Hocking Hills: A family retreat close to home

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Nearby areas of interest:

Clear Creek Metro Park

Lake Logan Sate Park

Lake Hope State Park

Zaleski State Forest

If you go:

To plan your visit to Hocking Hills, call 1-800-Hocking or visit www.1800Hocking.com

Photo courtesy of 1800Hocking.com

Southeast Ohio's Hocking Hills offers plenty of activities, many of which are free or low cost, for families with kids of any age. With its affordable, family-friendly accommodations and easy hiking to many spectacular areas within Hocking Hills State Park, the region lures families with scenic settings such as this spot in Old Man's Cave.

Though it's only an hour's drive from Columbus, you'll feel like you've traveled much farther when you arrive at Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. Lush scenery comes alive with vibrant colors of wildflowers, curious wildlife, rushing waterfalls and beautiful hiking trails. Sit for a while and listen to nothing but the sound of water, or simply take in the stillness in the air.

With work responsibilities, school and extra-curricular activities, finding time together as a family can be difficult. When the opportunity to spend precious time together arises, don't spend hours in the car and too much money head someplace close to home, but far from an ordinary road trip. Hocking Hills State Park offers enough activities to keep everyone happy. Plenty of cabins and cottages are available if you're simply looking for a place to take in the view, put up your feet, and relax. From primitive housing to luxury cabins, there is enough variety to suit everyone's tastes - and budget. Whether you go for peace and quiet, or to tackle a challenging hiking trail, the park offers the opportunity to recharge your batteries and connect with nature. The Old Man's Cave area has a visitor's center, snack area and gift shop. Along the natural terrain of the cave and gorge, you'll find easily accessible trails. A relaxing half-mile gorge hike is great for those who want a less strenuous hiking experience. But a word to the wise: summer weekends bring crowds of people to the cave. Weekdays during the summer are much less hectic. While Old Man's Cave is the main spot for many visitors, other scenic spots in the park such as Cedar Falls, Rock House, Ash Cave and Conkles Hollow offer the opportunity to appreciate more of Mother Nature's splendor. Whether you travel to Hocking Hills State Park for a day or a week, you'll enjoy all it has to offer. No matter what the season, you'll find beauty in abundance here. And the most beautiful part is you'll experience it together as a family.

Rosanna Scott, mother of two, is a writer specializing in family, parenting issues and travel. She is the author of the children's book Peter and Friends at Camp.