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13 Hidden Gems in Ohio That Are Worth a Road Trip!

If you think you’ve seen it all, it’s time to venture off the beaten path and visit a few of these hidden gems in Ohio!

There are so many interesting places to visit in Ohio! We love exploring our home state of Ohio and have lost count of the number of times we have said, “I had no idea this was here!” I’ve put together this list to inspire you to explore even more of our great state!

This is by no means an extensive list of all the cool places Ohio has to see, but just a taste to get you hungry to get out and discover someplace new! Pick one of these destinations and start exploring!

1. Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile

  • City: Lakeside, Ohio
  • County: Ottawa
  • Address: 236 Walnut Ave., Lakeside, OH 43440

Let’s start off the list with a bold claim! “Ohio’s most beautiful mile?” Is it true? After visiting, I’d say it’s a claim that’s going to be hard to beat! This mile long stretch along Lake Erie can be found in Lakeside, Ohio, a private community and Chautauqua.

Ohio's most beautiful mile in Lakeside, Ohio.

It might be private, but that doesn’t mean you can’t visit! You will need to pay at least the daily entrance fee to enter – or longer if you decide to stay at one of the area’s local hotels or B&B’s. After years of hearing about Lakeside, we visited a few years back and fell in love!

Ohio’s Most Beautiful Mile includes breathtaking views of Lake Erie, gorgeous houses and beautiful landscape. It’s a gorgeous and peaceful walk if I do say so myself!

2. World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock

  • City: Sugarcreek, Ohio
  • County: Tuscarawas
  • Address: 100 N. Broadway, Sugarcreek, OH 44681

This Ohio cuckoo clock made the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1977! It can be found in Sugarcreek, otherwise known as Ohio’s Little Switzerland! If you want to feel like you’ve taken a trip abroad without leaving Ohio, the town of Sugarcreek in Tuscarawas County is a good place to start!

The world's largest cuckoo clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

This beautiful cuckoo clock is 23 ft tall and 24 ft wide. You can stand in front of it or have a seat on one of the benches. You won’t have to wait very long to hear the polka music play at every half hour! A bird comes out and so does a polka band and dancing couple!

Parking can be found in a lot across the street or on the street itself.

3. Topiary Park

  • City: Columbus
  • County: Franklin
  • Address: 480 E Town St, Columbus, OH 43215

Topiary Park is definitely one of the most unique parks in Columbus, Ohio! This garden is made up of topiary plants grown into shapes of people, boats and animals that depict the famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat.

Boy looking over Topiary Park, a hidden gem in Ohio!

You can wander through the topiaries to discover the larger-than-life scenes! It’s truly a hidden gem in Ohio! There is street parking around the park or you can park in the parking garage at the Columbus Metropolitan Library: Main Library and exit through the back doors of the library.

There are so many fun things to do in Columbus, but it’s always great to find a fun hidden gem like this one! Even people who live in Columbus don’t know that it exists!

4. Dog Fountain

  • City: Mount Vernon, Ohio
  • County: Knox
  • Address: 201 S. Main St., Mount Vernon, OH 43050

The Dog Fountain isn’t “hidden” to those who live in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. But if you don’t live there, you might not know about it! It’s definitely one of the most unique, if not THE most unique, fountain I have ever encountered in Ohio!

The Dog Fountain in Mount Vernon, Ohio.

You can find the Dog Fountain in downtown Mt. Vernon on a square of land owned by Mount Vernon Nazarene University located at the southwest corner of S. Main St. and W. Gambier St. There are 18 dog statues plus a cat, birds and a horse! If you take time to notice all the details, you will find a few surprises!

There are a lot of fun things to do in Mt. Vernon, Ohio so make sure to make a day out of your visit! I suggest visiting the nearby Ariel-Foundation park for another Ohio hidden gem!

5. The J.M. Smucker Co. Store

  • City: Orrville, Ohio
  • County: Wayne
  • Address: 333 Wadsworth Rd., Orrville, OH 44667

The J. M. Smucker Company was founded in 1897 in Orrville, Ohio. And as the company expanded its range of jams and jellies to peanut butter, ice cream toppings and more, so did it’s footprint expand in Orrville, Ohio!

Smuckers factory store, a hidden gem in Ohio!

Part of that expansion included the J.M. Smucker Co. Store where you can learn all about the history of Smuckers and its family of brands. You can also shop from a rainbow colored wall of jelly! If PB&J is your jam, you will be in heaven!

The store includes a small museum area plus the opportunity to shop from not only the traditional products we think of as Smuckers, but also from their other brands like Dunkin’, Folgers, national pet food brands and much more! There are also many kitchen items, gift ideas and souvenirs! It’s really a unique place to visit in Ohio that you won’t find anywhere else!

6. Lake View Cemetery

  • City: Cleveland, Ohio
  • County: Cuyahoga
  • Address: 12316 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106

Did you know that John D. Rockefeller is buried in Ohio? What about Eliot Ness or Alan Freed (the father of “rock and roll”)? It’s worth a visit to Lakewood Cemetery in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland!

Lakewood Cemetery is also home to the burial place of James A. Garfield and a large monument is built for him inside the cemetery!

James A. Garfield monument in Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.

You can drive through the cemetery to find these famous grave stones and monuments! The cemetery itself is filled with unique and beautiful monuments and grave stones! These are some literal hidden gems in Ohio! You have the best luck using this interactive map to find all of the interesting gravesites.

7. Wahkeena State Nature Preserve

  • City: Sugar Grove, Ohio
  • County: Fairfield
  • Address: 2200 Pump Station Rd SE, Sugar Grove, OH 43155

In my opinion, Wahkeena Nature Preserve in Fairfield County does not get enough attention! When we visited, my entire family was wowed! Don’t miss the floating boardwalk trail and the Nature Center!

Dad and boy walking over the floating boardwalk trail at Wahkeena State Nature Preserve, a hidden gem in Ohio.

The Nature Center has educational information, activities for kids and a large stuffed and mounted bear! There are also two raptors that being rehabilitated and housed behind the Nature Center.

The park is gorgeous in the fall! We were lucky to visit on a bright October day and it was just perfect! When you visit, you can round out your day with one of these fun things to do in Lancaster, Ohio!

8. Huffman Prairie Flying Field

  • City: Dayton
  • County: Greene
  • Address: Pylon Rd., WPAFB, OH 45433

Everyone in Ohio knows about the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, but you might not know about the nearby Huffman Prairie Flying Field! This is the actual field where the Wright Brothers perfected the art of flight! Though Orville and Wilbur Wright accomplished straight line flights in Kitty Hawk, they came back here to Huffman Prairie to practice flying and perfect the invention of the airplane!

Huffman Prairie Flying field in Dayton, Ohio.

The area in Dayton, Ohio is part of the National Park Service and when you visit you can see a trolly stop where the Wright Brothers used to get off to head to the field to practice, a replica of the 1905 Hangar where they stored their tools and aircraft and a replica of the catapult they used to launch their airplane!

You can spend several days exploring Greene County, Ohio and learning more about Ohio’s aviation history!

9. Hartman Rock Garden

  • City: Springfield, Ohio
  • County: Clark
  • Address: 1905 Russell Ave., Springfield, OH 45506

It doesn’t get much more unique than the Hartman Rock Garden in Springfield, Ohio! This work of art was created by Ben Hartman between 1932 and 1944 after he was laid off from his job.

The Hartman Rock Garden, one of Ohio's hidden gems.

There are carefully curated Biblical scenes, events in history, small villages and more! The garden began as a resident’s private work of art and it is set in the middle of a regular neighborhood.

The garden is now maintained by the Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden and is open to visitors daily from 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM. Afterwards choose one of these fun things to do in Springfield, Ohio!

10. Tree Tower at Cox Arboretum

  • City: Dayton, Ohio
  • County: Montgomery
  • Address: 6733 N Springboro Pike, Dayton, OH 45449

Cox Arboretum is one of the Five Rivers MetroParks in Dayton and it is home to the Tree Tower which is just so cool!

The Tree Tower isn’t “hidden” in the traditional sense. It stands 45 feet high and can’t be missed! You can climb to the top of the Tree Tower to look over the greenery of the surrounding area and view Dayton from a distance!

The Tree Tower at Cox Arboretum in Dayton, Ohio.

The tower takes just about 5 minutes to climb! It’s reminiscent (albeit a bit shorter) of the Kalberer Emergent Tower at Holden Arboretum, but this one is free to visit!

All of Cox Arboretum is worth a visit, not just the Tree Tower! Other highlights include the Monet Bridge, the Bell Children’s Maze where kids can run though a labyrinth made of shrubs, the Water Garden and the Shrub Garden and lake.

We found lots of family-friendly things to do in Dayton, Ohio! It makes for a great Ohio destination!

11. The Arcade Cleveland

  • City: Cleveland
  • County: Cuyahoga
  • Address: 401 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115

While there a lot of well-known things to do in Cleveland, Ohio, it’s worth stepping off the streets and into The Arcade in downtown Cleveland. The Arcade was America’s first indoor shopping center and it opened in 1890.

The Arcade in Cleveland, Ohio. A hidden gem in Ohio.

You won’t necessarily spend a long time here, unless you decide to spend the night at the Hyatt Regency Hotel which is housed inside this beautiful building, but you won’t regret stopping!

Inside The Arcade is a mixture of shops, restaurants and businesses. I recommend Rising Star Coffee Roasters on the bottom floor! Plus there’s lots to do on the nearby East 4th Street!

12. Mt. Adams Steps

  • City: Cincinnati
  • County: Hamilton County
  • Address: 30 Guido St., Cincinnati, OH 45202

If you want to discover one of the best views of the Cincinnati skyline, head to the Mt. Adams Steps behind the Holy Cross Immaculata Parish. Mt. Adams is a Cincinnati neighborhood in the hills, overlooking the Ohio River.

Mt. Adams Steps in Cincinnati, Ohio.

There are many restaurants to choose from in the neighborhood if you’d like to spend more time there and nearby is Eden Park which is home to the Cincinnati Art Museum (free to visit) and the Krohn Conservatory.

This is another hidden gem in Ohio and it can be hard to find if you’re not familiar with the area! To get to the Mt. Adams Steps, look for public parking anywhere in the neighborhood. We usually are able to park on the street. Then walk over to the Holy Cross Immaculata Parish and head to the back of the building. You won’t regret it!

13. Mt. Jeez Overlook

  • City: Lucas, Ohio
  • County: Richland
  • Malabar Farm State Park Address: 4050 Bromfield Rd., Lucas, OH 44843 (see below for more info)

Continuing with the theme of beautiful views from on high, take a drive up Mt. Jeez in Lucas, Ohio for a beautiful view of the Ohio countryside! Part of Malabar Farm State Park, this steep hill is driveable (though largely a one way road) and there is a parking lot at the top.

View from on top of Mt. Jeez overlook at Malabar Farm State Park in Ohio.

Like a true hidden gem, the exact address for Mt. Jeez Overlook is hard to determine. The best thing is to search for the address above to Malabar State Farm Park. If you are coming from the west, keep your eye out for a sign for Mt. Jeez and the road will be on your left off of Pleasant Valley Rd.

If you’re coming from the east on Pleasant Valley Rd., Mt. Jeez will be on your right before you get to Malabar Farm State Park.

Afterwards explore more of Malabar State Farm, Pleasant Hill Lake Park or Mohican State Park!

This list of hidden gems in Ohio is a great starting point to explore our great state! But if you need more ideas, check out these fun things to do in Ohio with Kids or Ohio day trip ideas from Columbus, Ohio!

things to do this weekend in columbus ohio

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Hidden Gems in Ohio.