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Outdoor Adventure Road Trips for Drivers in Dayton, Ohio

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Ash Cave complex in Hocking Hills State Park
Ash Cave at Hocking Hills
Photo: Dustin M. Ramsey via CC

Looking to hit the road for some summer fun? If you’re in the greater Dayton area, consider checking out these Ohio road trips for experiencing the great outdoors.

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Ohio Caverns

If you’ve only got a day to cut loose and have fun, hop on I-70 East and head over to Ohio Caverns in West Liberty. Located just one hour outside of town, this colorful cavern can keep your family busy — and learning — all day long. It features stunning geologic formations and even offers a handful of family-friendly activities, like mining for rough gems in the outdoor sluice.

Edge of Appalachia Nature Reserve

West Union is home to the sprawling Edge of Appalachia Nature Preserve. Spanning 20,000 acres, this biologically diverse habitat offers 27 miles of hiking trails, kayaking, canoeing, and plenty of stunning sights. This scenic spot is located 75 miles east of Cincinnati, or a little over two hours from Dayton.

Hocking Hills State Park

Hocking Hills is home to some of Ohio’s most stunning scenery. Located just two hours from Dayton via US-35 East, this gorgeous summer destination is the perfect place to camp, hike, and marvel at landmarks like Ash Cave and Cedar Falls. Select attractions even offer wheelchair accessible routes.

Crystal Cave

Located in Put-In-Bay, a little over three hours north of Dayton, this natural wonder is billed as the world’s largest geode. Filled with pale blue strontium sulfate crystals, this cave was once a source for the compounds needed to make fireworks. Fortunately, the remaining crystals have been preserved for viewing. And since this cave is located in bustling Put-In-Bay, it’s within walking distance of dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

If you’re looking for a way to spend the weekend, consider packing up your vehicle and heading to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, located neat Cleveland and Akron. As Ohio’s only national park, it’s no surprise that Cuyahoga Valley plays host to some of the state’s most stunning views. From waterfalls and wetlands to soaring cliffs and old-fashioned buildings, this park encapsulates both the Buckeye State’s natural beauty and historic past.

For more fun road trips to enjoy in Ohio, check out our list of roadside attractions in the Buckeye State.