W.P. Synder steamboat in fall

Fall Road Trip on Ohio Route 7

This 203-mile portion that runs along the edge of our state offers the chance to explore historic towns as well as the opportunity to spot wildlife that calls the region home.  

Covering around 336 miles, Route 7 is Ohio’s longest state highway, winding its way northward from the Ohio River community of Chesapeake to its terminus in the Ashtabula County town of Conneaut. Along the way, the route never strays far from the West Virginia or Pennsylvania border, as travelers pass through communities such as Marietta, Steubenville and Youngstown. This 203-mile portion that runs through eastern Ohio offers the chance to explore historic towns as well as the opportunity to spot wildlife that calls the region home.  

Gallipolis gazebo in fall (photo by Christina White)
Established in 1790 by French settlers, this town is home to a beautiful park located along the Ohio River. Learn about local history at the Our House Tavern Museum and the French Art Colony, then browse the handcrafted bags and other items at River City Leather along Second Avenue. Make a brief detour over to Point Pleasant, West Virginia, to visit the Mothman Museum, which tells the tale of the area’s legendary cryptid. visitgallia.com

The Healing Chapel
At a tiny 10-by-14 feet, The Healing Chapel is billed as “Ohio’s smallest church,” and the charming roadside attraction welcomes travelers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Inspired by Lloyd and Janice Middleton’s faith, the tiny church features all the familiar touches: stained glass, a bell tower and wooden pews. Located along the James A. Rhodes Appalachian Highway, across the street from the Torch Rest Area, Coolville 45723

As the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, the city of Marietta is steeped in United States history. Visit the Campus Martius Museum, located on the site of the stockade originally constructed by the town’s settlers. The neighboring Ohio River Museum provides a glimpse into the waterway’s history and importance to the region and includes a tour of the W.P. Snyder, a historic steam-powered towboat moored on the Muskingum River. mariettaohio.org

Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge
The Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge comprises 22 islands spread across 362 miles of river. Check out the Refuge Visitor Center by making a 1.5-mile detour from downtown Marietta into Williamstown, West Virginia. There you can walk several short trails that offer views of the Ohio River and Buckley Island. There is also a loop through a butterfly garden and a 1.2-mile forest hike. 3982 Waverly Rd., Williamstown, West Virginia 26187, 304/375-2923, fws.gov/refuge/ohio_river_islands

Beaver Creek State Park path (photo by Darren Walker)

Beaver Creek State Park 
Spread out over 2,700 acres of forested land, this East Liverpool recreation area offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor adventure. Bring a tent and stay at the mostly primitive campsites, pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic areas or glide in a canoe down Little Beaver Creek. Six hiking trails vary from easy to moderate, while five others allow both hikers and bicycles. 12021 Echo Dell Rd., East Liverpool 43920, 330/385-3091, parks.ohiodnr.gov