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Discover the Gateway Towns Around Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Nestled along the Cuyahoga River between the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a lush landscape of forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. As a visitor, one not only gets to enjoy the beauty of one of America's most diverse national parks but also the charm of the surrounding towns with their unique accommodations, local eateries, and regional specials. Here, we'll explore some of these gateway communities and delve into the culinary specialties worth trying during your visit.

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Published onDecember 13, 2023
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Discover the Gateway Towns Around Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Nestled along the Cuyahoga River between the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron in Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a lush landscape of forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. As a visitor, one not only gets to enjoy the beauty of one of America's most diverse national parks but also the charm of the surrounding towns with their unique accommodations, local eateries, and regional specials. Here, we'll explore some of these gateway communities and delve into the culinary specialties worth trying during your visit.

Peninsula

Starting off with Peninsula, a quaint village located right in the heart of the national park, visitors get a feel of a small-town charm. Peninsula is not as populated with hotels due to its size, but nearby guesthouses and bed and breakfasts such as The Inn at Brandywine Falls offer cozy lodging options. As for food, Fisher's Café & Pub is a local fixture where you might enjoy their delectable home-cooked meals with an Ohioan touch.

Akron

To the south of the park lies Akron, a larger city that offers a variety of hotels ranging from budget-friendly to more luxurious options like the historic Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. Akron's restaurant scene is diverse, with establishments like Luigi's Restaurant, famous for its pizza and Italian dishes, and Lockview, known for its exceptional selection of grilled cheese sandwiches and craft beers.

Cleveland

North of Cuyahoga Valley National Park is Cleveland, a major city with an extensive selection of hotels to fit any budget or preference. The culinary scene here is vibrant, with famous dishes such as the Polish Boy, a kielbasa sausage in a bun covered with a layer of french fries, barbecue sauce, and coleslaw. Sokolowski's University Inn is an iconic spot to experience comfort Eastern European fare like pierogi and stuffed cabbage.

Cuyahoga Falls

Cuyahoga Falls, named after the waterfalls on the Cuyahoga River, is a northeast Ohio gem with accommodations like the Country Inn & Suites or Sheraton Suites Akron Cuyahoga Falls with vistas over the river. The Blue Door Café is a must-visit for breakfast and brunch serving farm-to-table dishes, and Burntwood Tavern for a rustic yet refined dining experience.

Independence

A short distance from the park's northern entrance is Independence, a strategic location for visitors looking to stay close to both the park and Cleveland. Independence offers a range of hotels such as the Hyatt Place and the Embassy Suites. Dining options include Michael Symon's Mabel's BBQ, where you can savor Cleveland-style barbecue.

Hudson

Hudson has a historic and charming downtown with unique shops and restaurants. For accommodations, try the nearby comfortable and affordable options in the surrounding area. Rosewood Grill is a local favorite in Hudson, serving steaks and seafood along with a great selection of wines.

Famous Dishes to Try

While visiting Cuyahoga Valley and the adjacent towns, indulge in some of Ohio's famous dishes. The Buckeye State is known for its Buckeye candy—peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate, resembling the nuts from the state tree. Don’t miss trying the local comfort food, such as the Cincinnati chili, a unique spiced meat sauce served over spaghetti or hot dogs. Northeast Ohio’s perch fish from Lake Erie is also a staple, best when breaded and fried.

Each town around Cuyahoga Valley National Park has its distinct vibe and offers different experiences for travelers. Whether you prefer the buzzing atmosphere of a city like Cleveland or the charming rusticity of Peninsula, the region ensures a memorable stay with delicious local cuisine to accompany the scenic beauty.

Helpful Websites

Remember to check out the individual town visitor websites and local chambers of commerce for the most up-to-date listings of events, accommodations, and dining experiences to enhance your visit to this incredible region. Enjoy your journey through the gateway towns that frame the diverse landscape of Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

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