The Buckeye State is home to eight national parks in Ohio managed by the National Parks System. Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located between Cleveland and Akron, is the only park designated as a National Park. Ohio has two National Historic Parks, Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, and Hopewell Culture National Historic Park.
There are three national historic sites, First Ladies National Historic site, James A. Garfield National Historic Site, and William Howard Taft National Historic Site, along with two national memorials David Berger National Memorial, and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. In addition, there is the North Country National Scenic Trail that goes around Ohio and is part of a seven-state trail system.
The National Park Service has many interesting, historic, and beautiful places to visit in Ohio. Visitors to the National Parks will not be disappointed.
National Parks in Ohio
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldier NM is located in southwestern Ohio approximately 20 miles east of Dayton. The park is currently only open with a scheduled guided tour or visit.
Charles Young was born in 1864 to enslaved parents. He became the third African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1889. He would become the highest-ranking African American officer in the US Army.
He was also the first African American to serve as the superintendent of a National Park when he commanded troops overseeing Sequoia and General Grant NP which is now known as Kings Canyon.
Charles Young bought a home in 1907 that he named "Youngsholm." He passed away in 1922 while on assignment in Liberia. Charles Young is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
The Charles Young NM was dedicated in 2013 to celebrate both his career and the history of the Buffalo Soldiers in the US Army.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Ohio’s only National Park is conveniently located a short drive south from Cleveland and north from Akron. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is 51 square miles of natural beauty along the winding Cuyahoga River. Visitors will experience lush forests, rolling floodplain, steep valley walls and ravines, waterfalls, and plentiful wildlife.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a beautiful area that runs along 22 miles of the picturesque Cuyahoga River, covering a total of 33,000 acres in northeastern Ohio. In the park, there are forested areas and wetlands that are home to over 200 species of birds and a variety of other native wildlife, including deer, foxes, and weasels.
The park’s physical address is 15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, Ohio. From Cleveland, Ohio the park is 22 miles, or 30 minutes away, and from Akron, Ohio, the park is 18 miles, or 25 minutes away.
Visitors who want to disappear into nature certainly can do so, on and off the backcountry primitive trails. But there are also less isolated areas and activities, including the graded Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail for hiking and biking, picnicking, golfing, fishing, skiing, rides on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, concerts, and art exhibits. There are preserved and restored exhibits of sustainable farming and rural life from a century and more ago.
A major point of interest in the park is Towpath Trail. This is the same path where mules towed boats through the Ohio and Erie Canal back in the 19th century, and is now a great path for walking or biking, and seeing the river and the park.
Brandywine Falls is one of the parks most famous natural features. Brandywine is one of nearly 70 waterfalls that can be found within the park.
There are four visitors centers housed in the park; the Boston Store Visitors center, which houses exhibits that tell about the valley’s history of canal-boat building, the Canal Visitors Center which has information about the history of the valley and how things changed with the canal, the Hunt Farm Visitor Information Center that has displays about the farming history in the valley, and things to do in the area, and the Peninsula Depot Visitors Center, which has information about the park, Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, and area attractions.
Other park features are the Frazee House, which is an example of the area Federal-style building. Inside Frazee house are displays showing building techniques and architectural styles of the early 1800s, and information about the Frazee family, and for rental of skis and snowshoes, there is the Winter Sports Center at Kendall Park, which is only open when there are at least 4 inches of snow.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park provides aesthetic, recreational, and educational opportunities aplenty.
David Berger National Memorial - Affiliated Site
David Berger NM is located in northeastern Ohio in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. The park is open year-round.
The David Berger National Memorial is located in Beachwood, Ohio, at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. The memorial is to honor the eleven Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany. David Berger, a United States citizen, was one of the eleven Israeli athletes.
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park, in Dayton, Ohio, has the Wright-Dunbar Interpretive Center and Aviation Trail Visitors Center and Museum. In addition, the park has the Huffman Prairie Flying Field Interpretive Center, the 84-acre pasture where the Wright brothers developed and flew their planes.
The Wright School of Aviation is located here alongside Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site - Affiliated Site
Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis NHS is located southwest of Toledo. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to visit the site of an 18th-century battle.
General "Mad" Anthony Wayne led a US military force on August 20, 1794, to defeat an army of Native American warriors who were led by Miami Chief Little Turtle. The battle is called one of the three most important battles of the Revolutionary War.
This US victory led to the opening of the Northwest Territory for westward expansion.
First Ladies National Historic Site
First Ladies NHS is located in northeastern Ohio in downtown Canton. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to visit a restored house.
First Ladies Historic Site in Canton, Ohio, houses two buildings, the City National Bank Building built-in 1895, and First Lady Ida Saxton McKinley home built-in 1841. The historic site honors the contribution of United States First Ladies.
The heart of the park is the childhood home of Ida Saxton who would become the wife of President William McKinley. The house has been authentically restored with period furnishings.
Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
Hopewell Culture NHP is located in south-central Ohio approximately 40 miles south of Columbus. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to tour Indian-built structures and visit the visitor center.
The Hopewell Cultural National Historic Park is home to earthen mounds made by ancient people who used to live in the area. The mounds are different shapes and arranged in patterns throughout the Ohio River Valley. Located in Chillicothe, Ohio, there are guided tours and a museum to learn more about the people who used to live here thousands of years ago.
James A. Garfield National Historic Site
James Garfield NHS is located in northeastern Ohio approximately 25 miles east of Cleveland. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to tour President Garfield's home.
The James A. Garfield National Historic Site in Mentor, Ohio, was the home President Garfield bought for his family in 1876. Garfield became the 20th president of the United States and he campaigned from the front porch of this house.
After President Garfield was assassinated, his wife built a wing onto the house to be a memorial library in honor of her late husband. The library was the first presidential library.
North Country National Scenic Trail - Affiliated Site
North Country National Scenic Trail runs through Ohio, starting in eastern Ohio and then heads south and then back up to northern Ohio and into Michigan. The trail goes through seven states from New York to North Dakota.
The purpose of the trail is to connect historic, cultural, and scenic areas. It is 4,600 miles long and is the longest of the eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States.
Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
Perry’s Battle and International Peace Memorial is located in Put-in-Bay, Ohio approximately 50 miles east of Toledo. The park is open from May through October and offers the opportunity to vistas of Lake Erie.
It commemorates the victory of Commodore Perry's fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie, during the War of 1812. It is also a memorial to honor the peace between the United States, Canada, and Great Britain now share.
The monument is a 352 Doric Column, and under the floor are buried three United States soldiers and three British soldiers.
William Howard Taft National Historic Site
The William Howard Taft National Historic Site is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The park is open year-round and offers the opportunity to tour the historic Taft home.
The home is where President Taft lived from his birth until he left for Yale in 1874. William Howard Taft was born in 1857. He is the only person to serve as both president and Chief Justice of the United States.
The National Park Service has restored the house to its appearance in the mid-19th century. Charlie now lives at this historic site and visitors can come and talk to him. Charlie is an animatronic robot that was made to look like Taft’s youngest son.
Ranger-guided tours are offered so visitors can view furniture from the mid-19th century.
List of National Parks in Ohio
- Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park
- Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park
- First Ladies National Historic Site
- Hopewell Culture National Historical Park
- James A. Garfield National Historic Site
- Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial
- William Howard Taft National Historic Site
- David Berger National Memorial
- Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site
- National Aviation Heritage Area
- North Country National Scenic Trail (New York to North Dakota MI, MN, ND, NY, OH, PA, WI)
There are 8 National Parks in Ohio that receive over 2.7 million visitors each year. These visitors produce over $96 million in economic benefits from tourism.
Ohio National Parks also include 2 National Heritage Areas, 3 Wild and Scenic Rivers managed by the National Park Service, 1 National Trail and 3,957 National Register of Historic Places Listings.
There are 72 National Historic Landmarks, 23 National Natural Landmarks, 906 Places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program and over 1 million objects in the Ohio National Parks Museum Collections.
Plus 257 Archaeological Sites in the Ohio National Parks!
National Parks in neighboring states
Check out this great list of the US National Parks in Alphabetical Order to count how many you have visited.