The 7 Best Day Trips From Dayton, Ohio (2024)

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Want to know all the best day trips from Dayton, Ohio? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know!

Best Day Trips From Dayton, Ohio

While Dayton, Ohio has plenty of it’s own things to do throughout the year, every once in awhile it’s good to get out of town for the day and explore new places.

As someone born and raised in the area, these are some of my favorite day trips from Dayton, Ohio.

1. Cincinnati: Sign Museum + Taft House + More

Cincinnati is only about 50-60 miles from Dayton depending on where you’re starting and ending your drive.

Generally this drive will be anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.

Cincinnati is a pretty large city, so there’s pretty much something for everybody, but if you’ve been dozens of times and want to do something different, we’ve got a great day trip itinerary.

On your way down to Cincinnati, I recommend stopping at Culver’s for a butter burger, cheese curds, and a concrete mixer or sundae.

Once you’re in Cincinnati, some fun activities include the American Sign Museum, The Escape Game, the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, and the Hidden Brewery Caverns Tour with beer tasting.

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Then on your way back home, hit up Jungle Jim’s, which has every type of food and drink from around the world you can imagine.

For more details about this itinerary, check out our full Cincinnati day trip itinerary post.

2. Columbus: Zoo + Hofbrauhaus + Other World + More

Columbus is about 70 miles from Dayton, depending on where you’re starting and ending your drive.

This generally comes out to about an hour’s drive.

Again, Columbus is a pretty large city, so there’s pretty much something for everybody, but if you’ve been dozens of times and want to do something different, we’ve got another great day trip itinerary.

Start your morning at the Columbus Zoo and see if there are any new babies since your last visit.

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Enjoy a late lunch or early dinner at the world famous Hofbrauhaus.

They have a traditional menu like Pretzels and Bier Cheese, Potato Pancakes, and Sauerkraut Balls for appetizers.

For entrees they offer dishes like Jagerschnitzel, Bratwurst, Mettwurst, and plenty more.

My favorite sides are Sauerkraut, German Potato Salad, and Buttered Spatzle.

They have the best dessert selection too with Apfel Strudel, Bavarian Cream Puffs, and Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwalder Kirsch Torte).

End your night with a fully immersive experience at Other World.

Every room has a different theme with interactive decor and games.

For a more detailed look at this itinerary, check out our Columbus day trip itinerary post.

3. King’s Island

King’s Island is in Mason, Ohio, about 35-40 miles from Dayton.

Usually the drive takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour.

Depending on the time of year, King’s Island makes for a great day trip outside of Dayton.

If you’ve never been, King’s Island is a popular amusement park for roller coaster enthusiasts and Brady Bunch fans.

They’re usually open around Memorial Day through the end of Summer.

In the Fall, they are only open Fridays-Sundays for Halloween Haunt from about mid September through Halloween.

Additionally, King’s Island re-opens on select nights in Winter for Winter Fest which usually runs from around Thanksgiving through the end of the year.

There’s also a waterpark you can visit in the Summer.

A must while you’re here is getting their famous blue ice cream!

You can also try some favorite local chains like Graeter’s Ice Cream, Skyline Chili, and LaRosa’s Pizza.

4. Ohio Caverns + Castles

The Ohio Caverns are about 50 miles northeast of Dayton, Ohio in West Liberty.

It’s about an hour long drive depending where you’re driving from.

What’s great about the Ohio Caverns is that they are open all year.

They offer tours every day between 9 am and 5 pm.

You can choose to do the Natural Wonder Tour or the Historic Tour or bundle your tickets and do both!

If you choose the Historic Tour, you’ll go to the discovery site and the part of the caverns that was first explored in the 1800s.

On the other hand, the Natural Wonders Tour takes you through a portion of the caverns that weren’t discovered until after 1925.

If you’re visiting between October 1st through April 30th, you’ll take the Winter Tour.

It’s a hybrid tour of the two that are available the rest of the year.

Ohio Caverns in West Liberty, Ohio

Some other activities to fill your day are to stop in Urbana along the way for a lunch at Mumford’s Potato Chips & Deli.

They have old fashioned kettle cooked chips that they’ve been serving since the 1930s.

You can also visit Piatt Castle Mac-A-Cheek in West Liberty.

During the Summer they’re open daily and the rest of the year they’re only open on weekends.

The grounds and outdoor exhibits are free to visit, but there’s a small fee to tour the castle and the indoor exhibits.

5. Waynesville: Antique Shopping + Caesar Creek State Park

Waynesville is only about 20 miles south of Dayton, Ohio and is about a 30 minute drive.

The historic downtown area of Waynesville has several boutique and antique shops that are fun to browse.

There’s also several family restaurants and cafes in town to check out while you’re here.

Only about 5 miles down the road is Caesar Creek State Park.

You can go boating, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, cycling, and more.

Depending on weather conditions, there’s also the possibility of ice fishing and cross country skiing here in the Winter.

6. Lebanon: Historic Dining At The Golden Lamb

Lebanon is about 30 miles south of Dayton and is a little less than a 45 minute drive.

It has a beautiful historic downtown main street that is home to the oldest hotel in Ohio and longest continuously operating business in Ohio, The Golden Lamb.

It’s been around since 1803 and 12 US presidents + many other historical figures have visited over the years.

Enjoying a nice dinner at The Golden Lamb is a must.

I recommend starting with Sauerkraut Balls as your appetizer.

These are hand-rolled balls filled with a secret blend of spices & pork roasted with savory kraut, served with cocktail sauce & house mustard.

You’ll also get complimentary dinner rolls.

For entrees I recommend the Ohio Fried Chicken Dinner which comes with skillet gravy, mashed potatoes, and fresh seasonal vegetables.

I also loved the Classic Shepherd’s Pie which comes with Pennsylvania raised lamb, roasted local mushrooms, garlic, edamame, pearl onions, lamb stock reduction baked with goat cheese & herb potatoes.

7. Cowan Lake State Park

Cowan Lake State Park is about 40 miles southeast of Dayton, Ohio.

It’s a little less than an hour’s drive.

You can go sailing, swimming, fishing, or kayaking on the lake.

There’s plenty of hiking trails throughout the park as well.

If you want to make your trip a little longer they have great cabins for camping.

Conclusion: Best Day Trips From Dayton, Ohio

As you can see, there are a variety of activities to do and sights to see in an easy day trip from Dayton, Ohio.

There are many historical sites, natural wonders, and interactive experiences for everyone.