Safe Trips & Activities Within Three Hours of Columbus

August 12, 2020

Soft serve at The Cone in West Chester, Ohio!

Like many industries, the travel industry has been incredibly hard hit over recent months. We work in tourism frequently, and so we’ve seen first-hand the economic impact on hospitality industry jobs, events, and attractions. So we reached out to some of our wonderful travel partners to ask them about safe and socially distanced activities in their regions and have discovered lots to do, from hiking trails to patio dining to socially distanced tours and activities.

It’s paramount that we all stay safe these days – wear masks, stay home if we’re sick, protect vulnerable populations, stay outdoors – but you and your socially distanced crew still have options to get out and explore.


Kingwood Center Gardens: Kingwood is now open all year round, with a new Garden Gateway addition. Most activities are outdoor, and admission is only $5.

Ohio Bird Sanctuary: outdoor bird displays and aviary, with plenty of walking/hiking paths.

The Wine & Ale Trail: all locations on the tour are open. Read about our experiences on the trail last

BibleWalk: life-size Biblical wax museum with six tours total, including a new tour called Kingdom of God. Arrive together with your group to do a tour on your own.

The Blueberry Patch/1285 Winery: pick blueberries, eat on the outdoor patio, visit the winery.

Richland B&O Trail: paved 18.4 miles connecting quaint towns of Richland County. Good for biking, walking, running.

Ohio State Reformatory: big facility good for social distancing, offering self-guided tours only currently. (In case you don’t know, it’s where they filmed Shawshank Redemption.)

Oak Hill Cottage: Gothic Revival style home; tours limited to six people to aid distancing.

For more resources and trip ideas, contact Destination Mansfield or read our post On the Mansfield Wine & Ale Trail.


Outdoor Patio Dining: plenty of options throughout the city, including Maumee Bay Brewing, Manhattan’s, Shorty’s. Consult Destination Toledo’s outdoor dining guide.

Sauder Village: living history museum and farm that just opened its 1920 Main Street.

Metroparks Toledo, including Cannaley Treehouse Village: the largest public overnight treehouse site in the country, just opened at Oak Openings Metropark.

Maumee Bay Resort & Conference Center: lots of options for overnight stays like cabins and camping, beach, boardwalk.

Toledo Museum of Art: free to visit, although the new Yayoi Kusama: Fireflies on Water is only $5.

National Museum of the Great Lakes: open for pre-purchased, timed tickets.

Sundance Kid Drive-In Theatre: perfect socially distanced movies!

For more resources, contact Destination Toledo or read our blog post Two Days in Toledo.


Travel the Butler County Donut Trail! They just added a new shop in Liberty Township called The Donut Dude. Need help planning your trip? Call the Donut Trail concierge line at 888-410-6994 during business hours and they’ll help map your route. Or sign up for the Extra Sweet Savings Pass, where you can get discounts while wearing your donut trail shirt.

Secret Shake Society: get the scoop on “secret menu” shakes around the county. Each shake is available for two weeks. Join the Society at

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum: with 60+ sculptures installed across the rolling landscape, they are the perfect place to explore safely.

Holiday Auto Theatre: old-school classic drive-in theatre outside of Hamilton.

Wake Nation: spend the day outdoors at the only place in the Midwest where you can wakeboard without a boat. Great for first-timers!

Nation Road Horse Rental: located on a family farm that’s been in the same family for generations, there’s no more serene place to go for a horseback ride.

For more ideas, contact the Butler County Visitors Bureau or read about our three visits to the region.


Newfields: 150+ acres of campus including the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, a beer garden, and more.

White River State Park: a 250-acre urban park with tons of green space and home to seven family-friendly museums and attractions: the Indy Zoo, Indiana State Museum, Victory Field, The Amphitheater at WRSP, Indiana History Center, Eiteljorg Museum, and the NCAA Hall of Champions. During the warm months, Indy’s Central Canal is stocked full of paddle boats, Italian-important gondolas, and exercisers of all kinds.

Eagle Creek Park: one of the largest municipal parks in the country; offers a beach, hiking trails, kayaking, and a zipline course.

Tibbs Drive-in Theatre: opened in 1967 and the only remaining drive-in theatre in Indy, with four screens and a capacity of nearly 1,600 cars.

For more travel ideas, contact Visit Indy or read our blog post Getting Into Indianapolis.


Dawes Arboretum: explore over 2000 acres of trails, manicured gardens, landscape sculptures, and more.

Granville Farmers Market: the market has returned to a new temporary location, currently at Raccoon Valley Park.

Patio dining like Snapshots Lounge: there are plenty of spots around the county with great patios, like Broadway in Granville or the unique Snapshots Lounge. Read our blog post about it!

Branstool Orchards: pick peaches, apples, pears, visit the farm market for lots of Ohio goods.

For more ideas, contact Explore Licking County or read our blog post Let’s Go to Licking County!

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I go by Dr. Breakfast, but in addition to restaurants and recipes, I write about family travel, breweries and distilleries, the arts, outdoor fun, and so much more.

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