While we all wish we could drop all responsibilities and take off the great American road trip, it seems to be more of a pipe dream than anything concrete – at least for now. Luckily, there is plenty to explore in our own backyard, and unlike a planning-intensive road trip, all you’ll need is a single day, one tank of gas, and a sense of adventure.
In celebration of the humble day trip and to kick off summer one of the best ways we know, we recently launched our
series, which features four unique day trip destination pairings across the great state of Ohio. First, there was Only On A Tankful wine and waterfalls, then antiques and ice cream, and third, tacos and tubing. Today, we’re releasing our final day trip pairing: a day trip that leads explorers along a scenic hiking trail and to a mouthwatering local burger joint. Whether you live near Cincinnati, Cleveland, or anywhere in between, you’ll discover an epic day trip that combines two glorious activities: chowing down on a thick, juicy burger and exploring the great outdoors. So, fill the tank, bring your hiking shoes and your appetite – we’re going on an adventure!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
Northwest Ohio1. Scenic River Trail at Highbanks Metro Park & Thurman Cafe
You'll start off your day at the stellar Highbanks Metro Park, a sprawling 1,200-acre oasis that contains several trails of varying distances and difficulty. The Scenic River trail is a very manageable .6 miles and is wheelchair accessible and great for kids. Not only will you enjoy a great view of the Olentangy State Scenic River, but you will also be glad for all the calories you burned when you hit your next stop: The Thurman Cafe. Located in the German Village district of Columbus, Thurman's has been a staple of the Columbus food scene since 1942. Their burgers are considered to be among the best in the entire United States, so you've certainly got to check them out!
Shawnee And Upland Connector Loop & MST Pub & Grub
Located in the Steyer Nature Preserve near Old Fort, Ohio, the Shawnee And Upland Connector Loop is just 1.1 miles in length but does feature a set of stairs sure to get your heart rate up. Meander through the forest, along the river, and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife - you're bound to work up an appetite! Luckily, the moment you walk into MST Pub & Grub in Tiffin, you'll feel right at home with a welcoming atmosphere, friendly service, and incredible smells. Though this eatery is famous for its chicken chunks, their hand-pressed burgers are quite mouthwatering as well - though choosing from the 15 specialty burgers might be difficult!
Kendrick Woods Loop Trail & Kewpee Hamburgers
A nearly 160-acre mature wood located in Spencerville, Kendrick Woods is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. The area has several trails, but one of the most popular is the Kendrick Woods Loop Trail, a 2.5 trail that will let you see all the beauty the park has to offer. After all that time outside, we know you're hungry! Luckily, Kewpee Hamburgers is here to save the day. There's a reason they've been in business since 1928 - their burgers are worth the hype! While they're most famous for their hamburgers and cheeseburgers, they also offer a variety of pies, malts, and yogurt - consider your taste buds satisfied.
Northeast Ohio4. Ledges Trail at Cuyahoga Valley National Park & Local West
Fill your gas tank and let's get this road trip started. A 33,000-acre park bordering both Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is home to jaw-dropping scenery, wildlife galore, and the Ledges Trail. This scenic trail is a 2.3-mile loop that takes hikers through the forest and features a cave and incredible views. After exploring the Ledges Trail and the national park, head back to Cleveland for a scrumptious meal. Local West is known for its craft sandwiches, burgers, and beer. Ingredients are sourced locally so you are sure to taste how fresh everything is with each bite. You'll find an abundance of burger and sandwich options on the menu - they're tasty and quite creative!
Southeast Ohio5. Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail + The Pour House
Make sure you're wearing a good pair of hiking shoes and have your gas tank filled before hitting the road to Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve, an 87-acre preserve near Logan and Rockbridge. Here you will take a hike along the Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail. This two-mile scenic out-and-back trail is rated as easy and has a 236-foot elevation gain. The trail passed through the forest and features both a cave and waterfall. After you've enjoyed some fresh air, it's time for a burger at The Pour House. This full-service restaurant uses only high-quality and fresh ingredients to ensure that every dish is flavorful and delicious, and the burgers are particularly tasty. The Pour House is also known for having live music, a wide selection of beers on tap, craft cocktails, excellent service, and an incredible ambiance.
Stone House Loop Trail At Salt Fork State Park & 360 Burger
Start what promises to be an epic day trip at 360 Burger in Cambridge, a popular burger joint that will leave you stuffed and ready for adventure at Salt Fork State Park. If it’s a burger you’re craving, you won’t find better than one of the 360 burgers. With a variety of tasty creations, your taste buds will thank you for visiting this delightful dining destination. And what better way to burn off the calories than a hike? Perhaps the moderate, 1.7-mile Stone House Loop Trail? You’ll pass such scenic beauty as Salt Fork Lake and colorful wildflowers. The loop trail also leads to the historic Kennedy Stone House, a historic home that dates back to 1840. Check ahead of time to see if it’s open for tours on the day you visit.
Dundee Falls Trail & Blazin’ Burgers
Sprawled across 393 acres, Beach City Wildlife Area in Dundee beckons adventurers with its many outdoor activities. The picturesque trail, which is rated easy, spans just two miles, but those two miles are drenched with natural beauty, including the breathtaking Dundee Falls. After a leisurely hike and all of that fresh Ohio air, you’ve probably worked up a mighty appetite. Fortunately, the trip to Blazin’ Burgers in Dover should take less than half an hour. If you prefer a classic burger, order the Blazin’ Burger, available in single, double, or triple, and with or without cheese. Add all of your favorite toppings, too.
Wayne National Forest Scenic River Loop & The Galley
Pack everything you’ll need for a leisurely and somewhat long trek along the Wayne National Forest Scenic River Loop Trail, which spans nearly 10 miles and sits near the West Virginia border. Luckily, the trail is considered easy and packs a whole lot of punch when it comes to gorgeous scenery, including colorful wildflowers, flowing streams, and local wildlife. During that beautiful hike, you’ve likely built up a hearty appetite. Pile in the car for the leisurely ride that will take you to The Galley, a popular burger joint that features a generous menu and live entertainment. the gourmet burgers may just be the star of the eclectic menu. The Galley takes the classic cheeseburger to the next level with its ultimate bacon cheeseburger and other tasty creations.
Southwest Ohio9. Horseshoe Falls at Caesar Creek State Park & Crabill’s Hamburger Shop
Measuring in at more than 3,500 acres, Caesar Creek State Park is home to a nature center that's a blast for kids and plenty of hiking trails, including the one we're featuring today. It's under two miles and not very steep, so it's suitable for even beginner hikers. There's nothing like an afternoon spent outside, especially when followed by a tasty burger! About an hour away is Crabill's Hamburgers, a charming little joint that will have you longing for days of yore. Crabill's opened in a small garage in 1927 and is just as delicious nearly a century later! The menu is simple and the line gets long sometimes, but we guarantee your taste buds will thank you for visiting this iconic spot.
Sharon Woods Gorge Trail & Bones’ Burgers
A 730-acre park with a visitors center, gift shop, children's play area, and both paved and unpaved trails, Sharon Woods is known for its multitude of waterfalls and it's where you'll hike the Gorge Trail. The easy 1.8-mile out-and-back trail offers moderate foot traffic and some inclines, but overall only a 131-foot elevation gain. Soak up the scenery before hitting the road to Bones' Burgers. This eatery is known for making burgers with fresh, local grass-fed Angus beef and locally-grown seasonal produce. With a wide selection of burgers and sides, you will not leave Bones' Burgers hungry. Choose from ¼-lb, ⅓-lb, or ½-lb Angus patties, a house-made veggie or turkey burger, or a patty made with wild-caught salmon. There's an option here for everyone.
So, that’s it for now:
four wonderful, whimsical day trip destination pairings across the great state of Ohio perfect for making summer memories. Which of these adventures will you be enjoying first? Sound off in the comments, and i f you liked this series, please follow Only In Ohio on Facebook and sign up for Ohio’s daily newsletter so you can discover even more fun and unique things to do throughout the Buckeye State.