Give Me a Break: Make the Most of Your Spring "Staycation"

Wading in water, catching a tan, sipping something fruity: the stereotypical way to spend spring break is on the beach. But here in Cincinnati, we're a couple hundred miles away from the coastline. If you won't be migrating south, there's still plenty to do right in your own backyard. From outdoor adventures (if the weather's good) to indoor relaxation (if the weather's bad), you can plan a spring break that won't break the budget. Who needs all that pesky salt and sand, anyway?

Take a hike

You've been cooped up with schoolwork all winter—now it's time to get moving through Southern Ohio's beautiful landscape.

For low-key, local hikes, check out the Cincinnati Parks website. Ault Park has forest trails, lookout points and gardens that come to life this time of year. Avon Woods is a nature preserve with rolling hills and a stream-cut valley, making for a scenic hiking experience.

Willing to venture out a little further? You'll find some of Ohio's best trails at Hocking Hills, just a 2.5-hour drive from the downtown area. Check out popular attractions like Old Man's Cave and the Upper & Lower Falls, or chart your own journey to discover more secluded spots.

Bring the outdoors in

Want to reconnect with nature, but the weather just isn't cooperating? There are a few ways you can experience the wild without actually braving the elements.

A short drive to Eden Park can have you feeling like you've stepped into the rainforest or desert. Visit the Krohn Conservatory and revel in spring's renewal, surrounded by more than 3,500 plant species from around the world. Kick off the break with the last days of Blooms on the Bayou, a special event inspired by the colorful culture of New Orleans.

If you're feeling fishy, the Newport Aquarium will put you up close and personal with all sorts of ocean creatures. With over 70 exhibits and five underwater tunnels spanning 200 feet in length, you're sure to have an immersive experience. From seahorses to penguins to stingrays, you never know who you'll come face-to-face with here.

Head out for the weekend

If you're in need of a getaway that's short on the "away," there are lots of cool spots where you can get a short-term change of scenery.

An hour northwest of Cincinnati is the town of Yellow Springs, where you'll find colorful cafes, interesting antiques and comfy accommodations. Clifton MillJohn Bryan State Park and the Little Miami Scenic Trail are all nearby for added adventure.

Just an hour's drive down the Ohio River Scenic Byway will get you to Ripley, a 55-acre National Historic District. From an old-fashioned soda shoppe to an old-timey saloon, you'll forget you're living in the year 2017.

Go camping

What's better than roasting dinner on the fire, eating s'mores, and sleeping under the stars? I can't think of anything, either.

East Fork State Park, Miami Whitewater Forest and Winton Woods are all excellent campgrounds that are just a short drive away. Bring your tent, sleeping bag and good company for some back-to-basics fun.

For a rougher, backcountry experience, check out Daniel Boone National Forest and Shawnee State Forest. These destinations offer camping in serene, secluded locations.

Swim and slide

Still can't shake the dream of a seaside getaway? Do the next best thing and spend the day at an indoor waterpark.

Splash Cincinnati is a massive 55,000-square-foot facility in nearby Sharonville. While they offer plenty of kid-centric attractions, the adults get their own areas, too. Grab a drink at the fully-stocked bar and head over to the giant hot tub, reserved for the 18-and-older crowd.

Great Wolf Lodge in Mason also offers a giant hot tub, but if you're feeling adventurous, you can check out their huge waterslides—these aren't for small children! When you've worked up an appetite, head over to one of several restaurants on premises before stopping in Grizzly Rob's bar for a nightcap.

Written by Dakota Wright, Graduate Assistant to the Graduate School Office