Our fall schedules may look a little different this year, so why not take this opportunity to travel and explore our beautiful state! There are so many places within a couple of hours or less that are perfect for a day trip or even a weekend excursion. Enjoy the fall foliage at one of the many state parks throughout Ohio or spend the day learning about creatures of the sea at an aquarium. There is a lot to see in Ohio and time away from home may be just what you need. We have put together a list of the 7 best day trips to take this fall!
1. The Wilds
The Wilds located in Cumberland is a great place to take the kids or even visit as an adult. Located about 90 minutes from Columbus, The Wilds is actually operated by the Columbus Zoo. As you view the grasslands and meadows that have been made into homes for rare and endangered species, you may feel like you have stepped into Africa rather than rural Ohio. Take an open ride safari tour through the grounds and enjoy the scenery and up-close encounters with some of nature’s most incredible animals. Taking this relaxing and unique experience also helps support wildlife conservation efforts being done right here in our state.
2. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
You may be surprised to learn that there is a National Park located right here in Ohio. The beautiful Cuyahoga Valley National Park is only about a 2-hour drive from Columbus and there are many things to see and explore there. One of the most popular attractions is Brandywine Falls. The 60-foot waterfall offers spectacular views, especially in the fall when surrounded by shades of orange foliage. Another popular spot is Beaver Mash, a restored marshland home to frogs, turtles, bird species, and its namesake, the beaver. Take a day trip to a National Park and enjoy nature!
3. Mohican State Park
Rich in history, Mohican State Park is a perfect place to explore the wilderness with the family. Take a hike through the Mohican State Forest, or enjoy lovely fall views from a peaceful canoe ride in the Mohican River. Just over an hour from Columbus, Mohican State Parks offers cabin rental, a campground, a lodge, fishing, and much more. One of the closer excursions on the list, you may want to return again and again to explore all that this State Park has to offer.
4. Salt Fork State Park
Less than 90 minutes Columbus, Salt Fork State Park is a great place to explore on the weekend. It is home to one of Ohio’s largest inland beaches and is great for boating, fishing, and other water activities. Enjoy nature by taking a hike on one of the many trails to explore. Take your camera and your imagination, because it is even rumored that a Bigfoot-like creature wanders the grounds. If you want to make it a weekend you can stay at the lodge, campground, or rent a cottage. Beautiful fall leaves and the smell of campfires around will have you feeling the joys of fall in no time.
5. Amish Country
If you are looking for a unique experience in the country that offers great food, local wineries, and shopping, then a visit to Ohio’s Amish Country might be for you! The heart of Amish Country, Millersburg, is a little under 2 hours from Columbus. The entire area is full of things to do and explore. It also offers an opportunity to take a step back from the modern hustle and bustle of life and enjoy learning about the culture of the Amish and Mennonite people of Ohio. If you want to make it a weekend, there are plenty of accommodations including quaint bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, camping, and more.
6. Newport Aquarium
Actually located in Newport, Kentucky, Newport Aquarium is still within 2 hours of Central Ohio. This popular destination for families is a great place to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the wonders of the sea. Explore one of the many exhibits such as Gator Alley, Shipwreck Realm of the Eels, or Amazon Tunnel. Get up close and personal with sharks, penguins, sea turtles, and more. Get a little bit of ocean life without traveling too far!
7. Hocking Hills
It’s hard to make a list of great day trips from Central Ohio and not include popular Hocking Hills. This area is a nature lovers’ haven with everything from hiking, cave exploration, waterfalls, nature walks, canoeing, and more. Just about an hour away and probably the closest location on the list, this area is perfect for getting away from the city and getting a dose of fall, fresh air. Plan a day trip or stay for the weekend at one of the many cabins, campgrounds, hotels, or cottages.