Step Outside - Ohio WELCOME TO STEP OUTSIDE! Find the best outdoor fun near you! en-us 30 http://stepoutside.org/ Step Outside - Ohio 144 144 http://stepoutside.org/ https://cdnstep-americantownscom.netdna-ssl.com/img/stepoutside_logo.gif Sat, 20 Oct 2018 03:35:35 -0500 Best Places to Fish in the Midwest This Fall Walleyes and a variety of salmon are on the autumn menu in the Midwest as anglers have a last chance to fish open water before the winter freeze starts to set in. Fishing for either species can be excellent; how the weather and the water temperatures line up are more critical where salmon are concerned, but the fall run extends well into November.

Walleyes aren’t so picky, and all the traditional waters such as the Mississippi River, Big Saint Germain Lake in Wisconsin, Otter Tail Lake in Minnesota and Great Lakes feeder streams give up tons of  ’eyes in the fall.

One Last Salmon Fling

The big attraction nowadays is king (chinook) salmon that make their fall spawning runs up rivers and creeks. Whether fishing from a small boat or a Great Lakes charter boat, latching on to a 20- or 30-pound king can quickly warm up an otherwise chilly fall day.

Hot Spots To Fish: Michigan’s Grand River, which empties into the eastern side of Michigan, is a prime destination for salmon. Getting Bit Guide Service (616-570-2946, gettingbitguideservice.com) in Grand Rapids is a good starting point. In fact, any port of call along Lake Michigan on either the east or west sides is likely to have plenty of knowledgeable salmon guides or charters. Fishing from jetties or piers – such as the famed McKinley Pier in Milwaukee – is also productive during the fall salmon runs.

In northwestern New York, the Salmon River lives up to its name through mid-October, but the run might linger into November in the Lake Ontario feeder, depending on the weather. Coho and steelheads also are in the mix too.

The Yankee Angler (315-963-2065, yankeeangler.com) in Pulaski, N.Y. keeps tabs on the fishing. In the big waters of Lake Ontario’s southern shore at Rochester, N.Y., give Reel Em In Sportfishing Charters (585-317-5325, reeleminsportfishing.com) a call.

Farther to the northwest, the waters and feeders of Lake Superior near Sault Ste. Marie are teeming with big salmon. One of the benefits here is that you can always slip in to the St. Mary’s River System to get away from those rough autumn nor’ westers. Live To Fish Charters (906-440-7797) can help make it happen.

New York rivers and inshore waters are teeming with big salmon in the fall.

Tackle You’ll Need: Salmon tackle and striped bass tackle (see above) are practically interchangeable. Fish might range from a few pounds to well over 20 pounds, and rods and reels should be in the medium- to-heavy range. A light- to-medium spinning outfit capable of holding a couple of hundred yards of 10- to 14-pound-test monofilament or 30- to 50-pound-test braid should do for most applications, especially when casting lures. Try the Okuma Epixor XT-20 with a matching rod.

Quick Tip: Just to hedge your bets, tie a foot-long section of 2x mono to your streamer hook and add a beadhead Prince nymph or similar pattern to the other end. When salmon are finicky, they might flash at a streamer, but not take it. Sometimes, a smaller mouthful such as a nymph trailer will seal the deal.

 

Best Lures/Bait: For the most part, spawn-run salmon hit spoons, crankbaits or roe bags out of reaction rather than hunger. Shiny lures, such as the Luhr-Jensen Twinky Rig behind a flasher, the Acme Kastmaster Spoon and a variety of soft-plastic swimbaits or hard crankbaits, will elicit strikes. Fly fishermen favor Dahlberg Divers, Wooly Buggers, Hex Nymphs and Glo Bugs.

Walleyes Are Hungry and Willing

In similar fashion to bass, walleyes follow baitfish from the bigger lakes to feeder creeks and rivers with current.

Hot Spots To Fish: The Van Hook Arm of Lake Sakakawea (701-421-0360, vanhookguideservice.com) in North Dakota is a prime walleye destination, as is Wisconsin’s Lake Winnebago (920-598-0586, walleyepatrol.com

Tackle You’ll Need: Power fishing it’s not. Though walleyes might fatten up to well over 10 pounds, 2- to 4-pound fish are more the rule. Depending on the average size of the fish, 4- to 10-pound-test monofilament or fluorocarbon will do.

For spinning enthusiasts, the Quantum Vapor PT with matching rod will work. If you prefer trolling to casting, or bouncing a weight and natural bait on the bottom, try a baitcasting outfit such as a Fenwick/Pflueger Night Hawk or Iron Hawk combo.

Quick tip: Trolling at night with diving jerkbaits, such as the Storm Original ThunderStick or Lucky Craft Pointer 110, is a great way to catch walleyes. Troll in patterns from deep to shallow and back again, as the fish tend to relocate up and down drop-offs and channel runs depending on bait movement.

 

Best Lures/Bait: Leeches, nightcrawlers, minnows and everything from crankbaits to spinners will find favor with hungry fall walleyes. Top picks include: Rapala’s Shad Rap, Berkley’s Flicker Shad, Mepps’ Black Fury, Rapala’s Husky Jerk and Northland Fishing Tackle’s Forage Minnow Jigging Spoon.

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Photograph Courtesy of Michigan Department of Natural Resources Walleyes weighing more than 10 pounds apiece are routinely caught in the fall, but most fish are "good eating size," averaging about 3 pounds. http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-midwest-this-fall http://stepoutside.org/article/best-places-to-fish-in-the-midwest-this-fall Thu, 11 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0500
10 Best Bait and Tackle Shops in Ohio Ohio is dotted with bait and tackle shops where you can pick up everything you need for a fun and successful day out on the water. These shops know what’s biting, and what bait or tackle you need to make the catch. Here are the 10 best bait and tackle shops in Ohio to visit before your next fishing trip!

Pick up all the bait you’ll need for your next fishing outing at Hamilton Bait & Tackle in Fairfield. This local shop carries live, frozen, and packaged bait as well as gear, rods, reels, and a variety of tackle.

Our custom Abu Garcia rocket is here!! Pre-Order now to guarantee yours as soon as they arrive!! #abugarcia #fish #fishing #catfish

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For all kinds of bait and tackle, head to Harbor Bait and Tackle in Painesville. This shop carries all of the best bait for any fishing trip on Lake Erie and its surrounding tributaries.

At Mark’s Live Bait-Tackle and Ammo in Ravenna, you’ll find live bait and tackle and you can even get your fishing license before you head out for a day on the water. Mark’s Live Bait-Tackle and Ammo is also well-known for its large seasonal ice fishing inventory.

Go Fish & Go Hunt is your one-stop-shop for all fishing and hunting supplies. The shop is loaded with a variety of live bait and tackle for any type of fish you’re after.

Mary’s Bait Shop is a local shop serving Central Ohio for more than 40 years and specializing in fishing, hunting, and archery gear and supplies. Mary’s Bait Shop carries a large stock of specialty and staple fishing items, including hard and soft bait, lures, and more.

As a family owned and operated business, Rickard’s Bait and Tackle has you covered with all of the fishing supplies you need for a day out on Lake Erie. Whether you’re fishing walleye or bass, Rickard’s Bait and Tackle carries every type of bait for a catch.

I don't touch the bait...or the fish....yep...I'm a wimp. Lol.

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Pozzie’s Lakeside Bait & Tackle in Lorain is a full-service fishing bait and tackle shop specializing in live bait. They also stock an extensive tackle inventory so you can be sure you have everything you need for great fishing on Lake Erie. 

Head to Geneva Bait and Tackle for live bait, such as minnows and nightcrawlers, as well as fishing tackle, ice, and beverages. Find other supplies such as K.O. Wobblers, Tite-Lok rod holders, Hula Poppers, and more. 

Centrally located in the walleye and smallmouth bass capital of the world, Hi-Way Bait, Tackle & Lodging is the best place to pick up fishing lures, live and frozen bait, ice, and more. Make sure to schedule in a stop at Hi-Way Bait, Tackle & Lodging when you’re planning your perfect fishing retreat. 

'Merica #ohio #portclintonohio

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On The Way Live Bait & Tackle in Cincinnati carries plenty of bait and tackle for a day or weekend out on the lake or river. If you’re a fishing enthusiasts, you’ll find worms, nightcrawler, crickets, and plenty more.

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Camping Done Right: 7 Best Outdoor Stores in Ohio Looking to buy camping gear and equipment in Ohio that will help you get the most out of your next trip? Ohio has a number of shops that will help both experienced and beginner campers stock up right for their next big adventure. Here are the seven best outdoor stores in Ohio for camping done right.

The Backpackers Shop started out as a small shop in 1966 selling backpacking and camping equipment. Today, it is a giant emporium of outdoor equipment. Everything you’ll need for a weekend trip can be found on the floors of the Backpackers Shop.

Are you an avid camper? Then head to Appalachian Outfitters, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare for your next outing. This shop focuses entirely on the best outdoor adventure gear, and you’ll find a huge selection of CamelBak, Black Diamond, and other excellent branded equipment.

The Outdoor Source is an independent specialty outdoor shop based in Columbus and the ultimate source for campers to be properly outfitted for each and every adventure. You’ll find items like tents, hammocks, kitchen utensils, and all the gadgets you could ever need or want.

Great Miami Outfitters is a family-owned outdoor specialty store that carries high-quality gear and apparel for all outdoor activities. It carries lots of camping gear and wear in top brands like Big Agnes, Jetboil, and more. 

Clintonville Outfitters is a specialty outdoor store in Columbus that carries essential products for camping adventures. From equipment and outerwear to tents and cooking gear, this shop strives to bring the latest the industry has to offer.

Fin Feather Fur Outfitters started out as a bait and tackle shop in 1985 and has expanded to a colossal space that will satisfy all of your camping and outdoor needs. The store carries camping equipment and accessories from all the big adventure brands. Find locations in Ashland, Boardman, Canton, Middleburg Heights, and Milan/Sandusky. 

To find all of your favorite brands at reasonable prices, head to Outdoor Recreational Equipment in Youngstown, Ohio. Your camping experience just wouldn’t be complete without tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, and more, from brands like Eureka, ENO, and Osprey

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5 Gorgeous Beach Campsites in Ohio There's no experience quite like camping out by the lake. If you're looking to take a trip to the great outdoors, and maybe do some fishing, swimming, or just enjoying the gorgeous view of the water, then you have plenty of options in Ohio! Here are five gorgeous waterfront campsites in the state.

The Lakeside Resort Park in Circleville has over 200 campsites with water and electric hookups for your camper/RV. They have firewood available and a full-service grocery store on site, so you'll never worry about leaving the essentials at home. 

Kamp Kozy borders the Marblehead Peninsula and the Sandusky Bay of Lake Erie. They have 130 seasonal RV sites with water and 30 amp electrical hookups available. They also have 50 docks if you want to take the boat out and explore the lake!

Indian Lake State Park is a great place to take your RV, or just pitch a tent and enjoy the 5,000-acre noteworthy and man-made lake where you can boat, fish, jet ski, and camp. The park is 800 acres and features two beaches for swimmers to splash around all day.  

The Tall Timbers Campground is nestled in the peaceful woods near the shores of Lake Erie right in the walleye fishing capital of the world! With 400 total campsites from tent camping to RV hookup sites, and even RV rental villas, the options are endless. 

The Lakeview RV Park is a family owned and operated full-service family-friendly RV park situated in rural Lancaster, Ohio. Whether you're looking to bring an RV, tent, or just park your truck for the night, check out the 16-acre spring fed lake!

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5 Beautiful Backpack Camping Spots in Ohio There is something very special about backpacking. To truly become one with the elements, pack up your gear and head into the beautiful natural spaces of Ohio. Across the state, you’ll find parks and forests designed for the avid backpacker. Here are five great spots. 

Burr Oak State Park is one of the most gorgeous spots in Ohio to take a backpack out into the wilderness and enjoy the sights. The rustic allure in its 2,593-acre scenery of wooded hills and valley farms will have you coming back again and again.

Caesar Creek State Park is full of shimmering waters, dispersed woodlands, meadows, and ravines in 3,741 acres of gorgeous outdoors. You can take a boat out on the water and go fishing, spend the day hiking, and pitch a tent to sleep under the stars. 

East Fork State Park is one of the largest state parks in Ohio encompassing over 4,800 acres of gorgeous greenery, rugged hills, and open meadows for one of the most scenic backpack camping trips you can find in the United States. 

Tar Hollow State Park is a twisting park passed through forest roads in over 600 acres of deep ravines and dense woodlands. The rich greenery and vast variety of tree and plant species is sure to give you some of the best views you'll get on a camping trip!

Shawnee State Forest makes for a backpacker’s paradise. Here, you’ll find a 40-mile backpacking trail that meanders through rough terrain. This trek can be quite strenuous, so it’s recommended that you have some experience before taking on this challenge. 

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  http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-ohio http://stepoutside.org/article/5-beautiful-backpack-camping-spots-in-ohio Tue, 14 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500
5 Awesome Campgrounds for Families in Ohio If it's time to take your family away from the hustle and bustle of city life, then the best place to go is the great outdoors. Many campgrounds in Ohio are geared specifically toward young families with all the amenities and family-friendly atmosphere that you could ask for. Here are five great campgrounds for families to enjoy in the state. 

Pine Cove Campground is a family-owned and operated campground and RV park, accommodating everything from tents to large RVs. They have a specific focus on providing a family atmosphere with activities for both children and adults like swimming, canoeing, corn hole, basketball and more.

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The Dayton KOA Campground has all the amenities available for kids who aren't looking to live too rough during your vacation. With electricity, running water, mini golf, bike rentals, and more, you can get away without having to leave life behind. But you can also enjoy fishing in the lake and nature walks around the grounds. 

The Frontier Campground in Waynesville spans 11 acres and is within walking distance of the Spring Valley Wild Life Area and the Little Miami Scenic Bike Trail. With a playground, basketball, ping-pong, ski ball, movies, music, and more at the lodge, it's the perfect family getaway.

The Lazy River at Granville is a top 100 rated park located in the beautiful Welsh Hills. It's located far away from freeway and railroad noise, so you truly feel like you're in the isolated wilderness, but the area attractions are perfect for a young family with kids. Zip line, swimming pool, gem mine, mini-golf and more, are just a short drive away!

This KOA campground is over 40 years-old, but they make a point of staying up to date with the standards of fun for kids and adults alike. New amenities are being added all the time, including a jumping pillow, gem mine, and swimming pools.  

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5 Awesome RV Campsites in Ohio It’s time to load up the family and the RV for an exciting camping adventure. Ohio is home to an abundance of campgrounds with all the amenities and facilities you could ever need. From beautiful sites located deep in Amish country to serene creek-side grounds, these five awesome RV campsites in Ohio will surely help you escape. 

The Wilmington RV Resort is one of the nicest RV campsites in Ohio. With a well-maintained clubhouse, a huge swimming pool, clean restroom and shower facilities, and even laundry facilities to wash your clothes, Wilmington has everything you need. 

Cross Creek Camping Resort is a family-oriented camping resort that takes pride in offering beautiful surroundings, lots of fun activities, and even themed weekends. Cross Creek is one of the top-rated parks in Trailer Life, Good Sam, and Guest Rated, so come and see what the fuss is all about!

Berlin RV Park is the RV campsite you're looking for if you want to experience the beautiful and scenic Amish country in Ohio! You can sit back and watch horse carriages roll by, or take a walk through the scenic hiking trails.

Countryside Campground offers the quiet of the country with plenty of family activities like jungle safari days, miniature golf, hayrides, and giant checkers to keep you busy. They have clean and well-maintained facilities, so you can feel comfortable and relaxed on your camping trip.

Timbercrest Camp and RV Park is a great place to take your RV and relax for the weekend. It's nestled in a quiet, peaceful area near Walnut Creek. They offer free Wi-Fi, clean showers and bathrooms, and it's pet friendly so feel free to bring along the animals.

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5 Awesome Trail Running Spots in Ohio Trail running can be an immensely rewarding pastime, especially if you know the right places to go. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape, but it's a great way to get out and explore the great outdoors! Here are five awesome trail running spots in Ohio. 

West Creek Reservation is a great place to go trail running, because they are dedicated to keeping the environment around them preserved, clean, and pristine. You'll appreciate the healthy and vibrant plant life on miles of running trails.

Three Creeks is named for the point where Alum Creek, Big Walnut Creek, and Blacklick Creek join as one. You'll be able to spot owls, blue herons, and more than one hundred different species of birds on your run. You might even spot a beaver, mink, coyote, or deer!

Little Beaver Creek Greenway is a great place for trail running for beginners and experts alike. The trail can accommodate mountain bikers, wheelchairs, cross-country skiers, or people just looking for a nice walk, too! 

This 587-acre park makes for a wonderfully scenic trail run. The area also features a pristine 13-acre lake and a rustically beautiful forest. There are five trails to choose from to go for a run, including the .4-mile Lake Trail, the 1.2-mile Mitchell Ridge Trail, the 1.2-mile Wildcat Hollow Trail, the half-mile Greenbrier Trail, and the half-mile CCC Trail.  

This 11-mile trail near Harrison County is among the best locations for running. The trail is located in the beautiful Appalachian foothills. The route is mostly easy, but can be relatively bumpy in certain areas. Keep in mind that this area is shared with cyclists and walkers, as well. 

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5 Energizing Hikes in Ohio Setting aside time to escape into nature and feel the earth beneath your feet is essential. Ohio is home to a multitude of trails across nature preserves and forests just waiting to be explored. For a journey that tests your endurance a little more than just a casual hike, check out these five energizing hikes in Ohio! 

Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserves encompasses 956 acres of woodland trails, rivers, and natural rock formations in Lucking County. With over 10 miles of trails winding through the preserve, you can make a whole day of it. Enjoy towering cliffs, riverside views, and a heart-pumping hike. 

The Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve in Lancaster is over 554 acres of beautiful nature. Take a hike up to the Jacob's Ladder rock formation, a Black Hand Sandstone formation towering 250 feet above the valley of Arney Run. The three-mile-long trail has two separate loops of moderate difficultly because of their steepness. 

Cedar Falls is one of the most picturesque hiking locations in Hocking Hills. Check out the route that passes through Cedar Falls for a real challenge. This isolated chasm is blooming with hemlock and characterized by steep rock walls, grottos, and waterfalls. 

In Monroe County, the Lamping Homestead area offers camping, picnicking, fishing, canoeing, and a scenic hiking trail with two loops, one at 3.5 miles and the other at one and a half mile. A two-acre pond at the site is stocked with bluegill, bass, and catfish.

The Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve in Yellow Springs is a 268-acre preserve that protects a spectacular dolomite and limestone gorge. It became a landmark in 1968 and encompasses a two-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River.

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10 Best Hiking Retailers in Ohio Hiking is a favorite activity for many people in Ohio. Thankfully, there are a number of excellent hiking trails to enjoy, especially in Northeast Ohio, such as the Rocky River Reservation, Quail Hollow State Park, and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you’re thinking about hitting the trails but need to gear up first, here are the 10 best hiking retailers in Ohio to check out. 

For all of your hiking, climbing, and exploration gear needs, head to Appalachian Outfitters in Peninsula. As one of Ohio’s largest outdoor specialty stores, Appalachian Outfitters carries an extensive lineup of products, sportswear, and gear that hikers love. 

Outdoor Source is an independent outdoor retailer that specializes in the very best outdoor apparel and equipment for any hiking adventure. Based in Columbus, the dedicated staff can help you pick out the right gear from the best brands in the business, such as Patagonia, the North Face, Smartwool, and much more.

Benchmark is an independent outdoor shop located in Cincinnati that has been in the outfitting business since 1974. Beyond the extensive inventory and top-notch brands, Benchmark can offer hiking enthusiasts expert advice and help when it comes to finding tailor-fit gear that suits any outdoor needs.

Great Miami Outfitters is a premium supplier of outdoor and hiking gear, apparel, and supplies located in Dayton. This shop is conveniently located near the Twin Valley Backpack Trail and a vast park system so you can stock up on everything you need for a day out hiking. From trekking poles and water bottles to the best footwear and apparel, Great Miami Outfitters has it all.

Since 1932, Geiger’s has been the one-stop-shop for families looking for women's and men's clothing, footwear, accessories and gear for snow sports, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The locally-owned shop has expanded to three locations in Ohio and carries high-quality hiking boots and apparel in brands like Merrell, KEEN, Salomon, and more.

Kames Sports was founded in 1963 and provides Northeast Ohioans with a place to find high-quality outdoor gear for hunting, hiking, motocross, and everything in between. Be prepared for any hiking trip with apparel from brands like TRAILCREST, Rocky, and more.

Sun & Ski in Cincinnati specializes in making your outdoor dreams come true. This specialty shop offers the best in hiking gear, clothing, and shoes in brands like Salomon, Merrell, Sperry, and more. For friendly, personalized service and an easy shopping experience, make your way to Sun & Ski for everything hiking-related.

Delamere & Hopkins has been a Cincinnati staple among the outdoor community for over 23 years. This outdoor gear shop sells the best products and apparel for fishing, hiking, hunting, and any other outdoor pursuit. Not only do they provide the gear but they also organize a number of classes and trips for the local community to enjoy. 

One of the most important things anyone who loves hiking must have is a great pair of shoes. If you’re in need of some fresh, comfortable gear for your feet, then head to Vertical Runner. This friendly specialty store has everything you need for a quick race or longer hiking adventure. Find locations in Brecksville, Hudson, and Wooster, Ohio. 

The Backpackers Shop is a family-owned and operated shop that is well-equipped with the best in backpacking and hiking gear in the Cleveland area. The knowledgeable staff is always ready to lend a helping hand to help you pick out the right hiking footwear and accessories.

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SPOTLIGHT: Things to Do in and Around Hocking Hills State Park Any time is the perfect time of year to hit the road and soak in the beauty of Ohio’s state parks. Whether you’re looking to book a cabin space or simply spend the day exploring, the scenic Hocking Hills State Park is an excellent site for adventure. Find towering cliffs, incredible caves, and exciting nearby attractions. Here are all the great things to do in and around Hocking Hills State Park. 

If you’re in Ohio and looking for a great weekend getaway, then make your way to Hocking Hills State Park, one of the most popular recreational areas in the state. This sprawling park features miles of tranquil trails and waterfalls, as well as caves and cliffs for the more adventurous thrill-seekers. 

Ain’t even gotta be Wednesday and im crushin on you @larissabauer

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Located in the Northern part of Hocking Hills State Park, Cantwell Cliffs is a remote hiking destination meant for more advanced hikers. It’s a challenging hike, but those who are up to the challenge will be rewarded with one of the most stunning views in all of Hocking County. The narrow trail winds through the deep valley, steep cliffs, and there is a rock shelter.

In the southernmost part of Hocking Hills State Park, visitors will encounter Ash Cave—the largest recess cave in the state. To get to the cave, visitors must make their way through a short but narrow gorge lined with incredible flora. Upon arrival at the cave, visitors can soak in the stunning views of the horseshoe-shaped cave and cascade. 

Campers can head to Happy Hills, a beautiful campground located near the state park attractions that features both spacious campsites and cabins for larger parties. A stay at Happy Hills includes access to a private fishing lake, playground, and modern facilities for showering and doing laundry. Wi-Fi and cable television are also available throughout the campground so you won’t feel like you’re far from home!

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Just 20 minutes away from Hocking Hills State Park, a visit to the Logan Antique Mall is a must for any lover of antiques. Featuring over 100 vendors, visitors can comb through a variety of furniture, pottery, glassware, and memorabilia from every decade. Logan Antique Mall is also open seven days a week. 

Antique stores are the best

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Another place not to miss in the scenic Hocking Hills is a visit to downtown Nelsonville. Dozens of galleries and retail shops line the streets carrying everything them from unique gifts, fine art, handmade soap, fabrics, antiques, and more. Special events are also on the schedule every month, so be sure to check the calendar when planning your visit.

For a comforting meal after a long day of exploring, head to Rhapsody, a casual fine dining restaurant located in downtown Nelsonville. Rhapsody is famous for its comfort food prepared from locally-grown produce and ingredients, such as house-made cheese spreads and locally-raised chicken dishes.

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5 Best Birdwatching Hikes in Ohio Ohio is a magical place to catch sight of some of your favorite birds. The state has dozens of great woodland areas to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of nature, and to observe some of Ohio’s various bird species. Get outside, get some fresh air, and enjoy these five beautiful birdwatching hikes in Ohio. 

Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best places to go on a birdwatching hike because it's home to species of birds that are nearly impossible to see anywhere else. Bald eagles, yellow-rumped warblers, dunlins, and more, abound here! The refuge was established as a habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.  

Swans

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The Black Swamp Bird Observatory aims to inspire appreciation, enjoyment, and conservation of birds and their habits through education and outreach. At this lush observatory, catch sight of the gray-cheeked thrush, northern saw whet owls, and nearly 150,000 other birds! It’s simply incredible. 

The Walborn Reservoir comprises nearly 2,500 acres of terrain and open water. Dozens of species of birds are native to the area and make their home in this reservoir. If you're looking for a great place to have a nice hike and watch beautiful birds, this is it. 

The Birding Station at Jeffrey Point boasts almost 10,000 impressive acres of grassland, woodlands, wetlands, and more. The Birding Station features an immense array of bird species and serves as one of the most important birding areas in the state. 

The Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area in Curtice is 558 acres of marshland on Lake Erie located 13 miles east of Toledo. The water levels that create the marsh environment provide optimum vegetation for wetland wildlife and unique species of birds.

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5 Best Hiking Trails in Ohio An excellent way to spend quality time with your family and enjoy the great outdoors is by hiking one of Ohio’s many incredible trails. Across the state, you’ll discover trails among beautiful wilderness that are perfect for those with less experience. Explore these five awesome hiking trails throughout Ohio for an enjoyable trek. 

Hocking Hills is full of great places to hike, but Ash Cave is your number one must-see. The massive horseshoe-shaped cave is nearly 700 feet-long and 100 feet-deep. Such a marvel of natural formation is sure to put a smile on the faces of kids and adults alike. It's just a short hike from the road, and from there you can turn back or continue deeper into the woods to see everything Hocking Hills has to offer.

Some hiking trails can be a lot to ask of your kids, but Lanterman’s Mill will help you avoid this. It's just a short two-mile loop. Halfway through, you can stop and look at the historic mill built in 1845, which is still operating to this day. 

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The Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is made up of two loop trails of just over two miles, and if the family is feeling ambitious, they can be combined into a nice 4.75-mile loop hike. With numerous rocky outcroppings, fern-carpeted lands, and mature forests that stretch all the way to the horizon, you'll find yourself in awe at the beauty of nature.

If you're not necessarily looking for an in-and-out hike, and you want to stay for a while, the Lamping Homestead at Wayne National Forest has six walk-in campsites, eight picnic sites, a two-acre fishing pond, and two loop trails to hike, one at 3.5 miles and the other at 1.5 miles. Take the family away and get away from it all in the secluded and beautiful Lamping Homestead.

The Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve has lots of places to hike, but if you want to keep things simple for the kids, the Marie Hickey Trail and the Oak Knob Trail form a 2.5-mile loop for even the most novice of hikers. The preserve is full of rocky cliff faces, mature trees, stunning wildlife and flowers, and so much more. It's sure to bring the family together!

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5 Beautiful Scenic Hikes in Ohio There's nothing more relaxing and rewarding than taking a long hike and enjoying the beautiful sights of the great outdoors. Ohio is one of the best places in the nation for hiking, so strap on your hiking boots and check out these five beautiful scenic hikes in Ohio!

John Bryan State Park is the most scenic state park in western Ohio. With a beautiful limestone gorge cut by the Little Miami River, and dense forestry throughout the 752 acres, John Bryan provides a uniquely scenic experience for any hiker.

Nelson Kennedy Ledges might seem like a relatively small state park at just 167 acres, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in beautiful features and a thrilling experience. From rugged cliffs to diverse plant life, it features four scenic hiking trails sure to please even the pickiest of hikers.

If you're looking for a larger park, Caesar Creek might be more to your liking with 3,741 acres of clear blue waters, scattered woodlands, meadows, and steep ravines. Supplement your hike with some boating or fishing in the creek, and bring the whole family along!

Mohican State Park encompasses over 1,110 acres and is adjacent to another 4,525-acre state forest. It's well known locally for its outstanding beauty as one of Ohio's most unique natural regions. The Clear Fork Gorge, hemlock forest, and scenic Mohican River are all highlights in the Mohican State Park.

The Zaleski State Forest is the second largest forest in Ohio with several hiking trails including the main 26-mile trail, a 10-mile day loop and easy access to the Moonville Rail Trail. With a wide variety of plant and animal life, you need to experience the scenic hikes in Zaleski.

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5 Great Paddleboarding Spots in Ohio Paddleboarding is a wonderful way to spend time on the water. Not only is the sport a great way to enjoy time outdoors, but it’s also an invigorating workout and a relaxing experience. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, you’ll be ready to explore the waters of Ohio. With it’s beautiful lakes, including the magnificent Lake Eerie, Ohio makes for an excellent paddleboarding destination. Here are five great spots. 

Alum Creek State Park is the perfect place to go paddleboarding. The north end is great for beginners who want calm waters to get comfortable in. Shale cliffs and abundant nature lets you escape from the daily grind and connect with nature as you paddle. During the summer, SUP Columbus offers paddleboarding lessons, yoga, and excursions at Alum Creek. 

Hoover Reservoir is a great paddleboarding spot because of its easy access and limited boat traffic. You can sign up for paddleboarding lessons with SUP Columbus there, or just hit the water and forget your troubles. Crystal clear waters and calm currents make this spot one of a kind.

Most Ohioans know Lake Erie as a great fishing spot, but it's also one of the best paddleboarding locations around. Check out Nalu Standup Paddle and Surf to pick up a brand new paddleboard or sign up for lessons and hit the lake!

The Vermilion River is a great paddleboarding spot because of the sheer amount of beautiful natural sights you can experience along the way. With massive rocky cliffs, dense forestry, and even a healthy fish population. Vermilion River offers an experience unlike any other!

The Olentangy River is 97 miles-long, and much of it is calm enough to be the perfect paddleboarding location. There's a limited amount of boat traffic and fishermen as well as a wealth of beautiful natural sights to take in, making Olentangy one of the most fun paddleboarding experiences you'll ever have!

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iStock.com/meshaphoto http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-paddleboarding-spots-in-ohio http://stepoutside.org/article/5-great-paddleboarding-spots-in-ohio Mon, 06 Aug 2018 00:00:00 -0500