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Landscape view of a lush green park and walking trail with a river, bridge, and city skyline in the background

5 Scenic Spots Near Columbus for Sweet Outdoor Study Breaks


There are plenty of reasons to get excited about heading back to campus at The Ohio State University this fall, from connecting with friends to going wild on game days. To build up the anticipation, here are five beautiful spots near UNCOMMON Columbus for awesome outdoor study breaks.

See the Sights from the Scioto River

If you’ve never enjoyed views of the downtown Columbus skyline from the water, get out and make it happen! Bring along your own water toy, or rent a kayak from Olentangy Paddle and take a guided tour along the Scioto Mile. The tour schedule posts about a week in advance, and guides usually make runs Wednesday through Sunday, so you’ll have plenty of options to suit your schedule. One of the classic things to do in Columbus, this 2.5-hour paddle delivers exceptional photo opps and a challenging workout.

Looking for a Spot to Stretch Your Legs?

Just a few minutes from campus – but a world apart at the same time – Highbanks Metro Park in Lewis Center makes for the perfect morning outing, with over 11 miles of beautiful, forested trails along the Olentangy River. Take your canoe or kayak and spend some time on the serene river, or drop a fishing line and try your luck. Cross-country skiing in the winter on the 3.5-mile Coyote Run Trail makes Highbanks a great year-round destination and one of the best parks in Columbus, Ohio.

Need a Scenic Getaway Near Columbus?

When you’re in need of a true getaway, drive southeast of campus to Logan and explore the trails at Hocking Hills State Park. An awesome place to soak up the natural beauty of central Ohio, Hocking Hills features scenic waterfalls and stunning cave formations. You’ll have plenty to discover within the seven major hiking areas, including the popular Cedar Falls and Old Man’s Cave.

Ready for Some Active Fun Close to Town?

Getting your heart rate up on a study break can be an effective way to bring fresh energy into your day, and you’ll find plenty of outdoor activities in Columbus to scratch that itch. The Scioto Trail along the downtown riverfront makes it easy to get moving outside without going far from home. Between North Bank Park and Bicentennial Park, you’ll travel the lovely Scioto Mile. At the south edge of downtown, the trail leads into Scioto Audubon Metro Park, where you’ll have some cool options for active fun, from the climbing wall and bouldering areas to the Columbus Rotary Obstacle Course.

Enjoy a Peaceful Escape on Campus

For a quiet haven near campus – perfect for a lunch picnic or an afternoon power nap – head to Arboretum North, part of the Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens. This 60-acre natural escape in the middle of town boasts beautiful gardens, a tranquil lake, and over 1,000 native trees.

Have fun finding your favorite break spots near Columbus this fall! For more cool hangouts around campus, check out the UNCOMMON Columbus neighborhood page.


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