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156 Ways to Get Outside

Our guide to the region’s parks lets you know what’s still open and what you can do while social distancing.

by Corinne Minard

We may all be sheltering in place, but there’s still a couple places we can travel to, including our local parks. However, if you don’t consider yourself an outdoorsy person, you may not know where to go. And even if you are a frequent guest of the region’s parks, you may not know the current rules. No matter which person you are, this guide has your answers.

Great Parks of Hamilton County

Great Parks of Hamilton County has 21 parks and preserves throughout the county that are open to visitors. Most have trails, some of which are even paved. Great Parks has created its own guide to its parks, letting people know what’s in each park and what features may appeal to families.

Visitors are encouraged to participate in passive recreation, which includes use of the trails as well as access to private boat ramps and fishing. Those interested in camping can also make use of the Winton Woods Campground—only self-contained full hook-up units are open, and they are first come first served. Great Parks has closed its boathouses, camping at Miami Whitewater Forest and Lake Isabella, dog parks, its nature centers, food service, golf courses, playgrounds, shelters and restrooms.

To make the parks more accessible, Great Parks of Hamilton County is waiving its usual motor vehicle permit.

Looking for more to do? Great Parks of Hamilton County has also created a daily blog, called Parks@Home, where they post activities for you and your family to do at home.

You can learn more about what’s open and what’s not on Great Parks of Hamilton County’s website.

Cincinnati Parks

Cincinnati Parks’ five regional parks, 70 neighborhood parks and 34 natural areas remain open to the public. Visitors can enjoy the parks’ trails, views and gardens, and are invited to take part in activities like hiking and birding.

All playgrounds, nature centers and some park restrooms are closed.

If you’re looking for guidance when it comes to activities, Cincinnati Parks has created a Daily Dose of Activities Calendar so that there’s always something to do.

Keep yourself updated on what’s happening with Cincinnati Parks by visiting their website.

MetroParks of Butler County

Families and individuals can enjoy MetroParks of Butler County’s 11 parks with activities like running, walking, hiking and biking. Visitors can also fish in the lake of Voice of American MetroPark. To make this easier for visitors, Fees have been waived for all hand carried watercraft launches and for fishing in the lake. The lake is now catch and release only.

All playgrounds and indoor facilities are closed.

To keep up to date on the status of the MetroParks of Butler County, visit its website.

Clermont County Park District

The Clermont County Park District encompasses six parks, three nature preserves and eight greenspaces, all of which remain open. In addition to using the parks’ walking paths and hiking trails, visitors can canoe or kayak on the Little Miami River.

Playgrounds are currently closed.

For current information on the Clermont County Park District, visit its website.

Ohio State Parks

Ohio’s state parks are open throughout the state, including the five that are within 60 miles of Cincinnati—East Fork, Stonelick, Caesar Creek, Hueston Woods and Cowan Lake. The parks’ trails, dog parks and non-marina docks are available for use, making the parks great for walking, hiking, biking, boating or fishing.

All lodges, campgrounds, cabins, golf courses, restrooms, shower houses, playgrounds, horse camps and state marina buildings are closed.

While the trails and dog parks are open, the state is asking people to continue practice social distancing (staying at least 6 feet from other people) and limiting the number of people allowed in the dog parks are any given time.

To stay informed on what’s happening with Ohio state parks, visit their website.

Kentucky State Parks

The one Kentucky state park within the region, Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, is also open. Its museum and gift shop are closed, but visitors can still enjoy hiking the parks’ 4.5 miles of trails, birding, picnicking and seeing the park’s bison herd. The park’s campground is also still open. For more updates, visit the Kentucky state parks website.

Campbell County Parks

Campbell County’s three main parks—AJ Jolly Park, Morscher Park and Pendery Park—are still open for those looking for opportunities for passive recreation at no charge. The AJ Jolly Golf Course is closed and bicycle and watercraft rentals are suspended.

Visit the website of Campbell County’s Department of Parks and Recreation for more information.