The 9 Best Outdoor Day Trips From Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio is a great place to live and a great place to visit! But there are lots of great day trips that are within an easy 2-hour drive of Columbus.

These day trips can make a quick daycation (a day of vacation, get it?!) 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.

 1. Salt Fork State Park

Image: Secret Hideaway April Reed

This isn’t just another state park. Salt Fork State Park, 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, dog park, golf and mini-golf, a beach for swimming, over 14 hiking trails, and more.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes | Salt Fork State Park

2. The Wilds 

Image: Adam Cairns / Dispatch

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 zebra, rhinos, antelope, giraffe, cheetahs, and more!

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 35 minutes | The Wilds

3. Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Image: Brandywine Falls at Cuyahoga 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

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 55 minutes | Cuyahoga Valley National Park

4. Loveland Castle

Loveland Castle | East Cincinnati | Visual Arts & Culture ...

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.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 25 minutes | Loveland Castle

5. Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Image: 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.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 5 minutes | Ohio Bird Sanctuary

6. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

Ancient Sculptures at Pyramid hill

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 (highly recommend this). Be sure to stop in to the Ancient Sculpture Museum to see the Greek, Roman, Etruscan, Syrian and Egyptian sculptures that date back to 1550 B.C.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 1 hour 45 minutes | Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum

7. The Farm at Walnut Creek 

Day Trips from Columbus Ohio - Farm at Walnut Creek
Image: 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.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus:  1 hr 45 min | The Farm at Walnut Creek

8. Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

Image: Matt Bayman

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.

Approximate Drive Time From Columbus: 55 minutes | Cedar Bog Nature Preserve

9. 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.

Approximate Drive Time From Downtown Columbus: 1 hour 10 minutes | Hocking Hills

Article courtesy of  Zen Life and Travel