Summer in Cincy can be balmy, smoggy, and uncomfortable, making it the perfect time to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and cross some fun day trips off your bucket list. These destinations won’t drain your wallet, or time, but offer loads of entertainment and relaxation, whether you want to travel with family or friends.
For those fascinated with the paranormal, Mansfield offers a dark look into the past. This historic town is home to the Ohio State Reformatory, said to be one of the most haunted historical prisons in the nation. The reformatory was home to young male offenders and now offers guided ghost tours. The Renaissance Theatre in downtown Mansfield, and even the town’s fire house are said to be haunted hot spots. But don’t worry, if you get too spooked you can check out local eateries, wineries, and breweries.
St. Paul, Indiana
White Rock Park in Saint Paul has to be the best location around Cincinnati for cliff diving, but that’s not all the park offers. Have a volleyball tournament, grill out, fish or camp for a night at the park that pretty much offers it all. Even scuba diving is offered. If you are an adrenaline junkie and cliff diving is your thing, always remember to test water depths and take other necessary safety precautions.
West Liberty, Ohio
If you need to balance your chakras and seek some healing crystals, Ohio Caverns in West Liberty might just be for you. These caverns were formed long ago by an underground river, leaving amazing crystal formations. The caverns offer a cool escape from oppressive summer sun and learning about the history and formations will have you feeling like Bill Nye the Science guy. You can even stop by the gift shop to support the caverns and bring some of the beauty home with you.
If you’re looking to get boozy, head to Lexintucky for a Kentucky Bourbon tour. Five historic distilleries in the Lexington area have regular tour programs–Town Branch Distillery, Four Roses Distilling Company, Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey Distillery, and The Woodford Reserve. Photography is welcomed, as well as children if you want your mini-me’s to grow up with a rich understanding of bourbon culture. Gotta start em young.
Yellow Springs, Ohio
If you’re from Cincy and have yet to visit Yellow Springs, you better hop to it. This small village is surrounded by beautiful nature, boasts quirky shops and restaurants, and is only about an hour outside of Cincinnati. Stop by a wine tasting at Brandeberry Winery or try a craft beer at Yellow Springs brewery. Music lovers will find an oasis at Toxic Beauty Records. For kids and families, check out nearby hiking and biking trails and local art galleries.
No matter which day trip you take this summer, remember, it’s not about where you end up, it’s about friends, family, and getting away from the smog.