Living in the Cincinnati area is great – but sometimes you still want to get away. One of my favorite Road Trips from Cincinnati is to head up to Highland County OH. It’s about an hour east of the city and you could easily spend a weekend in the beautiful country side! Here are my favorite things to do, places to go and food to eat in Highland County!
Where is Highland County?
Highland County is east of Hamilton & Clermont County – the main cities you’ll find are Hillsboro, Highland, Leesburg, Greenfield and Lynchburg. I spent most of my time up around Greenfield, Leesburg and Hillsboro.
What can you do in Highland County?
I’ve partnered with the Highland County Visitors Bureau for a couple of trips to the area and am always surprised by how much there is to do! Here are some of the highlights:
- Breakfast – whether you’re having breakfast in a diner, bakery or coffee shop – you’ll find lots of options around the area. My favorite is Batter Up Bakery in Leesburg.
- Roadside Attraction – The World’s Largest Horseshoe Crab in Hillsboro – I mean – who DOESN’T need to see that? It’s been in movies and it’s just a random roadside attraction!
- Shopping & Activities – We found the best Cheesecake you’ll ever eat, took a fall painting class and found some super cute little boutiques!
- Lunch – If you want pizza, burgers or some good ol’ chicken fingers – we’ve got you covered! My favorite stop was Catch 22 in Greenfield – the Buffalo Chicken Flatbread is not to be missed!
- Amish Stores in Bainbridge & Hillsboro – You know if there’s a place named Yoder’s – there’s Amish! There are a whole bunch of little Amish stores to explore with furniture, baked goods and more.
- Dinner – Lots of options here too – my favorite bite was the fried mushrooms at The Alley which also has bowling and games!
- Hiking, Biking & Trails – Whether you want to camp, boat, hike or fish – you can do it there! We went biking on trails in Greenfield, hiking through a cave and even kayaked! (OK – I didn’t kayak but you can!)
- Spending the night? There are tons of campgrounds and cabins but I’ve stayed at a couple of B&Bs. I love spending the night on a farm where I can pet a cow or a chicken and enjoy a quiet night with a fire by a pond.
Breakfast Spots in Highland County
- Batter Up Bakery is always my #1 stop! I met Casey & crew a few years back and have been a loyal customer ever since! My favorite thing about Batter Up is that they use FRESH SEASONAL ingredients. They’ll have you saying Krispy who???
- We also enjoyed coffee at The Daily Grind in Hillsboro! Their story is so interesting – it’s two sisters that started the coffee shop and are also the chef’s behind the delicious breakfast & lunch treats they have. I can’t wait to go back for the Garlic Grilled Cheese!!!
- Cafe 28 in Leesburg, OH is a cute little cafe next to Batter Up Bakery. They have all sorts of coffee but also FLAVORED RED BULL! Their breakfast and lunch offerings are great too – my favorite was their biscuits and gravy.
Fun Things To Do Outside in Highland County
- We got to browse the Hillsboro Farmers Market while we were in town. It’s every Saturday from 9am-1pm on Government Square during the summer and fall. You’ll find fresh fruit & veggies, homemade pasta and breads, candies, crafts and so much more all from local vendors!
Here are some of my other favorite things we did:
- Kayaking and Bike Riding with Greenfield Outdoor Adventures. Mike is a local pastor and wants to encourage folks to get out and enjoy all that Highland County has to offer.
- There is great hiking in Greenfield, Rocky Fork State Park Fort Hill, Fort Salem. We even explored a cave at the Highlands Nature Sanctuary. This used to be a tourist attraction but now it’s been turned into more of a nature preserve. It’s all free too! If you like Hocking Hills – you definitely need to check this out!
- B. Williams Farm in Leesburg OH – This is a super cute pumpkin patch with games for the kids to play, mums as far as the eye can see and even some home decor items to take home.
- Karnes Orchard in Hillsboro OH – If you’re looking for apples – this is THE place! They have so many varieties that run from June – October! You can pick your own or just head in and grab a bag of any size. They also have very unique heirloom varieties. This is definitely a yearly visit for me!
- Ballantine Corn Maze in Hillsboro – This corn maze is different every year and it’s a challenge! There’s a kids route and an adult route. They also have a little barrel train the “kids” can jump in for a ride around the farm, mums for sale and games for the kids to play. Definitely a great time!
Shopping in Highland County
There are lots of cute shops in Hillsboro and the surrounding areas. There are clothing boutiques – but also lots of other unique stops. A couple of my favorites were:
- Mimi’s Kitchen in Hillsboro – This is hands-down the best cheesecake I have ever tasted in my life! It’s really light and fluffy – they have a little shop downtown. Check their group for hours or call to order your cheesecake. In the shop they have slices, parfaits, minis and more. Cindy (the owner) is also the sweetest thing ever with a wonderful story. If you’re looking to support a family business – and gain a few pounds – this is the one to go to!
- The Art Rookery in Greenfield – What a cute shop! They have artwork from the owner as well as local artisans. BUT you can also take a paint class or come in for open craft night and work on your own projects.
- Twisted Violet Homestead in New Vienna – Twisted Violet is such a cute shop! They have natural remedies (I picked up some sugar scrub and magnesium cream), cute jewelry and t-shirts as well as fun things for around the house. They’re moving to Hillsboro soon – so be sure to check their FB page for their location before you go. They even have classes where you can get your friends together and make sugar scrubs and more – a great activity for kids or adults!
Delicious Spots for Lunch & Dinner in Highland County
Here’s the thing – you can definitely make a day trip – but it’s also not too far that if you’re just wanting to explore someplace new – head over for lunch or dinner! We stopped at:
- Catch 22 Sports Pub, Greenfield – This bar & grill had a wide array of delicious beers and yummy food. The burgers were great but everybody’s favorite was the Buffalo Chicken Flatbread. Scotty’s 22 Brewery is also open next door! They have a great selection of ciders which are made with fruits from local orchards.
- The Alley in Hillsboro – We stopped in for dinner the night of the Bengals game and it was so good! They have a bowling alley and a bunch of games to play – but the food is where it’s at. I encourage you to get all appetizers! The fried mushrooms were the best ones I’ve had in my entire life!
- The Porch in Hillsboro – Another great spot for dinner! Family owned & operated with live music every Friday. The Rueben Egg Rolls and Cobbler Skillet were a big hit!
- JR’s General Store & Country Crust Bakery in Bainbridge, OH – If you like Amish country – you can get a taste of it at the General Store and Bakery. I grabbed up a bunch of bulk spices (so cheap) at the general store and then headed to the bakery for a delicious pretzel rueben and some fry pies!
- Terry’s Pizza & Crazy Shakes in Lynchburg OH – If you’re looking for Crazy Shakes but don’t want to travel all the way to Gulf Shores – you can get them right here in Ohio! Terry’s Pizza is a grocery/gas station/pizza/ice cream parlor all in one. They have a huge (and delicious) deli too! Their crazy shakes are $10 and don’t miss out on the Dill Pickle Pizza!!!
Where to stay in Highland County?
There are loads of cabins, campgrounds and mom & pop hotels in the area. I’ve stayed at a Bed and Breakfast each time I spent the weekend.
- WhiteOak View Farm in Hillsboro – It’s a four-bedroom farm house that has everything you need for breakfast as well as a beautiful farm. We got to see the cows, pet a kitty and take a break by their pond.
- Woodhaven Farm Bed & Breakfast in Leesburg – This B&B is a unique space with a single room with on-suite bath downstairs and then the upstairs is a wide open space with four antique beds. It was a great space for a girls weekend like we had. They also had a super cute dog I got to snuggle with!
All in all – a great time was had by all! We even got to play a little Highland County-Opoly before we left!
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