15 Must-See Day Trips from Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, or the “Queen City,” is the place to be, but sometimes it’s nice to explore other places around Ohio and Kentucky. There are lots of things to do and places to explore, so sit tight as we assist in making the most of your weekend!

Ready those travel itineraries as we check out some of the best day trips from Cincinnati.

Top 15 Day Trips From Cincinnati

Cincinnati is accessible to many places in Ohio and nearby Kentucky and Indiana. If you’re looking for places to explore while in town, then you’re in for a treat.

Here are the top 15 day trips from downtown Cincinnati:

1. Covington, KY

Distance: 2 miles from downtown Cincinnati (10 minutes)

Across the Ohio river is the city of Covington, rich in history and home to lots of natural attractions. Strolling down George Rogers Clark Park or Pioneer Park can give you some quiet time with nature.

If you want to immerse yourself in the city’s history, check out the Behringer-Crawford Museum. You can also go to The Carnegie to enjoy a variety of shows and performances.

2. Big Bone Lick State Park

Distance: 25 miles from downtown Cincinnati (30 minutes)

The Big Bone Lick State Park is a historic site that’s sure to give you a blast from the past. This park is a goldmine for plant and animal fossils to study and appreciate.

Besides its exhibits, you can check out the trails and parks for a relaxing walk in the woods. The park also offers camping grounds for those who want to stay the night.

3. Loveland, OH

Distance: 20 miles from downtown Cincinnati (30 minutes)

Loveland is a small town filled with outdoor adventures for the whole family. You can also spend the day walking around the city while looking at its unique boutiques and shops.

You’ve got many outdoor activities to choose from with the city’s parks and trails. After a day of physical activities, you can chow down at a wide range of restaurants that serve quality food.

4. Kings Island Amusement Park

Distance: 25 miles from downtown Cincinnati (25 minutes)

Do you want to wake the inner child in you? We recommend visiting the iconic Kings Island amusement and water park.

Try not to get lost in the 364-acre park with many rides, attractions, and entertainment. Be sure to bring your kids or a group of friends to maximize the fun.

Oh, and don’t forget to try the roller coasters if you’re brave enough!

5. Yellow Springs, OH

Distance: 70 miles from downtown Cincinnati (1 hour and 15 minutes)

Yellow Springs is a free-spirited village with locals living an open-minded lifestyle. Yes, it’s a small town but has quite a few attractions like art galleries, trails, and nature preserves.

Try to visit John Bryan State Park while you’re at it. It’s a scenic nature park that hosts a lot of outdoor activities, and you can even bring your pets!

6. Lexington, KY

Distance: 83 miles from downtown Cincinnati (1 hour and 20 minutes)

Lexington is branded as the horse capital of the world. You’ll find lots to do with the city’s horse-themed attractions, like farms and racing courses.

You can also check out a variety of museums, art galleries, and historical locations. We recommend visiting the Ark Encounter for a chance to see a full-size imitation of Noah’s Ark.

7. Louisville, KY

Distance: 100 miles from downtown Cincinnati (1 hour)

If you’re looking for more horse-related attractions, Louisville is another city to go to. You’ll find it worthwhile to visit the iconic Kentucky Derby Museum and Churchill Downs.

There’s more to Louiseville than these two attractions, of course. You can choose from 120 attractions, including distilleries, museums, theaters, and the like.

8. Ohio Caverns

Distance: 105 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours)

Fancy going beneath the earth to explore America’s most colorful caverns? Try quenching your thirst for adventure by visiting Ohio Caverns.

These caverns are open all year round, with over 2 miles of passageways to tour. Feast your eyes on the caverns’ colorful rocks, fossils, and other natural rock formations.

9. Indianapolis, IN

Distance: 112 miles from downtown Cincinnati (1 hour and 50 minutes)

Indianapolis is a city full of vibrance and diversity in attractions and entertainment. You’ll find a wide range of museums, parks, stadiums, and other amenities in this bustling city.

Be sure to take your time and enjoy the sights when you’re at the iconic Monument Circle. You might also develop a newfound love for art if you get to see the Indianapolis Museum of Art Galleries.

10. Indianapolis Zoo

Distance: 115 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours)

The Indianapolis Zoo offers a life-like immersion in the wild. You’ll feel as if you’re actually in the desert, ocean, or forest with its animal exhibits.

This zoo is truly an educational place that people of all ages can enjoy. Remember to be kind to animals!

11. Columbus, OH

Distance: 110 miles from downtown Cincinnati (1 hour and 35 minutes)

Columbus is home to diverse neighborhoods that give you a taste of different cultures. There’s always something to do in the lively streets of the capital of Ohio.

Be on the lookout for various festivals and art galleries around the city. Also, be sure to prepare your appetite for assorted quality cuisine.

12. Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

Distance: 125 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours)

Here’s another popular and trusted zoo that’s worth a visit. Columbus Zoo is known for quality animal shows and exhibits that bring you closer to wildlife.

They take good care of their animals while providing a great experience to visitors. You might have also heard of them from their “Secrets of the Zoo” series on Nat Geo Wild and Disney+.

13. Hocking Hills State Park

Distance: 135 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours and 15 minutes)

Hocking Hills State Park offers a nature-filled adventure like no other. This is a good place to be one with nature as you explore its caves, falls, and lakes.

If you’re down for some physical activity, you can also try canoeing, hiking, and going down zip lines.

14. Granville, OH

Distance: 140 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours and 10 minutes)

The historical city of Granville offers many different art shows and food markets. You’ll find yourself looking for the best restaurants to eat at while taking in the sights of the city.

Granville is known for its beautiful architecture across the city. Take your time as you walk by its streets that are full of life and vibrance.

15. Red River Gorge

Distance: 146 miles from downtown Cincinnati (2 hours and 30 minutes)

Red River Gorge is a must-see location for all the outgoing nature lovers out there. It’s an understatement to say that you’ll never run out of things to do while you’re here.

It has breathtaking nature-filled scenery that will make for the perfect break from city life. Enjoy a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, camping, and the like.

While you’re at it, you can try spending a peaceful night by booking one of the cabins in the woods.

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