Need a vacation, but not ready for the time, effort, and money it takes to plan a getaway to a different state or country? Consider a day trip from Cincinnati, and discover so many fun and unique activities, whether you’re looking for something to do for two or with the whole family. 

A day trip is an easy way to re-energize yourself with a completely new experience, all while being home in time for dinner. Check out some of the top day trips from Cincinnati that we’ve rounded up below.

Explore the Beautiful Yellow Springs

Yellow Springs is a great option as a date or for the whole family. Self-dubbed “Everyone’s Favorite Place,” this little village is just a little over an hour north of Cincinnati. This town is rich in culture and is full of activities for whatever mood you’re in. Hang out in downtown for some great shopping and dining, or stop by Young Dairy’s for some of their homemade ice cream.

If you’re looking for some scenery, the Glen Helen Nature Preserve has beautiful waterfalls and the famous yellow springs for which the town is named. Yellow Springs hosts a number of street events and festivals throughout the year, so there is always something to do. Their website has a full list of events taking place so you can plan the perfect day trip.

Go Underground at Louisville Mega Cavern

Louisville, Kentucky, is also less than two hours away from Cincinnati and boasts the Louisville Mega Cavern, an underground man-made cavern with 17 miles of passageways and a plethora of awesome activities. You can go on a walking tour, do a zipline excursion, or take a tram ride in this massive cavern that boasts adventures galore. There is a fully underground ropes challenge that you can even book for events like birthday parties.

The cavern is also home to special events like Lights Under Louisville, a holiday tradition. Visitors can pay for a self-guided drive through the underground light display, with tickets starting at $27 per vehicle.

Discover Greatness at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Another family-friendly attraction in Louisville is the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. This museum is perfect for any true baseball fan. Greeting you at the entrance is the world’s largest baseball bat, dubbed the “Big Bat.” There is also the “Big Glove,” a 17-ton sculpture crafted out of 450 million-year-old Kentucky limestone. It’s not just for show, though; you can crawl through and slide down for a fun, active play experience.

Another great activity at the museum is the guided tour of the Louisville Slugger bat factory. You get to see the ins-and-outs of how these bats are made as well as the history behind them. Entry for the museum is $16 for adults and $9 for kids. Children ages 5 and under get in free.

Take in the Sights at Red River Gorge

A stunning view of the Red River Gorge.

Image via Flickr by jdeeringdavis

If you’re looking to escape the city and go on an outdoor adventure, look no further than Red River Gorge. This scenic area is about a two-hour drive from Cincinnati and is great for a day trip solo, with a partner, or with the family. The beautiful landscape features a natural bridge, hiking tails, sandstone arches, and cliffs to look out over the view. Take advantage of thrilling activities like rock climbing, ziplining, and canoeing. Ziplining prices start at $89.99 per adult and $69.99 per child, and you can get up to a whopping speed of 55 miles per hour on the line.

Learn Aboout Wildlife at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Another two-hour drive away is the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. There are so many outdoor and indoor exhibits to explore as you walk around or take a guided tour of the facility. On top of that, there are special events throughout the year, so be sure to know what’s going on before you go. A daily admission pass is $21.99 for adults and $16.99 for children and seniors. 

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is unique and offers more than just your average zoo. Not only is it fun, but you’ll learn all about these beautiful animals, their environments, and current conservation efforts. Discover the animals of different continents with unique and interactive exhibits like Asia Quest, Heart of Africa, and North America. Land and sea meet at the Shore and Aquarium, along with many others. Some exhibits are both above and below ground, like the polar bears. You can even get up close and personal with animals like the giraffes and stingrays with the purchase of a VIP Experience Pass.

Re-Live the Ice Age at Big Bone Lick State Park

Not ready to actually meet the animals face-to-face? Take a quick trip just 35 minutes south of Cincinnati to Boone County, Kentucky. This beautiful state park is named after the megafauna fossils from the Ice Age found in the region, including mammoths and forms of bison, caribou, moose, and even mastodons. Come by to see the bison that still roam the park today, our last living mammalian link to the Ice Age. Discovery Trail starts right behind the visitor center and takes you on a learning journey of what happened at the salt and sulfur springs during the last Ice Age. 

If you’re just looking for some good ol’ outdoor fun, you can partake in a number of activities including hiking, camping, fishing, mini-golfing, swimming, and more. Be sure to check out the museum as well as the gift shop while you’re there. This day excursion is especially easy on the wallet because admission to both the park and the museum are free. 

So next time you are looking for a mini-adventure for the day, be sure to check out one of these six awesome day trips from Cincinnati. Take a break from the city for some quick rest and relaxation while exploring somewhere new!