Last-Minute Holiday Trips

If you’re craving a last-minute getaway with your family this holiday season, consider one of these drivable destinations that would make a perfect quick trip out of town.


Distance from Cincinnati: 1 hour 45 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 15 minutes

Chillicothe’s rich indigenous past permeates this Ohio city. For a unique local experience, visit the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, where you can discover the area’s ancient indigenous history by visiting Earthen mounds and embankments that date back to 200 B.C. For a day focused on the little ones, visit the Mighty Children’s Museum, where kids can engage in hands-on play and educational experiences. During the winter months, the museum is the spot to find outdoor ice skating, too. If you’re a train fan, make a stop at the Chillicothe Railroad Museum, which is housed inside two retired cabooses. The Adena Mansion and Gardens Historic Site offers another chance to learn about Ohio history — this museum is the estate of Thomas Worthington, the sixth governor of Ohio and one of the state’s first United States Senators.



Distance from Cincinnati: 2 hours
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 15 minutes

Winter in Dublin, Ohio, is a magical time for families. Bundle up for a walk across the Dublin Link, the world’s longest single-tower “S” shaped suspension bridge. You’ll get a great view of the Scioto River from the bridge, so don’t forget to bring your camera! For a whimsical experience, take your little ones on the Irish Fairy Door Trail, where they can search for hidden fairy doors throughout Historic Dublin. And if you’re up for a little adventure, embark on a picturesque waterfall tour to see the beautiful frozen cascades in nearby parks like Indian Run Falls and Hayden Falls. When the sun goes down, take a short drive north to experience Wildlights at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, a breathtaking display of millions of LED lights, animated musical light shows, Santa, reindeer, and other holiday festivities taking place through January 7.

Related Article: Worth the Drive: Ohio’s Free Christmas Cave


Distance from Cincinnati: 2 hours 15 minutes
Distance from Dayton: 1 hour 45 minutes

Art appreciators will love Lancaster — this vibrant community really embraces art in all forms. For a hands-on art experience with your family, visit Young at Art studio, where your little ones can explore their creativity at the splatter studio and throw paint, make a mess, get covered in paint — and all of it is encouraged! For another hands-on experience, check out Art & Clay on Main, where you can paint and decorate your own pottery masterpieces to take home. (And bonus: This place is also the location of Square 7 Coffee House, so you can sip and paint at the same time!) If you’re looking to immerse your family in the local art scene, be sure to visit the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio, featuring rotating exhibitions of different art forms that will captivate all ages. Lancaster is known for being a hub for glass arts, so you’ll definitely want to visit the Ohio Glass Museum to learn about the rich history and art of glassmaking in the region.


Distance from Cincinnati: 3 hours
Distance from Dayton: 2 hours 15 minutes

The Toledo area has something for everyone, even during the winter. Head outdoors to Maumee Bay State Park, where you can enjoy cross-country skiing on the Mouse Trail, winter nature hikes, ice skating, and sledding on the area’s top-rated sledding hill. If you visit the Toledo Zoo during the holidays through December 31, you can experience the zoo’s Lights Before Christmas, an outdoor electrical spectacle with more than one million twinkling lights and 200+ illuminated animal images. Located on the Maumee riverfront, Imagination Station lets kids express their creativity while getting hands-on with science. Housing 30,000 works of art, the Toledo Museum of Art is a great place to view some of the world’s best art, and best of all — admission is free!

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or cozy indoor fun, there are plenty of places around Ohio that make for a quick family getaway!

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