Creeking is a virtually free and easy social distancing outing for the kids! My kids and I have enjoyed exploring several creeks in the area.
Make sure to put on sunscreen and bring a change of clothes/shoes. I also found it helpful to bring buckets, scoops, nets, and other inexpensive tools that aid in exploring! We often bring our bikes as many parks have paved trails that allow for biking after we complete our adventure. Packing a snack or lunch is good, too, but don’t forget to clean those hands real well before eating!
10505 Deerfield Road, Cincinnati, Oh
Pioneer Park has a mile long paved path that goes through the woods. There is also a gazebo, butterfly gardens and swings by the pond; my kids had fun biking and then playing in the creek that was right off the paved path! We parked our bikes and explored! You can stay in one spot or take a walk down the creek quite a ways. The park is well shaded and the creek is near restrooms and the parking lot.
This Hamilton County park has an almost 8-mile bike path and a shorter inner loop that is about 1 mile. You will need a park pass to enter, but they can be used at all Hamilton County parks for a year. We biked the inner loop to access the creeking area. The creek had shallow yet large pools to play in and explore creek life but not as easy to travel long distances. There was not as much space to park bikes and strollers but definitely doable. We enjoyed this area for creeking in combination with biking, but keep in mind that it is harder to go longer distances. The park also features frisbee golf and other great amenities, too!
7411 Barret Road, West Chester, Oh
Keehner Park has a great creek loaded with lots of fossils and clay sediment! We parked by the old playground and walked down a path with wooden stairs to the creek. Note that the restrooms are still closed, but there were portalets available. Although are no paths for biking, there is plenty of hilly green space and picnic shelters. The creek is a great one for exploring and taking a longer walk, but once you’re down there you are away from the parking lot so make sure you have everything you need! Strollers will not make it down, so baby wearing would work well!
11450 Lebanon Road, Cincinnati, Oh
I grew up going to Sharon Woods – another Hamilton County park – but never creeked there! This was probably my favorite place as it was easy to park and lots of different entry points to the creek. You can stay in one spot or follow the creek parallel to 42 or along the gorge trail. If your kids love searching for fossils, this is the spot plus the waterfalls make it beautiful. It was very shady and the proximity to the parking, bathrooms and paved trails make it easy to navigate!
Here are some more of my favorite places to check out:
11600 N Lebanon Road, Loveland, Oh
East Loveland Nature Preserve
343 E Loveland Ave., Loveland, Oh
Caldwell Nature Center
430 W N Bend Road, Cincinnati, Oh
Summit Park Playscape
4335 Glendale Milford Road, Blue Ash, Oh
Cincinnati Nature Center (Playscape – Opens July 1!)
4949 Tealtown Road, Milford, Oh
Cincinnati Nature Center
Long Branch Farm and Trails
6926 Gaynor Road, Goshen, Oh