Day-trip Destinations

If you’re looking for a day trip destination that’s not too far from southwest Ohio, we have some great ideas for you! From outdoor adventures to educational experiences, taking a trip out of town is a great way to discover the hidden gems that are all around our state. 

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve 

2381 OH-343, Yellow Springs
Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour 30 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 35 minutes 

This 268-acre preserve 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. During the warmer months, the valley floor is covered with wildflowers! 

Columbus Center of Science and Industry (COSI) 

333 W. Broad St., Columbus
Distance from Cncinnati: 2 hours
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 15 minutes 

COSI Columbus “inspires the scientists, dreamers and innovators of tomorrow.” This dynamic hands-on science center is fun for all ages (its Children’s Museum is awesome), and the Dinosaur Gallery is reason to go on its own.  Highlights include a 6-foot-long mechanical T. rex model that walks in place; an 8-foot tall Titanosaur femur; a huge, three-horned Triceratops cast; and (for you Jurassic Park fans), a 100-year-old piece of fossilized amber preserving an ancient feather. Definitely worth the trip! 

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium 


4850 W. Powell Rd., Powell
Distance from Cincinnati: 2 hours 10 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 20 minutes 

If you think a zoo is a zoo, think again. Columbus Zoo and Aquarium offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s truly aimed to get families thinking about animals, the environment and conservation. The Columbus Zoo is huge; in each direction you’ll experience different habitats and species, all designed to be interactive and accessible. The polar bears, for example, could be seen both above ground and below; to access the below-ground viewing area, you’ll follow a mining-style path with signage about the bears’ habitat and how to protect this species from environmental and human threats. And of course, once you’re down there, you’re treated to a front-row view of the bears happily diving and swimming in the water. 

Hocking Hills State Park 

Logan, OH

Distance from Cincinnati: 2 hours 30 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 50 minutes 

A two-hour drive 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. Families should definitely check out Ash Cave, which features handicap- and kid-friendly trails. Pack a picnic and make a day out of this Eastern Ohio gem! 

Legoland Discovery Center 

157 Easton Town Ctr, Columbus
Distance from Cincinnati: 2 hours
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 20 minutes 

Legoland Discovery Center is 36,000 square feet of fun in Columbus’s Easton Town Center. With indoor playgrounds, two rides, Miniland Ohio, a 4D cinema, virtual “factory tour” and 10 themed play zones, Legoland Discovery Center is absolutely worth the drive. 

Long’s Retreat 

50 Bell Hollow Rd., Latham
Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour 45 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Created in 1971 by Eric “Tip” Long with a few campsites and a small lake, Long’s Retreat Family Resort has now grown into one of the top tourist attractions in Southern Ohio. With over 400 acres, Long’s Retreat offers permanent camping, cabin rentals, swimming, go karts, water slides, carousel, arcade, mini golf and more.  

Young’s Jersey Dairy 

Young's Jersey Dairy

6880 Springfield Xenia Rd., Yellow Springs
Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour 35 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 35 minutes 

Young’s Jersey Dairy is a family-owned farm that has welcomed and entertained visitors for generations. There’s lots to do at this real, working farm — in addition to wandering its charming facilities and noshing on farm-fresh ice cream and cheese curds at its restaurant, Young’s Udders & Putters is sure to be a big hit with kids. This area features miniature golf, a large batting cage, a play area for those 48 inches and under, an exciting slide, a barrel train ride and even a driving range! Be sure to check Young’s events calendar before you go — there are lots of fun activities throughout the year. 

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