spring break ideas from Cincinnati
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17 Spring Break Vacation Ideas From Cincinnati

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Are you looking for Spring Break vacation ideas from Cincinnati, Ohio? Whether you are looking for affordable family destinations within a few hours of Cincinnati or hope to escape to the beach, we have spring break ideas for all types of travelers.

Spring Break Vacation Ideas From Cincinnati
The sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama

Flying or Driving?

One of the most important questions in determining where you are heading for spring break is whether you plan on flying or driving. Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) offers various carriers, including budget carriers such as Allegiant Airlines and Frontier Airlines, that offer direct flights to popular beaches and big city destinations.

One of Cincinnati’s beauties is that you can admire a completely different landscape in only a few hours of driving. In five hours, you could be soaking up mountain views in Smoky Mountain National Park, exploring the St. Louis Arch, or sitting on the beaches of Lake Michigan.

This article will not highlight popular Spring Break destinations such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

Our Top Spring Break Destinations From Cincinnati For Families

Discover the Bavarian town of Frankenmuth, Michigan

Grab a cold beer at Michigan’s oldest brewery, tour a working historic farm or visit Brommers, the world largest Christmas Store. Don’t forget to stay at Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. There are tons of fun things to do in Frankenmuth, MI.

Zenders splash village in Frankenmuth
Zehnder’s Splash Village in Frankenmuth

Check out our top things to do in Frankenmuth, MI!

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 5 hours

Visit an Indoor Waterpark in Sandusky, Ohio

Sandusky is Ohio’s indoor waterpark capital. With three different indoor waterparks to choose from, guests can find the best one to fit their family’s needs, whether it is Castaway Bay geared towards twelve and under, or Kalahari Resort offering more slides and thrills.

Kalahari Resort In Sandusky Ohio
Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio

Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky is another popular indoor waterpark offering attractions for guests of various ages. Don’t stop exploring at the waterparks, though! Spend on of your days exploring Ohio’s Islands such as Put-IN-Bay or Kelleys Island.

Tip: The only way to get to Ohio’s Islands is by ferry or personal boat. When visiting Ohio’s Islands, check the ferry schedule, as it varies by season. Miller Ferry services Put-In-Bay and Middle Bass Island, and the Kelley’s Island Ferry services Kelley’s Island.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 4 hours and 30 minutes

Spend the Weekend in Indianapolis

Are you looking to put together the perfect Indianapolis 3-day weekend getaway itinerary with your family and discover the best things to do in Indianapolis with kids?

Indianapolis Children's Museum
Indianapolis Children’s Museum

Known for the Indy 500, this racing town has more to offer guests, including the world’s largest children’s museum! With this Indianapolis weekend itinerary, you’ll enjoy the best of Indy with kids and leave with incredible memories.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 2 hours

Head to the Smoky Mountains

A popular spring break spot to visit during Spring Break is the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Cincinnatians, particularly love Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg as it s a quick 5 hour drive from the city.

Things To Do In Pigeon Forge With Kids
The Island at Pigeon Forge

While the Smoky Mountain National Park is a huge draw for tourists, the nearby towns have become a hot spot of endless attractions, restaurants and hotels. Plan a visit to Dollywood, see one of the many dinner shows, or take the Ober Gatlinburg on a scenic lift to the Ober Mountain Adventure Park.

Pigeon Forge is full of family attractions including the Island, Magi-Quest, various putt-putting courses and go-carts.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 5 hours

Plan A Trip To Gulf Shores, AL

One of our favorite, drivable beaches is Gulf Shores, Alabama. With sugary soft sandy beaches, Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, the Wharf, the possibilities are endless of all the family-fun that one can enjoy. Don’t miss the popular Gulf State Park with its diverse ecosystems or restaurant scene over in nearby Orange Beach.

Create a Sand Castle with Sand Castle University in Gulf Shores
Create a Sand Castle with Sand Castle University in Gulf Shores

Get our list of the Top 27 Things To Do With Kids in Gulf Shores, and start planning your vacation.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 11 hours

See The Sights In St. Louis

Known for its iconic Arch symbolizing the Gateway to the West, St. Louis offers a weekend full of adventures that extend to the unique City Museum, cold Budweiser beers, and top-notch attractions. Get our full 3-day St. Louis itinerary to plan the perfect spring break escape!

a st louis weekend getaway itinerary
St. Louis Arch

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 5 hours

Relax at French Lick Resort

The historic French Lick Resort was established in 1845 as a mineral spring resort. Through the years it was evolved into the luxurious getaway it is today. Guests can enjoy fine dining, indoor pools, a spa, a bowling alley, and many other fun amenities.

Spring Break ideas from Cincinnati: French Lick
French Lick Resort and West Baden Trolley

Don’t forget to hop on the trolley to go back and forth between the two on-site hotels or rent a bike to explore the grounds.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 3 hours

Spring Break Vacation Ideas From Cincinnati For Outdoor Enthusiasts

Adventure To New River Gorge National Park

One hidden gem, that really isn’t so hidden is New River Gorge National Park in West Virginia. Outdoor adventure is around every corner, from whitewater rafting and hiking to exploring abandoned ghost towns. Thrill seekers can even sign up for the New River Gorge Bridge Walk, a guided tour of the bridge from the catwalk underneath it!

Things To Do In New River Gorge
New River Gorge in West Virginia

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 4 hours 30 minutes

Discover Hocking Hills

One of Ohio’s most popular outdoor getaways is to Hocking Hills. This area is becoming a travel hot spot with unique lodging options, luxury cabins, and beautiful hiking trails. Peer inside Old Man’s Cave, grab a glass of wine at Hocking Hills Winery, or zipline through the forest.

Ash Cave in Hocking Hills Ohio
Ash Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Go Hiking at Red River Gorge

For a secluded getaway, rent a cabin in Red River Gorge for the weekend. Hike to the popular Natural Bridge, go glow-kayaking underground, and indulge in a slice of pizza from Miguels.

Quick Spring Break spots from Cincinnati: Red River Gorge
Red River Gorge in Kentucky

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 2 hours

Overnight at Ohio State Park Lodges

One of our daughter’s favorite getaways is to an Ohio State Park Lodge. So much so that we have visited nearly all of them. The Ohio Lodges make ideal family getaways as they offer plenty of space for families to gather, indoor pools, game rooms, and various family-friendly amenities.

Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center
Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center

One of our favorite lodges is Maumee Bay Lodge that sits along Lake Erie, catching the sun dip below the lake every evening was a treat. Many of the Ohio State Park Lodges offer cabin rentals with a pet-friendly option.

Tip: Toledo has a great Zoo, the Sandpiper River Cruise and incredible Glass City Metropark. Discover all the cool things to do in Toledo during your visit to Maumee Bay Lodge!

Drive Time From Cincinnati: To Maumee Bay Lodge is 3 hours

Explore Mammoth Cave

Did you know that the longest cave system in the world is only a few hours from Cincinnati? Venture down to Mammoth Cave National Park to explore the underground caverns, miles of trails, and nearby attractions.

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park

Dip down into Bowling Green, Kentucky, for the boat tour of Lost River Cave, restaurants, and the charming downtown area.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 3 hours

Brews and Views in Asheville, NC

The breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountain Range pairs perfectly with Asheville’s lively food and brewery scene. Make reservations for popular restaurants like Rhubarb while listening to live music at a local brewery. Plan a tour of Biltmore Estate and take off on a few hikes for those jaw-dropping views.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 5 hours and 30 minutes

Head To The Emerald Coast

The sparking emerald waters of Destin, Florida, are calling! Destin made the list because not only are there direct flights out of CVG to Destin, but it can be reached within an 11-hour drive. Destin is full of outdoor adventures such as exploring Crab Island, deep sea fishing, kayaking, and lying on the beautiful sandy beaches.

Uncle Buck's Fishbowl Bowling in Destin, FL
Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl- Bowling in Destin, FL

Drive Time For Cincinnati: 11 Hours

See Dayton’s Forest Trolls

Trolls have invaded the forests of Aullwood Audubon in Dayton, Ohio. Guests can visit the three trolls made from recycled materials that tell the story of birds, flight, and why it’s important to preserve habitats.

fun things to do in OHio this summer
The Forest Trolls at Aullwood Audubon in Dayon, Ohio

Hikers get to meet Bo, Bodil, and Bibbi and explore their troll-sized bird nest while experiencing the beauty of the preserve. The trolls are not all together but scattered throughout the park.

Tip: Have a troll-themed day by grabbing lunch at Dayton Troll Pub.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 45 minutes

Unique Spring Break Destinations

Stay Overnight In A Treehouse

Have you ever dreamed of sleeping among the trees? Make your dream a reality with an overnight stay in a treehouse! While there are many treehouse options throughout Ohio, we have really enjoyed our stay a the Mohican Treehouse Resort.

Old Pine Treehouse at the Mohicans
Old Pine Treehouse at the Mohicans

Mohican State Park offers incredible hiking trails, scenic overlooks, picnic areas, and various outdoor activities.

Tip: Consider getting a day pass to the Mohican Lodge to use their indoor swimming pool and amenities.

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 3 hours

Hide Away In A Hobbit House

Hobbit Houses have made their way into Ohio! That’s right, live like a hobbit in the shire by renting a cute Hobbit Home from Nature Mystique Retreat in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Each underground retreat has a full bath, a kitchenette, and a wood-burning cedar hot tub.

hobbit house in Hocking hills ohio
Hobbit House in Hocking Hills

Drive Time From Cincinnati: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Hit The Bourbon Trail

Handcraft your own bourbon adventure by planning a trip to Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail. Experience behind-the-scenes tours at distilleries, sample rare bourbons or even create your own bottle of bourbon.

bourbon barrels
Bourbon Trail

Hit bourbon hot spots such as Buffalo Trace, Wild Turkey, and Maker’s Mark while discovering smaller craft distilleries such as Willett Distillery and Whiskey Thief Distilling Co. along your journey.

Planning Tip: Many distilleries require advance reservations for tours and experiences. Many are booked out weeks to months in advance.

Need even more Spring Break Vacation Ideas From Cincinnati? Check out these related articles.

40 Weekend Trips From Cincinnati

7 Indoor Waterparks in Ohio

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