15 Best Things to Do in Wilmington, OH

Wilmington, OH
JNix / Shutterstock.com

Established in 1810 and named after Wilmington, North Carolina, the city of Wilmington is a great place to spend your days off.

The community was shy of 1,500 residents during the 1840s, but the number quickly grew during the 1880s.

Today, you’ll see a city bustling with locals and tourists walking down the streets, trying to make the most out of this beautiful land in Clinton County.

Wilmington is also known as the birthplace of the famous banana split, making the festivities in the city much sweeter and more fun.

Wilmington is also home to several historical and monumental sites that pay homage to America’s renowned personalities.

But with the long list of places to go to and things to do, it can be hard to come up with a definitive list.

So, to help you out, here are 15 of the best things to do while in Wilmington, Ohio:

Watch Live Performances at the Murphy Theater

Exterior of Murphy Theater
Aesopposea, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Murphy Theater on Main Street is the best place if you’re looking to spend your day singing and dancing to the world’s greatest hit or laughing until you cry with top-tier stand-up comedy acts.

As you enter the halls and walk along the marble floors, the grandeur of the theater is seen on its gilded ceilings, decorated wooden panels, and intricate chandeliers.

exterior of Murphy Theater
JNix / Shutterstock.com

The theater first opened its doors to the public in 1918, hosting a variety of entertainment shows that people of all ages are sure to enjoy.

The theater was built by Charles Webb Murphy, a former owner of the Chicago Cubs, in an effort to bring a piece of his hometown to a different city.

Today, the theter’s old-fashioned marquee remains a popular landmark in the city, inviting guests from all walks of life to enter its doors and simply have a good time.

Learn about Clinton County’s Rich History at the Clinton County History Center

The Clinton County Historical Society was chartered in 1948 and purchased its museum in 1955.

This two-story touring museum on East Locust Street is home to various rotating exhibits, artifacts, and archives that tell the story of Clinton County’s humble beginnings.

Purchased by Matthew Rombach in 1855, the history center was formerly known as the Rombach Place Museum.

It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the home of Brigadier General James W. Denver.

Make your way around the museum and get a good look at Eli Harvey’s critically-acclaimed paintings and sculptures, as well as Carl Moon’s wide collection of photographs.

You can also check out artifacts from Denver’s military and political career and a collection of prehistoric Native American objects nearby.

Venture to the Great Outdoors at Cowan Lake State Park

Get lost in the beauty of mother nature and wander the great outdoors at Cowan Lake State Park.

Situated on Osborn Road, Cowan Lake State Park is recognized as one of the best places to set up camp and enjoy various water activities like kayaking and canoeing.

Make your way through the beech-maple forest and feast your eyes on a myriad of wildflowers like bloodroot, wild ginger, spring beauties, and trillium.

Marvel at the abundance of American Lotus adorning Cowan Lake’s shallow waters.

Birdwatchers can also enjoy sightings of eastern bluebirds, catbirds, and house wrens perched on the branches as they sing their tunes.

Shop for Great Finds at Caesar Creek Flea Market

The Caesar Creek Flea Market has hundreds of great finds for those looking to shop for one-of-a-kind items while on a budget.

Go through the entire market’s eight aisles and find a wide variety of products ranging from skincare products and collectibles to handmade crafts and tools.

Shop for second-hand items on the third aisle and find authentic glassware, porcelain dolls, and more.

You can also check out furniture pieces and other home decors.

Or, if you’re down for some snacks while shopping, grab a bite of homemade pretzels and swing by nearby eateries for a short break.

Join the Clinton County Corn Festival

The Clinton County Corn Festival is an annual celebration on Wilmington’s Main Street.

Spend three fun-filled days exploring booths, playing games, tasting homemade food, and listening to live music.

Vendors flood the area and fill the streets with the aroma of pork and steak sandwiches, buttery corn on a cob, juicy chicken dishes, and more.

The Clinton County Corn Festival also hosts unique shows, such as tractor and horse pulling, that you won’t find anywhere else.

You’ll also witness a one-of-a-kind corn Olympics, an outhouse race, and a spark show where steam engines shoot sparks into the sky.

You can also hop on the shuttle wagon for a quick tour around the fairgrounds and pass by the Antique Power Ground’s display of old-fashioned engines and tractors.

Catch a Horse Racing Show at the World Equestrian Center

With over 200,000 square feet of climate-controlled riding space, the World Equestrian Center on OH-730 is considered a world-renowned equestrian sports destination.

The facility hosts 32 weeks of World Equestrian Center-owned hunter/jumper horse shows joined by draw equestrians from 45 states.

Experience the world of equestrian sports in the “Showplace of the Midwest” and its world-class facilities.

Spectators are welcome to watch the shows up close from three of the equestrian center’s arenas一the Sanctuary Arena, Roberts Arena, and R+L Arena.

But if you think horse racing is the only thing to look forward to in this equestrian center, you might want to hold that thought.

The World Equestrian Center also welcomes its guests to dine, shop, and relax while in the area.

Swing by the in-house grill and cafe, or take a breather by dropping by the salon and day spa.

Pick Some Strawberries at Stokes Berry Farm

If you’re planning to visit Wilmington sometime between May and June, make sure to stop by Stoken Berry Farm on Center Road.

Founded by Jane and Dale Maurer in 1962, Stokes Berry Farm has become a favorite spot for those looking to munch on sweet and luscious berries.

Visitors can also opt to pick out some black raspberries, which typically last between two and three weeks.

Take your time going through dozens of rows of berries and pick out as much as you can.

To cap off your harvest, you can hang out by the fields and enjoy a relaxing picnic.

Go Kart Racing at Caesar Creek Speedway

Tourists looking for the thrill of the chase can head down to State Route 73 at Caesar Creek Speedway.

Caesar Creek Speedway is a popular destination for families who want a competitive racing atmosphere.

With its 1/7 mile oval dirt track, kids and adults are sure to have a good time racing around the circuit.

You can also bring your own karts instead of renting one from the facility.

Caesar Creek Speedway also hosts seasonal open racing tournaments, which you can sign up for.

Experience the Banana Split Festival

The world-famous banana split was invented in Wilmington, so it’s only fitting that a festival in the city is named after the notorious dessert.

In honor of Ernest R. Hazard’s invention of the banana split in 1907, Wilmington hosts an annual Banana Split Festival every June.

Since the ‘50s, the Banana Split Festival has paraded a series of fun-filled activities in all its forms.

Bang your heads and raise your arms during the festival’s free rock ‘n roll concerts and enjoy a classic car parade while munching on some delicious food.

Of course, the festival wouldn’t be complete without the star of the show一the Banana Split!

The festival usually has a “Make Your Own Banana Split” station, so get your creative juices flowing and go crazy with your signature banana split creation!

Explore the Fort Ancient Earthworks and Nature Preserve

Visit North America’s largest ancient hilltop enclosure earthwork.

Named a national historic landmark in 1966, the nature preserve is also Ohio’s very first state park.

It is also a nominee in the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks.

The ancient hilltop enclosure was built nearly 2,000 years ago and served as a social and ceremonial gathering place.

View the American Indian gardens in this historic enclosure and hike some trails for some scenic overlooks.

Go for a Hole-in-One at Adventure Cove

Adventure Cove on Highway 22 offers families the ultimate quality time.

With its 18-hole miniature golf course, Adventure Cove can surely be a great spot to hang out with your friends and family as you aim for holes-in-one.

Kids will surely have a great time with the golf course’s pirate-themed design.

The course offers varying levels of difficulty with holes ranging from par two to par five.

And after a tiring game, you can head over to the pavilion and cool off with some frozen treats.

Have a Few Drinks at TinCap Ohio Hard Cider

If you’re looking to end your day on a relaxing note, swing by TinCap Ohio Hard Cider down on Sugartree Street.

What was initially a family pastime soon turned into a Wilmington staple with TinCap’s craft beers and spirits.

Grab a few drinks of TinCap’s local Ohio brews and handcrafted hard ciders.

Head over to their taproom and grab a few drinks of some of their TinCap favorites, such as the OH’ Ginger, Jack’s Mad Mango, Irish Twig, and more.

You can also hang out for a while and catch some live music to go with your drinks.

Check Out Handmade Creations at the Clinton County Barn Quilt Trail

Admire local creations in the form of barn quilts at the Clinton County Barn Quilt Trail.

This establishment on South Street also offers a tranquil space where you can take a calming walk while checking out the barns.

Take a look at the intricate barn quilts that banner the barns, each with their own interesting story.

These creations were made possible through the efforts of over 200 volunteers and business sponsors.

Go through all 54 barns and simply enjoy the scenic view of the grasslands as if you’re staring at a painting.

Explore the Frank O. Hazard Arboretum

Wilmington College is the home of the Frank O. Hazard Arboretum, an area dedicated to the college’s longtime biology professor.

Upon arriving at the entrance, you can see a dedication plaque for Hazard, who was considered by many as “one of nature’s finest sons.”

This 13.43-acre plot of land is home to over 250 wood plants, shrubs, and trees.

Take a long walk around and marvel at the sight of Plume Retinospora, Cornelian Cherry, Compact Jupiter, Nootka Cypress, and Japanese Lilac, among others, adorning the grounds.

After your tour, you can also take a walk around the campus grounds and get a glimpse of the Wilmington college life.

Dine at General Denver Hotel Pub

Aside from serving a wide array of delectable dishes, General Denver Hotel Pub is famed for its historic significance to the city of Wilmington.

The hotel and pub has been sitting in the heart of downtown since 1924, occupying the corner of Main and Mulberry Streets.

The hotel and pub was built in honor of General James William Denver, who was considered a hero during the Mexican and Civil Wars.

Today, you can still be a part of its marvelous history by booking classic-styled rooms.

But don’t leave the place just yet without grabbing a bite at their restaurant.

Choose from a wide selection of the hotel pub’s house favorites and try out the general’s infamous burgers.

And while you’re at it, have a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, too.

Final Thoughts

Brimming with historical and cultural significance, Wilmington is indeed one of the best places you can go to for a relaxing and adventurous trip.

The vast number of sights to see and things to explore are too much for a few days’ worth of vacation, so you might want to book a longer stay.

Don’t miss out on the great adventures Wilmington offers, and book your trip today!