A Day Trip to Marietta Ohio

A day trip to Marietta, Ohio is a popular choice for many Ohioans. This is especially true on the weekend after Labor Day. You can experience three fun days of fireworks, exotic cars, fair food and entertainment at the popular Ohio River Sternwheel Festival, where a myriad of sternwheelers station themselves along the historic Marietta waterfront.

Historical Significance

The oldest town in Ohio, and the first permanent organized settlement of the Northwest Territory, Marietta was settled in 1788. To get in the mood for our day trip, we drove while listening to David McCullough’s audiobook, The Pioneers about the settling of the Northwest Territory, which tells the story of Marietta. We came prepared with lots of great background information.

Things To Do

A seasonal 1.5-hour Trolley Tour is the best way to get an overview of Marietta. Local guides will take you past historic sights such as Meigs House (1802), Victorian Front Street shops, the First Congregational Church, the David Putnam House, The Castle Museum, the Betsey Mills Club (1911), the Dawes House, and the Native American-built Mound Cemetery (filled with Revolutionary war veterans). Have you arrived off-season? Check out their Self Guided Tours – Marietta-Washington County CVB.

Visitors can also tour the Campus Martius Museum to see how a typically crowded middle-class family lived in the 1790s. Next, the Ohio River Museum showcases Marietta’s steamboat era. You can tour a parked sternwheel towboat (W.P. Snyder JR) or take an actual trip on a sternwheeler (the Valley Gem) that offers dinner cruises and other tours. To experience the darker side of this town, sidewalk seasonal Ghost Tours are on Friday and Saturday nights. To learn this secret history of Marietta, check out Hidden Marietta.


The beautiful Marietta River Trail crosses the Muskingum River to Harmar Village and Marietta’s first fort. Don’t miss the Westward Ho sculpture in Muskingum Park created by the Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum. You can rent bikes and kayaks from Marietta Adventure Company

Good Eats

Dining recommendations: Austyn’s,  Spagna’s, The Buckley House Restaurant, Busy Bee, The Galley, Marietta Brewing Co., Barker House, Levee House Cafe, and Boathouse BBQ

I hope you enjoyed A Day Trip to Marietta Ohio! Have fun exploring the oldest town in Ohio!

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