Columbus Escapes: Unveiling Hidden Gems in the Buckeye State’s Capital

Discover Columbus, Ohio

Traveling to Columbus, Ohio, offers a delightful blend of urban excitement, cultural richness, and natural beauty. As the capital city of Ohio, Columbus boasts a vibrant arts scene, world-class museums, and diverse culinary experiences. Visitors can explore the dynamic neighborhoods, such as the Short North Arts District and German Village, known for their eclectic mix of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Beyond the city limits, outdoor enthusiasts can discover scenic parks, tranquil lakes, and picturesque hiking trails, providing ample opportunities for recreation and relaxation. With its welcoming atmosphere and a wealth of attractions, traveling to Columbus promises an unforgettable experience for adventurers of all ages.


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Three Fun Facts About Columbus


Birthplace of the First Wendy’s

Columbus is the birthplace of the first Wendy’s restaurant. Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s at 257 East Broad Street in Columbus on November 15, 1969. Today, Wendy’s is one of the largest fast-food chains globally, known for its square hamburgers and signature Frosty desserts.


Fashion Meets Music Festival

Columbus hosts the annual Fashion Meets Music Festival, a unique event that combines live music performances with fashion shows, art exhibits, and culinary experiences. The festival attracts both local and national talent and celebrates the intersection of fashion and music.


Smart City Initiative

Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge in 2016, securing $40 million in federal funding and $10 million from Vulcan Inc. to develop innovative transportation solutions.


Must See Attractions

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Short North Arts District


Wander through this vibrant neighborhood filled with art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and lively nightlife.

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Nature & parks

Discover stunning plant collections, art installations, and seasonal exhibits in this beautiful botanical oasis.

German Village


Explore this historic neighborhood with its charming brick streets, quaint shops, and delicious dining options.



If you fancy a touch of Amish culture, drive to Berlin, Ohio’s Amish country! It’s about a two-hour trip, but the homemade foods, crafts, and peaceful countryside make it well worth the drive.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium


Explore one of the top-rated zoos in the country, home to thousands of animals from around the world.

Center of Science and Industry

Speciality Museums

Delve into hands-on science exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs at this renowned science museum.

Lakes Near Columbus

Have you been dreaming of a lakeside getaway that’s just a hop, skip, and a jump from Columbus, OH? Good news, you don’t have to travel far to find tranquil waters and outdoor fun! Let’s dive in, shall we? It’s pretty fantastic how close you are to flipping the kayak and splashing into adventure, right? Both lakes have their own unique charm and a smorgasbord of activities. Just imagine catching the golden hour on the serene waves of Buckeye or feeling the breeze on Indian Lake while sailing—quite the picture, isn’t it? Whether you’re a seasoned angler or just looking for a peaceful spot to lay out your picnic blanket, these lakes have got you covered. So pack your sunscreen and your adventurous spirit—it’s time to make some waves!

Buckeye Lake

2340 Dry Creek Road, N.E. Granville, Ohio

Fancy a bit of history with your paddleboarding? As Ohio’s oldest state park, Buckeye Lake is steeped in a rich past and ready for exploration. Just 30 miles east of Columbus, it’s a haven for boating, fishing, and picnicking. Oh, and don’t miss out on the vibrant scene at the local bars and restaurants that dot the shoreline.

Distance from Columbus: 30 miles
Boating, fishing, picnics

Indian Lake

10160 Co Rd 286, Huntsville, Ohio 43324

Want more space to spread out your water wings? Indian Lake’s expansive 5,800 acres make it an ideal spot for sailing, jet skiing, and even ice fishing in the winter. You’re about an hour’s drive northwest away from a perfect day by—and on—the water.

Distance from Columbus: 69 miles
Activities: Sailing, jet skiing, ice fishing

Deer Creek Lake

21897 Deer Creek Rd., Mt. Sterling, Ohio 43143

South of Columbus, Deer Creek Lake is surrounded by Deer Creek State Park, offering opportunities for boating, fishing, and camping. The lake is stocked with a variety of fish species, making it popular among anglers.

Distance from Columbus: 32 miles
Activities: Fishing, water sports, camping

Fishing Destinations Near Columbus

Searching for the perfect spot to cast your line near Columbus, Ohio? You’re in luck! The area boasts a variety of fishing destinations that cater to anglers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful bank fishing experience or an adventurous boat outing, Columbus has got you covered! Remember, each site has its own set of rules and peak seasons, so it’s always best to check ahead for any specific regulations or updates. Happy fishing, and may your lines be tight and your catch be big!

Griggs Reservoir

2933 Riverside Dr, Columbus, Ohio 43221

This gem is conveniently located just west of Columbus along the Scioto River. It’s renowned for its healthy populations of both largemouth and smallmouth bass. Plus, you’ll find plenty of parks along the shore with boat launch facilities and bank access, making it super accessible for a day trip.

Fishing: Boating, kayaking, shoreline
Species: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish

Alum Creek Lake

5905 Lewis Center Rd, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035

Ready for a bigger adventure? Alum Creek Lake is a hotspot you shouldn’t miss. Not only does it offer splendid fishing opportunities, it’s also a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Fishing: Shoreline, boating, dock, kayaking
Species: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, catfish, saugeye

Hoover Reservoir

7701 S Sunbury Rd. Westerville, Ohio 43081

Just northeast of the city, this location prides itself in being a serene fishing spot. With its extensive shoreline and quiet waters, it’s a prime location for catching a variety of fish.

Fishing: Shoreline, dock, boating  
Species: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, carp

Top Hiking Trails 1 Hour Away from Columbus

Hey there, nature lover! Ready to lace up those hiking boots? When you’re craving a woodland retreat from the bustle of Columbus, you’ve got some lush trails waiting just an hour’s drive away. Let me guide you to a couple of the best spots to hit the trails and recharge among the trees. Ready to discover these slices of paradise? Trust me, your Instagram feed will thank you. Just remember, the best trail is the one you’re on, so grab your water bottle and explore these natural havens — each with its own unique twist. Happy trails to you!

Upper Falls to Lower Falls via Buckeye Trail

Benton Township, Ohio 43138

Picture it: towering cliffs, deep gorges, and cascading waterfalls. Hocking Hills isn’t just a hike; it’s an Ohio treasure waiting to give you that ‘awe’ moment. With over 25 miles of hiking trails, you’ll find a path that suits whether you’re a beginner or practically a mountain goat.

Distance: 1.2 miles
Type: Loop
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 50 m
Time to Complete: 30 minutes

Williamson Mound via Rim Trail and Gorge Trail

Xenia Parking Lot, 164 W Xenia Ave, Cedarville, Ohio 45314

As visitors embark on the trail, they are enveloped by the serene beauty of the park’s woodlands and the tranquil flow of the Olentangy River Gorge. The trail meanders along the rim of the gorge, offering breathtaking views of the river below and the surrounding landscape. Along the way, hikers encounter the ancient Williamson Mound, a prehistoric burial mound dating back over 2,000 years, adding a layer of historical intrigue to the natural splendor.

Distance: 2 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain:  46 m
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Cedar Cliff Falls via Gorge Trail and Rim Trail

Indian Mound Reserve Williamson Lane, 2651 US-42, Cedarville, Ohio 45314

As visitors traverse the trails, they are immersed in the tranquility of the park’s lush woodlands and the soothing sound of cascading water. The Gorge Trail winds its way alongside the picturesque Indian Run Creek, leading hikers to the breathtaking Cedar Cliff Falls, where the rushing waters tumble over moss-covered rocks into a serene pool below.

Distance: 2.5 miles
Type: Out & back
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation Gain: 31 m
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Best Golf Courses Around Columbus

Hey, golf aficionado! Looking for the cream of the crop golf courses around Columbus, Ohio? You’re in luck! The area is a haven for golfers of all skill levels, with a variety of courses that offer challenging play and beautiful landscapes. Now, let’s talk accessibility. Worried about finding a place nearby to rest your head? Many vacation rentals are just a stone’s throw away from the best golf courses, providing amenities like parking and gardens, ensuring you and your clubs have a perfect spot to stay. Remember, these are just tee-offs to get you started. Grab your clubs, and experience these top-tier greens yourself!

Muirfield Village Golf Club

8715 Muirfield Drive Dublin, Ohio 43017

First up, Muirfield Village Golf Club. This gem is not only a golfer’s dream with its 18 holes, but as a par 72 course designed by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, it truly stands out. Located in Dublin, just a short drive from Columbus, it was built in 1974 and continues to impress golfers with its well-maintained fairways and greens.

Holes: 18
Jack Nicklaus

Visit their website for more information

Columbus Country Club

4831 E Broad St, Columbus, Ohio 43213

The Championship Course at Columbus Country Club also makes the list and is celebrated by experts. It’s recognized as one of Ohio’s finest, which is no small feat! Intrigued? Be sure to check it out for an exceptional golfing experience.

Donald Ross

Visit their website for more information

Brookside Golf & Country Club

2770 W Granville Rd, Columbus, Ohio 43235

With its lush, meticulously manicured fairways and greens, this esteemed club offers an unparalleled golfing experience amidst serene surroundings. Beyond its pristine 18 hole championship golf course, Brookside boasts a rich history and a vibrant community atmosphere.

Holes: 18
Donald Ross

Visit their website for more information


01 / Mad River Mountain

Ready to hit the slopes without straying too far from Columbus? Great news—you’ve got options just a short drive away! Let’s check out these cool spots where you can enjoy some winter sports action without spending half the day on the road. Just an hour’s drive gets you to the largest ski resort in Ohio. Here’s what you can expect:
– Over 20 trails to explore
– A good balance of runs for beginners and seasoned skiers and snowboarders
– An impressive 120 snow-making machines to keep the fun going, even when Mother Nature is stingy with the snowfall

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1

02 / Snow Trails

If you’re craving a little outdoor winter fun, these resorts near Columbus are waiting for you. Just remember to stay warm and maybe treat yourself to a hot cocoa after those runs! Located in Mansfield, Ohio, Snow Trails is the closest ski resort to Columbus, approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes away by car. It offers skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing opportunities, along with lessons and rentals.

young active snowboarder in bright sportswear jumping up on a mountain slope 1 1
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Tips on Renting a Vacation Property in Columbus

Location Matters

Choose a rental property close to the attractions and activities you’re interested in exploring, whether it’s downtown Columbus, historic neighborhoods, or recreational areas.

Read Reviews

Take the time to read reviews from previous guests to gauge the property’s cleanliness, amenities, and overall experience.

Budget Wisely

Set a budget for your vacation rental and compare prices across different properties to find the best value for your money while meeting your needs and preferences.

Consider Transportation

If you’re not planning to rent a car, consider the property’s proximity to public transportation options or whether it offers convenient access to popular attractions and amenities.

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Jet Skiing

Ever thought about grabbing a slice of the Columbus experience for yourself? Renting a vacation property here can be your ticket to a comfy stay, whether you’re in town for the Ohio State University (OSU) games or the bustling scene at Easton Town Center. Here’s the lowdown to make your rental search a breeze.

Location, Location, Location

Near the Action
Want to be within walking distance of Nationwide Arena or the Arena District’s vibrant nightlife? Opt for Downtown or Short North.

If you’re bringing the kids, look for rentals close to attractions like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or COSI in neighborhoods like Clintonville.

Ever thought of exploring the heart of Ohio? Let’s take a stroll through Columbus, a city with a vibrant blend of neighborhoods, each offering its unique flavor and charm. Whether you’re a history buff, an art enthusiast, or just looking for a fun getaway, Columbus has a pocketful of experiences waiting for you!

Short North, often referred to as the art and soul of Columbus, is the place to be for art lovers and shoppers. With its art galleries and local boutiques, a walk here feels like a cultural treasure hunt. On the first Saturday of every month, the district comes alive with the “Gallery Hop” – an event that showcases the spirit of Columbus creativity.

Head south, and you’ll find yourself in German Village, a historic neighborhood known for its quaint, brick-lined streets and beautifully preserved architecture. Treat your taste buds at local bakeries, and make sure to visit the Book Loft—a literary labyrinth that feels like stepping into a storybook.

For those seeking the urban pulse, Downtown Columbus is your go-to. It’s not just skyscrapers; we’re talking about green spaces like the Scioto Mile with its picturesque riverfront, perfect for an afternoon stroll or a concert at the Bicentennial Park.

Craving a bit more greenery? The University District and Victorian Village are where historic meets hip. Just a stone’s throw away from Ohio State University, this area offers lush parks and architectural gems, creating a perfect backdrop for your Insta-worthy moments.

Itching for some Italian flavor? Italian Village boasts trendy eateries and breweries that will make your culinary heart sing. And let’s not forget Olde Town East, with its storied past and eye-catching homes—an Instagrammer’s paradise.

End your day in the Arena District with a game or a concert. It’s the epitome of Columbus’s sports and entertainment scene. Why just visit when you could be part of the action?

So, what’s your next move? Pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready to discover Columbus, Ohio—it’s a city that caters to every traveler’s whim, including yours!

Knowing Your Rental Type

Space for Everyone
From a chic 2BR near downtown to a cozy, studio style condo, Columbus offers a spectrum of options.

Special Features
Eyeing a pet-friendly place with a patio? Or maybe a family-friendly home with a pool? Filter your search to narrow down the perfect spot.

Amenities to Consider

– Comforts like free wifi, a dedicated workspace, and a fully-equipped kitchen might top your list.
– Don’t forget practicalities like on-site washer/dryer and air conditioning for those unpredictable Ohio weathers!

Scouring the Reviews

Real talk: always skim through the reviews. Fellow travelers’ two cents might give you the scoop on the property’s cleanliness, management responsiveness, and actual proximity to local hotspots.

Budgeting for Your Stay

Timing is Everything
Booking a rental at least 48 days in advance can snag you a better deal. Saturdays might offer the cheapest stays, so keep an eagle eye on the calendar and prices.

Got a car? Look for places with garage parking or free parking options. It’s a game-changer, trust me!

Just imagine sipping your morning brew from Fox in the Snow Cafe on the patio of your rented haven, or brainstorming your next big idea at your rental’s dedicated workspace, free from the usual hustle. Columbus is waiting, all you’ve got to do is find your home away from home.

And remember, while there’s an allure to spontaneous trips, in the vacation rental world, the early bird gets the worm (and often the best deals!).

Frequently Asked Questions about Columbus

Rental prices can fluctuate due to various factors such as increased demand, local events, or seasonal trends. Columbus hosts events throughout the year that may spike interest in vacation rentals, driving up prices. Plan ahead and monitor rates to find the best deals.

Columbus has specific regulations regarding vacation rentals, including licensing and taxes. It’s important to book through a reputable platform like Airbnb that adheres to local laws. Airbnb usually handles taxation, making your booking process worry-free in terms of legal compliance.

Getting a deal on a Columbus vacation rental without sacrificing quality is all about timing and flexibility. Consider visiting during the shoulder season or looking for new listings that may offer introductory rates. Always read reviews for insights into the quality of your potential stay.

Columbus certainly doesn’t lack in luxury offerings. From lavish lofts in the Short North to serene suburban estates, the market is ripe with high-end homes that boast top-tier amenities. Listings often promote these properties as ‘luxury’ or use similar descriptive terms, making them easier to spot.

Sure thing! Many Columbus vacation rentals accommodate your furry friends. Check the rental’s pet policy found in the listing’s description, and reach out to the owner if you’re unclear about any pet-related fees or restrictions. Whether a house or an apartment, you won’t be short on options.

To find a splash-worthy vacation rental in Columbus with a pool, filter your search on rental platforms for properties with pool access. Peak summer months may increase demand, so be sure to book early. Some listings might showcase pools in their pictures or amenities—don’t hesitate to contact the host for confirmation and details!

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