A little exploration outside of the city can lead you to some of Central Ohio's most beautiful parks. Here are four suburban standouts to add to your summer bucket list.

A little exploration outside of the city can lead you to some of Central Ohio's most beautiful parks. Here are four suburban standouts to add to your summer bucket list.

Creekside Park, Gahanna

With a little something for everyone, Creekside Park has a unique way of seamlessly merging park and city. The park surrounds Big Walnut Creek and connects the active Creekside Plaza to downtown Gahanna, making it conveniently located near restaurants and other establishments. Nearby biking trails and walking paths border the waterway, and a waterfall provides a wading area to cool off on a warm day. Paddle boats on the creek may also be rented to enjoy the park from a new perspective. The distinctive mix makes the park an ideal place to experience the best of Gahanna. gahanna.gov

Emily Traphagen Park, Powell

A 72-acre stretch of land conserved around the growing suburbs of southern Delaware County, the Emily Traphagen Park is a serene setting from which to take in nature. The land, purchased by a local doctor and dedicated to his late wife in 2003, flourishes with mature woods and expansive wetlands that attract a variety of wildlife such as white-tailed deer, barred owls and waterfowl. Two short walking trails loop through the park, offering pond and prairie views. It's part of Preservation Parks of Delaware County, a system of 10 trails and parks funded primarily by property taxes approved by Delaware County voters. preservationparks.com

Hayden Falls Park, Dublin

Situated on the west side of the Scioto River, Hayden Falls Park is easy to access-and just as easy to miss. The 2-acre park bustles with natural beauty steps away from busy Hayden Run Road. Upon entering a small parking lot with views of the Scioto, a wooden boardwalk leads visitors through a natural gorge sprawling with rare and endangered plants. Sounds of rushing water encourage visitors to wander back to a 35-foot waterfall where up-close views can be enjoyed from a lookout deck. Enhancements to access in recent years and the tranquility of the falls create convenient respite from nearby urban life. columbusrecparks.com

Indian Village Park, Upper Arlington

You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring Indian Village Park on the west side of the Scioto River. Water is the most obvious attraction here-from watching rowing teams practice to hiking the scenic trails that lead to the Griggs Dam and Reservoir-but many people miss perhaps the park's most interesting feature: an assortment of caverns located just a short walk from the McKnight Outdoor Education Center. Some of the caves are small nooks while others are large enough to go inside.columbusrecparks.com