Summer Staycation Series: Hitting the Parks

by Katie on July 11, 2012

With gas prices soaring and road construction prevalent on roads across the country, many families are choosing to “vacation” near to home, and enjoy a staycation this year instead.  Our family is included in the staycation category this summer.  Although we’d love to hit the Florida shores, a summer vacation simply isn’t in the budget.

However, instead of moping about the roads not traveled, we are enjoying mini day trip vacations close to home.  We are fortunate in Cincinnati to have a plethora of activities that are either free or very economical for families.  One of our favorite destinations is the amazing network of park districts that stretch throughout the region.

In Hamilton County alone, there are 17 parks and four conservation areas that offer hiking trails, picnic areas, playgrounds, camping facilities, fishing lakes, and golf courses.  And since an annual vehicle permit only costs $10, visiting the parks is a very inexpensive activity for the whole family to enjoy.

It’s important to note that a park visit for our family takes at least a few minutes of planning….by the time you load up two parents, four kids, and a dog (yes…this is the most recent addition to our family!), it’s imperative to make sure that the essentials are on board as well.  I try to keep a tote or a tub at least semi-packed with the following items for our outdoor excursions:

  • sunscreen
  • water bottles (I typically fill these with water and freeze them the night before)
  • snacks
  • wet wipes
  • hand sanitizer
  • first aid kit
  • bathing suits & towels (in case we hit the water zone)
  • sports equipment (frisbees, football, baseball gloves, bats, and balls)
  • bread for the ducks
  • scooters or bikes
  • helmets

By having a stash of supplies that is easily accessible, we are able to get out the door in minimal time, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the great outdoors.

If you’re looking for a park nearby for your family, there are plenty of sites to help you find the perfect location:

Hamilton County Park District

Cincinnati Parks

Butler County Parks

Deerfield Township Parks

Warren County Parks

City of Mason Parks

More Area Parks

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

MJ July 12, 2012 at 7:54 am

I completely agree with you about our fabulous park system and thanks for printing such a great list. Additionally, I hope you/your kids/family are taking advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime experience of the World Choir Games. There are many free concerts available around town and the area. I’ve seen several of these including the parade of nations a few nights ago and it’s a wonderful experience. Hope you make it. mj


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