5 Cheap or Free Outdoor Day Trips Near Cincinnati

Outside, spring is springing — and there are lots of close-to-home places where we can go for some fresh air and a change of scenery. 

Check out our roundup of 5 cheap or free outdoor day trips near Cincinnati:

Serpent Mound


Serpent Mound is the world’s largest surviving effigy mound—a mound in the shape of an animal—from the prehistoric era. Located in southern Ohio, the 411-meter-long (1348-feet-long) Native American structure has been excavated a few times since the late 1800s, but the origins of Serpent Mound are still a mystery. Some estimates place the construction of the National Historic Landmark—also called Great Serpent Mound—at around 300 B.C. Serpent Mound is located at 3850 OH-73, Peebles, OH 45660 and costs $8 per carload.

Big Bone Lick State Park

big bone lick state park kentucky

Located just 35 minutes south of downtown in Union, KY, Big Bone Lick State Park is a hidden gem that definitely deserves a visit or two! Big Bone Lick State Park is a 813-acre state park that your kids will actually want to visit for an outdoor day trip. Highlights include hiking, an interactive museum and real bison. Free

Clifton Gorge

Part of the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, Clifton Gorge is a 268-acre preserve that protects one of the most spectacular dolomite and limestone gorges in the state. In some areas, cliff overhangs have broken off, forming massive slump blocks scattered along the valley floor. While in Yellowsprings, peruse the local shops or stop in and create your very own Little Fairy Garden. Access to Clifton Gorge is free!

Hocking Hills

Just over two hours away is another world that’s a must for nature enthusiasts. Hocking Hills State Parks boast 2,356 acres of natural beauty: towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges. Stop by the brand new lodge and Hocking Hills indoor exhibit. Free

Hueston Woods

Located in Butler County, Hueston Woods is another favorite for outdoor day trips. During the spring, the forest floor is blanketed with a luxuriant display of wildflowers including dutchman’s breeches, squirrel corn, large-flowered and sessile trilliums, may-apple, bloodroot and several species of violets and buttercups. Free

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