
The Fallen Timbers Monument consists of three men, including General Wayne and a Native American guide.
The Fort Miamis section of this Ohio national park was actually built by the British during the war. You can still visit this strong structure today!
While in Toledo, you can also visit the Toledo Zoo and the Toledo Museum of Art.
Packing List For Visiting National Parks In Ohio
If you will be traveling, either by plane or by car to Ohio, here are some tips on how to pack lightly.
A concealed travel pouch may be one of the most important items you bring along when visiting the national parks in Ohio. It is always important to protect your personal information. Identity thieves are everywhere.
This unisex RFID-blocking concealed travel pouch is lightweight and comes in several colors. It has lots of organization to give you peace of mind. You can place it under your hiking clothes next to your body to carry your ID safely.
If you have a pouch already that does not come with RFID protection, as I do, these RFID sleeves are the perfect solution.
This configuration comes with enough credit card sleeves that the entire family would be protected. They are slim too, so they will easily fit into your pouch or wallet.
If you are planning on taking a lot of pictures with your phone you will definitely want to consider an external charging battery. This Anker high-speed phone charging battery is the exact one I carry with me on all of my trips.
It can be used on a variety of phones, not just an iPhone like I have. And wow is it fast!
I like that it holds its charging capabilities for several uses so I do not have to worry about it while out and about, and if I forget to recharge it at night, it will still be good to go the next day.
My daughter gifted me with this FugeTek selfie stick and tripod setup for my birthday. I absolutely love it! It is made of lightweight aluminum and so easy to use.
It has Bluetooth connectivity and is a breeze to use for taking selfies with all those nature shots while visiting Hocking Hills.
Hydration is so important when hiking. You want to remain hydrated throughout your hikes to support your immune system which in turn will be stronger to fight off any germs you will encounter during your travels.
You will want to bring your own refillable water bottle with you.
I never leave home on a trip without my Bobble filtration bottle. The 18.5-ounce size is perfect for hiking and it fits nicely in the pocket of a backpack.
When filled with water, it is not too heavy to carry. And the replaceable carbon filter ensures fresh clean water whenever you fill the Bobble.
Perhaps you are traveling a long distance and packing space is a premium in your suitcase, or in your car. Then this collapsible silicone foldable water bottle would work well for you. Would not take up much space at all.
You will want a backpack or daypack with you to store snacks, your water bottle, phone, extra clothes, etc.. when celebrating Christmas in Ohio. No matter the time of day or evening.
This foldable water-resistant backpack would be great
It is very affordable and is available in many color options for you to choose from. The fact that it folds down into a zippered pouch will make it easy to pack!
Here I have listed 12 of the best national parks in Ohio for your consideration. I hope you have so much fun visiting these amazing and important locations!
Please leave a comment if you’ve been to one of these Ohio national parks. What was your experience like?
Your title is 12 Coolest National Parks In Ohio, yet there is only one national park in Ohio, by your own admission. How dumb are you folks. Who writes these articles?
Please see the national park service website which designates ALL of the national run properties, just like my site does. https://www.nps.gov/state/oh/index.htm Here is the website for you.
And you are right! In the second paragraph, I discuss that there is one “national park” but tons of othere national properties such as historic monuments.
If you click on the National Park website: https://www.nps.gov/state/oh/index.htm You will see that under “ohio” each and every one of these sites is classified as a park.
Hope this helps!
kevin William gallagher
Now I’m confused. If, on the National Park website, all of these sites are classified as parks, that makes them national parks. Right?
You would thing….but no….they are just nationally run properties that they categorize under “parks” but the national park itself is only one of the list. I know, it is a little confusing!!!