Although 2020 was mostly spent social distancing and staying in our homes, there was one thing that helped many of us throughout it all: safely visiting outdoor parks and trails. As we head into the summer months, many of us are itching to once again spend more time outdoors and in the sun. Whether you are brand new to the Columbus area or have lived here your whole life, there are probably many new places out there waiting for you to explore! Here is a list of the top 10 parks in the Columbus area for you to put on your list this summer:
10. Scioto Audubon Metro Park
Located just minutes outside of downtown, Scioto Audubon is the perfect place to escape the busy city streets and enjoy the outdoors. In addition to numerous walking paths, there is also a huge play area for both children and adults. Complete with sand volleyball courts, an obstacle course, and an outdoor climbing wall, the Scioto Audubon offers many unique activities for all ages.
400 West Whittier Street Columbus, OH 43206
9. Scioto Mile
One of the most popular spots in Columbus, the Scioto Mile offers a great walk along the Scioto River that spans 145 acres. Located in the heart of Downtown Columbus, you will see breathtaking views of the skyline and many local attractions throughout. The walkways are always very clean and extra-wide, making them perfect for biking or roller skating! There are also many grass areas that could be great for a very scenic afternoon picnic.
233 South Civic Center Drive Columbus, OH 43215
8. Olentangy Bike Trail
Spanning over 12 miles from Worthington to downtown Columbus, this trail goes through beautiful wooded areas and is perfect for biking. However, walkers and runners can enjoy it just as much! Some notable stops along the trail include Broad Meadows Dam, Whetstone Park of Roses, Antrim Park, and The Ohio State University campus. Travel the entire trail or just a small portion of it, the choice is yours!
Olentangy Trail Columbus, OH 43210
7. Whetstone Park of Roses
As mentioned above, you can find Whetstone Park as a stop along the Olentangy Trail. This 136-acre park is especially unique due to the fact that 13 of those acres are covered in over 12,000 flowers! The Park of Roses is a must-see in Columbus, especially during the summer when everything is in full bloom. Take a trip here sometime to...well...stop and smell the roses!
3901 North High Street Columbus, OH 43214
6. Goodale Park
As one of the oldest parks in Columbus, Goodale Park in Victorian Village is a must-see for history buffs. The park was donated by Dr. Lincoln Goodale in the 1800s to preserve green space as the population of Columbus grew rapidly. There are tennis courts, basketball courts, walking trails, gardens, a playground, and a pond with a beautiful centerpiece. You even find a statue of Dr. Goodale and unique stone carvings representing various pieces of Columbus history at all of the entrances of the park.
120 West Goodale Street Columbus, OH 43215
5. Topiary Park
Topiary Park is essentially a living art piece. It brings George Seurat’s famous post-impressionist painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, to life in the form of 54 life-size topiaries. It is located on the grounds of the Old Deaf School Park and has become a hidden treasure of Columbus. Visit during the spring to fall seasons while the topiaries are in full bloom for the best experience.
480 East Town Street Columbus, OH 43215
4. Three Creeks Metro Park
This 1,100-acre park is perfect for nature lovers who want to do it all. From biking to canoeing, kayaking to fishing, natural play areas to picnicking, Three Creeks Metro Park offers endless amounts of fun. There have also been over 100 species of birds sighted here, and you may even catch a glimpse of some deer or beavers! This is a great place to escape city life and surround yourself with some nature.
3860 Bixby Road Groveport, OH 43125
3. Franklin Park
Franklin Park is easily one of the most beautiful places in all of Columbus. There are tulips, daisies, and many other types of flowers spread out over 100 acres of land. There is even a fountain and cascading waterfalls to add to all of the beauty. The centerpiece of it all is the Franklin Park Conservatory, where you can explore over 400 species of plants! This park is perfect for an evening stroll, a picnic, or even as a venue for a wedding!
1755 East Broad Street Columbus, OH 43205
2. Hayden Falls
WOW! That is all we have to say about Hayden Falls Park. There is a pretty typical nature walk with picnic areas, but the highlight of this park is...you guessed it...a waterfall! Probably one of the most popular waterfalls in Columbus, Hayden Falls is nearly 35 feet tall and feeds from the Scioto River itself! Pro tip: visit this park after a decent rainfall; the crest of the waterfall can extend from 5 feet normally all the way up to 30 feet!
4326 Hayden Run Road Dublin, OH 43017
1. Highbanks Metro Park
And finally, Highbanks Metro Park is the perfect place to do it all. There are over 1,200 acres of green space here, featuring multiple hiking trails, streams, and picnic areas. There are even some pet trails for your furry friends! Many people will also come to Highbanks for fishing, canoeing, and biking, as well as sledding and skiing in the winter months! If you’re looking for a well-rounded park to visit, look no further...Highbanks Metro Park is where it’s at!
9466 Columbus Pike Lewis Center, OH 43035