Columbus, Ohio is a great place to live and a great place to visit! In addition to tons of activities and festivals throughout the year, there are lots of great day trips that are within a 2-hour drive of Columbus.
These day trips can make a quick daycation (a day of vacation, get it?!) or an easy overnight trip. Whether you’ve got kids in tow or you just want to spend a relaxing day in nature, these day trips are sure to please.
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The 16 Best Day Trips From Columbus, Ohio
These 16 day trips from Columbus, Ohio are great ways to get away when you aren’t able to take a big vacation. Hop in your car and enjoy your day-long vacation at these great spots.
1. The Wilds
The Wilds, located in Cumberland, is one of the most unique places you’ll find in Ohio (maybe even the whole country!) Without leaving the midwest, you can experience an open-air safari tour at this 9,000+ acre non-profit wildlife park and conservation center (which is a partner of the Columbus Zoo). You’ll get to see some incredible animals, including zebras, rhinos, antelopes, giraffes, cheetahs, and more.
For more activities near The Wilds, check out these things to do in Muskingum County.
Location: 14000 International Road, Cumberland, Ohio 43732
Contact: 740-638-5030 | The Wilds
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes
2. Ohio Caverns
Ohio caverns have crystal stalactites, stalagmites, and other amazing formations. The caverns are the largest in the state and are recognized as “America’s Most Colorful Caverns.”
You can take a guided tour that lasts about 1 hour…and don’t forget to bring a jacket! The caverns remain at a constant 54 degrees throughout the year.
Location: 2210 East State Route 245, West Liberty, Ohio 43357
Contact: 937-465-4017 | Ohio Caverns
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour
3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Cuyahoga Valley National Park is located between Cleveland and Akron along the Cuyahoga River. It’s one of the nation’s 61 National Parks and the only National Park in Ohio. Inside the park, you’ll find forests, hills, trails, and waterfalls. Highlights include:
- Beaver Marsh
- Brandywine Falls
- The Ledges
- Blue Hen Falls
- The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Location: 15610 Vaughn Road, Brecksville, Ohio 44141
Contact: 440-717-3890 | Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 55 minutes
More Info: Cuyahoga Valley National Park Trails
4. Loveland Castle
Did you know that you can visit a castle — in Ohio?! Loveland Castle is located in Loveland and was built in the 1920s. You can take a self-guided tour, explore the grounds, play some games, or enjoy a picnic by the river.
Location: 12025 Shore Drive, Loveland, Ohio 45140
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 25 minutes
5. Ohio Bird Sanctuary
The Ohio Bird Sanctuary, located in Mansfield, is home to over 30 different species of birds, who, because of injuries, can’t live in the wild. The 90-acre preserve also has hiking trails, a children’s play area, and picnic areas.
Location: 3774 Orweiler Road, Mansfield, Ohio 44903
Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 5 minutes
6. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum, located in Hamilton (in Butler County), is a fantastic 300+ acre outdoor sculpture park that you can drive through in your car, or you can rent a golf cart (I highly recommend this). Be sure to stop into the Ancient Sculpture Museum to see the Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian, and Egyptian sculptures that date back to 1550 B.C.
Location: 1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45013
Contact: 513-868-1234 | Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 45 minutes
7. Young’s Jersey Dairy
Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs is a great spot to visit with young kids. You’ll find different events and activities throughout the year, including mini-golf, goats and cows, rides, pumpkin picking, and more! If you’re visiting in late summer, be sure to check out the sunflower field in Yellow Springs, too.
Location: 6880 Springfield-Xenia Road, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Contact: 937-325-0629 | Young’s Jersey Dairy
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 50 minutes
8. Salt Fork State Park
This isn’t just another state park. Salt Fork State Park, located in Guernsey County, is legendary for its ties to the legend of Bigfoot! It’s also Ohio’s biggest state park, covering over 17,000 acres of land. At the park, you’ll find a walk-through archery course, a lake for fishing and boating, a dog park, golf and mini-golf, a beach for swimming, over 14 hiking trails, and more.
Location: 14755 Cadiz Road, Lore City, Ohio 43755
Contact: 740-439-3521 | Salt Fork State Park
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes
9. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton is the world’s largest military aviation museum. It houses over 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and features exhibits illustrating military aviation history. There’s also a flight simulator and 3D theater.
Location: 1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio 45433
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes
10. The Farm at Walnut Creek
The Farm at Walnut Creek, located in Sugarcreek, is a working farm that features over 500 animals, including giraffes, camels, zebras, and kangaroos. You can drive along the 2.3-mile trail or take a horse-drawn wagon ride to feed the animals.
Location: 4147 County Road 114, Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681
Contact: 330-893-4200 | The Farm at Walnut Creek
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hr 45 min
11. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve
Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is a 450-acre nature preserve located in Urbana. You’ll enjoy the mile-long boardwalk where you can view many rare plants and animals.
Location: 980 Woodburn Road, Urbana, Ohio 43078
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 55 minutes
12. Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills in Logan is a gorgeous area for enjoying the outdoors and one of the most popular day trips from Columbus, Ohio. You’ll find plenty of hiking, mountain biking, and camping. If you want to make this an overnight trip, there are lots of great cabins to choose from. I enjoyed the private cabins at the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls and Cherry Ridge Retreat for a romantic getaway.
Location: 13178 Route 664, Logan, Ohio 43138
Contact: 1-800-HOCKING | Hocking Hills
Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes
13. Kings Island
King’s Island is an amusement park located just north of Cincinnati in Mason, Ohio. It’s been around since the 1970s and was even featured on The Partridge Family and The Brady Bunch! Highlights include thrill rides, Planet Snoopy, and Soak City Water Park.
Location: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Kings Island, Ohio 45034
Contact: Kings Island
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 20 minutes
14. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a great place to visit for anyone who loves music. The museum features traditional exhibits along with The Garage, a hands-on area featuring 12 instrument stations with instructional videos to try. The museum’s building and iconic glass pyramid were designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, who also designed the pyramid in front of The Louvre in Paris, France.
Location: 1100 Rock n Roll Blvd, Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Contact: 216-781-ROCK | Rock n Roll Hall of Fame
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 2 hours 5 minutes (if you drive fast, this comes in under the 2-hour mark – ha!)
15. Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame, located in Canton, is a mecca for football. You can wander the Hall of Fame at your leisure or take a guided tour.
Location: 2121 George Halas Drive NW, Canton, Ohio 44708
Contact: 330-456-8207 | Pro Football Hall of Fame
Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 2 hours
16. Newport Aquarium
The Newport Aquarium isn’t in Ohio, actually. It’s located across the river from Cincinnati in Newport, Kentucky, but it’s still close enough to make a great day trip.
My favorite parts were the giant Pacific octopus (seriously, the trip is worth it to see this guy alone!), the 2 white alligators, and the huge tank that features sharks, a sea turtle, a giant 300lb grouper, and shark rays.
Location: One Aquarium Way, Newport, Kentucky, 41071
Contact: 800-406-3474 | Newport Aquarium
Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 40 minutes
For more information about everything there is to do in Columbus throughout the year, check out my detailed guides to Columbus!
- Spring Activities and Festivals in Columbus
- Summer Activities and Festivals in Columbus
- Fall Activities and Festivals in Columbus
- Winter Activities and Festivals in Columbus
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