Off the Beaten Path Series

Off the Beaten Path in Ohio. The Top 6 Hidden Gems in Ohio.

As full-time RV’ers we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, different and maybe a little “off the beaten path”. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each series will include at least 1 epic boondocking area, some complete with pictures and all with GPS coordinates.

Fun Fact: Did you know Ohio is home to the largest rubber stamp? Or maybe you like pencil sharpeners! If so, make your way over to the pencil sharpener museum. Who knew?

Hocking Hills State Park – Logan

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Before visiting Hocking Hills State Park, I had never heard of it. As we’ve said in so many of our blogs, State Parks are just so overlooked for their bigger, more popular National Parks. Hocking Hills State Park was by far on our very top most liked list so far. Of course, we’ve only traveled two years now, so there is a lot to see. Hocking Hills State Park is home to more waterfalls in a small area than I had ever seen. As we walked through the state park, the movie The Hobbit came to mind. It’s very magical and mystical looking. People don’t believe the pictures are from an Ohio park, but many who know of this incredible landscape consider it the most beautiful land in the Midwest. Striking rock formations speckle the park, which is filled with gorges and caves waiting to be explored. Please check out our video below for a little more information.

Moonville Tunnel – McArthur 

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Deep within the woods near Lake Hope State Park, the Moonville Tunnel is one of the few reminders of the small mining town of Moonville which has otherwise disappeared from the map. Justin and I love the history of the old mining towns, though most of the stories didn’t end well. It’s still a neat (and sad) part of our history. Directions: GPS: 39.31006, -82.32434 – Stop before the metal bridge on the roadway and park in the gravel pull off. This is Ohio Division of Forestry property and there are unmarked trails at the pull off. Follow the trail by the boulder along the edge of Raccoon Creek. It will wind around through the old town of Moonville (nothing left but a few stones and a couple of wells) until you climb a small hill to the railroad and tunnel. If you go past the bridge, you can see the tunnel but there is no bridge to cross the creek this way.

Kelley’s Island Glacial Grooves – Kelleys Island

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The glacial grooves on the north side of Kelleys Island are the largest and most easily accessible glacial grooves in the world. They were scoured into solid limestone bedrock about 18,000 years ago by the great ice sheet that covered part of North America. Directions: It is on the north side of the island. However the Island is only accessible by ferry (which is part of the fun). 

Mushroom House

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There are some really … ummm … let’s call them “UNIQUE” houses in Ohio. We really like houses that were constructed by someone with a kind of odd or different vision. They make us think and wonder about the thought process involved. Seriously, who wakes up one morning and says “my dream is to build a house that looks like a mushroom”? Well, architecture professor Terry Brown did. Between 1992 and 2006, the late Brown used warped shingles and oddly wrapping staircases to give his one bedroom home on the corner of Erie and Tarpis Ave. a look like no other. Unfortunately Brown passed away in 2008, but the Mushroom House remains a beloved landmark in the neighborhood, and doesn’t look to be wilting any time soon. Address: 3518 Tarpis Ave, Cincinnati, OH – I know I don’t have to tell any of my readers, but please be respectful. This is a privately owned home. 

Check out the Franklin Castle too! It’s more popular, but a really cool place to visit too!

Hillandale Bridge – Euclid

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Hillandale Bridge 1 SF

This abandoned bridge to nowhere stands secluded in the woods of a Cleveland suburb. Perched atop a hill on an old brick road in Euclid, Ohio, near a city park of the same name, lies a 1920s bridge that has stood the test of time, but exists as a bridge to nowhere. The bridge is starting to show its age, so watch out for several holes that have crumbled out of the pavement and for cement railing sections that have fallen down into the creek below. Along the bridge and the old brick road leading to it are old fixtures and remnants of streetlights as well. To get to the bridge, park within the Hillandale Park parking lot and walk up on the brick road. The bridge is a small distance up the path – just be certain not to walk up the driveway of the one private residence that exists up the hill.

Porter Creek Bridge Ruins – Bay Village

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The scenic remains of an old rail bridge. In the age before automobiles or air travel, the people of northern Ohio traveled on a network of interurban trolley lines known as the Lake Shore Electric Railroad. The rail system connected Cleveland to Toledo, and towns such as Fremont and Sandusky in between. This is just something to see if you’re passing through this area. I love old ruins like this. Can you imagine living back in these days? Really thought-provoking.  Directions: Getting to the bridge piers and remnants is extremely easy. Park at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center located on Porter Creek Road in Bay Village. Follow the bicycle path north along the road until the path dips down below the bridge piers. To cross the creek to the other side, continue north on the bicycle path, cross the bridge over the creek and cross to the west side of the road. Paths lead back along the creek towards the bridge piers deeper into the woods.

Boondocking:

  • Kinderhook Horse Camp: GPS: 39.405989, -81.224947 Newport, Ohio – We loved this place! We were greeted with open arms from all the horse trail people, and even had a great conversation with the man who runs the area. He was happy to have us there watching over (so to speak) the area. Police drive through the loop every few days, and though some cars came and went during the night, it was super quiet and peaceful. Good cell service! Real close to a neighborhood, so cell service with ATT was good. We did not have our Verizon service yet, so I’m not sure how that is there. I will update this when we go back. 
  • Lane Farm: GPS: 39.435001, -81.359001 This was a nice little 5 or 6 spot area (large rigs can fit in spot #1 or Spot #2. We ended up only staying here 1 night. There was a lot of activity here. We ended up moving up to the above boondocking horse camp from here. But it is right off the main highway. Trash cans available and bathroom available. It’s an ok spot, but just very busy with it being right off the road. No cell service what so ever!
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Lane Farm Boondocking Area // Spot #2

What’s your favorite Off the Beaten Path place to visit in Ohio? Let us know! We hope to head back to Ohio again this Fall sometime, and find some more hidden gems. 

Have you looked at our other Off the Beaten Path states in this series? Here are just a few! Check them out!

4 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in Ohio. The Top 6 Hidden Gems in Ohio.”

  1. One of my favorite places when I lived in Ohio was the abandoned Peter’s Cartridge Factory near Kings Mills. I used to run the Little Miami bike trail often and would pass by it during my runs. Kind of odd how the factory was so secluded.

    1. This sounds like something we’d love to see! Thank you very much for sharing! I’ve added it to my list.

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