Highland County is located around 1.5 hours from Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, and offers outdoor adventures and more for a day trip or weekend getaway.
I’m sharing more about fun things to do on your Ohio road trip around Highland County.
Thanks again to Visit Highland County for hosting my visit. All opinions are my own.
Go On a Private Self-Guided Cave Tour at Highlands Nature Sanctuary
7660 Cave Road, Bainbridge, Ohio
This was one of my FAVORITE discoveries during our visit to Highland County.
Highland Nature Sanctuary was formerly known as “7 Caves,” a popular tourist attraction from 1930-1970’s.
7 Caves began to decline as an attraction after that and was later transitioned to Highlands Nature Sanctuary, encompassing 3100 acres.
5 of the original 7 caves are protected bat sanctuaries with no public access. Two of the remaining caves, McKimmie’s Cave and Marble are still accessible to the public.
Where to Get the Bat Keys for McKimmie’s Cave
Visitors who want to go inside McKimmie’s Cave will need a special bat key from the front desk at the Appalachian Forest Museum.
Ask the front desk for the bat key and flashlights to access and explore McKimmie’s cave.
I would also recommend taking a picture of the trail map in case you want to explore more of the area afterward.
Before or after your cave tour, you’ll want to explore more of the Appalachian Museum too.
The bat key opens the gate that leads down to McKimmie’s Cave.
You can enter the crave through a crawl space if you are extra feeling daring or flexible.
If you prefer to walk into the cave there is a larger opening around the corner.
The flashlights definitely come in handy on your self-guided tour. I also used the flashlight feature on my cell phone for even brighter lighting.
The only group allowed in the cave is the one with possession of the bat key.
This helps avoid overcrowding in the cave because it’s an out-and-back that progressively gets really narrow toward the back of the cave.
Hike Valley of Ancients Trail also located at Highland Nature Sanctuary
The Valley of Ancients Trail is a 0.4-mile loop trail that takes you into Rocky Fork Gorge.
The trail starts at the museum and involves going up and down stairs.
Valley of Ancients trail is still considered an easy hike on AllTrails.
The scenery and rock formations are really interesting and beautiful. You can easily complete this hike in a relatively short time.
If you want to extend your stay at the park there are unique lodging options available onsite at Highlands Nature Sanctuary.
Create One of a Kind Art at The Art Rookery
340 Jefferson Street, Greenfield, Ohio
Everyone is an artist, especially under the supervision of an art teacher during a painting party.
It’s OK if you aren’t a natural artist because Nancy, the owner of Art Rookery, is there to guide and encourage you every step of the way.
She provides you with everything you need for your art project. The beautiful part is that each individual painting in the group is supposed to be uniquely different so there is no pressure for perfection.
There is also open studio time available if you prefer to create on your own without any guidance.
If you don’t have enough time for a class make sure that you still stop in to check out all of the art for sale in the gallery by Nancy and other local artists.
Find Farm Fresh Products at B. Williams Farms
9959 Centerfield Road, Leesburg, Ohio
B. Williams Farms specializes in farm fresh freezer beef of cattle that are grass-raised, grain-finished beef, corn, soybeans, pumpkins, seasonal produce, and hay & straw.
If you visit in the fall you’ll find a great selection of reasonably priced pumpkins, mums, and gourds at their pumpkin patch.
There are also fun photo ops on the property including a unique “hay horse” that you can sit on.
The barn also has some games and a corn pit. Don’t forget to measure your height by the corn sign before you go.
Enjoy a Scenic Hike or Bike Ride on the Greenfield Bike Path
The Greenfield Bike Path is a great place to enjoy a scenic walk or bike ride.
There is a large gravel parking lot at Felson Park but there isn’t a restroom or playground in case you are bringing younger kids.
I brought my foldable Buzz electric bikes for us to enjoy on the Greenfield Bike Path…because exercise is WAY more fun on an e-bike.
The paved path is relatively flat and goes along Paint Creek.
The approximate length of the trail is 3.47 miles. We didn’t go the full length of the trail but still enjoyed the scenic ride.
Pick Apples and Other Seasonal Fruit at Karnes Orchard
8200 Worley Mill Road, Hillsboro, Ohio
Karnes Orchard is a multi-generational business where you can pick apples, peaches, pears, and cherries seasonally.
Inside their market, you’ll find seasonal fruit for sale from mid-July to mid-November.
Karnes Orchard has over 30 varieties of apples for guests to choose from.
Check out the description on the label for the best use of each type of apple and don’t leave without trying their apple cider.
Kayak at Paint Creek State Park to see Plum Run Gorge with Greenfield Outdoor Adventures
Paint Creek State Park – 280 Taylor Road, Bainbridge, Ohio
The 1,148-acre lake allows boats with unlimited horsepower and has a swimming beach.
If you are interested in exploring more of the outdoors make sure that you check out the programs offered by Greenfield Outdoor Adventures.
Their mission is to promote outdoor educational and recreational experiences through hiking, kayaking, biking, and much more!
I was joined by Mike Anderson from Greenfield Outdoor Adventures who provided the kayaks and life jackets…while everyone else watched from the shore… because they thought it was too cold.
I actually thought the weather felt great and was even comfortable in a short-sleeved shirt.
The views of Plum Run Gorge were definitely worth it because you can only appreciate this view from the water.
During our kayak tour, Mike shared more about the wildlife and rock formations in the area.
Make sure that you follow the Greenfield Outdoor Adventures Facebook Page for upcoming events or you can call (937) 876-9868 to learn more about setting up an adventure.
I really enjoyed my time out on the water and definitely want to bring my inflatable stand-up paddle board to Paint Creek Lake in the summer.
Explore Paint Creek State Park
280 Taylor Rd, Bainbridge, OH
After spending time on the water, we explored more of Paint Creek State Park.
The 5256-acre park has three hiking trails ranging in length from 0.75 to 6 miles., 12 miles of mountain biking trails, and 25 miles of bridle trails.
The park also has a 21-hole disc golf course, nature center, and campground.
If it’s not busy during the day of your visit, I’d recommend pulling over to the side when you are on top of the dam so that you can admire the views from both sides.
The area near the lower dam is also a popular spot for fishing.
You’ll definitely want to check out the heart-shaped rock formation in the park.
It’s located toward the beginning of the paved path that leads to the lower dam.
I briefly considered climbing up into the heart-shaped cave… but quickly discovered that my shoes had ZERO traction and settled for a pic in front of it instead.
Stay at Whiteoak View Bed & Breakfast
2315 Taylorsville Rd. Hillsboro, OH
You can sleep at a rural farmhouse in southeast Ohio.
This bed and breakfast has plenty of space for everyone to spread out.
There are 4 four bedrooms, a full kitchen, 2 full baths, a large deck, wrap-around porch, fish and release pond.
Outside there is a nice fire pit area with plenty of wood nearby if you want to enjoy a bonfire at night.
Each bedroom has thoughtful quotes and displays of memories from 6 generations of Jeff and Kim Hauke and their family.
The two bathrooms, one upstairs and one downstairs made it easy for all of us to get ready in the morning.
We arrived at the bed and breakfast after dark and enjoyed seeing the adorable cows and scenic views in the morning.
There are fishing poles available if you want to give catch-and-release fishing a try during your stay.
The porch swings and rocking chairs on the wrap-around porch definitely made my morning very relaxing.
Our group was on the go for breakfast out but I did appreciate the stocked fridge with drinks and snacks for us to enjoy during our stay.
There was also a Highland County-opoly game for guests to play featuring several of the places we visited during our trip.
The bed and breakfast is a short drive to area restaurants and shopping in Hillsboro.
Speaking of restaurants, I’ve got you covered if you are looking for great places to eat in Highland County during your stay.