US States Travel Guide

Ohio Travel Guide

Ohio is a state in the Midwest region of the USA. The state has natural boundaries to the north (Lake Erie) and to the south (Ohio River) and is bordered by the states of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Ohio also shares Lake Erie as a border with the Canadian province of Ontario. The terrain is generally flat in the northwestern parts due to ancient glaciers, and gradually gets hillier as one heads east and southeast toward the Allegheny and Appalachian mountain ranges. Aside from a Great Lake (Erie) and a major navigable river (Ohio), the State of Ohio offers a national park (Cuyahoga Valley), a national forest (Wayne), a number of National Wildlife Refuges, and a bundle of islands on Lake Erie.



Comprising 88 counties, Ohio can be roughly characterized as having 5 regions:


Other destinations


Ohio is the 35th largest state by size, but 7th by population (11,459,011 residents in 2004 according to the US Census Bureau). Ohio's nickname is "The Heart of It All", purportedly because of its shape (kind of like a heart), its central location to the densely populated areas of the US, its mosaic of big commercial cities, small towns, industry and farmland, and its critical role in "America's Heartland" (which can refer to the Midwest agricultural sector and the Great Lakes industrial base).

Ohio has always played and continues to play a critical role in the development of the United States history and government. One of Ohio's contributions to history was the Underground Railroad network which helped escaped slaves move to the free northern states and Canada. Many Ohioans, most notably Harriet Elizabeth Beecher Stowe and John Brown campaigned against slavery.

Ohio has also been home to eight American Presidents, giving it the nickname Mother of US Presidents. American Presidents from Ohio were Ulysses Grant (18th, born in Point Pleasant), Rutherford Hayes (19th, Delaware), James Garfield (20th, Orange), Benjamin Harrison (23rd, North Bend), William McKinley (25th, Niles), William Taft (27th, Cincinnati), and Warren Harding (29th, Corsica/Blooming Grove). William Henry Harrison (9th), born in Virginia but settled (and buried) in North Bend. Ohio is considered one of the most important states in Presidential elections due to its 20 electoral votes and is often one of the few states that can go to either party. Unlike California, Illinois, New York that lean Democratic and Texas which almost always votes Republican, Ohio's voting tendencies changes from election to election.

The Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur, inventors of the airplane, were from Dayton in Ohio, giving the state one reason to call itself the Birthplace of Aviation (though the brothers actually flew the airplane first in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Dayton was their home and the place were they conducted their research, development, and fabrication activities, as well as test-flights of various glider prototypes). Ohio, however, has additional claims to the nickname. Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk the moon, is an Ohioan, as is former U.S. Senator and astronaut John Glenn, who was the first the American to complete an orbit of the Earth from outer space. Ohio has also been home to 23 other astronauts and is home to the Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, and National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton.

Inventor Thomas A. Edison was born in Milan, Ohio. His birthplace and home have been preserved.


Despite what you may have heard, Ohio is very diverse with regional dialects. In the middle of the state, especially Dayton and Columbus, many people speak what is commonly known as General American Dialect, or Standard Midwestern Dialect. Around Cleveland and Toledo people speak with what is known as the Northern Cities Vowel shift of same dialect, sounding way more like a Chicagoan (think Da Bears from Saturday Night Live for a really exaggerated example).

In the Amish Country between Cleveland and Columbus English is actually a second language for the Amish populations with Pennsylvania Dutch, their first. Pretty much all Amish speak English outside of the home but with a distinct accent.

In inner cities of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus there are hundreds of thousands of African-Americans who speak what is called Black English Vernacular. As you move South and Southeast, you may encounter those who speak Southern American English-- especially in the Greater Cincinnati Metropolitan Area. White non Appalachian populations in the Greater Cincinnati area have a slight dialect differences influenced by their heavily German population with a few local colloquialisms like “Pony Keg” for Convenience Store, and using “Please?” instead of “What?” when asking someone to repeat themselves.

Get in

By plane

By car

The State of Ohio is served by the following interstate highways:

By train

By boat

Many boaters utilize the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and their connection points as a travel route. There are many marinas and public boat ramps available for this purpose. Also, the Great Lakes Cruising Company and the American Canadian Caribbean Line provide cruises that include Cleveland on the itineria. There are also steamboat and cruise options connecting points along Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.

Get around

Most points within Ohio are easily accessible by auto with longest distances across the state of about 300 miles and less than 5 hours in driving time. For instance, driving from Cleveland-to-Columbus and Columbus-to-Cincinnati via I-71 takes about 2 hours (give or take 15 minutes). The larger cities in the state all have public mass transit systems.

By bus

By car

By Thumb

Like most of the midwest, highways are long, straight, and flat, and drivers are often going long distances--in other words, a hitchhiker's dream. Be aware that most if not all interstate highways are closed to pedestrians, so you're probably better off trying to catch a ride from an on-ramp. I-80 is the preferred route for those trying to travel across the state east or west.


If you want to experience all things Ohio, below are some attractions that can guide you throughout the Buckeye State.

Museums, Galleries, Zoos





Amusement parks

Ohio has been nicknamed the "Roller Coaster Capital of the World" due to the number of record breaking amusement park rides that call Ohio home. The two most noteworthy parks in Ohio are Cedar Point and King's Island.





Not only are there great places to dine and things to eat throughout Ohio, but these cuisines, several of which define American Food, were born in Ohio:






Ohio's liquor laws are somewhere in the middle in terms of restrictions. Beer, wine, and liquor (42 proof and under) can be found in many stores. It can be sold until 1 AM (some stores don't have the permit to sell some or all types of the alcohol on Sundays). Hard liquor can be purchased at state liquor agencies (some of which are found in grocery stores). These stores also sell wine, beer, soda, mixers, etc. and have an earlier closing time.





Ohio Wineries

The first major winery in Ohio was founded by Nicholas Longworth near the banks of the Ohio River in Southwest Ohio. Due to the fertile land wine producing became one Ohio's important industries and at by the 1860s was leading the U.S. in wine production. Due to crop disasters and prohibition wine producing in Ohio dwindled. Wines produced in Ohio have become increasingly popular, though, still largely undiscovered by tourists and locals alike.


Ohio is home to a few microdistilleries. Buckeye Vodka can be found in liquor stores and some bars throughout the state. Most other local spirits are hard to find outside their home areas.


Visitors may want to consider staying at one of Ohio's Resort Lodges or State Parks, which are spread throughout the state. Most are very pleasant to visit and offer an opportunity to visit Ohio's great outdoors. The Lodges offer outstanding locations and amenities, while the Parks usually offer primitive camping, camping, backpacking, group camps, horseman camps and boat camping. All are State of Ohio owned, some are operated by contractors.

Stay healthy

Ohioans passed "SmokeFree Ohio" ballot measure in 2006 banning smoking in most public areas with very few exceptions. Hotels that have designated smoking rooms in hotels, motels, and other lodging facilities may still allow smoking in smoking rooms under the new law. Restaurants and bars are forbidden from allowing smoking or ashtrays on their premises unless they have an outdoor patio.

If you're at a place that is in violation of the law you can report the violation to the Ohio Department of Health by calling the toll-free number: 1-866-559-6446. Alternatively, you can email a complaint to You must include the following information for a complaint to be followed up on: the business' name, nature of the complaint, a complete address; including the street number, street name, city and zip code.

Even if you are driving through Ohio, in the winter months you want to make sure that you have enough clothes to keep you warm in the event you have difficulties. Temperatures often get below -0- F. Drivers heading into Ohio from the South will want to make sure their vehicles are prepared for freezing weather. Have the antifreeze in your radiator checked as well as replacing any widow washer solvent with a product that will not freeze. Be prepared with extra warm clothes, shoes, head cover and gloves.

Stay safe

In general, Ohio is a fairly safe state. During the day most places are completely safe, however, take normal precautions against crime. The biggest threats to visitors are the winter weather and potential for traffic accidents. If you travel by car, be safe while driving in inclement weather and always be aware of traffic alerts around major cities.

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