There is so much to do in Yellow Springs, Ohio! You get the best of both worlds with both outdoor recreation and an eclectic downtown filled with great restaurants, shops, and art nearby.
My older son and I enjoyed two days full of food, fun, and outdoor adventure. I’m sharing more about the top things to do during your visit.
Where is Yellow Springs, Ohio?
Yellow Springs, Ohio is located 16 miles east of Dayton, 1 hr 10 minutes from Cincinnati, and 52 minutes from Columbus.
Bike the Little Miami Scenic Trail From Yellow Springs to Xenia
101 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, OH
As a mom of two busy student-athletes, finding time in my kids’ schedules for a one-on-one getaway with my kids can be rare. I was able to squeeze in a 2-day trip filled with adventures around Yellow Springs with my oldest son. I’m stacking up as many memories together as I can before he goes away to college.
My son and I started our biking adventure in Yellow Springs from the Mills Park Hotel where we were staying that evening.
The hotel is a very short ride to the bike trail at the end of the street. The Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail has several hiking trails, great restaurants, delicious ice cream shops, and scenic views along the way.
How Long is the Little Miami Scenic Trail?
The Little Miami Scenic Trail is 78 miles long. The bike trail connects with Newtown, Milford, Loveland, Morrow, Oregonia, Corwin, Spring Valley, Xenia, Yellow Springs, and Springfield.
You can choose your own biking adventure and bike as long or as little as you want. It was a 90+ degree temperature day but thankfully the bike trail had a lot of shaded areas which made it feel cooler during our ride.
We biked from Yellow Springs Station to Xenia on our e-bikes, about 10 miles each way. My son and I really enjoyed the time we spent together on the scenic trail.
It was so nice to talk and reminisce about our previous biking adventures over the years while we biking along the Little Miami Scenic Trail. The experience reminded my son how much he actually enjoys biking.
Enjoy the Scenery at Shawnee Park
591 South Park Drive, Xenia, OH
If you are looking for a beautiful picnic spot, plan a stop at Shawnee Park. The park has plenty of picnic tables with nice views of the water.
Lunch Stop at Los Mariachis in Xenia
608 N Detroit St, Xenia, OH
We visited Los Mariachis on a Monday and we were happy to discover a bike rack out front and wonderful food inside.
I had the “Pollo Hawaiano” made with grilled chicken cooked with ham, pineapple, chorizo, and covered with cheese sauce – served with rice, lettuce, sour cream, and pico de gallo.
My son ordered the “Alambre” made with grilled steak, bacon, onions, and bell peppers covered with cheese. He also added shrimp for some extra protein.
Sweet Stop at the Dairy Station in Xenia
704 N Detroit St, Xenia, OH
While you’re in the area you might as well treat yourself to ice cream at the Dairy Station. I had the junior Dole soft serve and it was WONDERFUL! It was such a refreshing treat!
Dairy Station has a large selection of frozen options and flavors to choose from.
Local Brews at Devil Wind Brewing
130 S Detroit St, Xenia, OH
If you decide to bike a little farther into downtown Xenia there is a local brewery for you to check out. Devil Wind Brewery also has a great mural on the side of its building.
Downtown Xenia is very bike-friendly with dedicated bike lanes for riders on the main street.
View the Richard P. Eastman Covered Bridge/ Hyde Road Covered Bridge
We noticed the covered bridge over the bike trail on our way to Xenia but decided to stop for a closer look on the way back.
There is a set of stairs that you can access from the bike trail that leads you to the entrance of the bridge.
Cars still use the covered bridge so be mindful of that if you are taking pictures. This is a newer covered bridge, established in 2014 to replace a bridge from the early 1900s.
Dinner at Sunrise Cafe in Yellow Springs
259 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH
“Local. From Scratch. With Love”
You know it’s going to be a great meal with that approach to your dining experience. Sunrise Cafe sources the majority of their food from 20+ local farms that refrain from the use of pesticides.
We started with a black cherry Blue Sky soda for my son and a Peach whiskey sour for me using house-made simple syrup.
My son ordered the Buffalo burger with goat cheese and a side of rice. Their 1/3 LB Buffalo burgers are made with local grass-fed bison with no added hormones or antibiotics.
I ordered the crabcakes with bacon and asparagus risotto. Their crab cakes are made with wild rock crab and served with a classic roasted red pepper sauce. The bacon and asparagus risotto is a MUST TRY if you see it as an option during your visit.
I normally wouldn’t say that I enjoy a side of kale and zucchini but they flavored it in such a way that I changed my mind about the cooked vegetables with each bite.
Save room for dessert! We split the key lime pie made with key lime juice, organic sweetened milk, graham cracker crust, and an organic whipped cream topping.
Go Hiking at Glen Helen Nature Preserve
405 Corry Street, Yellow Springs, OH 45387
($5 parking, cash only or you can pay with the QR code on the sign in the parking lot)
Glen Helen Nature Preserve is made up of 1,125 acres with 20+ miles of trails open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year.
Take the Inman Loop Trail
The Inman Trail packs in a lot of diverse scenery within a relatively short 1.2-mile hike.
The highlights for me on the trail were the waterfalls and springs.
During the hike, you can view the “Yellow Spring” which the town is named for.
I would also recommend taking a picture of the trail map in the parking lot and using AllTrails to navigate if you are directionally challenged like myself.
We accidentally deviated off of the trail a few times and the navigation on the AllTrails app was super helpful. I would also bring water with you because there are several sections with stairs that will definitely get your heart rate up.
Visit the Glen Helen Raptor Center
1075 OH-343, Yellow Springs, OH
While you are at Glen Helen Nature Preserve make sure that you stop by the Raptor Center.
The mission of the Raptor Center is to improve the welfare of raptors across Ohio by educating the public about birds of prey, wildlife, and conservation issues, and through the rehabilitation of injured raptors across Southwestern Ohio.
The outdoor cages display permanently handicapped birds and flight cages for recuperating birds. You can read about each bird’s story outside of its cage.
Explore the Shops in Downtown Yellow Springs
There is an assortment of unique shops in downtown Yellow Springs to check out during your visit.
You’ll find everything from toys, decor, clothing, books, art, and more!
Make sure that you stop in Artisan Village to see an assortment of mediums of art for sale.
Appreciate the Artistic, Hippie Vibe
Yellow Springs has its own personality, welcoming all ages and walks of life, which is also part of the charm in visiting.
Be on the Lookout for Art Everywhere
I LOVE street art and was happy to discover several murals throughout downtown Yellow Springs.
Above are a few of my favorite murals that I spotted during our walks downtown.
The art isn’t limited to walls, even the garbage cans downtown are unique art.
There is also interesting architecture with old buildings and scenic garden spaces downtown.
Lunch Stop at Miguel’s Tacos
101 Corry Street Yellow Springs, OH
I ordered the Al Pastor taco and the carne asada (steak) taco and my son tried the steak burrito. Both menu items were delicious!
If we would have been hungrier at the time, we definitely would have tried their chips and guacamole.
Enjoy a Beer at Trail Town Brewing
Miguel’s Tacos is in a building connected to Trail Town Brewing.
You can order your drinks from the bar and then wait in the dining area for a server for Miguel’s Tacos.
Another popular brewery in the area to mention is Yellow Springs Brewery located along the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
Ice Cream, Animals, Friendly Competition, and Fun at Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm
6880 Springfield-Xenia Rd, Yellow Springs, OH
Enjoy homemade ice cream and meet the cows responsible for it at Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm.
If you plan on trying multiple activities during your visit, the best value is the Young’s Family Fun Pass.
Young’s Family Fun Wristbands help guests save 20-30% on activities.
We purchased a wristband that included miniature golf, the batting cage, and the driving range.
The wristband also included activities that younger kids would enjoy.
*Activities on the wristband can vary by season and day of the week.
Of course, the ice cream is one of the highlights of a visit.
Confession: We actually visited Young’s twice in two days because my son was craving a milkshake that night before our daytime visit the following day.
The Buckeye Bullshake was HUGE! It’s made with chocolate peanut butter and peanut butter ice cream, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter sauce blended with cold milk. Topped with a scoop of peanut butter cup, real whipped cream, Reese® pieces, and a homemade Young’s buckeye. (I did try the buckeye and it was delicious!)
You could easily spend several hours at Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm and have a great time.
*I would recommend visiting the animals AFTER you eat your ice cream.
Stay in Downtown Yellow Springs at the Mills Park Hotel
321 Xenia Avenue Yellow Springs, OH
Mills Park Hotel is a great option if you want to stay in downtown Yellow Springs. The hotel is within walking distance of shops and downtown restaurants and a short distance from the bike trail.
I was also told that this hotel is where Yellow Springs’ resident/comedian Dave Chappel has his guests stay when they are in town.
Mills Park Hotel has 28 guest rooms and offers a variety of room options, including:
- Premium Suite King or Queen
- Deluxe King Suite with Balcony
- Deluxe King or Double Queen
- Traditional King or Double Queen
There is plenty of dedicated parking in the back of the hotel for guests. The back entrance also has a bike rack if you want to lock up your bikes in between adventures.
People Watch from the Hotel Porch
The hotel is steps away from shops and restaurants and the large front porch is perfect for relaxing and people-watching.
The rocking chairs on the porch with fans circulating above make it a nice spot to relax during the day or night.
321 Xenia Ave, Yellow Springs, OH
My son and I enjoyed our breakfast on the front porch at “Ellie’s,” the hotel restaurant, named after the hotel owner’s corgi.
There are several corgis featured in artwork around the hotel and you can even buy a stuffed animal corgi in the gift shop on site.
I enjoyed a Honey Bee Latte made with a double shot of espresso, local honey, and steamed milk, which can be served hot or iced.
We both opted for chicken and waffles…because it’s a very popular menu item and just a fun breakfast.
Their version of the classic is made with fried chicken, brined overnight and battered to order, served on a sweet waffle with Ellie’s potatoes, bourbon molasses, and honey butter.
Normally I would try to convince my son to order another menu item so that we could try two things but I knew this was one that he wouldn’t want to share.
More Things to Do in Yellow Springs, Ohio
I LOVED spending so much quality one-on-one time with my son during our visit.
Check out more of my ideas from a previous daytrip to Yellow Springs.
Are Your Ready for an Adventure in Yellow Springs?