Ohio is a stunning state filled with many parks, wildlife preserves, and open spaces. Taking the family outside to look for wildlife and birds while hiking, biking, or fishing is a phenomenal way to get exercise and fresh air while creating bonds everyone will remember for a lifetime. Our team at Crème de la Crème has put together this list of six nature-filled experiences in the Mason, OH, area.

Pine Hill Lakes Park

A group of turtles lounging on a log by a lake in a park near Mason, OH

Turtles On Log by John Anes is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0

Imagine watching your child’s face light up with wonder chasing colorful butterflies in an open meadow. During the late spring and summer months, butterflies gather in Pine Hill Lakes Park , where children can delight in this natural phenomenon. This small park in Mason has over two miles of hiking trails, a couple of fishing lakes, and an arboretum housing a variety of plants.

Be sure to bring a fishing pole and your City of Mason fishing pass to try your hand at catching carp, catfish, pike, rock bass, or perch. The park promotes the catch-and-release of any fish you get, so please follow the rules. While fishing along the shores of the ponds, keep an eye out for turtles sunning on a log.

Location: 211 Kings Mills Road in Mason.

Hours: Daylight hours, year-round.

Cottell Park

Cottell Park is one of Deerfield Township’s premier parks, and visiting here is a lovely way to spend the day in nature. This 47-acre park has walking paths so kids can burn off energy, multipurpose ball fields for recreation, and catch-and-release fishing (with a pass) in the small lake.

Additional features of Cottell Park  include the Snyder House and surrounding gardens, the Deerfield Honors Veterans Memorial, and tennis and basketball courts. Young kids can romp and play with their friends on the playgrounds and play structures, and there are plenty of shady areas to relax and enjoy a picnic after a busy day at Cottell Park.

Location: 5847 Irwin Simpson Road in Deerfield Township.

Hours: Daylight hours, year-round.

Cincinnati Nature Center

Consider becoming a member of the Cincinnati Nature Center and have access to amazing nature-themed events and educational presentations, explore Rowe Woods, and enjoy the Nature PlayScape designed for younger kids. The 1,800-acre Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm of this nature center offer visitors a place to explore the woods, prairies, and wetlands. Start your adventure at the Cincinnati Nature Center’s visitor center to get information about hiking trails, special events, and guided tours.

Let the youngsters burn off energy in the PlayScape area, where they can romp and explore in a safe and protected natural area. Kids can turn over rocks and logs to look for bugs, stomp in the shallow creek, and climb onto the lower branches of native trees to feel the freedom of an unstructured play area. Members of the Cincinnati Nature Center have access to the Long Branch Farm and Trails section of the nature center, where they can hike the trails.

Location: 9449 Tealtown Road in Milford.

Hours: Rowe Woods and Long Branch Farm and Trails: daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Rowe Visitor Center: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and the Nature Shop daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All sections are closed on select days.

Frank Hosea Woods

Immerse yourself in a wooded area that’s the only nature preserve remaining in the city of Mason when you spend a few peaceful hours at Frank Hosea Woods. This serene 13-acre park has walking trails where you can watch for the numerous species of Ohio birds and migrating species as well. Frank Hosea Woods is a passive park, meaning there are no structured playscapes, ball fields, or tennis or basketball courts. People come to Frank Hosea Woods to hike, look for wildlife, and enjoy the solitude of the Mason, Ohio, woods.

Location: 4862 Hickory Woods Drive in Mason. 

Hours: Dawn to dusk daily.

Caesar Creek State Park

Whether you and your family want to boat, hike, fish, or camp, you’ll find the perfect outdoor recreational opportunities when you visit Caesar Creek State Park. When you come here, you’ll be surrounded by woods, wetlands, grasslands, clear blue water, and picturesque steep ravines. When the temperature climbs, everyone can cool off in Caesar Creek with over 1,300 feet of beach to lounge on under a shaded umbrella. Bring your own picnic lunch, or take advantage of the beach concession area, where you can pick up snacks and beverages.

Boaters will appreciate getting out on the water of the park’s 2,830-acre lake — perfect for kayaking, canoeing, or even water skiing. If you want a bit of solitude when spending the day or weekend at Caesar Creek State Park, hike the multiuse trails, or saddle up your horse and take a ride in the available equestrian trails.

Location: 8507 OH-73 in Waynesville.

Hours: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

Corwin M. Nixon Park

Corwin M. Nixon Park  is a 47-acre urban park where everyone in the family can find something to do, from swimming in the seasonal pool to walking along the trail that circles the soccer field. You’ll find lighted ball fields, a dog park, playgrounds for kids of all ages, and plenty of open spaces to lay back and watch the summer clouds drift by.

Be sure to bring a picnic with you and enjoy your meal under one of the shaded picnic pavilions or set up your tasty treats under the gazebo complete with barbecue grills. This park has several restrooms with easy access from several points within the park and drinking fountains with fresh water perfect for quenching the family’s thirst.

Location: 6249 Mason-Montgomery Road in Mason.

Hours: Dawn to dusk, year-round.

Are you ready to pack a picnic, binoculars, and a camera to enjoy these six nature-filled experiences in the Mason area? Which spot is your family’s favorite? Did we miss another place to enjoy nature? If we did, and you have a recommendation for a nature-filled experience, let our team at Crème de la Crème of Mason know, and we can share your suggestion with our community.