Five Fantastic National Parks Less than 300 Miles from Downtown Cincinnati

Travelers of all stripes have developed a new appreciation for nature-focused getaways—the kind of adventures that facilitate social distancing as well as a break from busy modern life. But the world’s best and most popular national parks bring in the sort of crowds many are trying to avoid, not to mention the fact that many are inconveniently from home.

Below is an impressive list of five national parks that are less than 300 miles from downtown Cincinnati. Safe travels!

Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave National Park preserves the cave system and a part of the Green River valley and hilly country of south central Kentucky. This is the world’s longest cave system, with more than 365 miles explored.
Distance from downtown Cincinnati: 192 miles

Rolling hills, deep river valleys, and the worlds longest known cave system. Mammoth Cave National Park is home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life, earning it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.

Cuyahoga Valley

Upper tier of Blue Hen Falls in summer. Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Ohio. USA
Distance from Cincinnati: 236 miles

Though a short distance from the urban areas of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The park is a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and provides routes of discovery for visitors. The winding Cuyahoga River gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.

New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

The New River is approximately 320 miles long and flows through North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Much of the river’s course through West Virginia is designated as the New River Gorge National River. The New River is one of the American Heritage Rivers of the United States.
282 miles from downtown Cincinnati

A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. The park encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.

Indiana Dunes National Park

This lucky dog is enjoying pet-friendly Indiana Dunes National Park where pets are permitted everywhere except for the lifeguard swim area, which is maintained from the Friday of Memorial Day weekend through the Monday of Labor Day weekend.
Distance from downtown Cincinnati: 283 miles

Indiana Dunes National Park hugs 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan and has much to offer. Whether you enjoy scouting for rare species of birds or flying kites on the sandy beach, the national park’s 15,000 acres will continually enchant you.  Hikers will enjoy 50 miles of trails over rugged dunes, mysterious wetlands, sunny prairies, meandering rivers and peaceful forests.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Established June 15, 1934, Great Smoky Mountains National Park straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee and is a sprawling landscape encompassing 522,419 acres of lush forests.
Distance from downtown Cincinnati: 286 miles

Ridge upon ridge of forest straddles the border between North Carolina and Tennessee in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. World renowned for its diversity of plant and animal life, the beauty of its ancient mountains, and the quality of its remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture, this is America’s most visited national park.


For national parks that are quite a bit father from Cincinnati, but still worth the trek, Sotheby’s International Realty recently published this story in their RESIDE magazine. Read it here >>

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