Dayton, Ohio might not be the top of the destination list for an outdoor lover. It lacks
the gorgeous green hills of Hocking Hills and the waterfront walks of Cleveland. But
there are some beautiful places to visit, besides watching the construction on the
abandoned GM factory in Moraine, if you happen to find yourself in Dayton.
For people who like nature when it includes flowers and leisurely walks around
gardens rather than hiking and fishing are sure to like Cox Arboretum. This
collection of gardens is beautiful any time of the year, but I always preferred it in
the spring, when the trees in “Crab Apple Alley” are blooming in full force. They
also have workshops and gardening lessons. There is also a beautiful butterfly
house open in the warmer months, where you might have a new friend land on your
Being the unathletic and lover of air conditioning that I am, I also love Glen Helen
in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Not only is it close to the great shops in downtown Yellow
Springs, Glen Helen is a great place for any nature lover. There are fantastic trails
for hiking, beautiful waterfalls, and even a Raptor Center that helps to rehabilitate
injured birds including hawks and owls. My sister, an avid creek walker, also
recommends Glen Helen for it’s great creek walking.
Campers might also be interested in Glen Helen’s campgrounds. A Dayton favorite,
this campground completely changes in mood every season. Those who prefer a
quieter camping experience should avoid this spot from Memorial Day to Labor Day
and opt for setting up their tents in early spring.
Campers that prefer to be around water and can stand driving about an hour north
of Dayton might like Kaiser Lake. This central Ohio park is the perfect place to take
a short boat ride in between stuffing smores in your mouth. There are boats for rent
as well as fishing and hunting areas. Winter travellers can even go ice fishing on the
Back in the Dayton area, Clifton Gorge is another great place for hiking. The name
comes from the nature reserve’s limestone gorges, some of the most scenic in
the state. Water to Clifton Gorge comes from the Little Miami River. Numerous
companies give kayak and canoe trips on the scenic river if you prefer to see the
sights from a different view.
Near Clifton Gorge and crossing an antique covered bridge gets you to the historic
Clifton Mill. The Mill is, in fact, a restaurant and country store and while pancakes as
big as your plate (I’m serious) are not exactly the outdoor lover’s draw, the beautiful
view of the Little Miami River might do the trick. It is most famous for the stunning
Christmas light display during the holiday season. A definite must-see if you are in
the area over Christmas
Although the Dayton area might not be the best choice for people seeking extreme
outdoor fun like rock climbing, if you do find yourself there, there are many outdoor
sights to be seen.