It’s about time for a part-two of an article I wrote last year highlighting some places I’ve personally visited within four hours of Columbus, Ohio.  I added a few more places to the original article, but thought instead of adding more to that one, I would just write a second.  (Part one can be read here.)

I’ve written about a few of these places in other articles, but I thought a more succinct list might be easier to read and share with others. if you want to recommend some of these hidden gems in Ohio and other nearby states.

1. Hocking Hills

Distance: 1 hour

Almost everyone in Columbus knows about Hocking Hills as a destination to visit.  There aren’t many places hike and see hills around Columbus (obviously), so this area is close enough it’s a hot place to visit.  However, it’s worth mentioning regardless.  There are many trails and sites worth mentioning, including Old Man’s Cave.  

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2. Cumberland, Ohio

Distance: 1.5 hours

If you can’t go to Africa, go to the Wilds!  They have open-air safari rides that are $30 a person, and you get to see animals in a “more natural habitat.” ( Obviously they were stolen from their original habitat, but for those of us who have a complex with visiting zoos will enjoy this option more.)  The safari takes you around so you can view animals grazing or watering.  Animals we saw: zebras, camels, deer, giraffes, and other animals I can’t pronounce.

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3.  Cincinnati 

Distance: 2 hours

I’ve been to Cincinnati twice to see the aquarium, which is amazing, and wrote about that in part one.  However, the last time we went, we visited a few other places worth mentioning.  We went to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, which discussed the harrowing effects of slavery in the United States, and current slavery that still exists in the world.  It’s one of those places that you want to be mentally prepared for, it’s thought-provoking and extremely intense to walk through.  (Large printed slave ship sketches, a slave pen, etc.)  

Right outside of the Freedom Center is a waterfront area with a park and suspension bridge to walk on.  The suspension bridge goes over the Ohio River and connects Covington, Ky with Cincinnati.

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We also visited the Cincinnati Art Museum (which is free!) and has a fantastic clothing exhibit and other amazing artwork.  It was a beautiful museum to visit.  Other places we visited there were Spring Grove Cemetery, which had some beautiful graves and other structures within the arboretum. 

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Even though there was a wedding going on and we couldn’t explore the cathedral completely, we were able to see the nave inside and the beautiful building on the outside.  I would like to go back when it’s not full of wedding guests to explore the rest of it.

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After sightseeing, we ate dinner at a restaurant called Taft’s Ale House, which boasts a very decadent menu.  It was in an old building and had great food, beer and cocktails.  

4.  Chagrin Falls

Distance: 2.5 hours

Chagrin Falls is an adorable little suburb of Cleveland.  If you want to pair this town with a trip to the main part of Cleveland, check out this guest post with a travel guide of places to check out in the main city.  Chagrin Falls main area has an old timey popcorn shop, Jeni’s Ice Cream and the actual falls to view.  The town is fun to walk around and explore.  

When we went, we had a Groupon for an adorable bed and breakfast called The Club at Hillbrook.  Their rooms are beautiful, spacious and elegant.  We ate dinner in the main restaurant, which had cute string lights and overlooked the large property.  You can also walk around the property and enjoy some of their interesting trails and nature nearby.  

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5.  Dunbar, PA

Distance: 3 hr. 45 min.

For a complete review of this area, check out the post Day trip from Columbus: Western PA.  Here you can see some Frank Lloyd Wright homes, see some caverns, sample some berry pie and view the rolling hills of Western PA.  There are plenty of things to do, and it’s all less than 4 hours from Columbus.  

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Sand Hill Berries Farm

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View of the mountains from Kentuck Knob

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Frank Lloyd Wright home Kentuck Knob

Nina Thomas

Travel lover and writer

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14 comments

  • Abby August 29, 2016 on 5:09 PM Reply

    Awesome Imagery!

    Dunbar is now on my “weekend adventure” list.

  • Nina Thomas August 30, 2016 on 4:44 PM Reply

    Thank you… you should go to Dunbar, it’s a beautiful place!

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