By Maggie Butler
Posted On: Sep 28, 2020
Have you already explored all of Ohio’s most popular destinations? Are you looking for an excursion that can ensure social distancing? We have you covered. For those wanting to explore the state a little deeper or veer away from the beaten path, here are 11 of Ohio’s best kept secrets to discover.
Credit: Downie Photography
Cleveland Cultural Gardens
Celebrate the diversity of Cleveland by taking a stroll through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens. The gardens reflect the different ethnicities represented in the region with spaces dedicated to various cultures and nationality groups. Visitors can walk through the 30 gardens and see notable cultural figures and monuments like the Shakespeare statue in the British garden and the Confucius statue in the Chinese garden. The nearby Rockefeller Park Greenhouse offers a wide variety of exotic gardens and plants to explore, and the many museums of the University Circle neighborhood are a short distance away.
Dysart Woods in Belmont County
Dysart Woods, a 50-acre tract of old growth oak forest located in Belmont County, is the largest known remnant of the original forest of southeastern Ohio. Lose yourself in the beautiful and inspiring foliage while discovering the various flora and fauna that call this forest home.
Fostoria Area Historical Society
The small city of Fostoria is riddled with hidden gems. Discover the history of the small town at The Fostoria Area Historical Society. Located in Fostoria’s oldest public building, the museum features a 1918 Fostoria-built Allen Motor Car, a 1941 Seagraves fire truck, an exhibit of items that belong to Ohio Governor Charles Foster, and more.
After exploring the Historical Society, head over to the Fostoria Glass Heritage Gallery, which includes over 1,000 pieces of glass on loan from over 100 collectors. Make sure to save enough energy to explore the Downtown Art Walk. Walk from Perry Street to Main Street to see beautiful sculptures, murals and barn quilts that inspire innovation and celebrate community spirit.
White Star Quarry in Sandusky
Abandon the misconception that you need to go somewhere far away to go scuba diving. White Star Quarry offers scuba diving, night diving and ice diving. Swim among the various creatures that call the quarry home, including painted turtles and large mouth bass, or search for the underwater attractions that have been placed there for your enjoyment.
Credit: Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park, Facebook
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum in Hamilton
Allow yourself to become engulfed in the art at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park – physically and mentally. Pyramid Hill is a 300+ acre sculpture park with 80+ monumental outdoor sculptures, laid out among rolling hills, meadows, lakes and hiking trails. If you don’t feel like walking, tour the area with a golf cart! The park also features an Ancient Sculpture Museum that displays Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian and Egyptian sculptures.
Heritage Farms in Peninsula
Tucked away in the middle of Cuyahoga Valley National Park you will find a 172-year-old 5th generation family-owned Christmas Tree Farm. Practically designed for social distancing, Heritage Farms offers primitive camping in their spacious pine tree fields, a monthly outdoor summer marketplace, and their special holiday event, Christmas Traditions at Heritage Farms.
Topiary Park in Columbus
Have you ever wanted to be apart of a famous piece of art? Or been so inspired by a painting that you wanted to dive into the canvas and live in the artwork? You can do just that at the Topiary Park in Columbus. The garden is a living recreation of Georges Seurat’s famous post-impressionist painting: A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of LaGrande Jatte. Pack a picnic and pretend to dine along the River Seine while never leaving the state.
Shrum Mound in Columbus
Explore and honor Columbus's Native American history at Shrum Mound. One of the last remaining ancient conical burial mounds in the city of Columbus, Shrum Mound was constructed about 2,000 years ago by the Adena people. Walk around and explore the area, or simply marvel at the pre-technological development.
There are over 125 historic wooden covered bridges in the state of Ohio, many of which are still in use. For a truly historical experience, head to the Newtown Falls Covered Bridge in Trumbull County. Constructed in 1831, Newtown Falls is the second-oldest covered bridge in Ohio still in service and the only one in the state with a covered pedestrian sidewalk.
Mosquito Lake in Cortland
One of the largest lakes in Ohio (7,000+ acres of surface area), Mosquito Lake and its parkland is home to acres of woods, marshes and a variety of wildlife. Enjoy the park by walking trails or play a round of Disc Golf. Or pack a picnic and just take in the views.
Medici Museum of Art in Warren
The Medici Museum of Art is currently hosting the Boy Scouts of America Collection, including numerous works by Norman Rockwell and other painters and illustrators, including Walt Disney. This exhibition presents many works of art never previously seen together. The exhibit speaks to a wide audience, including Boy Scout enthusiasts, fans of Norman Rockwell, illustrators, painters and the general public who appreciate great art.
For more Ohio travel inspiration, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.