Jul 5, 2022 - News

Ohio national parks rebound to pre-COVID popularity

Ohio national park visitor spending
Data: National Park Service; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Visitor spending at Ohio's national park sites has rebounded to slightly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

Driving the news: More than 2.8 million visitors spent $65.7 million in 2021, according to a new report from the National Park Service.

  • The majority of visits were at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the large swath of picturesque land between Cleveland and Akron.
  • The largest spend share was on lodging (29.4%), then restaurants (25%), gas (14.9%) and recreational activities (12.4%).

Details: While Cuyahoga is technically Ohio's only national park, the parks system manages several historical sites, including the Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial at Put-in-Bay and President Taft's birth site in Cincinnati.

Of note: While our green spaces may not bring in as much green as other states — we're No. 37 nationally — Cuyahoga's 2.5 million visitors in 2021 isn't too shabby.

  • The park is in good company, with about the same number of visitors as Mount Rushmore and Olympic National Park in Washington.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: Just two hours from Columbus, Cuyahoga Valley is a perfect weekend getaway. My husband and I rented this cozy Airbnb in 2017, just a short walk from Brandywine Falls.

  • While the falls get lots of attention, I recommend the Ledges Trail. The towering rock formations are breathtaking — and so are the views from the Overlook!
Alissa stands on the Ledges Trail's stone staircase with cliffs on either side
Alissa stands on the Ledges Trail's iconic stone staircase. Photo: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios
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