Local Getaways/Day Trips in Columbus, OH
It’s a short drive out of the city, but you’ll feel like you’ve left it a million miles away when you pull in to Old Man’s Cave. Old Man’s Cave is one of the most popular sections of Hocking Hills State Park. Follow the trails into a mile-long gorge spotted with waterfalls, cliffs, rock formations and tons of other breathtaking sites. There are five sections in Old Man’s Cave, so you can spend the whole day or just an hour – it’s up to you. There are a few good spots for picnics, so if you’re planning on a long hike bring a snack or a meal. There’s nothing like sitting under a waterfall while you relax and have a meal, and Old Man’s Cave is one of the few places around here you can try it.
You’ll never miss the beach when you can spend your day at Zoombezi Bay! Spend a day in the sun and water at this unbelievable water park. Zoombezi Bay, Columbus' 1,000,000 square-foot water park, has almost 20 different water rides, lots of different restaurants, a surf shop and tons of fun. You can even surf on one of the seven different waves at the giant Wild Tides wave pool! To get more bang for your buck, sign up for a season pass. If you go just a few times, it’ll pay for itself. The park is owned in partnership with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, located just next door, so you can even sign up for a joint pass. This way, you’ll be able to stroll through the zoo, and then jump in the pool to cool off after a day in the sun.
The Olentangy Indian Caverns are probably different from any other underground caverns you’ve seen. These are more than simple caves under the Earth, they’re actual hallways, rooms and winding paths. Step inside to a world steeped in Indian lore and local history, a place where the Wyandotte Indians used to live, eat, sleep and hide. Take a tour and explore the three levels of caves. While you’re here, mine for gems, go for an outdoor hike or play miniature golf. It’s easy to spend the whole day here, in a place that’s such a well-kept secret that most residents don’t even know about it.
Spend some time in the wild at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, one of the city’s crown jewels. Set aside an entire day for this trip, and wear your walking shoes; it will take several hours to see all the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has to offer. Pack your own picnic lunch and plenty of drinks for the day. The food and refreshments available at the zoo are pricey and strollers are not permitted in the food court area. If you do buy a drink from the zoo, purchase one of the large drinks with a reusable container – the first purchase is a bit pricey, you can have super cheap (or free!) refills all day long and the massive cup serves as a fun keepsake of your day.
A back country road in north Columbus leads you to a beautiful brick estate. Only the stacked wine barrels at the entrance let you now it’s much more than a country home. Wyandotte Winery is one of Columbus’ little-known treasures, and you can see it in all its glory for no charge. Each Saturday, the winery offers free tours at 12:30 p.m. See where the grapes are grown and how the wines are made. If you feel like spending a few bucks, they offer wine tastings at a great price – just $5 to try six wines. If you do decide to sample their drinks, be sure to try Sweet William. This blush wine is a crowd favorite, and easy on the wallet at less than $15 per bottle.