Things to Do in Dayton, Ohio

Things to Do in Dayton, Ohio
Dayton, Ohio is located in the Miami River Valley. Popular outdoor activities in the area include hiking, biking, canoeing and geocaching. Some of the best places to explore the area's outdoor options are the city's many parks--the Five River MetroParks system, managed by the city of Dayton, contains almost 20. Other recreational opportunities include golf and exploring the area's history at an outdoor historical park.

Utilize a Multi-Use Trail

The Montgomery County area is home to more than 70 miles of paved, scenic and multi-use trails. The longest is the Great Miami Recreation Trail, a paved trail currently separated into two segments. The northern segment is just over 5 miles long, while the southern segment is about 23.

The Mad River and Creekside Recreation Trails connect the cities of Dayton and Xenia. As its name implies, the 18-mile Creekside runs along a creek, while the three-mile Mad River trail follows the Mad River. Both are asphalt.

The North Country and Buckeye trails converge in the Dayton area and run through five MetroParks. The North Country trail is a national scenic trail that covers more than 4,600 miles, linking northern states from New York to North Dakota. The trail surface ranges from multi-use asphalt to natural footpath.

The Stillwater Recreational Trail is a paved trail that has two segments--the north (just under 5 miles) and the central (just over 3 miles).

The Twin Valley Trail is a 22-mile backpacking trail that links together the Germantown and Twin Creek metroparks. This trail offers the best opportunity for (primitive) camping in the Dayton metro area.

The Wolf Creek Recreation Trail consists of two separate segments. This paved trail, which is just under 16 miles in length, starts near downtown Dayton and follows alongside Wolf Creek.

Explore a MetroPark

The Dayton area contains 19 MetroParks featuring opportunities for geocaching, biking, hiking, walking and water sports. In addition to exploring a park independently, you might want to check out the calendar of events--many offer programs and activities open to the public. Some of the better-known metroparks include:

The Cox Arboretum
The grounds of the Cox Arboretum MetroPark cover 189 acres and feature woodland, wetland and prairie habitats. Activities include nature walks, gardening courses and environmental education programs. The park is open April 1 through Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Nov. 1 through March 31 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It's closed on Christmas and New Year's Day.

Cox Arboretum
6733 Springboro Pike
Dayton, Ohio 45449
(937) 434-9005

Hills and Dales
The Hills and Dales MetroPark is located just outside of Dayton in the suburb of Kettering. Popular activities include biking, hiking, picnicking, birding and cross-country skiing. The hours are the same as Cox Arboretum.

Hills and Dales
2655 S. Patterson Blvd.
Kettering, Ohio 45429
(937) 275-PARK

Located in the heart of downtown Dayton, RiverScape features opportunities for pedalboating, birdwatching and picnicking. This park is also popularfor walking, running, biking and in-line skating. If you forget your gear, the park offers bicycle, in-line skate, pedal boat and HydroBike rentals during the summer. The park is open year-round; equipment rentals are only available Friday through Sunday from the Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends.

111 E. Monument Ave.
Dayton, Ohio 45402
(937) 274-0126


Dayton features three different golf centers. The Kittyhawk Golf Center, the largest public golf facility in the state of Ohio, features three 18-hole courses. The Community Golf Center has two and the Madden Golf Center has one.

Kittyhawk Golf Center
3383 Chuck Wagner Lane
Dayton, Ohio 45414
(937) 237-5424

Community Golf Center
2917 Berkley St.
Dayton, Ohio 45409
(937) 293-2341

Madden Golf Center
2100 Nicholas Road
Dayton, Ohio 45418
(937) 268-0111

Wander Through a Nature Preserve

If the urban jungle isn't quite your scene, consider a short drive north for a retreat into nature. Excellent areas to visit include the Glen Helen Nature Preserve and Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve, both located just outside of Yellow Springs. Glen Helen is a 1,000-acre nature preserve managed by Antioch University and features a wealth of nature trails. In addition to hiking, this park also has an outdoor education center and raptor center. The Clifton Gorge is a post-glacial cut canyon and offers a nature trail alongside the Little Miami River at the canyon's base.

Glen Helen Nature Preserve
405 Corry St.
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
(937) 769-1902

Clifton Gorge State Nature Preserve
2331 State Route 343
Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387

Learn About Area History

Carillon Historical Park is 65 acres on the banks of the Great Miami River. The park's campus features 25 historical buildings and artifacts, including the 1905 Wright Flyer III, an 1836 B&O steam locomotive and Dayton's oldest building, Newcom's Tavern, which dates to the city's founding in 1796. Historically costumed park interpreters provide educational talks and programs about the region's history. The park is open daily, Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Carillon Historical Park
1000 Carillon Blvd.
Dayton, Ohio 45409
(937) 299-2277

Take to the Water

Given the city's riverine surroundings, it's no surprise an excellent option for outdoor activities in Dayton is a water sport such as canoeing, kayaking or water skiing. There are several outfitters in the area. One option just outside of Dayton is Bellbrook Canoe Rental, which offers canoe, kayak and float tube rental for 1.5 to 5 hours. They're open from April through October, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bellbrook Canoe Rental
3234 Washington Mill Road
Bellbrook, Ohio, 45305
(937) 848-4812

Article Written By Susan Berg

Based in northern Wisconsin, Susan Berg has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor. Her work has been published in both print and online media, including the "Dayton Daily News" and BioZine. Berg earned a Master of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.

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