Family Fun in Hocking Hills, Ohio (2023)

Hocking Hills — which refers to Hocking Hills State Park, Hocking Hills State Forest and the town of Logan in southeast Ohio — is a nature-lover’s paradise. It’s also a great place for families! There is an abundance of adventure and natural beauty within Hocking Hills’ rolling hills, caves and waterfalls, as well as family-friendly attractions everywhere. Here are our favorite spots to visit when exploring this corner of Ohio.

Where to Stay in Hocking Hills

As you drive around the Hocking Hills area, you will see lots of signs for cabins tucked into the woods. It won’t take you long to notice that Hocking Hills is cabin country, baby! If you have the means and the desire, staying in a cabin will make your Hocking Hills experience that much more authentic.

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We stayed at The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, a cozy bed and breakfast surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park. It offers lots of unique lodging options, including luxury cabins perfect for a family of four, all the way up to lodges that sleep 12. Our two-story cabin offered all of the comforts of home — like wifi and a full kitchen — as well as some bonuses, like a two-person whirlpool tub, a gas fireplace and a large grill on the deck to cook out. All of the cabins are set just close enough to the main Inn that you can walk to breakfast and dinner at the Inn’s restaurant, Kindred Spirits (and a full breakfast is included each morning of your stay). But the cabins are also far enough into the woods that they provide a respite from all noise except the sounds of bird calls and scurrying woodland critters. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is the place to stay for peace and quiet.

For parents who are looking to get away kid-free and want to glamp in style, The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls offers yurts and geodomes, which have expansive viewing windows inside that let you experience the majesty of the wilderness from the comfort of your room.

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Cabins aren’t the only lodging option in Hocking Hills, though. If you’re looking for a place to stay that’s a little less country and a little more rock ‘n roll, then check outThe Worthington of Logan, a brand-new (as of winter 2021) boutique hotel in downtown Logan. Decked out in Easter-egg colors, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a mid-century modern tiki lounge. This 36-room hotel is built around an indoor atrium with skylights to give the feel of the tropics all year. Guests can take a dip in the Bali swimming pool, get a bite to eat at the tiki breakfast bar that’s included with your stay, and relax in environmentally friendly rooms that are outfitted with LED lights and minimal disposable plastics. Because The Worthington of Logan is located downtown, it’s within walking distance to restaurants and other amenities.

What to Do in Hocking Hills

Natural Fun

A visit to Hocking Hills wouldn’t be complete without exploring the vast and beautiful nature that surrounds you in this part of southeast Ohio. In Hocking Hills, there are a plethora of caves to see, hills to hike, waterfalls to witness and nature to explore.

Old Man’s Caveis one of the area’s seven major hiking trails, and rewards you with gorgeous views of waterfalls and caves. This hike starts at the visitor’s center — which has indoor bathrooms, so be sure to make a stop there before you set off! — and makes a one-way loop 1.5 miles around. This was my family’s favorite hike, because it was easy for little legs and not too strenuous, and had us walking through tunnels and caves, which is always fun!

If you’re looking for something more adventurous for older kids, take a hike to theRock House, the region’s only true cave in the park. You’ll see breathtaking scenery on this mile-long hike as you descend steps to view The Rock House, a 150-foot cliff of Black Hand sandstone. Signs at the start of the hike warn visitors to stay on the path and keep young children within arms reach, and for good reason: This hike will take you very close to the edge of cliffs!

Other hikes in Hocking Hills include the short and paved hike to seeAsh Cave, a cave that measures nearly 700 feet from end to end and is 100 feet deep. If you’re hiking to Old Man’s Cave, make a detour to also seeCedar Falls, which is a half-mile hike that will take you to a seasonal waterfall that usually runs in the spring, summer and early fall. A visit toRockbridge State Nature Preservewill send you on a hike to view Ohio’s largest natural bridge, which arches across a ravine.

Man-made Fun

Hocking Hills is filled with fun things for families to do, and filled with passionate people who love to show you how much they love what they do.

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(Video) Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio - Things to Do and See When You Visit

Jack Pine Studiois an example of one of these places that you will find in Hocking Hills. At this glass art studio, you can watch artisans blow glass and create the Jack Pine signature pumpkin. There’s no need to book a tour — just show up at the studio and take a seat, and you’ll be treated to a free and educational demo. When you’re done, you can pop into the gift shop and purchase a souvenir, if you wish.

If you’ll be in the Hocking Hills area on a Saturday, sign up for a class atLockhart Ironworks, where children ages 12 and older can spend the day learning the lost art of blacksmithing withSouthern Ohio School of Blacksmithing. This family-owned and operated blacksmithing shop offers hands-on classes where children can learn the basics of blacksmithing, and then take home their creations at the end of the day.

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(Video) Hocking Hills Ohio #Vacation #Ohio #HockingHills #TeenFun #FamilyFun

Butterfly Ridge is another must-see for families, and is a great Hocking Hills attraction if you are visiting the area in the spring, summer and early fall months. Take a guided or self-guided tour around the 21-acre garden that’s bursting with foliage to catch a glimpse of butterflies and other pollinators in the wild. There’s also a nature play area for kids to explore, as well as a tree house where you can see the grounds from up high. For a unique nighttime experience, visit Butterfly Ridge for their weekly event, The Mothing Zone, where visitors can view hundreds of moths and glow-in-the-dark caterpillars that you can only see at night!

Adventure seekers can get their fix atHocking Hills Canopy Tours, where you can soar through the treetops on one of their many zip-line adventure tours. Young children (between 35 pounds and 140 pounds) can try zip lining on the Dragonfly Tour, which includes eight kid-friendly zip lines, three fun bridges, and a sky tunnel. This tour is perfect for children who have never zip lined before (like mine!) because the people who work there are great with kids and nervous nellies (including nervous nelly parents), and everyone can go at their own pace.

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An expertly guided tour through pristine Ohio nature withHigh Rock Adventuresis great for families with children of all ages. Our ecotour took us on an adventure through High Rock Adventures’ private grounds, and had us climbing up rocks and through caves, shimmying between boulders and down hills, identifying edible plants, and using all of our senses to learn more about the Ohio wilderness. For families with older or more adventurous kids, High Rock Adventures can show you how much nature rocks with their rock climbing and rappelling experiences, including Ohio’s only canyon rappel.

Look sharp! ThePaul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museumis located next door to theHocking Hills Regional Welcome Center, and it’s a must-see for families. (Plus, it’s free!) Open when the Welcome Center is open, this tiny museum houses more than 3,400 pencil sharpeners, in shapes both familiar and unusual. This is definitely one of the more unique museums you will see, and it’s right here in Hocking Hills!

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(Video) Family Fun at Hocking Hills

Families looking for a game of putt-putt will find what they’re looking for atHocking Hills Mini Golf, which is open year-round and is wheelchair friendly. If you visit during the off season (in the winter or early spring), you might be greeted with a sign to pay for your round of mini golf on the honor system, with a cash box affixed to the side of the building in which to deposit your fee. This mini golf course is located in the Hocking Hills Market shopping center, where you’ll find lots of antique shops and dining opportunities.

Where to Eat in Hocking Hills

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One of the best meals we had during our trip to Hocking Hills was atKindred Spirits Restaurant, located at The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. Guests of the Inn and non-guests are invited to make reservations at this casual fine-dining restaurant, which serves breakfast and dinner all year long, and lunch from Memorial Day through early November. The menu at Kindred Spirits changes with the season, and they purposefully use ingredients from local Ohio purveyors, including local jam, honey, coffee and beer. The children’s dinner menu includes seven different options, so there’s something for every appetite!

If you’re looking for a casual sit-down meal that features familiar favorites, you’ll find it atRidge Inn, a cute and comfortable restaurant in the Laurelville area of Hocking Hills. They offer a variety of specials and kid-friendly meals (also, smoothies!), as well as their area-famous donuts and donut holes, which you can find there on weekends.

Weaver’s Market & Deliis a great place to stop to grab a sandwich to go before you head out on a day of hiking and exploring Hocking Hills with the family. You’ll also find sweets (like homemade candy and pie slices) and beverages at this Mennonite carryout deli, as well as staples like packaged egg noodles and local popcorn to take home.

Coffee-loving parents who need their caffeine fix will find a great cup of joe atHocking Hills Coffee Emporium, which offers fair trade, organic, shade grown coffee at this women-owned and women-produced coffee house. Their breakfast menu — which includes breakfast sandwiches and quiche slices — is served all day, and they also offer a wide variety of locally made baked goods, as well as unique gifts in their on-site gift shop.

In the mood for waffles and wings? How about axe throwing? You’ll find all that and more atHungry Buffalo, located in the middle of Hocking Hills, with a restaurant on one side and an axe-throwing bar on the other. The menu at Hungry Buffalo includes family favorites like burgers and fries, as well as steaks, ribs and meatloaf, plus a full kids menu. Hungry Buffalo is currently offering indoor dining and takeout only (no outdoor seating). When you’re done with your meal, adults can try their hand at a game of axe throwing, which is located right next door.

Finish off your day with a cup of frozen yogurt fromHocking Hills Frozen Yogurt, where you can make your own custom cup of creamy deliciousness, and top it with your choice of anything from candy to cookies to boba balls. Located in the middle of downtown Logan, the parlor’s patio seating is a great place to enjoy your frozen yogurt and watch the town traffic and people mill by.

This is just a small taste of what there is for families to do in Hocking Hills.

For more ideas and information about Hocking Hills, visit exploreexplorehockinghills.com

FAQs

Is Hocking Hills Family Friendly? ›

Once they've grown, some of your kids' fondest memories will be of those weekend getaways in Ohio's Hocking Hills that you shared as family and friends. There are plenty of age-appropriate activities in the region for every stage of a child's life.

What is so great about Hocking Hills? ›

Hocking Hills is most known for its natural beauty with high cliffs, deep gorges, and unique rock formations. The natural wonders throughout Hocking County attract visitors from all over the United States.

How long does it take to go through Hocking Hills? ›

It took us around 3 hours to hike all three of these trails which was perfect because we finished right around lunch time. Cantwell Cliffs: Shortly after starting this hike you'll reach the towering sandstone cliffs you'll have to climb a set of stairs down between.

What attractions are in Hocking Hills Ohio? ›

Top 11 Things to Do
  • Visit Old Man's Cave. The most popular of all the Hocking areas is Old Man's Cave, located on State Route 664. ...
  • Stay in a Cabin. ...
  • Walk to Ash Cave. ...
  • See Cedar Falls. ...
  • Canoeing. ...
  • Ride the Ziplines. ...
  • Hiking Here & Hiking There. ...
  • Camping.

What do you do at Old Man's Cave? ›

Located inside the Hocking Hills State Park, Old Man's Cave in Ohio is one of the most popular activities in the area. Visitors can hike to two waterfalls that plunge into swirling pools, deep gorges, and massive rock formations.

What is the best time to visit Hocking Hills? ›

In the hocking hills all the seasons are beautiful and unique in their own way. The best season to visit the hocking hills is in the winter. Not only are the state parks a winter wonderland, but they are also less busy. Compared to other seasons people don't hike as much in the winter.

Is Hocking Hills worth visiting? ›

Why should you visit Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio? Because the towering cliffs, waterfalls, and deep gorges this park offers will captivate anyone who enjoys the outdoors. And it's an affordable option for families. The park itself is free.

Can you do Hocking Hills in a day? ›

Because of its proximity to Columbus, the Hocking Hills are a great getaway for a day excursion, overnight getaway, or weekend trip. I spent an overnight in the Hocking Hills during my trip, and I think this is a great amount of time if you want to plan a trip too.

Are there bears in Hocking Hills? ›

There's Bears in Them Thar' Hills! Although black bears are native to Ohio, their numbers were all but depleted by hunting when settlers moved into the area in the 1800s.

Can you swim in Devil's Bathtub Hocking Hills Ohio? ›

Can you swim in Devil's Bathtub Hocking Hills? Although it may look like a great place for a cool dip in the water, no, you are not allowed to swim in Devil's Bathtub. In fact, with the tub being several feet deep, it is actually almost impossible to get out of.

How much does it cost to go to Hocking Hills? ›

All of Hocking Hills State Parks are free. But you must stay on the designated trail. There are no entrance fees for walking the trails or for parking. Naturalist-led hikes, programs, and special events are all free.

How do I prepare for Hocking Hills? ›

How to Plan Your Trip To Hocking Hills State Park! - YouTube

Do you need hiking boots for Hocking Hills? ›

Hi @Heather waterproof shoes or regular hiking boots should suit you well. Most trails are either paved, dirt, wood, grass, and some rock (depending on which trails you hike.) The biggest obstacle you'll run into are some mud puddles, water, and stairs carved from rock. Nothing too rugged.

How hard are the trails at Hocking Hills? ›

These trails in Hocking Hills provide stunning waterfalls, cliffs, gorges, foliage, and more that showcase just how beautiful Ohio can be. The trails range from fairly easy to difficult and some trails get muddier than others after a rainfall.

How long does it take to walk through Old Man's Cave? ›

The one-way loop trail is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles long and begins at the kiosk at Upper Falls. Hikers can choose from 2 exits: Exit 1—At Old Man's Cave, which ends at the Naturalist Cabin and Visitor Center. The trail is 1 mile and takes about 60 minutes.

What should I wear to Hocking Hills? ›

The best type of pants to wear on long hikes near Hocking Hills are lightweight, durable and moisture-wicking. Denim, though durable, doesn't dry easily, so you'll want to avoid wearing jeans in order to stay warm. The ideal hiking pant is made up of synthetic material, such as polyester, nylon or spandex.

Why is it called Old Man's Cave? ›

Old Man's Cave derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post.

Is Ash Cave an easy hike? ›

Generally considered an easy route, it takes an average of 15 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and walking, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring. The best times to visit this trail are April through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash.

Where are the waterfalls in Hocking Hills? ›

Lower Falls, located at the end of the Old Man's Cave trail, is a 30 foot waterfall that flows year round at Hocking Hills State Park. To reach Lower Falls, follow the Old Man's Cave trail through the gorge starting at the visitors center near Old Man's Cave parking lot.

How long of a hike is Ash Cave? ›

Ash Cave is one of the 7 major hiking trails of Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio. The trail is approximately a 1/2 mile long and takes about 40 minutes to hike. It is a one-way trail system but wheelchair accessible (to a series of steps that are a strenuous climb).

Is Lake Logan dog friendly? ›

Policy Details. Pets are welcome in the park. Dogs must remain on a leash and be cleaned up after.

How much is it to camp at Hocking Hills? ›

One Tent or one Camper per site 2 Adults & 4 Children – 6 Max per site Check-In 3 PM Check-Out 2 PM
SiteWeekdaysHolidays *
Primitive – no water or electric at site$59$69
Electric Only – 15 Amp tent site$75$87
Water and electric – Back in 30 Amp$82$92
Water and electric – Pull in 30 Amp$85$95
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How do I get into whispering cave? ›

Hiking to the Whispering Cave

To get to the Whispering Cave in the Hocking Hills, you'll have to take the new Hemlock Bridge Trail. There is a labeled, shorter spur trail at a split that you can take straight to the Whispering Cave. The hike is 1.5 miles long and takes about a half hour to complete.

Are dogs allowed at Old Man's Cave? ›

Old Man's Cave is another dog-friendly area of the Hocking Hills. This destination within Hocking Hills State Park features beautiful rock formations carved by the natural ware of Salt Creek and melting glaciers.

What is there to do in Hocking Hills Ohio with dogs? ›

Luckily many of local restaurants, like Millstone BBQ and Inn at Cedar Falls, have patios where your pup is more than welcome. And many times, your pup will receive a special treat as well! Or if you want to just grab a quick drink, make a stop at Brewery 33 or Hocking Hills Winery.

Can dogs swim at Hocking Hills? ›

More Hocking Hills Activities

Though they're not allowed at the swimming beaches, there are plenty of ponds and streams to please water-loving pups. Dogs also love canoeing down the Hocking River, stopping for a picnic and a splash, and supervising the fishing endeavors.

Can you swim in Devil's Bathtub Hocking Hills? ›

Can you swim in Devil's Bathtub Hocking Hills? Although it may look like a great place for a cool dip in the water, no, you are not allowed to swim in Devil's Bathtub. In fact, with the tub being several feet deep, it is actually almost impossible to get out of.

Can you swim at Hocking Hills? ›

There is NO swimming or wading in Hocking Hills State Park waterfalls, creeks, or natural bodies of water, except at the designated beach area at Lake Logan and Lake Hope State Park.

Are there bathrooms at Hocking Hills State Park? ›

The park provides pit latrines. Reservations may be made up to six months in advance online or by calling 866-644-6727.

How long is whispering cave Hocking Hills? ›

Whispering Cave is a five-mile loop. It has a swinging bridge and one waterfall. There are two places you can hop on the trail-Remember, trails are a 1-way system and you cannot turn around so prepare for a five-mile hike. 1) You can start at the Visitor Center-There are steps at the Visitor Center near the kiosk.

How long is hike to Ash Cave? ›

Ash Cave is one of the 7 major hiking trails of Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio. The trail is approximately a 1/2 mile long and takes about 40 minutes to hike. It is a one-way trail system but wheelchair accessible (to a series of steps that are a strenuous climb).

How long is Conkles Hollow trail? ›

Conkles Hollow has two trails totaling 3.5 miles. A portion of the Gorge Trail is wheelchair accessible.

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