Travelers can immerse themselves in a different way of life by visiting the Amish country of Ohio, located in the northeast corner of the state and mostly centered in and around Holmes County.
While the Amish live simply, tourists can enjoy the choice of accommodation like hotels and hostels with wifi and TVs, or they can rent a cabin or cabin in the woods or live out of their RV in one of the many parks in the area.
Either way, visitors will get used to seeing Amish families riding around in horse-drawn carriages and even plowing their fields with horses. The Amish community arrived in Ohio in the early 19th century, having settled in Pennsylvania a century earlier.
Holmes County, Ohio has the largest population of Amish in the United States, totaling approximately 42% of the population. In Ohio, there are approximately 60,000 Amish, with the main Amish communities being in Berlin, Charm, Fredericksburg, Millersburg, Sugarcreek, Walnut Creek, and Winesburg.
A bit of background: Amish refers to a Protestant group that were originally Mennonites. Jakob Amman founded the group, and the word Amish derives from his name.
Most Amish in Ohio and elsewhere depend on agriculture and do not use cars, telephones or electricity. Visitors will see vast farmland in this area of Ohio, and many family activities for visitors center around agriculture.
Contemporary hotels and hostels offer modern accommodations
The town of Millersburg offers several lodging choices.
The Berlin Grand Resort has all the comforts of home, including fitness and sports facilities such as a large fitness center with an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna, a tennis court, racquetball and its own movie theatre. Rates start at around $150 per night.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites is located on the main road, Highway 62, and offers easy access to shopping and dining. The 72-room property is about a mile from historic downtown Millersburg. Room rates start at $137 per night.
Visitors who prefer a more homely atmosphere can check out Schrock’s Guest House, a newly renovated property within walking distance of the Berlin Antique & Craft shopping malls. Its rates start at $209 per night.
In the nearby town of Sugarcreek, the Dutch Host Inn offers accommodation for around $85 per night. Its furniture is the work of local Amish craftsmen and the property offers modern conveniences.
Park your motorhome and enjoy life in a campground
Travelers arriving in Ohio Amish Country in their own recreational vehicles have several choices of Motorhome parks in rural localities. Most offer multiple sites and full hookup services. Family activities are also available, including swimming, canoeing, hiking and horseback riding.
Scenic Hills RV Park in Millersburg rents sites starting at $40 per night. It has 112 full hookup sites, is pet-friendly, and offers wifi access. Amish stores are a short drive away.
At Baylor Beach Park in Navarre, RV campers can take advantage of the park’s two-acre swimming and water sports lake, where activities include paddle boats and water bikes. The park also has a mini-golf course. Baylor Beach sites are $44 per night, and water sports rentals cost extra.
Comfortable cabins can enhance your visit to Amish country
Cabin and cabin rentals are plentiful in the Ohio Amish Country. In Millersburg, Ferngully Creek offers several cabins that can accommodate both couples and large families. Set in serene woods, the chalets are only a few minutes drive from restaurants, cafes and many shops. The cabins, which start at $275 per night, are built of Michigan white cedar logs and feature gas fireplaces, king-size beds, and Jacuzzi tubs.
Briarwood Cabins, located near Walnut Creek in the heart of Amish country, offers full kitchens, wifi, outdoor hot tubs, TV/DVD, gas grills, and even washer/dryers. Rates start at $209 per night.
Visitors looking to exit the network can choose the Deer Trace Cabin in Dundee. Located deep in the woods, tenants can watch wildlife, relax around a picnic table or fire pit, and play garden games. The hut has a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room and a mezzanine with bunk beds. The rate is $228 per night.
Family activities put agriculture first
Once accommodations are taken care of, tourists can choose from a wide variety of activities, including museum visits and shopping, but because the Amish country of Ohio is all about farms and agriculture, the families can choose to experience the farms up close.
One place to do this is at majestic meadowsa 20-acre farm in Medina that raises alpacas and other animals.
Pastures and open fields are home to 70 alpacas, llamas, miniature cows, horses and donkeys, sheep, goats, two red kangaroos, miniature round-bellied pigs, a camel and a tortoise. A self-guided tour costs $10 per person. The farm also offers a program for children ages 8 to 14 called Farmer For A Day.
Youngsters can learn about the animals through hands-on experience and receive a farm t-shirt to wear and take home. During the program, they will use a two-way radio and learn to communicate and work as a team. The three-hour session costs $100 per child.
Another way to experience how the Amish live is to join a tour called Tour Yoder’s Amish Home. This Millersburg attraction offers visits to a historic house, barn and school and includes a buggy ride. The cost is $13 for adults and $9 for children. Visitors can pet the farm animals and bring a picnic to enjoy on the property.