15 Best Things to Do in Jackson, OH

Jackson, OH
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Jackson, Ohio, is a laid-back destination for an outdoorsy getaway if you’re looking for something different.

Located approximately in the Appalachian foothills, the city offers breathtaking countryside views and lush rolling hills, crystal-clear lakes, and vast forests.

You can explore these wonders by biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

From sporting events to cultural attractions and natural wonders, you can enjoy all that the city offers.

You can also visit the local historical museum and cultural center for exhibits and performances that showcase the city’s culture and history.

If you want to see some unique attractions and learn more about what makes this city special, here are the best things to do in Jackson, OH:

Explore the Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve

The calm waters of Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve
Jaknouse, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve to experience the natural magnificence of Jackson, Ohio.

The 2,019-acre preserve boasts remarkable beauty, with rocky outcrops, gorge walls covered in lush vegetation, and a waterfall.

It is home to over 150 animals, including birds, mammals, fishes, reptiles, and amphibians.

The preserve’s centerpiece is Lake Katharine, a vast artificial lake set in a small gorge carved by Little Salt Creek.

Spillway of the waters of Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve
Jaknouse, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The area features three hiking trails; each trail offers something different.

You can hike through pine tree forests on Pine Ridge Trail or explore sandstone cliffs and outcroppings along the Salt Creek Trail and Calico Bush Trail.

Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve is among the eight best preserves in Ohio for viewing spring wildflowers.

The best time to visit the preserve is in spring when wildflowers start blooming.

Travel Back in Time at the Lillian E. Jones Museum

The Lillian E. Jones Museum, popularly known as the Jones Museum, is a great way to see the heritage of Jackson County.

By providing a variety of exhibits, the Jones Museum seeks to educate the general public about the county’s rich history.

The museum is committed to collecting and preserving documents, photographs, and artifacts from the county’s early days to the present day.

The Lillian E. Jones Museum has permanent and temporary exhibits.

The museum also contains the personal collections of Miss Jones, a collector and patron of art.

She left her entire collection to the museum after her death in 1992.

The museum’s eclectic collection includes rare antiques and photographs, and high school yearbooks dating back to 1912.

Likewise, you can see a sculpture by internationally acclaimed artist Fletcher Benton and old newspaper clippings.

See a Show at the Markay Cultural Arts Center

The Markay Cultural Arts Center is a restored historic Art Deco movie theater in the heart of Jackson.

The center serves as a venue for theatrical performances, concerts, and art exhibits.

The theater has a 280-seat auditorium and a large lobby area with concessions and plenty of space for visitors to relax before shows.

Its first name was the Markay Theater, a movie theater from 1930 until the early 1990s.

Then, it closed for several years, falling into disrepair.

In 1996, the Southern Hills Arts Council began a renovation project that led to the Markay Cultural Arts Center opening in August 2015.

The result is a blend of modern technology and historical elements that create a unique environment to appreciate live performances.

The cultural center now serves as a home to local artists who perform and present their artworks year-round.

Hunt Deer at the Lazy Dog Camp-Resort

Are you looking for a deer hunting retreat or a holiday with all the amenities in the woods?

The Lazy Dog Camp-Resort is open year-round and offers deer hunting opportunities on hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and woodland.

It features 77 spacious campsites and ten cabins with hot showers, laundry facilities, a swimming pool, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

You’ll find things plenty to do at Lazy Dog Camp-Resort, no matter the season.

The resort offers a variety of activities for non-deer hunters, including fishing, playing basketball, volleyball, shuffleboard, or ring toss game.

It also has a supply store where you can buy all your camping needs.

Ride a Bike at the Eddie Jones Park

The Eddie Jones Park is small but alluring.

The park features a biking and walking trail along Salt Lick Creek and is a local favorite for recreational activities.

You’re likely to encounter deer or other animals that inhabit Jackson’s forests while traversing this trail.

The park has a manicured lawn, perfect for enjoying family picnics or napping on a blanket.

The public can also use the pavilion.

The Eddie Jones Ball Field is located adjacent to the park, providing another place for recreational activities and various sporting events.

The park is on Harding Avenue, just minutes from the Jackson city center and many local businesses.

Skate at the Jackson Cavalier Roller Rink

Skate your heart out at the Jackson Cavalier Roller Rink, a single-floor indoor roller-skating rink.

Established in 1949, the Jackson Cavalier Roller Rink has given roller skating fun for all ages, from kids to adults.

Admission is only $5-$5.50.

You can bring your roller skates or borrow a pair for free at the facility.

Take a break from skating with the snacks and refreshments at the snack bar.

You can also rent the rink for your kid’s next birthday party.

Check out their website because they regularly hold exciting events for customers.

Relax at the Fairgreens Country Cabins

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful honeymoon destination or simply a relaxing getaway, Fairgreens Country Cabins has exactly what you need.

Fairgreens Country Cabins offers six types of cabin rentals deep in the woods along Fairgreens Road, where you can unwind and enjoy the countryside.

These cabins might be secluded, but they are close to stores, restaurants, and entertainment.

The cabins are rustic but feature luxury amenities, including hot tubs, air conditioning, gas fireplaces, fully-equipped kitchens, satellite TVs, wireless internet access, etc.

You can choose from various cabins, including one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and larger houses suited for groups or big families.

See the deer and wild turkeys, and fall asleep to the sounds of nature.

Stop by the John Wesley Powell Memorial

The John Wesley Powell Memorial is a unique tribute to the American geologist and soldier.

Powell led the first official U.S. government-sponsored scientific exploration of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon in 1869.

It is a small structure resembling a house built mainly from stones and slabs.

The Improved Order of Red Men put up the memorial.

This fraternal organization has roots in colonial America, and they consider Powell a role model and hero.

When you see the John Wesley Powell Memorial, don’t be fooled, though.

He wasn't born in this house.

However, Powell spent eight years of his childhood in Jackson before moving to Wisconsin and then Illinois.

It’s a nice place to stop by if you’re walking through the city.

Look at the City from the Fairmount Cemetery

Fairmount Cemetery is a burial ground that lies on top of one of Jackson’s highest hills.

It offers a picturesque view of the city and the valley of Salt Creek.

The cemetery’s most striking feature is its evergreen slope, maintained for many years as a green backdrop.

An hour’s walk on these hills will give you a good workout and allow you to reflect on life amid nature.

The cemetery regularly mows its grass; its carefully trimmed trees shade you as you walk.

The area is peaceful and quiet, providing an opportunity for reflection.

Play Golf at the Franklin Valley Golf Course

Enjoy your Jackson vacation with a round of golf on the lush fairways and greens at the Franklin Valley Golf Course.

The Franklin Valley Golf Course offers scenic views and a challenging landscape for golfers at every skill level.

The area features an 18-hole golf course with four sets of tees for different skill levels and well-groomed grounds.

The golf course is nearly 6,400 yards from the longest tees and offers views of the surrounding hillsides.

The staff is welcoming and friendly, and they can provide golfers of all skill levels with tips and tricks to improve their game.

Enjoy your outing with friends, or bring the family for a memorable time at this semi-private golf course.

Take a Stroll at the Manpower Park

Open to the public, the Manpower Park offers ample outdoor recreational space and nature preservation where you can enjoy a warm day under the sun.

The Manpower Park is open to all who seek to socialize with friends and family or get some exercise.

Its paved walking paths are ideal for strolls or jogs.

If you’re visiting Manpower Park with kids, pack lunch for a picnic on the grass near its playground.

Buy food and supplies at Jackson Square, across the park.

The park takes its name from the former Manpower Training Center built in 1960.

This park is dedicated to Admiral Stanley R. Arthur, a graduate of the Jackson High School who served as the second-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy from 1992 to 1995.

Watch a Horse Show at the Henderson’s Arena

The Henderson’s Arena in Jackson offers a premier setting for exciting horse shows.

The arena hosts various equine events throughout the year, including rodeos, barrel races, reining shows, and reined cow horse shows.

The arena is a full-service horse show facility that features an indoor arena and a covered make-up pen that can seat up to 2,000 spectators.

You can also visit Henderson’s Western Shop inside the compound, where you can buy a variety of western apparel.

Be the cowboy with their hats, boots, chaps, saddles and horse feed.

The Henderson’s Arena also occasionally hosts motocross competitions during the winter season.

Honor the Veterans at the Jackson County Veteran’s Memorial

The Jackson County Veteran’s Memorial honors the selfless sacrifice of the men and women of Jackson County to protect freedom.

The Fallen Soldier Statue in the middle represents the fallen soldiers who have given their lives for the country.

You can find over 600 names etched into the panels surrounding the statue.

The memorial stands where the historic Gibson House Hotel once stood, from the Civil War to the 1990s.

It also contains unique plaques for Jackson County’s prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Reflect on Life at Camp Bountiful

Self-reflection and quiet time with nature go hand-in-hand.

Camp Bountiful offers a quiet and peaceful place for rest, reflection, and renewal.

This camp features 60 acres of flat land with a labyrinth where you can walk and contemplate.

Draw spiritual strength and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Campers can also enjoy the swimming pool, hike through the wooded trails, or play a basketball game at the campsite.

The Community of Christ sponsors the camp, which opens year-round for retreats, reunions, and summer camps.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Catch Fish at Hammertown Lake

Beautiful sunset sky reflecting on Hammertown Lake
See1,Do1,Teach1, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

No trip to Jackson is complete without fishing at Hammertown Lake.

Located 13 minutes away from Jackson, Hammertown Lake is one of Ohio’s premier fishing spots.

It offers a deep two-story fishery featuring warm-water and cold-water species.

Many anglers catch largemouth basses, bluegills, and channel catfish.

The lake is deep enough to maintain a healthy trout population throughout the summer months.

This lake is perfect for paddling around in a kayak or canoe and enjoying the scenery.

Bring your fishing license when you head to the lake.

You can get one at bait shops and sporting goods stores across the state.

Final Thoughts

Jackson is more than just a quaint city.

It's an excellent destination for adventure seekers, art lovers, and history buffs.

A visit to Jackson will be an unforgettable experience with its incredible landscapes, history and culture.

Pack your bags and head to Jackson today!