This post is written by Katie Huston, marketing coordinator for Experience Columbus. You can follow Katie on Twitter @HustonKat.

The weather is starting to cool off, which makes fall perfect for spending time outdoors. There are plenty of ways to enjoy nature in Greater Columbus, and we’ve chosen a few of our top picks.

Olentangy Paddle1. Canoeing/Kayaking Take a paddle down one of Central Ohio’s many rivers and creeks and be surrounded by calm waters and changing leaves. Olentangy Paddle is a new option, which offers regularly scheduled runs seven days per week, four times per day. The company offers a 3.6-mile float down the river and unique options for returning upstream, including a Paddle and Pedal option which allows you to bike back to your car via the Olentangy trail for some additional exercise and time outdoors.

The Scioto Canoe Livery is another nearby option located just minutes from downtown. This company offers trips ranging from four to 12 miles and has primitive camping available along the river. Trapper Johns Canoe Livery is just a short drive away in Grove City and also provides a variety of options, including a full day trip.

04513_lr2. Hocking Hills State Park Whether you’re looking to get away for a day, a weekend or even longer, there are plenty of options for outdoor adventures at Hocking Hills State Park, located just 45 minutes southeast of the city.

Hocking Hills Canoe Livery and Hocking Hills Adventures both offer canoeing and kayaking along the scenic Hocking River, and there are several great hiking trails with stunning views and natural wonders such as caves, cliffs and waterfalls to explore on foot. Looking to get up close to the colored tree tops? Zipline through the forest at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.

A wide variety of accommodations are available for those looking to extend their stay and take full advantage of the many things to do in the Hocking Hills area.

05696_lr3. Columbus Metro Parks Take some time this fall to explore Columbus’ 17 outstanding natural area parks, which together protect more than 27,000 acres of land and water in seven Central Ohio counties. The parks offer about 200 miles of trails in addition to other educational and recreational activities, such as the Scioto Audubon climbing wall, the largest free outdoor climbing wall in the country. This 120-acre park just south of downtown also offers a boat ramp, fishing access, sand volleyball and a nine-station obstacle course. 03787_lr4. German Village Although I must say there’s no bad time to visit this charming neighborhood located just south of the city, the cooler weather and changing trees make fall a particularly great time to stroll through the brick-lined streets of the German Village.

Grab a parking spot at the Schiller Park Recreation Center and enjoy a walk through Columbus’ second oldest park. Choose a day with lovely fall weather and simply wander the streets of this restored 19th-century community with beautifully renovated homes, shops and restaurants. Round out your visit with a meal on one of Columbus’ best patios at Barcelona or Lindey’s, and grab a treat and a seat outside at the 91-square-foot “Mini Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams,” open April through October.


What do you enjoy most about fall in Columbus? Share your favorite activities in the comments below – we’d love to hear them!