The Top 27 Bucket List Destinations in Ohio

Published on October 5th, 2021

Ohio is a fantastic place to visit. In fact, as you plan a getaway to this wonderful state, there’s a good chance you might just be surprised by how much there is to see and do there. This can leave travelers feeling a little overwhelmed as they try to sift out the best attractions and sights so they can make the most of their time in the state. 

Lucky for you, you’ve made it to the right place. If you’re planning a trip to the Buckeye State, this is the perfect article for you, as we are giving you access to our well-thought-out Ohio bucket list. 

Check out our bucket list ideas and then use them to build an awesome Ohio travel bucket list that perfectly suits your interests and desires. 

Ohio bucket list

What is a Bucket List?

Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to discuss exactly what a bucket list is. In short, a bucket list is a collection of things you want to see and do before you die. It might include places to visit, people to meet, and things to experience. You can make one long bucket list, or opt for a travel list for each city/state you plan to visit. We much prefer doing the latter.

The Ohio bucket list included below is an excellent example of a state-specific travel bucket list. Let’s take a look at all there is to do in this fantastic place so you can start creating a must-do list of your own.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

— Bucket List Vacations: Ohio’s National Parks —

National Parks sites are always perfect additions to travel bucket lists. In Ohio, you have your choice of historic sites, beautiful parks, and more, and all are run by the National Parks Service. 

Which one of these amazing NPS sites will make it onto your Ohio bucket lis

#1. Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

At the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, you can educate yourself about the amazing Charles Young and how he worked his way up the ranks of the military despite racism and inequality. This man led an extraordinary life that is definitely worth learning about and remembering. 

#2. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

An absolutely gorgeous natural area just a short distance from Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the perfect escape from city life. Hike through the natural beauty of Ohio and enjoy the winding Cuyahoga River, as well as the forests and hills. 

#3. Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

Ever wonder about the history of aviation? The Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park is a great place to learn about just that. Discover the stories of Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar at this amazing NPS site. 

#4. First Ladies National Historic Site

The role of a First Lady has evolved overtime. Discover this evolution and visit the home of First Lady Ida Saxton-McKinley at the First Ladies National Historic site. 

#5. Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

Used for feasts, funerals, rituals, and rites of passage, the monumental mounds of southern Ohio were built nearly 2,000 years ago by Native Americans. Walk among these earthworks and learn about the culture of the people who built them at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

#6. James A. Garfield National Historic Site

The 20th president of the United States, not many people know a lot about James A. Garfield. That doesn’t mean his life isn’t worth learning about though. In fact, we highly recommend visiting the James A. Garfield National Historic Site in order to tour the man’s home and learn about what he did with his time on earth. 

#7. William Howard Taft National Historic Site

Another president that is worth learning more about is President William Howard Taft. This man was born in Cincinnati in a beautiful home sitting atop a hill. Taft was raised in this house, and it was here that he learned the lessons that shaped his character and made him the great leader he was. Learn about these things and more when you visit the house at the William Howard Taft National Historic Site.

Cedar Point ferris wheel

— More Ohio Bucket List Experiences —

Need more ideas to add to your Ohio bucket list? Fortunately, there is no shortage of options. Some of our absolute favorite attractions and sights in the state are listed below. We’re guessing at least a few of them will make it onto your must-see list. 

#8. Admire Art at Cleveland Museum of Art

Ohio knows how to do art. That state has a ton of incredible art museums. Our personal favorite is the beautiful Cleveland Museum of Art. Here you can see contemporary American art, vintage Asian art, and everything in between. Best of all, admission is 100% free. 

#9. Get Your Thrills at Cedar Point and Kings Island

Another thing Ohio is good at? Amusement parks. The state has tons of them, and many of them boast some of the best coasters in the country. The two best amusement parks in Ohio are Cedar Point and Kings Island. Both are owned by the same company, and both are absolutely fantastic for families, adrenaline junkies, and/or anyone who likes a good amusement park experience. 

#10. Walk the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Are you a fan of rock and roll? If so, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the stop for you. Here you can learn more about the legends you already know and love, and perhaps even discover some new amazing artists. Enjoy displays of classic memorabilia and items owned by the stars, and spend a day surrounded by other rock and roll fans like yourself. 

#11. Hike Hocking Hills State Park

Located just an hour outside of Columbus, Hocking Hills State Park is a great escape into nature. This gorgeous place is chock-full of amazing hiking trails that lead to gorgeous waterfalls, mysterious caves, and breathtaking views. If you’re an outdoorsy person, this is one place you won’t want to miss. 

#12. Discover Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

In search of some beautiful flowers and a trip back in time? Stan Hywet Fall and Gardens is your place. This beautiful historic house was built in part by F.A. Seiberling, a founding member of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. It is full of amazing stories, and the gardens are some of the best in the state. 

#13. Stroll the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

More spectacular gardens can be found at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. This wonderful attraction covers a full 90 acres and boasts all kinds of lovely plants, including cacti, bonsai trees, and redbud trees. 

#14. Explore at the National Museum of the US Air Force

We mentioned above that Ohio is home to Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park. However, this is far from the only place to learn about aviation in the state. Another excellent option is the National Museum of the US Air Force. This is an enormous and well-put-together museum that covers the history of aviation in the military and plays host to all kinds of cool aircrafts. On top of all that, the museum is free to the public. 

#15. Get an Ice Cream Cone

Ohio is the place to get good ice cream. Both Graeter’s and Jeni’s are popular ice cream companies who call Ohio home, and both are must-try treats when in the state. Seek them out and get ready to be amazed. 

#16. Learn at the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center

It’s no secret that Ohio is home to an enormous Amish population, and the Mennonite population is just as large. If you’ve ever wondered about the culture of the Amish and Mennonite peoples, the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center is the perfect place to gather information straight from the source. 

#17. Wander the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens

One of the best zoos in the country, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a fabulous place to spend a nice spring, summer, or fall day. The zoo features an enormous number of amazing animals, and the place is absolutely beautiful, making it an even more pleasant place to be. 

#18. Get Inspired at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Have a football fan in your party? Be sure to make a stop at the Pro Football Hall of Fame where you can learn a bit about the history of the sport and a lot about some of history’s most famous and valuable pro football players. This is a pro football lover’s dream come true. 

#19. Dive into History at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

History buffs will appreciate a visit to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. This museum might just be one of the most thorough Underground Railroad museums in the country and features excellent exhibits on Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and many more. 

#20. Get Hands-On at the Center of Science and Industry

Those traveling with kids might be in search of an attraction that can keep the whole family entertained. This is where the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) comes into play. This is one of the best science museums in the country, and the hands-on exhibits make it fun for people of all ages. 

#21. Shop Around at West Side Market

Perhaps the most famous market in all of Ohio, the West Side Market has been around for over 100 years. Here you will find all kinds of local products as well as a number of delicious foods, including (but definitely not limited to) crepes, pizza, and even seafood. 

#22. Tour the Ohio State Reformatory

Visiting a prison may not seem like a lot of fun, but trust us when we say you’re going to want to check out the Ohio State Reformatory. This prison was actually closed in 1990, but not before being up and running for over a century. People claim there is a whole lot of paranormal activity going on here, and creepy experiences are available. That said, the regular tour is also super interesting. 

#23. See Animals at The Wilds

Want to get up close and personal with some of the world’s coolest animals? We highly suggest a visit to The Wilds. This park features over 9,000 acres of natural area where animals such as rhinos and ostriches make themselves at home. A safari-like vehicle can be ridden through, so you can see all the attraction has to offer. 

#24. Try New Foods at Jungle Jim’s International Market

Most people don’t go on vacation just to go grocery shopping. That said, we highly recommend you make an exception for Jungle Jim’s. This is the biggest grocery store we’ve ever seen, and it sells foods from all over the world. This means you can walk into this one store and walk out with treats from Australia, France, China, and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine.

#25. Try Skyline Chili

Skyline Chili—not everyone likes it, but those who do seem to love it, and when you’re in Cincinnati you have to try it. Skyline Chili serves their chili over spaghetti noodles, hot dogs, or on its own, and the chain can be found all over the state. 

#26. Immerse Yourself at The German Village

An incredibly interesting part of Columbus, the German Village was settled by Germans during the late 1800s. These people really made the place their own, steeping every corner of the village in German culture. Today, folks can visit to immerse themselves in another culture and get a true taste of Germany. 

#27. Check Out the Loveland Castle

Didn’t expect to discover a castle in Ohio? We don’t blame you. Why would you? Nevertheless, there are actually a few Medieval-style castles scattered around the state, and one of our favorites is Loveland Castle. This quirky castle was created by Harry Andrews. It includes all kinds of fun and interesting details and things to do and is well worth checking out. 

As you can tell, Ohio is chock-full of awesome things to see and do. In fact, it’s hard to go anywhere in the state without stumbling upon another amazing attraction. For this reason, we highly recommend renting an RV for your Ohio vacation. 

By choosing to stay in an Ohio RV rental, you give yourself the freedom to explore every corner of the state and stop whenever and wherever something catches your interest. Not only that, you’ll be staying in comfort no matter where your Ohio bucket list adventures may take you. 

Why not book your RV rental in Ohio today so you can start planning the ultimate Ohio road trip?

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