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The Midwestern state of Ohio covers around 116,000 square kilometres and has about 11.5 million inhabitants, making it one of the most populous and densely populated states in the country. The state's capital and largest city is Columbus, though both Cleveland and Cincinnati have larger metropolitan areas. Ohio became the US' 17th state on 1 March, 1803. It borders a number of states and also Ontario, Canada. Much of the north forms a coastline along Lake Erie and there are numerous seaports to be found here. Ohio is not one of the highlights of a visit to the US, though it's within reach of a lot of other interesting states, cities and parks.
To the north, Lake Erie gives Ohio 502 kilometres of coastline, which allows for numerous seaports. Ohio's southern border is defined by the Ohio River, and much of the northern border is defined by Lake Erie. Ohio's neighbors are Pennsylvania to the east, Michigan to the northwest, Ontario, Canada, to the north, Indiana to the west, Kentucky on the south, and West Virginia on the southeast.
Much of Ohio features glaciated plains, with an exceptionally flat area in the northwest being known as the Great Black Swamp. This glaciated region in the northwest and central state is bordered to the east and southeast first by a belt known as the glaciated Allegheny Plateau, and then by another belt known as the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau. Most of Ohio is of low relief, but the unglaciated Allegheny Plateau features rugged hills and forests. Significant rivers within the state include the Cuyahoga River, Great Miami River, Maumee River, Muskingum River, and Scioto River. The rivers in the northern part of the state drain into the northern Atlantic Ocean via Lake Erie and the St. Lawrence River, and the rivers in the southern part of the state drain into the Gulf of Mexico via the Ohio River and then the Mississippi.
The climate of Ohio is a humid continental climate throughout most of the state except in the extreme southern counties of Ohio's Bluegrass region section which are located on the northern periphery of the humid subtropical climate and Upland South region of the United States. Summers are typically hot and humid throughout the state, while winters generally range from cool to cold. Precipitation in Ohio is moderate year-round. Severe weather is not uncommon in the state, although there are typically fewer tornado reports in Ohio than in states located in what is known as the Tornado Alley. Severe lake effect snowstorms are also not uncommon on the southeast shore of Lake Erie, which is located in an area designated as the Snowbelt.
The highest recorded temperature was 45 °C, near Gallipolis on July 21, 1934. The lowest recorded temperature was -39 °C, at Milligan on February 10, 1899, during the Great Blizzard of 1899.
1. Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is the main gateway to the city of Cincinnati and the main gateway to the state. It mainly has domestic flights and some international connections to Canada and the Caribbean.
To/from the airport
Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky (TANK) has provides a route from the Airport to Downtown Cincinnati, and rental cars, parking places (short-term and long-term) and taxis are all widely available at the airport.
2. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE) is about 9 miles (14 kilometres) from the central business district of Cleveland. It mainly has domestic flights, though international connections include Cancun, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, Toronto and Montreal.
To/from the airport
A number of trains operate to and from Ohio, mainly en route between New York and Chicago.
The State of Ohio is served by the following interstate highways:
Many boaters utilize the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway and their connection points as a travel route. There are many marinas and public boat ramps available for this purpose. Also, the Great Lakes Cruising Company and the American Canadian Caribbean Line provide cruises that include Cleveland on the itineria. There are also steamboat and cruise options connecting points along Ohio and Mississippi Rivers.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Ohio has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.
Ohio's liquor laws are somewhere in the middle in terms of restrictions. Beer, wine, and liquor (42 proof and under) can be found in many stores. It can be sold until 1 AM (some stores don't have the permit to sell some or all types of the alcohol on Sundays). Hard liquor can be purchased at state liquor agencies (some of which are found in grocery stores). These stores also sell wine, beer, soda, mixers, etc. and have an earlier closing time.
Two provisions may affect purchases of alcohol for personal off-premises consumption. First, it must be sold to you by an employee above the legal drinking age of 21, which can sometimes mean the cashier will have to go find someone who can, and if you're at a convenience store with no other employee available, you're out of luck. Second, it must be carried out of the store in a bag that conceals it, even if it's a single.
Like all other states, Ohio vigorously enforces its drunken-driving law. It is also illegal to carry an open container of an alcoholic beverage in an automobile's passenger compartment regardless of who is consuming it. And anyone carrying a firearm, even lawfully, while under the influence can expect to face a charge of using weapons while intoxicated, which can be a felony.
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:
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