Does the sweet aroma of spring and the sound of birds singing entice you to get out onto the open road? Take a weekend road trip to rejuvenate and relax in Union County, Ohio, where spring is the perfect time to explore the countryside waking up from its winter nap.
Scenic Vistas and Natural Habitats
Did you know that Union County is home to an Ohio Scenic Byway? A short drive from Columbus will bring you to one of Ohio’s most beautiful vistas along the Big Darby Plains Scenic Byway. This scenic byway is known for the covered bridges designed by Rueben Partridge. However, it offers much more than bridges; historic cemeteries and nature preserves are filled with native wildflowers, historical markers, and nationally registered buildings peppered along the route.
Flowers and Farms
Blooming throughout the rural farms, road trippers will find fields of beautiful spring flowers. The owners of Mitchell's Berries & Blooms invite you to dance with the daffodils with 10,000+ bulbs in stunning hues of gold, yellow, cream, salmon, pink and white. Every bloom is unique in style, and visitors can pick their own bouquet, attend a bloom event, or pick up a bloom bundle as they drive by. Jen’s Flower Garden creates in-season bouquets that can be picked up on an honor system at a roadside stand which is right beside Watkins Mill Farm and Greenhouse, a family-owned heirloom and organic farm and greenhouse. If you come at just the right time, you can see baby chicks or pigs when picking out your heirloom plants. Northern Union County holds a backroad favorite, Silver Stag Garden, where you can call ahead to have a bouquet waiting for you to pick up or arrive during one of their U-pick events.
Family-owned greenhouses are beloved by locals and will become your go-to places for springtime plants. Scheiderer Farm and Greenhouse is settled on the family land that has grown crops, fed cows, and now produces the highest quality flowers and plants. Schedule a trip around one of Candi’s classes, ranging from container gardening to terrariums, or consider the succulent class for kids! Locally owned and operated, Dutch Mill Greenhouse works in collaboration with Leo Berbee Bulb Co., a company native to Holland that has been shipping millions of flower bulbs (more than 900 varieties) all over the U.S. for more than 50 years. Among their esteemed customer list is the U.S. Botanic Garden, The Pentagon, and the National Parks Service! Plan to visit the hand-painted bulb that’s part of the Gildemeesters Bollenstreek Giant Tulip Bulb Project or take one of their educational workshops.
Wind your way to Marmon Valley Farm, just north of Marysville, where guests can get up close and personal with farm animals. Kids will love the wooly sheep, horned goats, and varieties of chickens filling the barns with their sounds. If you have time, book a horseback ride through the countryside trail; please note trail riders must be six years or older with a weight limit of 250 lb.
Pack a Picnic and Hike or Bike the Trails
Take your bike off the rack or lace up your hiking boots to fully immerse yourself on one of Union County's paved multi-purpose trails. Grab a picnic at Amish Heritage Country Market, a locally-owned deli in Marysville. Call ahead to order one of their made-to-order boxed lunches for your outdoor adventure. If you're looking for a freshly made hot lunch for carry-out, JF Baking Company or The Red Hen Cafe & Bakery have you covered.
Tip: Be aware these locations have specific hours and can vary seasonally.
Recommended paved trails:
Glacier Ridge Metro Park has 5.1 miles of trails that take outdoor enthusiasts around hardwood forests and hidden vernal pools.
Pottersburg Bridge is a 1.9-mile out-and-back trail that provides shade along the path, and outside addicts enjoy the covered bridge after their venture.
Reservoir Park, a man-made reservoir, has become home to a 2-mile trail around the top of the lake. Fishing, boating, and kayaking are permitted; however, you must bring your own gear.
Richwood Lake is a beautiful place to spend some time outside. After hiking the paved trail around the lake, enjoy the plentiful amenities and stay the night in one of the primitive campsites.
Tip: Each park has restrooms ranging from portable to running water bathrooms.
Honda Heritage Center
No Union County road trip is complete without a stop at the Honda Heritage Center. If you find yourself here on a Thursday, this should make the top of your list. This free opportunity takes you on a self-guided tour of the history and success of Honda in North America. Car lovers will find this 60-90 minute educational stop worth it, as you experience the journey through the innovation of Honda and the spirit of racing.
Tip: You will need a government-issued ID or passport for check-in on arrival, and an adult must accompany children under 18.
Wine Your Way Through the Countryside
Ohio wines have become known as up-and-coming stars, and Union County wineries are considered some of central Ohio’s best. There is something delightful about stopping into a winery for some evening entertainment after a busy day. On the weekendsDalton Union Winery and Brewery is known for hosting live entertainment and upscale food trucks. For a true farm-to-glass experience, check outBokes Creek Winery for its ever-growing selection of award-winning wines. To complete the tour of Union County wineries, take the wide open country roads to Rhetoric Winery and Brewery; their quaint taproom and airy patio are such pleasant places to unwind.
Book a Room
Staying overnight is a way to fully immerse yourself into a rural back road trip. Families will find that Home2Suites is the ideal road trip getaway. This all-suite hotel has a full breakfast, indoor swimming pool, 24-hour workout facility, and outdoor BBQ area with a fire pit, plus they are pet friendly. Couples and solo travelers have found that the Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Suites create a space to unwind after a full day of finding the hidden gems on the country road. Holiday Inn Express has a sauna and indoor pool, while the Comfort Suites have rooms with balconies and a sun deck to watch an evening sunset.
Union County's winding country roads take you across swaths of heritage farms, rich dark soil, and colorful fields of spring wildflowers. It’s time to pack your bags and head out to where things have been naturally crafted since 1820.