New to Ohio
Welcome to the Buckeye State!
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, it's understandable. Any sort of a major change is stressful, and moving to a new state certainly qualifies.
Fortunately, you've come to the right site. We offer friendly, helpful advice to guide you through the bureaucratic driving maze. In this section, we'll also try to familiarize you with Ohio in general. But, before you start exploring Ohio, it's best to first find out how to transfer your license and registration at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
Chances are good that there is a BMV deputy registrar's branch near you.
The BMV has also designed a handy online guide for new residents.
You should probably know that Ohioans receive a lot of traffic tickets. In fact, a few years ago it was reported that we lead the nation in that category. So, you might just want to familiarize yourself with our point system, and also read about traffic tickets.
On a related note, you'll need to have proof of financial responsibility before you drive on our roads.
If you have a disability, you should visit our Drivers With Disabilities section on this site.
We hope you don't have to use it, but Ohio does have a strong Lemon Law in case your vehicle isn't the great deal you thought it was.
And, if you want the nitty-gritty on Ohio's laws, just check our section on the state's Vehicle Code.
The BMV now allows drivers and state ID holders to register their emergency contact information with the agency. By doing so, you enable law enforcement officials to more quickly notify a family member, guardian, or friend if you're seriously injured in an accident, or are unable to communicate. Register for this service online or at any license agency location.
Ohio is called the Buckeye State because of all the buckeye trees found throughout the state. As part of the Corn Belt, its main industry is agriculture.
The Lay of the Land
Ohio is bordered to the north by Lake Erie, and to the south by the Ohio River. We are also bordered by our neighboring states of Pennsylvania to the east, West Virginia and Kentucky to the south, and Indiana to the west.
Oh, yeah, there's also Michigan to the north. But, we try not to talk about that state. (It's primarily a college football thing―you'll get the hang of it after a while.)
There are two major north-south interstates that run the length of the state. I-71 connects Ohio's three largest cities (Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati). Meanwhile, I-77 begins in Cleveland and runs south to Marietta.
There are also two major east-west interstates that run the width of the state. The venerable Ohio Turnpike, located in the northern part of the state, connects with the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the east and the Indiana Turnpike to the west. There's also I-70 in the middle of the state, which passes through Columbus, our state capitol.
We have a good assortment of large cities (Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati), medium-sized cities (Akron, Dayton, and Toledo), and small cities. A lot of the smaller ones have a charming, unique character with an interesting past.
Despite the population density, there are plenty of state and national parks (over 200,000 acres worth) throughout Ohio for hiking, biking, walking, or just relaxing.
You might notice that Ohio has a lot of towns with Native American names. (In fact, the name "Ohio" comes from Iroquois meaning "great.") There's a good reason for that: Ohio was home to many Native American tribes. In fact, their impact is still felt throughout the state, for instance, with the prehistoric effigy mounds.
Sports Fans Rejoice
If you enjoy playing or watching sports, chances are that you'll fit in just fine. Ohioans love their sports. We have professional baseball, football, basketball, and hockey teams. We also have numerous minor-league teams.
There's also a lot of great sports action at the collegiate level. You'll find that high school sports are equally popular, too―especially football on those chilly, Autumn weekend nights.
If you're an amusement park enthusiast, you're in luck. The state boasts three outstanding parks in Cedar Point (Sandusky), Kings Island (Cincinnati), and Six Flags (Aurora).
If you love visiting museums and zoos, you're also in luck, because Ohio has some of the finest in the country in both categories. And, don't forget about going to some of the diverse Halls of Fame scattered throughout the state, covering areas such as rock and roll (Cleveland), pro football (Canton), and inventors (Akron).
If listening to classical music is your passion, you'll need to make a point to hear the renowned Cleveland Orchestra, as well as the Cincinnati Orchestra.
So, take a deep breath, relax, take care of your driver and other responsibilities, and then begin to explore and enjoy life in Ohio!
For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Tourism website.