Ohio Road Trip - Part 1 - Travel Photography

WARNING lots and lots of pictures!!!

I used to say things like "Ohio is flat like a board" or "I wouldn't want to live anywhere in Ohio except for Cincinnati". Looking at a map though, I realized that I really haven't seen much of Ohio except for I-75. We decided that we needed to change that and so we left on our Ohio road trip.

I really didn't plan this trip like I plan other trips. I only had two nights/ three days for this trip and not much time to plan anything. Checking Pinterest brought a ton of ideas but what we really wanted to see where these three main things: Hocking Hills, Cuyahoga Valley and Put-In-Bay. We have been to Put-in-Bay but that was 13 years ago and without kids. Or other main goal was for the kids to collect more National Park Passports. See more about that HERE

Checking our National Park map we decided we would also add Hopewell Culture and First Ladies in Canton to our trip.

We left in the morning and our first stop was Hopewell Culture Historical Site in Chillicothe.  

As soon as we arrived we were invited to join a Atlatl demonstration. We never even heard of an atlatl (Have you?) and to hear about it's history and get to use one was an amazing start to this trip!

Afterwards we checked out the Indian mounds, learned about the history and Finn finished up his first Junior Ranger Program of the trip!

These pictures below crack me up... very typical if I try to take a picture and Finn is not the center of the universe (or the picture!)

From the Hopewell Culture we headed out towards Hocking Hills. Like on many trips (SEE HERE) we had to make a U-turn and save a turtle from it's looming death. We decided on Old Mans Cave for our first stop in Hocking Hills. But not before a quick lunch break with Spam sadwiches in the parking lot. Haha

It rained that morning and all the colors were so vibrant plus the waterfall was really strong!

We loved the stone bridges and all the little tunnels and caves so much we spent quiet a bit of time there.

We left Hocking Hills to head towards our tee pee we booked for the night near Logan, Ohio. It's only a short drive (maybe 25 minutes) and we checked out Logan Lake on the way. Another tip for road trips is that whenever you see a fruit stand.... STOP! We always buy something for a snack and talk to the locals about events or other things happening in the area!

We arrived at our tee pee mid afternoon. Set up camp and relaxed for a little bit. Our tee pee was next to this pond and as cute and entertaining it was for the kids during the day... at night it was LOUD! At some points during the night, I seriously thought there was a donkey in our tee pee. It was that LOUD! haha

After we settled in and relaxed we decided to head over to Rockhouse and take a (very) small hike there.

Rockhouse was really amazing and except for the million steps going up and down it was a relatively easy hike.

Back at the tee pee we fixed dinner... a family favorite and such an easy meal to make on a camping trip. Only three ingredients: Jambalaya Rice Mix, Crushed Tomatoes and Kielbasa.

We ended the night with a serious talk about behavior and expectations we have from the kids and settled in our tee pee.

My highlight of the day: driving down the winding roads towards Hocking Hills and realizing how stunning Ohio really is!

The kids highlight of the day: Throwing the Atlatl.

Scot's highlight of the day: learning about the Indian mounds.

 

Have you been to Hocking Hills? We can't wait to go back as there is so much more to do and see!

National Park Passports & Junior Ranger Program

A few years ago we visited Mammoth Caves with Jake's cub scout troop and my eyes caught the National Park Passports in the gift shop. I purchased two for the boys, we had them quickly stamped and that was it. I didn't realize then how much we would enjoy them and also they changed the way we travel.

You can purchase the passports at any National Park Site or online HERE. They are about $10 each.

There is a kids version and an adult version. I bought my kids the adult version and the reason is that I want this to be a lifelong collection and not just through their childhood. I am so glad I decided to go with the adult passport book because I know Jake would have already outgrown the kids one.

With the passport comes a map with all the National Parks/ Sites/ Monuments etc. in the country. Every time we travel we check the map to see if there is something at out destination or along the way we can visit. Many times have we made a pit stop on a long road trip at a place we would have never thought to visit and it turned out to be amazing. For example on our way down to Florida last winter we tried to break up the drive and visited the Ebenezer Church in Atlanta and we all loved it so much we still talk about that stop.

 

There are also a bunch of great apps to use to find the nearest parks, get some information and to collect online badges. I like to use the National Parks app by Chimani for my iPhone but I know there is also a really great one from National Geographic.

As of right now we have collected 22 stamps over the past 4-5 years! We have stamps from places like Grand Canyon, Zion, Everglades, Smokey Mountains, Mammoth Cave, Hopewell Culture, Cuyahoga Valley and many more.

You can also purchase actual stamps at the sites and collect these as well in your passports we decided against it and instead take a picture of the boys in front of the sign and tape that in the book!

Another great thing about our National Parks are the Junior Ranger Programs. Each park has a Junior Ranger Program which is a little booklet filled with activities. Some are very easy (like the one above), some include a Scavenger Hunt and we even had one that asked for you to pick up trash around the park! They are mostly free, the only one we have come across that you had to pay for was the one in the Smokey Mountains. The activities are all age appropriate and usually the older you are the more activities you have to do.

Once you are done with your booklet a ranger will check it with you and may ask you some questions about your answers. Once the ranger verifies you have done everything correctly he or she will swear you in to the Junior Ranger Program.

Once you are sworn in you receive a pin! Finn has been collecting them and adding them to his hat! I will add a picture of his hat in a little bit.

I hope you consider getting the National Park Passports and will enjoy them as much as we do! If you already have one, please comment with your favorite National Park you have visited so far! One of our favorites was the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Put-In-Bay.