Stretch your legs in Lancaster

The weekend road trip has become increasingly important to our family in 2020. By the time Saturday rolls around, we’re ready to stretch our legs away from what has become all-too-familiar surroundings.

We recently drove 40 minutes southeast of Columbus to Fairfield County, where we discovered a number of outdoor attractions that made the jaunt worthwhile. We spent about 30 minutes at each before moving on.

Lockville Canal Park, Carroll

This park packs some interesting features on eight small acres. Here, you’ll find a bright, red covered bridge and several stone remains from the Ohio & Erie Canal, which earned the park its name.

Fairfield County is home to more original covered bridges than anywhere else in the state, claiming 17 of Ohio’s 125. The Hartman No. 2 Bridge at the canal park was built in 1888 and moved to its current site in 1967. You can see more covered bridges on the Fairfield County Covered Bridge Trail.

Stebelton Park at Rock Mill, Lancaster

See a restored 1824 gristmill and 1901-built covered bridge at this 4-acre park that overlooks a gorge with a waterfall on the Hocking River. The mill is open for tours from May through October, but it was closed during our visit. You can still stop and take a look.

If you’re up for a craft beer with a helping of scenery, check out the nearby Rockmill Brewery, located on a former horse farm.

Rising Park, Lancaster

Head to Rising Park and climb 250 feet to the top of Mount Pleasant, a sandstone buff that overlooks the city of Lancaster. While the long, uphill trek can be tiring, it’s a perfect spot for sunsets, and you can get a great view of the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. There’s also a cave called “Devil’s Kitchen,” which we didn’t check out.

The park also has a lake, tennis courts and a playground.

Miller Skatepark, Lancaster

Built in 1999, this wooden skatepark contains ramps, handrails and a quarter pipe. We saw boys and girls, young and old, on skateboards, scooters and bikes. “This is one of the best skateboard parks in Ohio,” claimed our son, who said he preferred the smoothness of the wood features over concrete ones.

O’Huids Gaelic Pub, Lancaster

Have lunch at one of many independent restaurants, such as O’Huids Gaelic Pub, which opened in 2017 in downtown Lancaster.

“We’re not a paper shamrock pub, we’re a true Irish pub,” says Nicolous Hood, who co-owns the restaurant with his parents and brother. “Our lineage goes back to Ireland on my grandfather’s side and Scotland on my grandmother’s side.”

O’Huids serves traditional Irish and Gaelic grub, such as fish and chips with a side minted peas, as well as usual kids’ fare including chicken tenders and grilled cheese.

Atop Mount Pleasant

Hartman No. 2 Bridge

Lockville Canal Park

Merchant Logo Rock Mill Covered Bridge

Downtown Lancaster

Miller Skatepark

  • 1