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Cuyahoga Valley-Nationalpark in Ohio, Bild: kj_landscapes / shutterstock

Ohio – the versatility of the USA

Hardly any other state embodies the versatility of the USA with such intensity as Ohio. With its northern border with Canada, Ohio is considered a classic northern state, but has reinvented itself again and again over the years. Once one of the most important industrial centers in the USA – especially with the cities of Cleveland and Cincinnati – the state now offers just the right mix of breathtaking nature and the exciting metropolitan areas where you can experience the USA like on TV. In addition to the sights in the cities, there are also many testimonies from the founding period of the USA.

The land between Lake Erie and the Ohio River

Terminal Tower in Cleveland
The Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Image: Kenneth Sponsler / shutterstock

Ohio gets its name from the impressive river that runs through the south of the state. The Ohio River is considered a traffic artery and a lifeline of the USA and was used in the early years to support the industrial rise of the nation. In the north, it is above all the breathtaking Lake Erie, which borders Canada on its shores in the north, that dominates the image of the state. Between these two majestic wonders of nature are not only some impressive cities such as Cleveland, Cincinnati or Dayton, but also many traces of the historical history of the USA.

On the one hand, a visit to Ohio gives you the opportunity to move into these metropolises and discover some of the oldest buildings in the country, explore historic districts and fully immerse yourself in the American style of life. On the other hand, there are many opportunities for employment in nature. The lush greenery of Ohio with its forests, meadows and steppes is a paradise for vacationers by bike who want to get an idea of the state for themselves within the excellent infrastructure, which has always been considered an indicator of the mood in the country, even in the US elections. This is not least due to the diversity of Ohio.

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Nature and rural excursions in Ohio

Admittedly, compared to states like Vermont or Washington, Ohio offers more flatland. There are hardly any mountains to be found here. But it is above all the waterways and lakes that attract nature lovers. A tour around or on Lake Erie is just one of many options available here for outdoor activities. Of course, it’s also worth taking a boat or canoe ride on the Ohio River’s many tributaries to get a sense of the state’s nature.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has a vast network of hiking and biking trails that also provide educational information about the first settlers and the landscape. Camping is also popular in these parts of the state, and the quaint campgrounds offer a sense of freedom all their own. The most interesting region for hiking in the mountains is the Hocking Hills, which with their sandstone formations are probably the closest to a mountain in Ohio.

Cleveland and Cincinnati – between industrial city and entrepreneurial spirit

View of Cincinnati
View of Cincinnati, Image: Sean Pavone / shutterstock

Although two cities, Columbus and Dayton, are formally more important for Ohio, a visit is particularly worthwhile in the two metropolises mentioned. However, if you arrive via Columbus, for example, you should not miss the German Village. The Wilhelminian Quarter, which was built as early as 1820, was one of the first settlements of Germans to find their way to the USA. In general, the traces of German-speaking settlers can still be found everywhere in the state, which can also be proven by the large number of German restaurants that can still be found in all major cities of Ohio.

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The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus is one of the oldest buildings in the state and is a great sight for memories and photos. Another impressive structure is the Carew Tower, which was built back in 1930 and is one of the first larger buildings in the state. This is typical, because both Cincinnati and Cleveland experienced their peak during this time. They were not only two of the most culturally important cities in the USA, but also significant drivers of the upswing. Especially in the case of Cleveland, however, this has changed in recent decades and the decline of the industry has certainly left its mark on the once so proud city. Nevertheless, some of the old quarters are still worthwhile today because they give a good insight into how people lived here.

Discover Ohio culturally and culinarily

The state of Ohio may not be the place of many large and well-known sights. But the state is a stronghold of American culture. In the restaurants, theaters, the cinemas and the many museums, the spirit of the USA is lived and if you want to work a bit with the clichés, you will find the typical American from television here. Therefore, you should not miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the nightlife of the cities and eat in one of the many steakhouses and visit the museums about the heyday of the cities. In this way, you will actually learn something about the development of the USA and will certainly meet many interesting and friendly people on the way, who are happy to welcome visitors from abroad.