As much as we love our beloved city, sometimes you just have to get the hell out of here for a little bit! We know it all too well, so we compiled a list of the bast places to take a day trip so you can escape for at least a few hours without blowing all of your money…
Within One Hour:
1. Yellow Spring, Ohio
You want to talk about a quick and simple escape, well Yellow Springs is definitely the best place to explore if you don’t want to have to go too far away. At right around one hour away, Yellow Springs has a little bit of everything. If you’re a beer-lover, you have the option of spending some time at their local brewery, and just like the brewers in Cincinnati, they know what they’re doing! They’re actually really impressive. You’ll think they’ve been perfecting their beers forever after trying one, but it hasn’t been long at all. Go for the Captain Stardust. It’s killer.
So let’s say you’re not into beer (you poor soul), well, there’s much more to Yellow Springs than just their brewery. Can we just talk for a second about how there’s a farm where you can grab a scoop of ice cream that literally just came from the cow… yeah, it’s fresh. That’s just the beginning, though, because they’re big into the organic scene in Yellow Springs. In fact, they have a ton of farms for you to explore if you’re looking for some super-fresh produce.
At the end of the day, Yellow Springs is all about relaxation and natural living. It’s kind of a temporary oasis for anyone who’s feeling like they need a cleansing of body and spirit, and even comes complete with a pretty nice bike trail, and a good-sized natural park for those who enjoy hiking. Whether you’re looking to down a few new beers or just get away from the bustle of the city in nature, you’re going to love the place.
2. Wright Patterson Air Force Museum
Sometimes you just need to step back into history to get away from the present. Sometimes it may be a little unhealthy to dwell in the past, but it’s perfectly acceptable when you walk through the hangars at the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. Featuring war birds and historic planes from various points throughout American History, they’ve spared no effort in making sure that all of their planes were properly restored.
Once you walk in, you’ll be amazed at the sheer size of many of the planes. Of course, when you look at a lot of planes, you’re like “damn, that’s a big plane,” but you haven’t seen anything until you set your eyes upon the largest plane in the hangars. The B52-D was designed to hauls massive payloads, and pretty much dwarfs anything we’ve ever seen. Let’s just put it this way: they didn’t call them “flying fortresses” for no reason. Let’s not kid ourselves, though, no image could possibly portray the massiveness of this beast.
So, pretty much, it’s kickass to take a look into the true impressiveness of everything that our Air Force has had to offer up over the past one-hundred years, and you can’t truly appreciate it until you get to see them all up close. They’re open from 9:00AM-5:00PM every day of the week. Oh, and did we mention that admission is FREE? Yeah, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Oh, and about all of those reports of aliens up there…
Within Two Hours:
3. Hocking Hills, Ohio
Ah, ze nature. What better way to get away than literally just getting lost in all of the beauty of Ohio’s vast countryside? There are rarely tourists there, you have plenty of natural parks to choose from, and the hiking trails seem to go on forever. You can definitely find plenty of escapes into nature, but none that seem to have both a lack of tourists and an abundance of options for you to get some fresh air.
One of our personal favorite spots throughout the area is Lake Hope, which is literally the best if you’re looking for something for everyone to enjoy. There’s swimming along the banks, you can rent a canoe or rowboat for a romantic ride around the lake, or you can simply relax on the side of the lake with a picnic or fishing pole. That’s not to mention that it’s right next to Zaleski State Forest, so you can take a dip in the lake after a long, refreshing hike.
It’ll be hard not to want to stay an extra night after enjoying just a few hours around Hocking Hills, but that’s perfectly fine, as you’ll never be able to do it all in one day, but just one day will be enough to help you get the rest and relaxation that you’ve been dying to get. They also hold a number of excellent festivals around the area, and aren’t even that far from Athens, and we all know how crazy it can get down there…
4. Nashville, Indiana
Talk about a town that’s teeming with all of the artistic goodness that you could ever want… Nashville, Indiana gained the name “Little Nashville” for a number of reasons, but most of it revolves around the fact that they pay homage to the larger city in all the right ways. You can take in plenty of live bluegrass/country music and you had best learn how to line dance before you head to dance on any night when you’re in town.
Even when you first drive into town, you can’t help but see the giant sign that reads “Artists Colony,” and know that you’re among many whom have dedicated their entire lives to the arts. You’ll notice everything from ridiculous antique shops to places where you can buy all kinds of unique hand-crafted furniture. Plus they have this great place in town where you absolutely have to eat at when you come into town. Yeah, so pretty much: Trolly’s = Love. What, making food is an art, right?
Ultimately, what makes Little Nashville one of those places that’s an excellent escape is the fact that it really is so much different than what we’re used to around Cincinnati. The culture is different, the crafts are different, and the arts are exactly what this town is built around. Who knows, you may even get to run into an Elvis… er something like that.
Within Three Hours:
5. Santa Claus, Indiana
Ever wish that it could just be Christmas all year long? Well, there’s a little town in Indiana that says “to hell with it, because we love Christmas.” It’s kind of strange at first, seeing all of the Christmas lights everywhere. They even have a campground named after our favorite reindeer. Sure, Christmas may still be five months out, but you can never start getting into the Christmas spirit too soon, right?
That’s not even the big deal about Santa Claus, though. The real treasure among the confines of the city reside in Holiday World, one of the most interesting amusement parks that we’ve ever seen. The park has divided its rides into different sections based on different holidays, and they have some good ones. While the Raven isn’t quite the beast, it’s still one of the most badass wooden roller coasters in the country, and you have to check it out.
As if that wasn’t enough to convince you, their water park has consistently ranked among the top three in the entire country. Their water slide, Mammoth, is the longest water coaster in the world. Not only that, but they have a ton of other water rides too. Seriously people, if you haven’t been here yet, you’re missing out for sure.
6. Lake Cumberland, Kentucky
Sometimes you just get the urge to float around on a giant lake with a couple of beers, and, hey, we’re right there with you. The good news is that one of the best lakes in the country is only a short drive south of Cincinnati. You can do everything from water-ski to renting a boat to go fishing, but, whatever you decide to do, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
Even if you’ve had enough time on the lake after the first few hours, you’re never very far from Mammoth Caves, too. You want to talk about getting adventurous on your day off, then squeezing your way through dark caves filled with stalagmites just might be your thing. Seriously, you’ll be far away from all the distractions, and sunlight… and that annoying dog that the neighbors have. You know, a real escape.
It may be a longer drive than some will like to make, but you’ll forget about that as you lazily float around in an inner tube, just soaking up the sun’s rays. Don’t forget to snag one of those little umbrellas to put in your margaritas. Yeah, you should make margaritas for the trip. You’ll be happy that you did.