Hocking Hills, Ohio, is an adventure wonderland for active families. Located less than an hour southeast of Columbus along Highway 33, this area offers miles of trails through scenic forests, amazing caves, rivers, and towering waterfalls. Book a vacation rental in Hocking Hills to get back to nature. Choose a secluded cabin in the hills to enjoy the sound of birdsong as you sip coffee on the front porch and plan the day ahead. Plenty of interesting and fun activities abound in this area to keep the whole family entertained.
1. Hike to a Cave or Waterfall
Hocking Hills is interlaced with trails to suit every ability level. Get the kids to lace up their walking boots, and head off to discover caves, cliffs, and waterfalls. The area’s most popular destination is Old Man’s Cave, which marks the start of the 6-mile Grandma Gatewood Trail that links Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. Join this trail at various points for shorter hikes, or check out wheelchair-accessible sections such as the quarter-mile Gorge Trail at Ash Cave.
2. Take a Canoe Trip
Enjoy a relaxing family canoe trip along the Hocking River with Hocking Hills Canoe Livery. Their two-seater canoes can hold up to two adults and two children, and rentals include life vests and paddles. They transport you and the canoe upstream so you can paddle down in comfort. Their 5-mile Crockett’s Trip is ideal for beginners, with islands and sandbars making great places to stop off for a picnic. The longer 7-mile Rockbridge Trip gives you the opportunity to hike up and see the natural Rockbridge, and to view people zip lining overhead.
3. Go Zip Lining
If watching the zip liners from the canoe gives you a taste for aerial adventures, head out to Hocking Hills Canopy Tours. This company in Rockridge offers a range of adventures for the entire family. The Dragonfly Zipline is great for younger kids weighing between 35 and 140 pounds while the Superzip offers thrill seekers a challenge as it reaches speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
4. Learn How to Rock Climb
Hocking Hills Adventure Trek has professional guides who can take you and the family on a nature trek through Hocking State Forest and introduce you to the excitement of rock climbing on real rock faces. They specialize in taking visitors off the beaten track to discover the area’s hidden gems and introduce you to the fabulous wildlife. Six-year-olds can enjoy rock climbing, while 10-years-olds enjoy the challenge of rappelling.
5. Go for a Bike Ride
Black Diamond Bicycles, located just off the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, offers a range of bikes and trailers for rent. Get the family equipped so you can set out along the trails. For an easy ride, set out along the Bikeway right outside their shop. The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway stretches for 20 miles through the wooded countryside with pretty views of the Hocking River for much of the way.
6. Play Mini Golf
For an adventure with a twist, visit Rempel’s Grove. In addition to housing a pretty mini-golf course that meanders among flowers and waterfalls, a free petting zoo keeps the little ones amused. Mini golf is available from May through October, weather permitting.
7. Ride on the Scenic Railway
Step back in time to take a ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. The friendly volunteers run a variety of train rides at weekends from the Nelsonville depot on Hocking Parkway, with seasonal trains to enjoy the beauty of the fall foliage, as well as the Santa Train and the Easter Bunny Train with Egg Hunt. Experience a family-friendly train robbery when a group of horseback bandits holds up the train.
8. Drive a Bulldozer
If you’ve always fancied driving a bulldozer or digging a hole with a giant excavator, head to Hocking Hills Sandbox where you can all have fun on a construction site. Learn how to dig holes, push dirt, and even push a car. Kids age 14 or over are welcome.
9. Travel Back to Ohio in the early 1800s
For a great evening’s entertainment, take the family to a performance of Tecumseh! beneath the stars on the forested slopes of Sugarloaf Mountain. This fascinating performance tells the life story of the legendary Shawnee leader and his fight to defend his sacred homelands. Exciting battle sequences include live cannon fire. You can also enjoy a living history tour that takes place on Saturday afternoons during the summer.
10. Try Bellyboat Fishing
Belly boat fishing, also known as float tube fishing, is a great way to explore the wilderness while also trying to reel in a fish or two. In the old days, people used truck inner tubes to get out on the water in remote areas. These have been replaced by the modern belly boat, which is lightweight and easy to maneuver. Trek Network offers a guided service along with the boat rental to take you and your kids aged 9 or older to some of Ohio’s remote mountain ponds and lakes for some fishing with a difference. You will need a valid Ohio fishing license, so be sure to sign up for one before your trip.
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