Best Places to Live in Ohio for Families: Small Town Edition

The Latest from Bolte


best places to live in Ohio for families

The last few years have seen a rising trend in people leaving big cities behind in favor of smaller towns and more tight-knit communities. In fact, in 2023, America’s small towns saw more population growth than bigger cities for the first time in decades. When it comes to North Central Ohio, many “where to live” lists feature suburbs of the Cleveland metro area (such as Chagrin Falls and Westlake). But what about the smaller towns that lie further outside the city limits? If you’re interested in small town living and you’ve been looking for the best places to live in Ohio for families, you’re in luck—we’ve put together a list to help you find the perfect fit. Let’s dive in!


Huron, Ohio is a scenic town located on the shores of Lake Erie. Only 45 minutes from Westlake (one of Cleveland’s most popular suburbs), Huron offers a mix of suburban and waterfront living with a unique small-town charm perfect for families of all sizes. The neighborhoods in Huron offer a diversity in housing options, from more historic cottages to new builds.

Huron has a lot to offer when it comes to family-friendly recreational activities and events. For instance, nearby Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve has several miles of easy trails through marshlands and woods and is a great destination for bird watching and nature walks. Lake Front Park also has a beach area and picnic spots, while Fabens Park includes sports fields, playgrounds, and fishing ponds.

Residents of Huron enjoy several community-focused events throughout the year, including the Huron River Fest and the Boat Basin Concert Series.


Norwalk, Ohio, also known as “Maple City,” has a rich history complete with gorgeous Victorian architecture and a welcoming community. It’s the ideal balance of rural charm and suburban conveniences and is located about an hour outside Cleveland. Like Huron, Norwalk features a diverse array of neighborhoods. Pleasant Street and Benedict Avenue showcase historic homes and tree-lined streets, while newer developments offer alternative housing options for families.

Nature is a big part of life in Norwalk. Baines Park, for instance, provides access to baseball fields, playgrounds, and picnic areas. Veteran’s Memorial Park and Bronson Conservation Area also feature serene environments with walking trails, monuments, green spaces, and educational programs on wildlife.

Throughout the year, families in Norwalk enjoy a number of fun events, such as the Norwalk Firelands Festival, the Maple City Grand Prix, and the Dairy Dash.

Port Clinton

Another town located on the shores of Lake Erie and only an hour outside Cleveland, Port Clinton boasts waterfront living, a vibrant downtown, and easy access to the Lake Erie islands. Neighborhoods in Port Clinton include West End, which features charming older homes with close proximity to downtown; and Catawba Island, an upscale neighborhood with luxury homes, private docks, and lake views.

Port Clinton has a number of beautiful parks for families to enjoy. Residents will find a beach, picnic shelters, and playgrounds at Lakeview Park. Waterworks Park features a marina, fishing pier, and ample green space. And Portage Riverwalk Park offers scenic walking trails along the river.

Family friendly events in Port Clinton include the Walleye Festival, the Art Walk, and Christmas in July.


With a population near 25,000, Sandusky is the largest town on this list, but it’s a great option for those who want a small-town vibe without giving up the conveniences of a larger urban area. Sandusky is a lively place best known for Cedar Point, one of the world’s largest amusement parks.

Outside the touristy areas, Sandusky has a lot to offer families. Luxury waterfront homes can be found in the Cedar Point Chaussee area, while South Columbus Avenue features beautiful historic Victorian and early 20th-century homes. Perkins Township, on the other hand, has newer suburban developments with a number of family-friendly amenities.

If you’re looking for more nature and less amusement from a park, Shoreline Park in Sandusky provides scenic views, a splash pad, and picnic areas. For marina services and playgrounds, head on over to Battery Park. And for families interested in state-of-the-art sports facilities and playgrounds, Sports Force Park might be the go-to spot.

As a larger community, there is no shortage of family-friendly events throughout the year. Some of the most popular Sandusky events include the Sandusky Festival of Sail, holiday parties at the Merry-Go-Round Museum, and free summer concerts held weekly in various parks.

Find Your North Central Ohio Small Town with CENTURY 21 Bolte Real Estate

The towns mentioned above are only a few examples of what North Central Ohio has to offer. If you’re looking for the best places to live in Ohio for families and you want to relocate to a smaller, quieter town, get in touch with us at CENTURY 21 Bolte Real Estate. We’ve been serving the needs of home buyers, sellers, and investors in the North Central Ohio area since 1936. We’re a team of real estate professionals passionate about helping our clients achieve their real estate goals. Get in touch today to get started.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe now to get the latest updates, posts, and community news right in your inbox.