As Cincinnati families, we are incredibly lucky to have so many family-friendly activities to do right here in the Queen City. But even with all of that fun, it’s still nice to get out of town from time to time and share new experiences as a family. We are also lucky to have several great getaway destinations that are ideal for a weekend road trip and are less than a few hours away.
To celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year, our family recently enjoyed a weekend getaway in Fairfield County, Ohio. If you’re not familiar with the area, the county is centered around the city of Lancaster and is just southeast of Columbus. We left our house in Northern Kentucky right after school and in about two and a half hours, we arrived at The Original Hocking Hills Adventures to begin our own weekend adventure as a family.
Fairfield County is right next to Hocking County, which you’ve likely heard of thanks to Hocking Hills State Park. In fact, perhaps you’ve already visited this area and wondered what else there is to do, in addition to the beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls. We found that Fairfield County and the city of Lancaster are filled with local businesses and experiences that are ideal for families visiting the region.
Our home base for the weekend was the King Fisher cabin at The Original Hocking Hills Adventures. This destination offers fun on the river with canoeing, kayaking, and more, and also has a campground with a Family Fun Center that was great for kids. Our five-year-old and almost four-year-old absolutely loved the experience of staying in the cabin, sleeping on bunk beds, playing putt-putt, racing go-karts, and cooling off on the splash pad. It had all of the rustic appeal of camping, but with a little more comfort that made it easier with young children.
Saturday and Sunday were both filled with lots of good food, local stops, playtime, and a bit of history. In addition to the surprising amount of fun to be had in the county, I was most impressed with the welcoming and friendly nature of everyone we met. We began our day on Saturday at the AHA! Children’s Museum and we are still talking about how friendly the gentleman was who greeted us at the door. Our kids loved this 8,000 square foot space that is creatively filled with hands-on exhibits and activities. Especially for families with children under the age of 8, this is the perfect place for imaginative play and a break from outdoor adventure.
It’s impossible to go hungry when staying in Fairfield County, especially considering all of the scrumptious local options. We loved our stop at the Candy Cottage where we picked up a few sweet treats (buckeyes!), and drooled over all of the candy. We don’t have Pizza Cottage here in Cincinnati, but when in the Lancaster area, it’s a must-try for delicious pizza! And if you still have a sweet tooth, be sure to swing by Nancy’s Scoops for a cone of your favorite flavor of ice cream.
There were three other food-related stops we made during our trip that I would consider to be must-try’s in Fairfield County. Dinner at Cherry Street Pub on Saturday night was very memorable thanks to the massive menu, friendly service, fascinating history of the restaurant, and definitely the amazing food! We also very much enjoyed our brunch at JB’s Downtown Grill on Sunday. Our kids now know what a Juke Box is, thanks to this local favorite. And if you’d like to meet the absolute sweetest person in the world, head to Sheril Ann’s Bakery. In fact, I’d recommend making this your first stop to stock up on baked goods to keep handy for your stay.
With all of the incredible food, you’re going to need more ways to burn off that energy – at least our children definitely did. We spent time Saturday exploring a few covered bridges and historic sites in the area. They may not have appreciated the history (my husband and I did!), but they loved the scenery and fresh air. Another place that’s great for kids to enjoy is Jolly Hoppers. It’s an indoor play place with bounce houses and plenty of fun for all ages.
When planning a weekend getaway as a family, quality time is at the top of the priority list, and we definitely had plenty of that during our trip to Fairfield County. If you’re looking for a place near Cincinnati that has a variety of activities, local restaurants, and outdoor fun, this friendly county has something for everyone. Definitely keep this area in mind for fall break, quick weekend trips, or even plan ahead for time away next summer. And to learn even more about Fairfield County, upcoming events, and all it has to offer fun-seeking families, visit their website here.