Portage County is nestled in Northeast Ohio in a primarily rural area between Akron and Youngstown, encompassing a total area of 504 square miles. Arranged in an organized 4-by-5 grid of 20 rectangles, Portage County is composed of 18 townships containing five cities, 10 unincorporated communities, and seven villages. Ravenna is the county seat, serving as a hub for community activities, events and the county government. Residents of Portage County take advantage of convenient access to the metropolitan areas of Greater Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Warren and Youngstown, but they also enjoy the laid-back country atmosphere of the county.
Portage County’s position amidst several booming cities is helpful for the county’s business economy. Once noted for its manufactured glass and cheese production, Portage County now has a growing business base of a range of industries producing products from toys to aircraft parts. West Branch State Park is a major park located in the heart of Portage County. The park centers on a large 2,650-acre lake perfect for fishing, boating and swimming. Encompassing 5,379 acres of meadows and woodlots, West Branch State Park provides an excellent backdrop for camping, hiking and horseback riding. There are a number of additional smaller state and local parks scattered throughout the county, adding to the natural beauty of the area.
The county is home to 11 public school districts in addition to five neighboring districts that serve portions of Portage County. There are four institutions of higher learning in the county, including Kent State University, Hiram College, Northeast Ohio Medical University, and a campus of Fortis College. Residents of the county benefit from the college-town culture surrounding Kent State University, as they may access the Kent State University Museum and Kent State School of Art Galleries, watch sporting games, and attend campus events. University Hospitals operates a number of health care facilities throughout the county, with branches in Aurora, Mantua, Garrettsville, Streetsboro and Ravenna.