Table of Contents Show
When you think about National Parks, you probably think of states like California, Florida, Texas, or Utah. These states have famous historical sites, forests, and monuments.
Some of their National Parks also have the most visitors in the country. However, one state probably doesn’t come to mind when you think about National Parks: Ohio.
If you don’t know about these hidden gems, you’re missing out! Let’s explore the National Parks and National Park designations in the Buckeye state.
How Many National Parks Are in Ohio?
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only National Park in Ohio. However, there are seven other parks with various “national” designations.
There are historic sites like Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, First Ladies National Historic Site, Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, and William Howard Taft National Historic Site.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial celebrates the long-lasting peace between Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
The Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail also run through Ohio.
All National Park Designations in Ohio
Of all the states with National Parks, Ohio is lesser-known.
Whether you’re looking for a park with hiking trails or discovering more about American history, Ohio’s National Parks and Historic Sites answer the call.
From celebrating the role of First Ladies to learning more about Hopewell mounds, you don’t want to miss out on these sites.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
The Boston Mill Visitor Center is in Peninsula, Ohio. It’s a fantastic place to start when visiting Ohio’s only National Park.
Along the Cuyahoga River, you’ll visit Beaver Marsh, Brandywine Falls, Station Road Bridge, and much more. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail has multiple access points.
If you don’t want to bike or hike, hop on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.
The Cuyahoga Valley showcases the history of the people who lived there for thousands of years. Learn about the Hopewell and Whittlesey cultures. Visit the Canal Exploration Center, a tavern early pioneers Moses and Polly Gleeson once owned.
During your visit, enjoy the various landscapes and wildlife while learning more about the past.
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
In Xenia, Ohio, the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument proudly stands to honor this man’s legacy and other African American soldiers.
In 1866, the Native Americans who fought these soldiers called them “buffalo soldiers,” thus the nickname was born. This National Monument honors these soldiers, who fought from the Civil War until the Korean War, defending America and risking their lives besides their white compatriots.
They paved the way for African Americans and worked to end segregation in the military with Executive Order 9981.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
Begin your visit to the Ohio Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park by watching the park film, “The Wright Brothers: On Great White Wings.”
It tells the story of the Wright Brothers and their work in one of their bicycle shops where they became interested in flight.
This park also tells Paul Laurence Dunbar’s story and how he became a voice for African Americans through literature. The Wright Brothers and Dunbar overcame obstacles and made their marks on history.
First Ladies National Historic Site
In downtown Canton, Ohio, you’ll find two properties that make up the First Ladies National Historic Site: the home of First Lady Ida Saxton-McKinley and the Education Center.
A recent addition to the National Park System, the government, didn’t add this site until 2000. The First Ladies National Historic Site tells the stories of the First Ladies and how their roles evolved.
You can tour the Saxon house while testing your knowledge about the 50 First Ladies.
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
The Hopewell people traveled all over North America. At the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, you can explore the Hopeton and Seip Earthworks sites or take ranger-guided tours of Mound City Group, home to the largest Hopewell mound they ever constructed.
Inside, you can watch the film “Mysteries of the Ancient Architects” and see artifacts people excavated in the 1920s.
During your visit, you’ll learn about the importance of preserving this Native American culture and its influence on history.
Keep in Mind: Ohio only has one national park, but What States Have No National Parks? Read more to find out!
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
At this Ohio site, according to the National Park Service, “James Garfield used his front porch as a platform to greet thousands of well-wishers during his presidential campaign.”
Today you can visit his front porch at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. As you tour the eight acres, you’ll travel to the 1880 Presidential Campaign.
If you’d like to spend a day exploring the life of this former President, plan on also visiting the Garfield Memorial Cabin, Hiram, Ohio, where Garfield attended school, and Lake View Cemetery, where the former President is interred.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial is a Doric column 352’ tall near Lake Erie.
Here you can learn the story behind the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The victories at the Battle of Lake Erie and the later Battle of the Thames ensured that the states of Ohio and Michigan remained part of the United States.
The Perry’s Victory Visitor Center showcases artifacts from the famous battle and presents a film detailing its history. Firing demonstrations take place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site
In Cincinnati, Ohio stands the two-story Greek Revival house where William Howard Taft was born.
The park film, “William Howard Taft, Public Servant,” tells about the former President’s life. Rangers provide tours of the Taft house every 30 minutes.
It has Victorian-era furnishings, so you’ll get the best experience of how life was for the 27th President and 10th Chief Justice at this Ohio National Park designation.
How Many State Parks Are There in Ohio?
Ohio isn’t only home to seven National Park designations. Seventy-five state parks offer great outdoor activities.
With hiking trails, beaches, and campgrounds, there’s something for everyone. Grab your bike and hit the trail, or hook up your boat and explore the waters.
All the Ohio state parks are free and also provide an escape from the day-to-day routine.
Keep in Mind: Looking for more epic state parks? Then you have to check out These State Parks That Are Better Than Most National Parks!
Best Time of Year to Visit Ohio State and National Parks
Ohio can experience harsh winters. If you don’t want to deal with cold weather and snow, visit the state and National Parks during the spring, summer, and fall.
Of course, the tourist season in the summer brings the largest crowds. If you want to avoid people, consider visiting in spring or fall. The temperatures are mild, and you’ll be there in time to see the flowers bloom or leaves change color.
Pro Tip: When you’ve checked Ohio off your list, here are 5 More RV Destinations That You Should Seriously Consider Visiting in the Off-Season!
Don’t Miss These Beautiful Destinations in the Buckeye State
The Buckeye State isn’t just about college football. It’s more than the location of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.
Ohio is full of history and beauty. The next time you plan a trip to Ohio, visit some of these National Park sites. Learn about the Hopewell Native American heritage and influence. Honor the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers. Hike the miles of trails in the stunning Cuyahoga Valley!
Which park do you want to visit first?