Like much of the United States, Ohio is usually overlooked in favor of the larger coastal states and cities – such as Los Angeles and New York.
However, America has a strong and storied tradition of great, small towns – many of which are gateways to folklore, culture, history, and wholesome entertainment.
But what exactly are the best small towns in Ohio, and what do they have to offer?
Ohio: The Top Ten Best Small Towns
To make this guide a little more comprehensive, we have put together a list of some of our favorite small towns with the state of Ohio – giving prospective visitors the best chance of finding the right place for them, and making the best memories possible.
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
First on our list we have Sugarcreek – a quaint and charming town that has been dubbed the ‘Switzerland of Ohio.
Settled by Swiss immigrants, the town has a distinct Swiss influence, and this is reflected in the buildings, the decor, and the traditions of the locals therein – represented by the world’s largest cuckoo clock, which can be seen in the town.
The town also has a distinct local range of cuisine – particularly cheese, which has a lot of significance to the people of Sugarcreek.
The whole community has also had a distinct Amish influence over the decades, which only adds to the unique flavor that makes the town so attractive.
2. Milan, OH
With only around 1400 residents, Milan is one of the smallest towns in the country – and the smallest in Ohio by far.
However, Milan’s claim to fame is so much more than its size – being the home of famed American inventor Thomas Edison.
As such, there is much in the town dedicated to his memory, including museums – with the most famous perhaps being his childhood home.
This quaint town also has a long history of motorsports, which prospective visitors can check out at the Summit Motorsports Park.
It is commonly known that many of the small towns in Ohio represent some of the cutest across the country – possessing a quaintness and a charm that is very much characteristic of rural, small town America.
However, the town of Gallipolis might just take the top spot!
Located on the Ohio River, this community is laden with small boutique stores, friendly locals, and some amazing local folklore that continues to attract travelers from all over the country.
Sharing opposing banks of the Ohio River with the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia – the supposed home of the supernatural ‘mothman’ legend – Gallipolis receives visitors looking to see the strange cryptid for themselves.
Of course, Ohio also has plenty for those looking to become one with nature – with countless trails, green belts, and rivers to explore and hike.
One of the most prominent and popular areas is Yellow Springs, Ohio, a popular outdoor-focused town revered by locals and tourists alike.
With numerous beautiful parks within the town itself, as well as being in close traveling distance from Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, John Bryan State Park, and Little Miami State Forest Preserve.
It’s unique location and natural resources were what led to the town’s founding in the first place, when Robert Owen (the town’s founder) sought to create the town in the image of New Harmony, Indiana – a town that Owen viewed as a utopian society within America’s heartland.
Known as being one of the most romantic locations in Ohio, the town of Ashtabula is revered for its fantastic beaches, covered bridges, and all round quaint, charming appearance that continually draws people from across the country.
Once one of the most prominent iron ore ports in the country, Ashtabula now boasts great nightlife, award winning restaurants, and some of the best seasonal views imaginable.
There are also museums and tours where prospective guests can learn more about the history of the place – most notably the harbor district, which was once the main port of call for the various trades in the region.
6. Conneaut, OH
Located on the famous Lake Erie, the town of Conneaut has the feel of a New England coastal town, equipped with bays, lighthouses, and lakes for people to see and explore.
Known for their summer WW2 reenactments, as well as their numerous outdoor activities, the town has a distinct community spirit that is getting harder to find in modern times, and this is one reason that people from all around the country continue to flock to the area.
Conneaut really feels like the land that time forgot, and many enjoy the feeling of returning to a time when your neighbor was your friend, and the world seemed just a little brighter.
Located on the South Bass island of Lake Erie, the oddly named Put-In-bay has been nicknamed the ‘Key West of Ohio’ – and there are many sights and experiences to be had.
Laden with history, both from the War of Independence and the Civil War, Put-In-bay is the home of Perry’s Victory, and the International Peace Memorial – a monument that commemorates the continued peace between the Americans, Canadians, and the British.
The area is also close to South Bass state park, as well as the famous Butterfly House that continues to be a source of attraction for locals and tourists alike.
8. Bedford, OH
While Bedford is not strictly a town – being a suburb of the city of Cleveland – the area still has a small town vibe thanks to its sense of quaintness and charm, and its small population, which remains around the 13,000 mark.
Not only does Bedford have many links to the area’s industrial history – including mills, electrical plants, and sawmills – it also has much to offer in terms of nature, with several waterfalls in the surrounding countryside, the most famous one being the Great Falls of Tinker’s Creek.
Fun fact: Bedford also has its share of celebrity hometown heroes, including actress Halle Berry, classic female blues singer Mozelle Anderson, Kansas City Chiefs football player Chris Chambers, and former major league baseball player and coach Mike Easler.
For a charming, hidden gem, Bedford is worth checking out!
As the unusual name might suggest, the town of Twinsburg has a large affinity with the phenomenon of twins – hosting the largest festival of identical twins in the United States, a festival that sees thousands of people descend on the small town every year.
With a charming atmosphere, and plenty of endearing quirks, the town of Twinsburg is not just a great place for twins to visit, and has plenty of attractions and scenery for everyone to enjoy.
For those who love the outdoors, Twinsburg is located very close to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, as well as the Wildwater Kingdom – providing plenty of outdoor activities for those with the time and inclination.
10. Athens, OH
Last on our list, but by no means least, we have the town of Athens, Ohio.
Despite being a college town, Athens has no shortage of charm and mystique – the latter of which is only enhanced by its supposed haunted reputation, a fact that the locals really play into throughout the year.
As supposedly one of the most haunted towns in America, this unassuming town really comes alive at Halloween, with a huge block party celebrating the town’s spooky reputation – a large community event brings locals and tourists together to celebrate all things supernatural.
At this block party, Halloween costumes are encouraged, and guests can enjoy live music, food and drinks, play spooky games and contests, and keep an out for paranormal activity.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about Ohio, and the best small towns in the state!
It’s true that Ohio, like other states within the central US, is often overlooked on the national scale – with mainstream media usually focusing on Los Angeles and New York in particular.
However, as this article highlights perfectly, small town America has much to offer in terms of culture, history, nature, and entertainment.
So, if you are headed to Ohio and are looking for the best spots, then why not visit some of these great little towns? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!
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