18 Ways To Safely Enjoy Your Summer Around Columbus

From mural tours to stargazing

This summer is going to look a lot different and honestly, that’s okay.

When is the last time you really spent time exploring Ohio? Saving the money you may have otherwise spent on a big vacation out of town means you can have more experiences around Columbus this summer. There’s so much to explore, from incredible art to natural wonders.

Of course, no matter what you’re doing this summer, you should always have a few things with you when you’re heading out. Hand sanitizer or soap and water are crucial to maintaining proper hand hygiene. Face masks are strongly recommended to help slow the spread of COVID-19 as well. And of course, it’s summer so I’m going to suggest having some sunblock. No one wants to spend their days nursing a sunburn! I know you’re itching to get out there, Columbus, so let’s jump right in.

Go for a hike
From the foothills of Southeastern Ohio to local parks, we’ve got hiking for all skill levels around Columbus. If you’re like my husband and you like to hike towards something and not just for the sake of strolling through nature, you could hike out to some of Ohio’s incredible waterfalls. The views will definitely be worth it.

via Fairfield County Parks

Rent a boat at Alum Creek
I know a lot of us are bummed about not getting to take our typical summer vacations this year. Ours typically involves some sort of day on the water and luckily, we can still do that here if we want to! You can rent all sorts of watercraft from the Alum Creek Marina, including pontoon boats which are the ultimate “lazy day on the water” boats.

via Facebook

Have a picnic at your favorite metro park
I’m not saying you have to go check out Clear Creek Metro Park, but I am highly suggesting it. You can either grab some carryout on your way down or pack your own picnic lunch. Personally, I’d go for charcuterie. Not only do we have some fantastic places to grab the perfect tray, but it also travels well!

Clear Creek Metro Park

Go kayaking
Kayaking around Central Ohio’s waterways isn’t just a great workout. You’ll also get to see the city and the surrounding area from a completely different perspective. The best part about kayaking is that it’s very easy to maintain social distancing. If you haven’t had much experience in a kayak, this article is a great place to start.

Attend a virtual festival
Normally all of our calendars would be full to the brim with fun and exciting festivals to check out. Although we can’t gather in person this summer, that doesn’t mean we can’t still have fun. Several fests are moving online to a virtual format, including ComFest, which is going down virtually this weekend.

via Facebook

Enjoy a delicious drink on a socially distanced patio
If you don’t feel comfortable grabbing a drink indoors yet, you’re not alone and it’s totally okay. Columbus has so many incredible patio spaces where you can enjoy a drink in the fresh air. There are plenty of bars to choose from, including several rooftop patios, but I personally recommend Antiques on High. Not only can you have a fantastic sour beer, but you can also be as impressed as I was with their social distancing measures.

Go on a weekend camping adventure
Social distancing is easy when you’re plan is to spend the weekend in the great outdoors. Ohio has tons of great camping spots. You can go as primitive or as fancy as you’d like, with campgrounds offering just about every kind of campsite.

via Lake Hope State Park

Make your summer reading list a little more interesting by following The Beer Canon on Instagram
If a lazy summer day is right up your alley, then please don’t hesitate to follow @TheBeerCanon on Instagram. This account pairs classic novels with craft beer, perfect for all of the drunken scholars out there.

Visit the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has just reopened and it’s a great way to spend the day with your family with plenty of space. The zoo has made modifications to make their facilities even safer for visitors and let’s be real, there are seals and sea lions at the zoo now, so who’s going to want to miss out on that?

Harbor seals. Photo by Grahm S. Jones.

Catch a drive-in movie
You can never go wrong with a visit to South Drive-In. The iconic theatre is the only OG drive-in around town, but there are other pop-up events happening all summer long. From The Hidden Drive-In to the summer movie series at Easton, you really just need to pick a showtime and head out.

Go stargazing at JGAP
Head down to Hocking Hills for a night of stargazing at the John Glenn Astronomy Park. The Hocking Hills region has some of the lowest light pollution in the state, which means stargazing is a lot easier there than here in the city. You can check the astronomy forecast here to see if the conditions are right for a night under the stars. The JGAP is closed until July 2 due to COVID-19, so be sure to check their website for updates.

Request a Curbside Concert for a loved one
Although Ohio has been slowly reopening, there are many people who are still self-isolating for a variety of reasons. If a friend or loved one hasn’t been able to get out as much, consider spreading a little joy by sending them a Curbside Concert. This program is completely free and I can guarantee that whoever you order the concert for will really enjoy it.

Organize a porch party with your neighbors
I live in Merion Village and our neighborhood is basically always out hanging on the front porch. So I’ve been asking myself, why not make it into a party? With a little music and some yelling, we can all hang out together but apart on our own front porches. If you got kiddos, consider adding some walkie talkies to the mix so they can communicate a little easier. For the record, this concept also applies to balconies and driveways!

Pick up a new hobby
There’s no time like the present to teach yourself something new. Whether you’re hoping to get your arts & crafts on or perhaps get into a new workout routine, there are so many programs available online that will help keep you busy.

Go to your favorite park and play Doggie Bingo
This has quickly become one of my favorite activities. My husband and I started doing this back at the very beginning of quarantine and it has been an absolute blast. First of all, you’ve got to pick the right park. We go to Schiller Park in German Village because it genuinely has the biggest variety of cute, lovable pups to observe. Then, you can pull up a pre-made dog bingo card online or make your own and get to work. If you ever see that elusive purple leash, please let me know the details. I’ve lost one too many games of Doggie Bingo because of it.

Take a self-guided mural tour
Columbus has so much incredible street art. Finding outdoor art installations and exploring the city is a great way to get some exercise and to see the work of talented local artists. MASA is a great resource for finding the locations of murals and you can even contribute to the database by uploading locations and images when you come across art around town.

Treat yourself to something chill
We take ice cream very seriously in Columbus and as a result, we have so many delicious places to stop in for a cone, shake, or pop. Here are a few suggestions to you get started.

via Facebook

Get out there and enjoy the summer, Columbus. You deserve it.

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