Just because things are different in summer 2020 doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the season. Find five family-friendly activities you can try this year to get out of the house and soak up summer - safely.
Camping means different things to different people. Some people enjoy nothing more than taking an RV to a nearby campground for a low-key weekend. Others take “camping” to mean roughing it in a tent in the backcountry.
Whatever your style, camping is a great option during the pandemic because there’s no need to be too close to people outside your household. Campsites are typically spaced out so you’ll have some room to move around.
If you’re not staying in your own RV, make sure to follow precautions as you use public areas and bathrooms, and maintain social distance when around other campers.
Camping is also a good option because you’ll likely be able to do outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming or fishing nearby. And even if you can’t get away for a camping trip, a tent pitched in your backyard can still set the right mood.
Columbus Navigator picked 16 spots for the prettiest camping in Ohio - just be sure to check regulations and park status information before heading out.
Picnicking is another summer activity that can be done right at home or at a favorite park. If you’re traveling, picnicking can also be a safer option than stopping at a restaurant - you won’t even have to be near other people.
Ever had the idea to picnic but quickly gave up when bugs or rain got in the way? Follow these suggestions from Country Living for a successful outing.
- Set up in a shady area so you aren’t in full sun the whole time. If possible, try to find a spot that’s sheltered from the wind so you don’t have to worry about things blowing away.
- Bring a picnic blanket. You don’t have to eat on the ground if you don’t want to, but a picnic blanket can also serve as a tablecloth over an outdoor table or a cushion for a hard bench.
- Do some prep ahead of time. Don’t expect to get to the picnic site and do all the work there; it’s easier if you plan ahead and do things like pre-portion food.
- Don’t forget to clean up after yourself. Take all of your trash out with you, or throw it away in the provided receptacles (especially important if you’re in an area where you don’t want to attract wildlife).
- If it rains on your planned day, just keep the picnic in the house and enjoy all the same activities in the comfort of the indoors.
You don’t need to be an astronomer to enjoy a night of stargazing. And even though the night sky is best viewed in an area with little light pollution, you can still spot plenty of celestial objects from your own backyard on a clear night.
Did you know the position of the stars and planets changes depending on the season and where you are in the world? It’s why you see the Big Dipper more easily during the spring and summer and Orion in the winter.
Check out the Night Sky Planner from NASA to learn more about what you can spot in your area this month. A telescope can make nighttime viewing more exciting, but if you don’t have one, the naked eye can still see plenty.
An afternoon on the water is a fun pastime that’s unique to the summer months. Whether you own a pontoon boat, or you want to head out on a canoe or kayak, you’ll enjoy Ohio’s waterways from a different vantage point.
There are several canoe and kayak liveries in northwest Ohio to choose from - call ahead to make sure they’re open on the day you’re thinking about.
No matter the type of boat you’re out in, make sure to follow these water-safety tips for everyone on board:
- Everyone should wear a life jacket (not just have one near them).
- Don’t take your eyes off kids near the water, even if they’re good swimmers.
- Never dive into water unless you’re absolutely sure of what’s at the bottom, and don't dive in shallow areas.
- Alcohol and water sports don’t mix; leave the drinks for the shore.
Ohio has plenty of hiking and biking trails that make it easy to get outdoors and take in the sights. And even in a state many consider to be a part of the flat Midwest, you’ll find beautiful views and scenic sights if you know where to look.
Here are some of the top hiking spots in Ohio for a close-to-home outdoor adventure:
- Oak Openings Preserve Metropark is located about 30 minutes southwest of Toledo and offers 5,000 acres and miles of trails through diverse natural landscapes.
- Hocking Hills State Park is a perennial Ohio favorite for hiking and gorgeous views of spots like Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls.
- Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the only National Park in Ohio. It features more than 125 miles of hiking trails through forests and gorges and past waterfalls.
There are plenty of other hiking trails in Ohio to explore, so find one near you and get started. Just remember to respect other hikers by keeping your distance, picking up trash and staying on marked paths.
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