STEPHANIE VERMILLIONLonely Planet Writer
With tasty restaurants, charming neighborhoods, and serene city parks, Cincinnati’s packed with impressive attractions and activities. But just beyond the Queen City, a host of day trip adventures await. And, the city’s proximity to Kentucky and Indiana means you can cross multiple states and sights off your bucket list, all within two hours.
The following six Cincinnati day trips offer a bit of something for everyone—from sports and roller coasters to outdoor adventures and adult beverages. Here are the best day trips from Cincinnati for a quick getaway:
Red River Gorge Geological Area, Kentucky
Why go: Climb and hike through glacier-carved landscapes
Red River Gorge Geological Area, known locally as “The Red,” is an action-packed oasis in Kentucky’s Daniel Boone National Forest—and one of the best day trips from Cincinnati, particularly for adventure seekers. The Red is legendary among rock climbers, with steep sandstone walls offering thousands of routes. Climbing guides like the local Bluegrass Climbing School lead rock climbing and rappelling trips.
But this Kentucky getaway adventure extends well beyond climbing. Red River Gorge boasts over 70 trail miles along canyons, gorges, and arches. Some of the most scenic routes include the three-mile Natural Bridge & Laurel Ridge Trail, as well as the four-mile jaunt to Gray’s Arch. Mind-blowing underground kayaking and boat tours also wind through The Red’s caverns.
While you’re in town, don’t miss Miguel’s Pizza, famous in the climbing world for kick-starting The Red’s climbing scene in the 1980s. In addition to lunch, dinner, and margaritas, Miguel’s offers a rock-climbing store, along with their own accommodations nearby.
How to get to Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge is two hours southeast of Cincinnati. Car is the easiest way to get from point A to B, with the drive mostly following Interstate 75 south to Interstate 64 east, before hitting several backstreets on the way into The Red. Build in time for a stop in Winchester, Kentucky, the birthplace of beer cheese—where you can sample this local delicacy across the town’s Beer Cheese Trail.
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