1 Hour Drive: Day Trips from Cincinnati, Ohio

Do you live happily in the Cincinnati area, but just want to break free? 🎉

Are you a Northern Kentuckian who wants something to do besides playing corn-hole, or seeing people you went to grade-school with? 🏫

Are you tired of hearing the only fun things to do involve chili, sports, or a park? 🌭

If the above applies, this is for you! Read my list of day trips from Cincinnati, all within a 1 hour drive of downtown Cincy!

⇒ READ: My day-trip ideas within a 2-3 hour drive from Cincinnati!

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  • Elk Creek Winery & Owenton

If you like to drink wine, all while enjoying beautiful Kentucky countryside, you need to come here! Elk Creek produces their own brand of wines, with many of the grapes grown on site. 🍇
They also offer tours, tastings, and have a cafe. The second floor serves as an art gallery, and in the summer they host concerts and wedding receptions in the outdoor theater.
If trap-shooting is your thing, they have a great clay pigeon course too! Also, the surrounding town of Owenton is very picturesque, and forms part of the “Owen County Quilt Trail”, displaying quilt art pieces on various barns.

elk creek winery. owenton kentucky. day trips from cincinnati.

More Information on Elk Creek

Driving Time from Cincinnati: 1 hour (52 miles)

  • The Old Town of Rabbit Hash

This tiny Kentucky town first gained fame when it announced its mayor as none other than a dog named Goofy. Over the years, the torch has passed on to other animals, and currently a pit bull is the residing Mayor. 🐕
Besides this, the town is a true historic gem for Kentucky. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places!
The General Store, the centerpiece of the town, opened in 1831. It operated since then until February 2016, when a devastating fire burned it to the ground. 😢
The town is still worth a visit now though, as fundraisers allowed the store to be rebuilt and back to business as usual!
While this town is essentially one small street next to the Ohio River, it squeezes a lot of character in!
If you drive in, visit the wine tasting room of Verona Vineyards, 🍷 grab lunch, check out local music on the outdoor stage, shop for antiques, and soak in the vibes of a good old southern town!

More Information on Rabbit Hash

Driving Time from Cincinnati:  53 minutes (29.2 miles)


Do you love history, old houses, or a peaceful country afternoon? If so, visit this grand, historic estate in Burlington, Kentucky.
Completed in 1842, this home offers a glimpse into what rural life looked like in a bygone era.
There are hiking trails, an old cemetery, 🪦and places for artists to sketch. Guided tours inside the home are offered too, and you can learn the history of the Dinsmore family, and see its historic interiors.
The Homestead also hosts a variety of craft-making events and festivals in the summer and early fall. A visit here could also be combined with one to Rabbit Hash, or Big Bone Lick State Park.Dinsmore House, Burlington, Kentucky
Dinsmore House Cemetery. Day trips from Cincinnati Ohio.
The old family cemetery- hike through the wooded trail behind the house to find yourself in this calm yet creepy locale

More Information on the Dinsmore House

Driving Time from Cincinnati: 34 minutes (22.2 miles)

  • Big Bone Lick State Park (Florence, Kentucky)

If the fact that this park used to be a giant tar pit where dinosaurs and woolly mammoths got stuck isn’t cool enough, then the pioneer era stories might do the trick for you! 🦣
Named for the “big bones” of prehistoric beasts found in the area, this park is now home to a population of domestic bison, and offers camping and hiking trails.
There is also a museum, where you can learn about the area’s Native American history and its role in the exploration of America.
In 1803, famed explorers Lewis and Clark came here. They were under commission by Thomas Jefferson, and spent 3 weeks digging up massive bones. 🦴
A local pioneer-era legend named Mary Ingles also spent several weeks here in 1755 as a captive. Captured by Native Americans while living in West Virginia, Mary spent time here (against her will) in homes made out of mastodon and mammoth rib-cages. 🦣
While the big bones are no longer out on the grounds, the museum has a few of the pieces.

More Information on Big Bone Lick

Driving time from Cincinnati: 31 mins (25 miles)

  • Dayton, Ohio

Dayton combines big city experiences with the pace of a small town. On one end, the city has a variety of cultural venues such as the opera, ballet, theater, or art museums.🎨
On the other end, you can visit its parks, bike trails, or river activities. The restaurant and bar scene are definitely hopping too, given the proximity of the University of Dayton (Go Flyers!).
Dayton Ohio Skyline
Image via Dayton.com
Along with modern attractions, the city also has a rich aviation history.  Follow the steps of the Wright brothers, and visit Carillon Historical Park, the National Museum of the US Airforce, or the Dayton Aviation Historical Park. 🛩️
If you visit the Air Force Museum (Wright Patterson Air Force Base), not only will you see amazing military planes- you can form your own opinion on the conspiracy theory that aliens being kept underground there! 👽

wright patt air force base. dayton ohio. day trips from cincinnati

More Information on Dayton

Driving time from Cincinnati: 56 mins (54 miles)

This small town was once a stop on the old Whitewater Canal . Today, it is a great place for a relaxing day of arts and crafts shopping or dining. 🍽️
Historic Metamora has plenty of shops and restaurants lining the main walkway, and offers a variety of activities. 🛍️
You can take a tour of its old grist mill, experience a horse-drawn canal boat, or dig in a gem mine. There’s also hiking and biking trails, and horseback riding. 🚲
I recommend going here in spring and summer, as many places are closed in winter.
day trips from cincinnati, metamora indiana
Image Via EOFP.net
Metamora Indiana
Image Via larbes.com

More Information on Metamora

Driving Time from Cincinnati: 1 hour (50.8 miles)

More Fun Local Ideas: 

♥ See my top things to do in Kentucky! 🐎
♥ Get a Cincinnati Pogo Pass – save money on activities! 💰
♥ The best things to do in Cincinnati
Swim in the lakes with public beaches nearby 🏊🏼‍♀️
♥ See my ideas for a local staycation!
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Day Trip Ideas from Cincinnati: Places within a 1 hour drive or less from Downtown Cincinnati Ohio


  • Reply Vicki Louise November 5, 2016 at 7:54 am

    I love it when people explore the area around their home towns! Travel adventures are everywhere and your post shows we should all explore our own neighborhoods more. The winery would be my top pick – as wine is one of my fave things – and who wouldn’t want to visit a town called Rabbit Hash? Awesome!

  • Reply Lewi November 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

    big bone lick state park looks beautiful. Will have to visit it when i come to cincinnati!

  • Reply Trevor Thorpe November 5, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Your photo of the Rabbit Hash General Store totally took me back to several of my bike tours. Places like that are to be found all over the northeast along the country roads and there are also some real gems in Central Oregon. So much character!

  • Reply mark wyld November 6, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Looks like there is some amazing day trips to be had in this, your part of the United States. We are always up for a visit to a winery and the air force museum would certainly keep our kids interested. I for one also like visiting small towns and you have some rippers listed here.

  • Reply Vyjay November 6, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Great places to cover on a Day trip. I particularly would be interested in the vineyards of Elk Creek and the Big Bone Lick State park. Hope to get there someday. In the meantime enjoyed the places virtually through your pictures and words.

  • Reply Franklin Lehman June 7, 2017 at 9:42 pm

    If you are going to Dayton, you need to stop at Mendelsons

  • Reply Bill November 1, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    If you think that Lewis and Clark visited Big Bone in the mid 18th Century, you are totally clueless. Please check their ages.

    • Reply Michelle W. November 1, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Hi Bill- Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I think when I typed this I confused it with the mid 18th century visit of Mary Ingles, but obviously that is incorrect. I have corrected my error (which you ever so politely pointed out).

  • Reply dan January 25, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    ohio caverns north dayton

  • Reply Maureen Grady-Gerrein September 9, 2020 at 11:45 am

    As older citizens we would be interested to learn of day trips for us. Hiking is out due to some health issues and impairments. We can still drive and walk short distances. Thanks for any ideas. Maureen

    • Reply Michelle W. September 9, 2020 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Maureen- I think from this list you would be happy with Metamora and few of the museum options in Dayton! It’s more than an hour drive, but there are also a lot of fun things to do in Lexington, KY and several scenic drives in the area you could take.

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