Summer is over and we have the long months ahead before vacation season is upon us again. That doesn’t mean we won’t need a recharge through the cold-weather months, though. Between the chaos of the holidays and the unpredictable winter weather that Cincinnati welcomes each year, many of us would happily take a chance at a quick getaway to hold us over until our next full-length vacation. Here are some of our favorite quick-trip spots that are within a four hour drive (or closer) from Cincinnati. And yes, we are leaving Gatlinburg off our list as that is always the most obvious spot for a lovers’ getaway or the perfect autumn ambiance.
Red River Gorge
Okay, okay. This is one more specifically aimed at the hikers, and most avid hikers are already well-aware of RRG. With that being said, autumn is truly the perfect season for novice hikers and first-timers to get to Red River Gorge because the physical toll isn’t quite as harsh in the cool air as it is in the middle of July. Red River Gorge is about a two to two and a half hour drive from Cincinnati, located southeast of Lexington. Visiting the Gorge this time of year is a must-the foliage this is breathtaking.
If you’re looking to get into touch with some Appalachian roots, three and a half hours away the Cumberland Gap offers over 24,000 acres of gorgeous national park to explore. Another prime spot for nature lovers, the peaks and valleys to be explored around the Gap are astounding to see and the park offers so much historical insight and importance.
Are you really even an Ohioan if you don’t make at least one visit to Amish Country? Filled with antique stores, a specialty cheese shop (I mean, come on!) and a German Culture Museum, there is plenty to explore and you will not be able to resist leaving with a car-full of new goodies and/or furniture on your three hour drive home.
For those interested in great fishing or avid wine drinkers, Kelleys Island is a great option and only about three and a half hours away. Located on Lake Erie and accessible out of Sandusky, Ohio, Kelleys Island is just one island making up the Bass Islands (another popular spot in the Bass Islands is Put-In-Bay). Beware, though: as winter approaches, an island amid a lake sandwiched between Northern Ohio and Canada may not be the most comfortable place to find yourself during the harsher, colder months.
Mammoth Cave National Park
Not for the extreme claustrophobics, Mammoth Cave can be a wonderous place to explore. The Park offers several different tours and informs you on the difficulty of each, so that no one enters into a commitment that they are not mentally or physically prepared for. About three hours south of Cincinnati, Mammoth Cave is the largest discovered cave system in the world a true gem just a day trip away from our fair city!
So as the fall and winter months approach, take a break and find a minute to explore or relax in one of Cincinnati’s neighboring spots!