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5 great ideas for quick summer escapes

Sometimes you need to get out of town.

I love to travel and have put together a list of some of my favorite places, both near and far. Whether you’re interested in a day trip, weekend getaway or longer adventure, I have 10 great ideas.

1. HOCKING HILLS

One of my very favorite places is Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County, and now is the perfect time to enjoy hiking among a number of spectacular seasonal waterfalls. The park comprises five separate areas: Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Rock House and Cantwell Cliffs. Old Man’s Cave is the most popular destination of the five, and located in the Upper Falls section is one of the best falls at the park.

Near Hocking Hills is Tar Hollow State Park, where you can boat on Pine Lake, fish, hike the trails or camp.

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2. ARCHEOLOGY ADVENTURE

If you like history and archeology, check out Ohio’s ancient Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks outside Chillicothe, Newark and Lebanon. These Indian mounds are enormous and give a glimpse of what was the cultural epicenter of the eastern half of North America 2,000 years ago. Plus, in Adams County is Serpent Mound, a 1,348-foot-long earthwork constructed in the form of a snake, with its head and coils lined up to points on the solar and lunar calendars.

If that’s not enough, check out Leo Petroglyph State Memorial in the northwest corner of Jackson County, south of Chillicothe. The petroglyph includes about 37 different carvings, including a horned head with bird claws. Archaeologists believe the carvings predate the arrival of Europeans in this part of the New World.

3. NATURE, SHOPPING IN ONE

If you like nature but also like shopping and dining, head to Brown County in Indiana. It has a feel similar to Yellow Springs and Glen Helen Nature Preserve, but on a larger scale. Enjoy hiking at Brown County State Park, and in the nearby artist community of Nashville, shop at more than a hundred boutiques and galleries, most downtown.

4. TOUR FAMOUS MOVIE PRISON

If you’re a movie buff, head over to Mansfield and take a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory, where “Shawshank Redemption” was filmed; then grab a bite to eat at The Coney Island Diner and ride on the Richland Carrousel.

5. BIG CITY WEEKEND ESCAPE

If you want to get away for a quick escape without a big vacation, there are plenty of great cities not too far from Dayton. If bigger cities are your thing, head south to Tennessee to the Music City. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Johnny Cash Museum and Ryman Auditoriums are must-sees.

Or head north to Detroit and check out Greektown, Midtown, Detroit Institute of Arts and the Eastern Market.

Wherever you decide to go, enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Safe travels!

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