The 17 Best Day Trips From Columbus, Ohio [2024]

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Columbus, Ohio, is a great place to live, but sometimes you just want to get out and explore. That’s great because there’s lots to do in Ohio. These are the best day trips from Columbus, Ohio — for both adults and families traveling with kids. Even better, these day trip ideas are within a 2-hour drive of Columbus.

Day trips can make a quick daycation (a day of vacation, get it?!) or an easy overnight trip. So, hop in the car and get ready to explore Ohio!

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The Best Day Trips From Columbus, Ohio in 2024

These 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. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Sign
There are so many great day trips from Columbus, Ohio…you can even visit a National Park in a day!

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, hiking trails, and waterfalls. Highlights include Beaver Marsh, Brandywine Falls, The Ledges, Blue Hen Falls, and 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

2. The Wilds 

Rhino at The Wilds Ohio - day trips from columbus, Ohio
Nope, you’re not on a safari in Africa…you’re at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio!

The Wilds, located in Cumberland, is one of the most unique places you’ll find in Ohio. 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.

Location: 14000 International Road, Cumberland, Ohio 43732

Contact: 740-638-5030 | The Wilds

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes

Read More: For more activities near The Wilds, check out these things to do in Zanesville (Muskingum County.)

3. Hocking Hills State Park 

Hocking Hills State Park | Logan, OH | USA
Another beautiful waterfall in Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills State Park 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

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4. Mad River Mountain

I took a ski lesson with my daughter (a first for both of us!) at Mad River Mountain, and it was such a fun experience.

Mad River Mountain is Ohio’s largest ski and snowboard resort. Located in Zanesfield, it’s a great spot to learn to ski for the first time or to hone your skills close to home. As part of Vail Resorts, you can even use your Epic Pass here.

Location: 1000 Snow Valley Rd, Zanesfield, Ohio 43360

Contact: (800) 231-7669 | Mad River Mountain

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 50 minutes

5. Ohio Caverns 

Ohio Caverns day trip from Columbus
The Ohio Caverns make a fun day trip from Columbus.

Ohio Caverns has 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

6. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

Ancient Sculptures at Pyramid hill
The Ancient Sculpture Park at Pyramid Hill was impressive —- and not something you would expect in Ohio!

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 - Day Trip from Columbus
Cowvin’s Fast Slide at Young’s Jersey Dairy. Image Credit: 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

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8. Newport Aquarium

white alligators at newport aquarium in newport, kentucky
Snowball and Snowflake are a pair of white alligators at the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky.

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

9. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Day Trips from Columbus - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The pyramid design of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame might remind you of another famous pyramid!

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is a must-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 & 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!)

10. Salt Fork State Park

View from room at Salt Fork Lodge
View from Salt Fork Lodge at 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

11. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

National Museum of the US Air Force
Image Credit: National Museum of the US 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

Contact: 937-255-3286 | [email protected] | National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes

12. Kings Island

Image Credit: 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

13. Pro Football Hall of Fame

Image Credit: stephaniequinn65 from Pixabay

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

14. The Farm at Walnut Creek 

Day Trips from Columbus Ohio - Farm at Walnut Creek
Dromedary Camels at the Farm at Walnut Creek. Image Credit: The Farm at Walnut Creek

The Farm at Walnut Creek, located in Sugarcreek, Ohio, 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

15. Loveland Castle

Image Credit: 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 games, or enjoy a picnic by the river.

Location: 12025 Shore Drive, Loveland, Ohio 45140

Contact: 513-683-4686 | [email protected] | Loveland Castle

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 25 minutes

16. Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Ohio Bird Sanctuary
Image Credit: 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

Contact: 419-884-4295 | [email protected] | Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 5 minutes

17. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Image Credit: Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Cedar Bog Nature Preserve is a 450-acre nature preserve located in Urbana, Ohio. You’ll enjoy the mile-long boardwalk, where you can view many rare plants and animals.

Location: 980 Woodburn Road, Urbana, Ohio 43078

Contact: 937-484-3744 | [email protected] | Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 55 minutes

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For more information about everything there is to do in Columbus throughout the year, check out my detailed guides to Columbus:


The best day trips from Columbus, Ohio (USA). These fun day trips are all within a 2 hour drive of Columbus, Ohio! #columbus #ohio #daytrip #midwest #travel #familytravel #ohiotravel #daytripsfromcolumbus #staycationideas

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Cindy Ladage

    I like the variety of places you list. I love the Pyramid Sculpture Park and would like to try some of the other art and nature options!

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