Trying to figure out how to take vacations while on a student budget is no easy feat, which is why we want to make it a little easier by giving you some great day trip destinations you can seek out as an OU student in Athens!

Keep on reading to find some new places to go for a day trip out of Athens, along with some local spots you may have never heard of as well. Enjoy!

1. Take in Nature at Hocking Hills

From canoeing to fishing to birdwatching and more, there are plenty of terrific things you can do at Hocking Hills State Park! The entire park is a great place to go if you’re looking to hike with friends or camp out under the stars!

Additionally, Hocking Hills Adventures offers a variety of things for visitors to enjoy, such as:

  • Canoeing
  • Rafting
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Go-karting
  • Mini-golfing
  • Arcade games

On top of all of those fun things you can do, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours allows you to go ziplining, take part in a canopy tour up in the trees, or even off-road on a Segway, all perfect things to do for anyone who isn’t afraid of an adrenalin rush!

Travel time: ~1.5 hours roundtrip

2. Check Out the Animals at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Do you love animals? Then this day trip is right up your alley. The Columbus Zoo is a great nearby attraction that can make you feel like a kid again! See all their baby animals and check out their variety of exhibits, attractions, and food options inside the park.

Be sure to put this one on your list because the Columbus Zoo is often ranked as one of the finest zoos in America!

Travel time: ~2.5 hours roundtrip

3. Catch a Summer Blockbuster and Play Some Games at The Fun Barn

As it gets hotter during the summer there’s definitely times you just want to get out of the sun and relax in the AC. What better way to do that than by seeing a new feature flick?

Movies 10 and The Fun Barn is a great place to check out – one that features over 100 different games, mini bowling, bumper cars, and a food court. It’s a one-in-all fun place to go just outside of Athens!

Travel time: ~30 minutes roundtrip

4. Go on a Date in the Short North

Downtown Columbus is terrific place to check out when you’re looking to get out of Athens for the day and have a taste of the urban lifestyle. The Short North specifically is a fun spot for young adults to head to for good food, shopping, and arts and culture.

Travel time: ~2.5 hours roundtrip

5. Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride

Has it always been one of your dreams to go up in a hot air balloon? Well, now’s your chance! Head down to southwest Ohio to take a trip into the sky and see the environment from a new view. While rides cost around $200 a person, it’s definitely worth the price for an experience you will never forget!

Travel time: ~2.5 hours each way

take a tour

6. Escape to New Orleans at Mardi Gras Casino & Resort

Enjoy the lively spirit of Mardi Gras without the long travel! This casino and resort has a variety of slot machines and table games for you to enjoy alongside a variety of racing events to attend.

Order some French cuisine and enjoy awesome seafood dishes to make it feel like you’re right down in the Big Easy!

Travel time: ~3 hours roundtrip

7. Go Canoeing in Ross County

Waters Edge Canoe Livery is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t mind being outside for long periods of time. Their canoe trips range from 2 to 8+ hours and can travel up to 20 miles! You can choose from either canoes or kayaks and you can even camp on site if needed.

Travel time: ~2.75 hours roundtrip

8. Zipline Through Lancaster

Adrenaline junkies rejoice! Get the thrill of a lifetime when you go to Ohio’s #1 zipline. This great zipline park features 11 different lines, even giving you the opportunity to race your friends. Reach speeds up to 40mph and zip over open water to get thrills you can’t find anywhere else!

Travel time: ~2 hours roundtrip

9. Visit Ohio’s Amish Country

If you’ve never been able to go to Amish Country then it is a must-do this summer! Eat delicious meals and shop at local stores to get a feel of what the Amish lifestyle is all about.

You’ll get to learn about Amish heritage by riding in buggies, see their variety of farm animals, and receive an inside look at how the Amish live day to day.

Travel time: ~2.5 hours each way

Can’t Afford to Travel This Summer? Enjoy a Staycation in Athens!

We recently wrote a blog post about staycation ideas for students and there are many that apply to your summer in Athens. Here are a few examples of ways to feel like you’re on vacation while in Athens.

Go hiking, explore nature, and be active:

Entertainment and fun:

Food, art, and culture:

Not to mention, there are over 50 great things to do around Athens that will keep you entertained all summer long. Don’t forget that University Commons also has an on-site outdoor pool for its residents to keep you cool all summer long!

Check Out Other Great Posts from University Commons

Our blog is filled with fun posts for Athens residents to help them get some good ideas for things to do around town and much more! Here are a few recent posts we think you may enjoy:

And if you are in need of housing in Athens and are looking for a great student living community with awesome amenities, be sure to contact us today!