Story by Laura Hennigan
Think back to your last vacation. You know you were staring at your phone. Checking email and social media. Posting photos. Maybe you even brought your laptop along?
Most of us are long overdue for a disconnected getaway that includes less technology and more time spent watching sunrises, reading a book, sitting around a fire, and walking through the woods.
We’ve done a little research and discovered a few unique Ohio travel spots that you’ve likely never heard of, right here in our own backyard. Within a few hours drive you can find locales off the beaten path that are perfect for escaping, exploring, and completely unplugging.
Take a closer look at some secluded hidden gems right here in the Buckeye State that are close enough for a weekend away and remote enough to still feel a little wild.
Arc of Appalachia
For nearly three decades, the Arc of Appalachia land conservation has been buying land in the southern part of the state in an effort to fulfill its mission of preserving beauty, balance, and biodiversity in Appalachian Ohio. The organization oversees 24 preserve regions teeming with native plants and animal species (several properties are located within a bat sanctuary) in addition to offering over 50 public trails. Visitors to the expansive area can explore miles of untouched earthworks, prairies, and bluffs without ever seeing another person.
The Highlands Nature Sanctuary provides a quiet respite after a long day of hiking, offering lodging options that include rooms, cabins, and even monolithic dome houses for one to ten guests, and the non-profit also operates a handful of other cozy retreats throughout rural Bainbridge and Hillsboro. Cell service at most properties is spotty at best, so make sure to plan ahead.
Rates start at $135
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True Nature Retreat
Tucked into the heart of Holmes County, True Nature provides holistic retreats on its 9 acres of rolling hills, open meadows, forest, and creeks. Emphasizing the “medicine of nature,” the restorative overnight retreats are offered year-round for individuals, couples, and small groups. Classes and treatments like yoga, massage, breema, and meditation are included in most packages, along with seasonal, locally sourced meal offerings.
The property is enclosed in forest, creating a natural sanctuary which allows guests to feel like they are completely isolated from the rest of the world. Visitors can enjoy modern comforts when staying in one of the comfortable indoor lodging options, truly escape to nature in the outdoor tipi, or even bring their own tent for camping.
All-inclusive rates start at $300
Glamplyfe advertises itself as a luxurious lifestyle company seeking to spread happiness through unique nature experiences and creative architectural design. Just an hour outside Columbus, its Happydale Retreat offers a series of A-frame units designed for two to three guests to enjoy the beauty of the area while glamping. The rustic, dog-friendly cabins overlook a private lake and come equipped with either a queen sized bed or two twins, cozy reading corner, and outdoor fire pit space.
Every hideaway has an oversized picture window, perfect for daydreaming or stargazing, and there’s a separate, private bathroom building complete with showers, sinks, and toilets. An on-site trailer sells coffee, snacks, and drinks, and there’s also a BBQ available for grilling.
Rates start at $143
Turtle Shell Island
For the ultimate in privacy and seclusion, Turtle Shell Island on Indian Lake has just one cottage, situated on a strip of land completely cut off from everything else. You’ll need to provide your own transportation from the mainland to the island, but once there you’ll be rewarded with a peaceful stay that includes sweeping views of the water, fishing, swimming, and shuffleboard.
Two comfortable bedrooms means you can come alone or bring a few friends to this lake escape, and with no Wifi available you’ll be able to truly unwind and unplug. A fireplace, sunroom, and upper deck round out this unique property, helping you soak up every minute of island time.
Rates start at $399
The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
Another one of the hidden gems nestled in the Hocking Hills, this long-standing inn and spa offers not only cabins and smaller cottages for rent, but also a handful of spacious geodomes and cozy yurts.
Located several miles south of Logan, the Inn is composed of a series of cozy dwellings scattered across a tree-lined, sloping hillside. This means the Inn’s on-site restaurant is only a short walk from the cabins, yurts and geodomes, and the collection of buildings together feels a bit like a secret village hidden away in the Appalachian wilderness.
Rates differ depending on which of the four lodging varieties you prefer
The Eco Camp
Not far from Toledo, you’ll find the Eco Camp, a creative, playful, solar-powered tent resort. Each of the 16-foot Lotus Belle outback tents are equipped with a queen sized mattress, cots, butane stove, and a battery pack for charging phones and tablets. Guests share two communal outdoor kitchens, a shower house, furnished group shelter, and fire ring in this environmentally sustainable camp.
Eco Camp partners with the Maumee River Paddle Co. to offer guided paddle board lessons and excursions, or visitors can enjoy the outdoors in one of many local metro parks. It’s the perfect place for going off the grid and connecting with nature, without the nuisance of having to pitch your own tent.
Rates start at $79
Want to read more? Check out our print publication, (614) Magazine. Learn where you can find a free copy of our new February issue here!
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