The slow moving Cuyahoga River flows among rocks
Unsplash/Benjamin Lehman

The national parks in Ohio are known for being rich with natural beauty and ripe with historic significance. It seems that there is no shortage of amazing stories to uncover. The Ohio national parks include national monuments,  national historic sites, national memorials, and more. Read on to learn more about the 8 national parks in Ohio.

Last updated on August 9, 2021. This post contains affiliate links.

Map of National Parks in Ohio

A map of Ohio in blue with the national parks in Ohio noted with green dots and labeled

National Parks in Ohio Road Trip Itinerary

A map of the national parks in Ohio for planning a road trip
NPS

Fly in/out: Cleveland or Cincinnati; I recommend choosing the cheapest option and then going in a circle around the national parks in Ohio. I’ll begin the itinerary below from Cleveland.

Day 1: Visit the first of many presidential national parks in Ohio, James A. Garfield National Historic Site.

Days 2 and 3: Go hiking and explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Day 4: Visit First Ladies National Historic Site and the nearby home of a past president before making your way south toward Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.

Day 5: Visit Hopewell Culture National Historical Park and continue to Cincinnatti. 

Day 6: Spend some time at William Howard Taft National Historic Site. If time allows, head north to the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument. You can also save this for day 7.

Day 7: Visit Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument if you haven’t already as you make your way to Lake Erie. On the way, you’ll also make a stop at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park.

Day 8: The last of the national parks in Ohio is Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial on the lakeshore. Take your time to explore before returning to Cleveland for your flight home.

Complete List of National Parks in Ohio

The red and yellow Cuyahoga Valley train makes it way up the tracks
Unsplash/James Quinn

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument

A gray home on a pristine green lawn. This is one of the national parks in Ohio and the previous home of General Charles Young
NPS Photo

Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument is named after a United States Army officer who was the first African-American to graduate from West Point and become a general.

This site features several different types of land including urban sites, as well as battlefields where US Colored Troops fought during the American Civil War. There are also exhibits that are featured at the visitor center.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Guided house tours, museum

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Deerfield Inn, Ramada, Xenia Country Inn, Hampton Inn, John Allen House B&B

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (937) 352-6757

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

A small waterfall cascades down into a pool surrounded by rocks at Cuyahoga Valley, one of the national parks in Ohio
NPS Photo

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has preserved much of northeast Ohio’s natural environment and wildlife habitats while providing opportunities for recreation and education through its extensive trails system.

It also provides a glimpse into America’s industrial past as evidenced by remnants such as railroad tracks, canal locks, settlements, and quarries from when coal was king. The park offers many recreational activities including bicycling on scenic roads or hiking along various trails throughout the year.

This 4,000-plus acre park preserves scenic landscape including unique rock formations formed during the last glacier age, forests, agricultural valleys, and more. Visitors can view many historical sites within this park, such as waterfalls, scenic railroad bridges, or century-old buildings that have helped shape America’s past.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Hiking, biking, fishing, backpacking, paddling, horseback riding, picnicking, golfing, skiing

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to StayCuyahoga Valley InnAloft 

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (440) 717-3890

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park

A replica of a Wright Brothers plane from 1902 in the museum at Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, one of the national parks in Ohio
NPS/Tom Engberg

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park preserves military and civilian aircraft, facilities, and other items related to the history of aviation. The park is also home to the Centennial of Flight Monument, which commemorates 100 years since the Wright brothers flew their first plane. 

This national historical park has several resources open to the public including aviation facilities with aircraft and exhibits, a visitors center with literature and other park-related items for sale or viewing, and exhibits along the runways in honor of military flight.

Did you know? You can learn more about the Wright Brothers by exploring the national parks in North Carolina.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Dayton Aviation Heritage features multiple interpretive centers and sites associated with the Wright brothers.

Park Entrance Fee: The National Park Service does not charge an entrance fee, however, some partner locations might.

Where to Stay: Inn Port D’Vino, Comfort Inn, Knights Inn, Drury Inn

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (937) 225-7705

First Ladies National Historic Site

A historic brick home at First Ladies National Historic Site, one of the national parks in Ohio
NPS Photo

First Ladies National Historic Site focuses on the effects of the presidency on the lives of the First Ladies. The site also provides information about Ohio’s contributions to America’s political landscape through an extensive collection of presidential memorabilia.

The site is open to the public year-round and offers several programs that focus on specific themes related to the history of historic Ohio, such as its role in the Underground Railroad.

The park also includes Saxton House, the former home of William McKinley, 25th President of the United States, and his wife, Ida Saxton. Park rangers offer guided tours to visitors that highlight various aspects of McKinley’s life. The home has been restored with period furniture and other items in order to reflect its historical significance for future generations.

Did you know?: More US Presidents have hailed from Ohio than from any other state. You’ll see many sites dedicated to them when you visit the national parks in Ohio. Learn more by reading about the national parks featured in Hamilton.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Saxton house tours, Education Center, Museum

Park Entrance Fee: There is no fee to enter, however, there is a cost for tours.

Where to Stay: Bertram Inn, Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Ramada, DoubleTree

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (330) 452-0876

Hopewell Culture National Historical Park

A haze of fog falls over the green mounds of Hopewell Culture, one of the national parks in Ohio
NPS/Tom Engberg

Sites within Hopewell Culture National Historical Park have been declared the most important archaeological find in Ohio’s history. The site preserves hundreds of earthen mounds and enclosures built by American Indians from about 200 B.C. to A.D. 400.

Visitors to Hopewell Culture can see artifacts from excavations as well as explore a self-guided interpretive trail offering additional insight into this ancient culture including its burial practices and methods for daily survival.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Guided ranger programs, Hopeton Earthworks, Seip Earthworks, Hopewell Mound Group, become a Junior Ranger, visit the museum, watch the park film

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Hampton Inn, Christopher Inn, Executive Inn, Best Western

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (740) 774-1126

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

A gray house with a red roof surrounded by a fence. This home was previous the childhood home of James A. Garfield, future US President.
NPS Photo

James A. Garfield National Historic Site pays tribute to the life and legacy of President James A. Garfield, who led this nation during its most critical time in history.

After serving as president for only six months before being assassinated by a disgruntled citizen, Garfield’s body was laid to rest here at his family home from 1881 until he was reinterred at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland in 1902.

Note: Beginning in 2021, all tours require reservations. Call (440) 255-8722 to book your tour.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Cell phone tours, guided house tours, museum

Park Entrance Fee: $10/person

Where to Stay: Residence Inn, Mentor Home Inn, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Best Western

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (440) 255-8722

Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial

The sunset casts orange and purple hues on the clouds behind Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial, one of the national parks in Ohio
NPS Photo

Perry’s Victory & International Peace Memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. The memorial is located on Put-in-Bay island in western Lake Erie and features a National Historic Landmark, a seaman’s monument, and several exhibits highlighting the naval battle between Oliver Hazard Perry and his squadron against HMS Detroit, the Royal Navy sloop Lady Prevost, and two British gunboats.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Fishing, special events, ranger programs

Park Entrance Fee: $10/person

Where to Stay: Commodore Resort, Bay Lodging Resort, Put-in-Bay Resort,

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (419) 285-2184

William Howard Taft National Historic Site 

A horse-drawn carriage makes it way passed the historic home of William Howard Taft
NPS/Tom Engberg

William Howard Taft National Historic Site in Cincinnati is an old estate that offers a guided tour of Taft’s wife’s childhood home, which has been transformed into a 19th-century Victorian-style house and includes furnishings from the period. Other features include a barn and carriage shed constructed in 1899 as well as landscaped grounds that reflect the history of this national historic site.

How to Get There: Click here

Map: Click here

Things to Do: Visit the Taft Education Center, tour the Taft family home

Park Entrance Fee: None

Where to Stay: Best Western, Graduate, Symphony Hotel & Restaurant, Hampton Inn, Quality Inn

Official Website: Click here

Speak to a Park Ranger: (513) 684-3262

What to Pack for an Ohio National Parks Trip

Packing for a trip can be tricky. Depending on the time of year, temperatures can range from over 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to 50 degrees once the sun goes down. If you’re visiting in the winter, it will likely snow. Here’s a list of things you may need, with some items varying based on the season you decide to visit. 

A collection of items you should pack for a trip to any national park, especially if you plan on hiking.

  • Reusable Water Bottle: Literally the most important thing to have in the national parks.
  • Moisture-wicking Layers: You’ll want short- and long-sleeve shirts to wear underneath your jacket. In the summer, you may also want a tank top. Choose polyester over cotton.
  • Jacket: I always have a packable down with me on trips. I also love this new jacket I got a few months ago, as it’s very light yet warm. Synthetic is a good alternative to down if you’re worried about rain or snow.
  • Hiking Pants or Shorts: My favorite hiking pants can be found here. As a taller woman, I also love Columbia’s pants because they offer long sizes.
  • Hat: Depending on the season, you’ll need a winter hat or summer hat.
  • Gloves or Mittens: Gloves are critical if you’re visiting in the winter.
  • Wool Socks: Smartwool is my favorite brand for wool socks. Make sure to get wool so your feet stay warm and dry.
  • Grippers, Spikes, or Crampons: If you plan to hike in the winter, I strongly recommend grippers for potentially icy trails. Come prepared and avoid the fall!
  • Camera: I had my trusty Canon Rebel T5i, my Canon Powershot SX620, and a GoPro with me on my most recent trip to Colorado.
  • Tripod: If you’re hoping to take decent photos of the slot canyons, sunsets, or wildlife, I’d strongly recommend carrying a tripod with you.
  • Boots: I love my Keens, and will never choose another brand for my everyday boots. In winter, I choose a much warmer pair of Solomon boots.
  • Backpack: I brought my North Face pack, but a friend of mine had a water-resistant Patagonia pack I was extremely jealous of.
  • Packing Cubes: Never find yourself unorganized or frantically searching for missing items ever again with these. Plus, it’ll help you squeeze more into your bag!
  • Travel Scarf: I love the ones with hidden pockets!

Pin National Parks in Ohio

The national parks in Ohio have a long and diverse history. Explore the ecology of these parks, their historical significance, or just find a place to hike!

Did you know there are 8 national parks in Ohio? Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. Plus, download my free checklist! | national parks in Ohio | ohio national parks Did you know there are 8 national parks in Ohio? Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. Plus, download my free checklist! | national parks in Ohio | ohio national parks Did you know there are 8 national parks in Ohio? Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. Plus, download my free checklist! | national parks in Ohio | ohio national parks Did you know there are 8 national parks in Ohio? Click here for the list, including things to do and how to get there. Plus, download my free checklist! | national parks in Ohio | ohio national parks

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