11 “must do” summer activities in Cincinnati


Summer is the perfect time to get some exercise in the great outdoors, but, unfortunately, summer is almost over! Research shows that there are mental health benefits to spending time in nature, so get out and try these activities before the kids head back to school:


FREE exercise classes in a local park

Washington Park offers free workout classes all summer on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings as well as Saturday mornings.

In conjunction with LiveWell Newport, the Campbell County YMCA and local fitness businesses, Buena Vista Park in Newport will play host to a variety of free fitness classes on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings throughout the summer.

Independence, Ky. also offers a range of fitness classes for a small fee.

Check with the park closest to you, as there are many more parks that offer free or low-cost classes during the summer.


Hit the trail

Summer is a wonderful time to hit the trail. Local parks offer so many hiking trails that you could create a “trail bucket list” and try out a different trail for each walk. Check out the hiking trails listed at parks in your area. Here are a few to get you started.

The City of Florence lists a map of trails and walking paths with their level of difficulty and mileage, so you can track how far you’ve traveled.

Big Bone Lick State Park in Union, Ky. offers many hiking trails along with a history lesson. See what the landscape looked like during the Pleistocene epoch – commonly called the most recent Ice Age – by hiking the discovery trail. Plus, you can view the herd of bison at the park and the salt-sulfur springs. Hike a shorter trail or spend the afternoon touring the entire 4.5-mile loop.

Cincinnati Parks also lists its hiking trail maps online for their various parks.


Go orienteering

Several Kentucky State Parks, including Big Bone Lick, offer orienteering, which is a hike with the added challenge of finding your way using a map and compass. Click here to learn more about local orienteering opportunities.


Explore geocaching

Try geocaching in a local park. It’s like a treasure hunt with a GPS-enabled device. You won’t even notice that you are getting some cardio because you will be busy with your mission.


Rent a bike or surrey

Rent bikes or a four-wheeled quadcycle and pedal around the riverfront. Surrey rentals are available near Smale Park.

You also can rent a bike at any Red Bike location near downtown Cincinnati, in Newport and Covington by the riverfront.


Take the challenge

St. Elizabeth Healthcare has taken over the Purple People Bridge to challenge Ohio and Kentucky residents to a fitness challenge. If you’re on the bridge this summer, you can enter to win a 3-month family membership from the Greater Cincinnati YMCA by posting your photo on social media with either #HealthyOhio or #HealthyKentucky. Click here to learn more or read the official rules.


Get on the water

There are plenty of opportunities to get out on the water besides relaxing in a boat. Go canoeing or kayaking at a local river or lake or try pedal-boating at a park like Sharon Woods. Even a visit to Coney Island can give you a chance to fit in a little exercise with pedal boats on the small lake there.

Have you heard of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP)? The popular activity is available on many local lakes. Rent a board and prepare for an amazing core and upper body workout.


Visit the pool

Visit your local pool and swim laps. “Adult swim” is the perfect time to swim laps at the pool. If you have children in tow for a day at the pool, snack time and rest time for them is a great time for you to get some exercise. The kids can even sit at the edge of the pool and cheer you on.


Join a sports team

Sports teams aren’t just for kids. There are lots of local teams for adults who want to play baseball, softball, soccer, kickball and more. Boone County Parks offer a volleyball league, 30 and over soccer league, bocce, softball, yoga classes and more. There are also plenty of activities at the parks to keep kids active, including camps, kickball and dodgeball.

Local libraries also offer fitness classes like yoga or Zumba. Check your local branch.


Climb onto a ropes course

This is especially fun with a group and can be a nice bonding time with friends or co-workers.


Train for a race

Whether you want to run or walk, there are lots of races – many raising money for a worthy cause – throughout the summer. Signing up for a race gives you added motivation to start training for a goal. Running in the USA lets you search for races near you.