25 Weekend Vacation Destinations Within Driving Distance of Cincinnati
Whether you're looking for some time with mother nature, seeking busy city nights with live music or want to focus your trip on bourbon tasting and history, there are plenty of exciting destinations to choose from — all within 5 hours of Cincinnati.
Scroll down to view images
Distance: 1 hour and 10 minutes
Step back in time in Maysville, Kentucky, a small town located along the Ohio River. Celebrate the arts in many different ways in this quaint historic town by enjoying a show at the famed 1889 Washington Opera House. You can head over to the Russell Theater and enjoy an Art Deco experience in a place that once hosted a red carpet event for Rosemary Clooney (whose hometown is Maysville) at the opening of The Stars are Singing
. For some history, walk around and discover Underground Railroad sites, or do a tour and tasting at the Old Pogue bourbon distillery, open since 1876.
Distance: 2 hours
If you don’t want to drive all the way to Tennessee, there is a Nashville much closer that’s still full of music and adventure. Head out to Nashville, Indiana — just two hours outside of Cincinnati — where you can bike, hike (at Brown County State Park), learn to line dance, take horse-drawn tours of the historic area and drink at plenty of local breweries, wineries and distilleries. Watch live music at the historic Brown County Playhouse or enjoy some of the beautiful artwork scattered around town.
Photo: Public Domain, Library of Congress
Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Columbus, Indiana is known for its architecture and public art with a popular annual festival called Exhibit Columbus that celebrates art and design throughout the community. Take a guided tour of the Miller House, a famed Midcentury Modern home known for its colors, thoughtful design and breathtaking gardens. For some historic architecture, take a tour of the Inn at Irwin Gardens, a 1910 unique Edwardian-era development. Or if you prefer a self-guided tour, download the Downtown Audio tour app that walks you through 18 stops throughout Columbus.
Distance: 4 hours and 45 minutes
If you thought Cincinnati embraced its German heritage, experience more of that in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” in the winter the snow tops the Germanic architecture throughout the town. Skate outside at the Zehnder Park ice rink and, to escape the cold, head to one of the town's indoor water parks. Frankenmuth also has a full schedule of festivals including Zehnder’s Snowfest, which has been going strong for over 30 years. Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland, the year-round "World's Largest Christmas Store."
Distance: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Madison, Indiana sits along the Ohio River and is known for being the country's largest contiguous National Historic Landmark District. There are tons of tours offered throughout the town: take a tour on a carriage, a walking tour through downtown, even a ghost tour of some particularly spooky spots. Celebrate the arts at any of the music venues in Madison or head over to the arts and culture district. Grab a beer at one of the many breweries and relax by the river.
Distance: 1 hour and 15 minutes
Located a little over an hour outside of Cincinnati, Yellow Springs is a small town with a ton of recreational activities. There are more than 15 eateries and pubs, many different wineries, bike trails and shops to explore. There’s also Young’s Jersey Dairy farm, which features a restaurant, entertainment venue, miniature golf course, batting cages and delicious homemade ice cream.
Photo: Provided by Mothman Museum
Distance: 3 hours
Head east to the beautiful town of Point Pleasant ,West Virginia. Stay at the historic Lowe Hotel or spend time in nature by camping at Krodel Park. There is tons of history and mystery to learn about in Point Pleasant. Stop by the Point Pleasant River Museum and Learning Center or for something spookier, visit the Mothman Museum and statue. Aspiring cryptozoologists can learn more about the town's claim to fame: being the hometown of Mothman, a supernatural winged humanoid and harbinger of disaster.
Photo: Maker's Mark Distillery; D L Flickr, Creative Commons
Maker's Mark Distillery, 3350 Burks Spring Road, Loretto, Kentucky
Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes
There are now roughly 20 stops on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (and more if you add in the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour), including Bulleit Distilling in Shelbyville, Four Roses in Lawrenceburg, Woodford Reserve in Versailles and Maker's Mark in Loretto. Each stop offers tours and tastings of its unique spirits. Bring a Ketuncky Bourbon Trail passport with you to get a stamp at each place you stop.
Photo: Erik Drost/Wikimedia Commons
Distance: 4 hours
This little village in Cuyahoga County was built around the Chagrin Falls waterfall that runs right through downtown. The town is home to over 75 independent shops and restaurants and offers a host of festivals throughout the year. In the spring and summer, flowers bloom throughout Chagrin Falls, making it a beautiful Instagram-worthy destination.
Photo: Aesopposea, Creative Commons
Distance: 1 hour
Just about an hour east of Cincinnati sits a beautiful historic town along to Ohio river. Ripley prides itself on its abolitionist history and visitors can see historic homes involved with the Underground Railroad. Enjoy a night under the stars at one of Ripley’s four campgrounds or head into town for antiquing, crafting, eating or drinking. If you’d rather sleep inside, stay at a bed and breakfast in town or rent a vacation home to relax and enjoy the water.