Columbus Fall Fun: Four Safe Day Trips

Head to these destinations all within a two-hour drive from Columbus.

Kevin J. Elliott
Serpent Mound

American wanderlust is at an all-time low. Even as things start to open up, many people remain wary of airports, dense cities and enclosed entertainment. To avoid those crowded settings, we’ve compiled this list of four Ohio day trips that take less than a tank of gas and encourage social distancing.

Serpent Mound

Drive from Columbus: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Ohio’s Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks could become the state’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, but the Serpent Mound in Adams County is not part of that application. The reason? The snake-shaped earthwork is petitioning for its own UNESCO designation. The largest effigy mound in the world, the 1,348-foot-long ancient wonder is one of Ohio’s greatest mysteries, with scientists still debating when it was built, by whom and why.

Columbus Fall Fun How to make the best of an autumn unlike any before.

Worden’s Ledges

Drive from Columbus: 1 hour, 45 minutes

On the southern edge of Cleveland Metroparks’ Hinckley Reservation sits the Worden’s Ledges Loop Trail. Though it’s slightly less than a mile, it may take several trips to find all of the magic hiding in plain sight: the whimsical carvings of Noble Stuart, son-in-law of Frank Worden, who owned the land in the 1940s. Within the cliffs, you can find carvings of George Washington, Ty Cobb, a crucifix, a sphinx and, most notably, an homage to Worden himself, who seemingly overlooks the expanse of forest beyond.

Fort Recovery

Drive from Columbus: 2 hours

Before this village had erected the fort that gave it its name, the area was the site of Arthur St. Clair’s defeat in November 1791. The battle between Little Turtle and his Miami tribe and the U.S. Army militia led by St. Clair remains the largest loss of life of American troops on American soil. The field is still an active archeological site, with several signs that detail the strategies used by the Miami to thwart St. Clair.

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

Drive from Columbus: 1 hour, 50 minutes

At 300 acres, Pyramid Hill is perfect for social distancing. You can see most of the grounds and the sculptures from the window of your vehicle or rent a golf cart for closer inspection. All schools and mediums of sculpture are represented here. Make sure to drive to the final hill and vista, where you can enjoy a panorama of the entire park.

Buy an RV from Mark Wahlberg

The Hollywood actor has been busily expanding his Columbus auto dealership empire in recent years, and his decision to dip into the RV sector seems well-timed. With folks concerned about getting on airplanes and cruise ships and staying in hotels during the pandemic, motorized camping quarters sound a lot more appealing (20 percent of respondents in a recent RV Industry Association survey, for instance, indicated they are more interested in RVs as a travel option in the aftermath of COVID-19). “Last year at this time we had a 110-unit inventory,” said Chris Haydocy, manager of Mark Wahlberg Airstream & RV, formerly Haydocy Airstream & RV, in August. “Now, we’re down to 35, and demand far outweighs supply.” —Steve Wartenberg