Best One Day Getaways From Columbus - Kid 101

Best One Day Getaways From Columbus

Lancaster (Forty minutes)

Lancaster is fun! It’s just a short 40-minute drive from Central Columbus and there is a ton to do, eat, see and explore. The Decorative Arts Center is a fab place to start, housed in a beautiful old building and showcasing various arts and craft including quilting, stain glass, watercolor, ceramics, sewing, and painting. From here you can do the Ohio Glass Museum and visit the Glass Blowing studio, then head on to Rock Mill and Covered Bridge historical park. This is a beautiful park with a deck and you can walk or just get a cup of tea and enjoy the beauty. The kids may enjoy a Valley Zipline Tour and you may enjoy a glass of wine at the Rockside Winery and Vineyards. It’s easy to spend a day here and you can browse, wander, learn, explore and come home feeling like you’ve been on holiday.

Fairfield Count (half an hour)

If you’ve been to Fairfield County before then you’ll understand why people keep coming back. It’s a town that is filled with history, culture, art, nature and – shopping! The Buckeye Lake State Park is Ohio’s oldest state park where you can swim, boat, fish and do one of the many well-marked hiking trails. The Amish markets of the Rushcreek Township and Sharp Farm Market are fascinating to visit and you’ll pick up some great bargains. Kids will love the AHA Children’s Hands on Adventure interactive museum and the Motorcycle Hall of Fame is pretty incredible. Look at the website as Fairfield is always hosting festivals, whether they be about music, wine, cheese or art. There are tons of restaurants, waffle houses, pancakes and ice-cream, cool bars if you’re older and the food is divine!

Hocking Hills (one hour and ten minutes)

Hocking Hills is a state park in Ohio, just over an hours drive from Columbus with beautiful forests, hills, old wooden houses, streams, hiking, fishing, and boating. It’s not all about nature although the Ash Cave Rock Formation and the Rock House Cave are amazing to see and it’s really nice to get out and into the fresh air. Cedar Falls are beautiful and it’s really nice to take off your shoes and splash around in the water. Take a picnic with you, or refreshments, then visit the Logan Antique Mall with some amazing finds. You can find a restaurant in town or head to nearby Nelsonville or Lancaster for food, drink, walking, shopping and exploring. Kids will love this activity as the caves and the river are huge hits, you may never get them to leave! Canoeing on Lake Hope is pretty cool too. Take a change of clothes, hats, and sunblock.

Nelsonville (one hour)

Nelsonville is one of the small towns in the Hocking Hills area and after you’ve hiked, boated, canoed and exhausted yourselves at Hocking Hills you can head to Nelsonville for a bit of culture. The culture here includes fantastic food, music, and art and the Nelsonville Emporium is a lovely place to visit. There’s also the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway here where you can take a train road through the plains of Ohio. (Definitely include this on your visit, it’s a big hit.) The Robbins Crossing Historical Village is a small pioneer village nearby with some amazing log cabin structures. If you have time, include a visit to the Fun Barn where your kids can play games and do a bit of bowling. Check the website as Nelsonville is also well known for its music festivals especially in the summer.

Athens (one hour and fifteen minutes)

Start your visit the Athen’s Country Visitors Bureau in uptown Athens, where you can get a list of the museums, homes, places of interest, art galleries, winelands, and parks in the area. You should definitely include a visit to the Kennedy Museum of Art, the Dairy Barn Arts Center, lunch or a wine tasting at the Wolftree Winery, shop in the fun boutiques and bohemian music stores and bookstores and maybe walk around the University of Ohio too. Uptown Athens is exceptionally beautiful in the fall, surrounded by trees of all colors, but its beautiful year round too. If you’re into history you can visit the Ridges Cemetery too. It’s easy to find your way around but you can join an organized walking tour if you prefer. Wear good walking shoes and take your wallet; the shopping is good.

Licking County (45 minutes)

Licking County’s slogan is ‘Art Lives Here’ and we love that! There are lovely nature preserves in Licking, divine healthy restaurants, fabulous lakes, a calm way of life and a love for all things natural, peaceful and healthy. And arty! There are some excellent art galleries in Licking. Licking is proud of their community and you can see this by the way the locals always greet one another and their visitors. There is a Visitor’s Center in downtown Licking and you can get info on renting a bike, walking trails, hiking trails, paddle boat hire, farmer’s markets, vintage stores, and restaurants. We suggest you take the same pace as the people of Licking and go slowly. Walk, wander, visit the Great Circle Earthworks and Museum, pick cranberries in cranberry season, visit the Granville Orchard, eat an apple overlooking the lake, and then have a divine meal. Take your wallet, not because it is expensive in Licking but because you’ll definitely want to bring some fresh produce home.

Dayton (one and a half hours)

Dayton is a real tourist hub being the birthplace of aviation. Dayton is home to the Wright Brothers and the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historic Park should be your first port of call. The National Museum here is interactive and amazing and you’ll see all kinds of aircraft and get to sit in the cockpit of one or two. The Wright Brothers Bicycle Shop is also here and it’s pretty cool to see how the brothers started off with bikes before moving on to aircraft. You may struggle to get your kids away from the big machines but tempt them the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Your kids are going to come home as budding astronauts! There is also a 350-acre organic farm in Dayton which is a nice place for lunch or tea, with large gardens for the kids to run wild.

Loveland Castle (one and a half hours)

This place is amazing! Also known as Chateau Laroche, the Loveland Castle is a museum on the banks of the Little Miami River. The Castle is an impressive building and your child may well want to wear a cape, a crown or brandish a sword! Chateau Laroche was built as an expression and reminder of the simple strength and rugged grandeur of the mighty men who lived during the times of the Knights. Walk down the pathways of the gardens, picnic by the river, learn all about the ONE man who made this all possible – Harry Delos Andrews- and enjoy a few interactive games with him. The doors open at 11 am daily and entry is just $5 per person, free for kids under the age of 5. Learn all about knights, ghosts, swords and body armor, buy a couple of souvenirs on the way out and leave feeling like you’re a friend of Harry!

Newark (45 minutes)

Take the short drive to Newark and head straight to Dawes Arboretum where within minutes you will be breathing in fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin and walking through a wide variety of plants, herbs, and trees, perhaps while licking an ice cream. Sound appealing? It’s beautiful and you can easily spend a couple of hours here. The Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve is also rather beautiful and the walking and birdlife here is astonishing. If by now you’ve had enough of nature make your way to downtown Newark where there are restaurants, museums, candy stores for the kids and shopping for you! It’s a lovely town to wander around and explore on your own and small enough that you won’t get lost. End off the day at the Buckeye Winery, don’t drink and drive though, and then head home happy!

Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Zoo (one and a half hours)

Head to the big city and bright lights, the huge shopping malls, the amazing Cincinnati Art Museum, The Wolff Planetarium and – The Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo is the second oldest in the USA and is a really good example of a well run and well-managed zoo. They have an amazing conservation program, good education program, and facilities, fabulous animals that are well loved and well cared for. Baby Fiona, the hippo, is known worldwide and it would be pretty cool to take her pic. There are several concession stands where you can pick up snacks and a couple of sit-down restaurants too. Take good walking shoes and a sun hat, or a thick coat in winter. The polar bears will enjoy seeing you. If you still have time, maybe take a trolley tour of the city to get to grips with it, pop in at the Spring Grove Arboretum, have a divine meal at one of the outdoor restaurants downtown and a glass of wine at D’Vine, then head home!

Cedar Point Amusement Park

If you’re a thrill seeker, love heights and crazy rides, fake beaches, swings, spills and thrills, candy floss and craft beer, head to Cedar Point Amusement Park. This is right in Columbus Ohio so you don’t even need to drive far. It’s $45 entry which may seem quite high but EVERYTHING is included, all your rides, entry to the beach and the parks, and all you need to pay for is your ice-cream or your meals. Check out the website as you can also get tickets that include snacks, drinks, dinner and entry to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is also here. The Amusement Park has a Sports Center next door, just in case you and your friends want to play a game of soccer. It’s fun for the whole family and we know you’ll be back – as they say, one day is never enough to dive, dine, swim, spin, shop, scream.

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