For the lucky few that are currently residing in Athens, we know it can sometimes feel like a ghost town, with nowhere to go and nothing to do since so many Bobcats are living back at home. Luckily, when in need of a change of scenery, Athens is not too far from several surrounding areas that many can venture to for a variety of activities such as shopping, dining or exploring nature. Here are five destinations that are fitting for the ultimate, end of summer, beginning of fall, day trip: 

Hocking Hills

If you and your friends are looking for the perfect nightly or weekend getaway, Hocking Hills is your place. With an abundance of cabins only 45 minutes from campus that offer a variety of features, from hot tubs to pools and game rooms, to a variation in room numbers--depending on how many guests you have--some may say the place has it all. Not only could a group of friends have a blast just staying in for the weekend, but the park also offers canoeing, kayaking and boating, ziplining, climbing and rappelling, golfing, horseback riding and so much more. 

With all of the opportunities and activities at-hand, students could even drive up to the park for a day and explore nature, while maybe even trying something new and then heading home for campus as the day breaks. Essentially, if you love the outdoors and being active, a trip to Hocking Hills should be in your future plans soon. Click here to book your trip today. 

Easton Town Center

For shopaholics, the options at Ohio University are limited and scarce, meaning sometimes, their addictions need a little fueling, so a trip to Easton Town Center is never, we repeat, never a bad idea. With around 240 stores, endless dining options and only an hour-and-15-minutes short and sweet road trip away, Easton makes for the perfect Saturday or Sunday afternoon outing. Grab some of your favorite shopping buddies, get in the car, shop ‘til you drop, then end your long and fun day by grabbing a bite to eat and falling into a food coma. 

Strouds Run State Park

While the weather is still nice, take a trip to Strouds with some friends and explore all the neat and fun things the park has to offer. Grab your closest friend with a boater’s license and rent a boat for the day while the weather still permits you to do so. Because, come on, there is no better way to spend your day than out on the lake, boating with your besties. 

If you don’t know anyone with their boater’s license, or it's just too expensive or not your thing, you can always go and simply take a walk, have a picnic or a swim. However you choose to spend your day is perfectly acceptable, but remember some sunshine on your skin is an immediate serotonin sender. 

Short North Arts District/Downtown Columbus 

Like Easton, Downtown Columbus is roughly only an hour and 15 minutes away, yet completely worth the drive with all the city has to provide. The Short North and downtown aren’t only great for eating out, shopping and taking trendy photos, but there are also several museums and other viewing and hands-on experiences, like the Columbus Museum of Art, COSI, Otherworld, and the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. 

Chick-fil-a 

Funnily enough, many OU students love taking a drive just to ease through the Chik-fil-a drive-thru. And almost all Bobcats will tell you, it is worth it. With the closest Chik-fil-a being around 45 minutes away and in West Virginia, that doesn’t stop many from making the trek. But really, why don’t we have one on campus yet? 

@emmadollenmayer

ed569918@ohio.edu