Ohio is not a state that many Americans would consider a prime vacation destination, and yet a record number of tourists still visited Ohio last year.

Although it gets a bit of a bad rap as the punchline of many jokes, this surprising state with an unwarranted reputation of being “boring” is actually an awesome place to visit.

In fact, Cleveland was named the second-best city in the world to visit in 2024 according to Travel + Leisure, alongside international destinations like Paris, Istanbul, and Bangkok.

Ohio is home to underrated cities, underrated beaches, underrated national parks, and more.

Here’s why travelers are visiting Ohio in record numbers, and why now is the perfect time to visit:

1. It’s A Great Summer Destination

Lake Erie Ohio

Ohio is unexpectedly awesome to visit during the summer. Being a Midwestern state, you might not think of Ohio as having beaches, but it does in fact have plenty of them on the shores of Lake Erie!

Cleveland, which is right on the waterfront, has several beaches right in the city. You can also discover really unique Lake Erie beaches like the little island of Put-in-Bay.

Summer is the perfect time to get out on the water in Ohio, with popular activities like boating, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

The weather in Ohio is great during the summer — it’s not too hot, but temperatures are in the eighties with sunny skies.

2. It Has Really Cool Cities

American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio

As I mentioned above, Cleveland was recently named one of the top destinations of 2024, and it’s definitely a highlight of visiting Ohio. Cleveland is a super cool city with unique things to do like visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the West Side Market, and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Aside from Cleveland, the capital city of Columbus is also an excellent destination to visit. (Don’t miss nearby Dublin, Ohio, which gives you a taste of Ireland without leaving the United States!)

In the southern part of the state, Cincinnati is another city worth visiting.

Take a stroll through the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, catch a baseball game at the Great American Ball Park, or visit the quirky neon-filled American Sign Museum.

3. It’s Affordable

Columbus at Night

Another benefit to visiting Ohio? It’s one of the most affordable states for a vacation!

Just take a look at this data from BudgetYourTrip, an online resource for trip planning costs. This is the average daily cost for a vacation in popular U.S. cities:

  • New York, NY: $326 per day
  • Orlando, FL: $321 per day
  • Chicago, IL: $288 per day

Meanwhile, here’s a look at the cost of travel in Ohio:

  • Cleveland, OH: $132 per day
  • Columbus, OH: $158 per day
  • Cincinnati, OH: $183 per day

As you can see, Ohio is a significantly more affordable destination!

4. It’s Easy To Get To (And Get Around)

Cleveland Sign

With its central location in the Midwestern United States, getting to Ohio is very easy.

There are numerous nonstop flights from dozens of cities in the U.S. to Ohio’s main cities.

Ohio was also ranked one of the best states in the U.S. for a road trip this summer.

Being a fairly small state, it’s easy to drive around and you can hit lots of destinations on a road trip.

5. It Has Surprising Natural Beauty

Man carrying Golden Retriever in Hocking Hills Park in Ohio
Our Managing Edior’s dog approves! Hocking Hills is worth a visit, especially if you get stair service this good!

Finally, don’t overlook the natural beauty of Ohio. It may not have the jaw-dropping landscapes of the American West, but it’s a surprisingly pretty state.

Ohio is home to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, an underrated and picturesque national park, as well as the stunning Hocking Hills State Park. Both are great places for hiking and exploring.

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