Get Outdoors with these 8 Fun Activities at Pleasant Hill Lake Park

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Whether it’s camping, boating or swimming at the beach, outdoor activities abound at Pleasant Hill Lake State Park in Perrysville, Ohio!

Thank you to Ohio. Find It Here. for sponsoring this post.

My family recently partnered with Ohio. Find It Here., Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District and Charles Mill Marina to spend a few days camping, boating and exploring the area!

This was our first time taking our kids tent camping! I’ll admit, I was nervous but excited! Even though I wasn’t sure what to expect with them, the boys seemed like a good age for it and they were excited about sleeping in a tent! 

two boys in front of a tent at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

I have to say, after it was all said and done, it went even better than I expected and we made a lot of fun family memories in the process!

Where is Pleasant Hill Lake Park?

Pleasant Hill Lake Park is on the northern edge of Pleasant Hill Lake, nestled between Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm State Park. The park is just an hour and 15 minutes from downtown Columbus!

Pleasant Hill Lake Marina.

The area, known as Mohican Country, is filled with outdoor adventures, up-close encounters with nature and opportunities to unplug and relax.

How much does it cost to enter Pleasant Hill Lake Park?

Park Entry Fees are charged Memorial Day through Labor Day only. After paying admission, you are free to enjoy the trails picnic areas and swimming beach. Fees are charged per car: $5 for a single occupant and $10 for 2 or more passengers.

What is there to do at Pleasant Hill Lake Park?

Our camping trip was a good mix of relaxing around the campfire and getting active and enjoying some outdoor activities! Let’s explore some of the fun things there are to do at the park!

1. Boating and Fishing

two boys on a pontoon boat at Pleasant Hill Lake.

We took a pontoon boat out first thing in the morning of our first full day. Pontoon boating is something our family really enjoys! My husband and boys did some fishing and we enjoyed watching blue herons along the shore.

two boys and father with a fish.

The pontoon boats available for rent at Pleasant Hill Marina are super nice! Pontoon boats have come a long way in their time and these boats have padded seating, a roof for shade and creature comforts like bluetooth and radio!

Pleasant Hill Lake Dam in Mohican Country.

On the southeast end of the lake you will find Pleasant Hill Dam. It was fun to see it from this side since we had hiked down the other side of it in Mohican State Park this spring!

Two boys standing in front of Pleasant Hill Lake Marina.

If you’re interested in renting a pontoon boat, Pleasant Hill Marina offers rentals on Standard, Deluxe, Ski and Cruise Pontoons! Full and Half Day time slots are available as well as sunset rentals! We were able to take our boat back out in the evening for a sunset cruise and watch ospreys dive into the water to catch their dinner as the sun was setting!

2. Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboards

Want to get even closer to the water? Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards are available to rent at the marina! We took two two-person kayaks out for a spin on our second morning at the lake! This was another first for us! The boys were brave and managed to even do a little steering of the kayaks out on the water!

paddle boards and kayaks for rent at Pleasant Hill Lake Marina.

Make sure to pick up a Hidden History Kayak Trail  Map at the Welcome Center before you go for a 5 mile self-guided tour along the lakeshore that takes you to historical spots along the water’s edge. 

3. The WhoaZone

A big hit for kids is the new WhoaZone, an inflatable obstacle course on the lake! Kids can jump, slide and climb, splashing into the lake on a hot summer day!

boy standing on the beach in front of the Whoa Zone at Pleasant Hill Lake.

The Whoa Zone can be found on a separate but adjacent portion of the beach that requires admission to enter. Kids must be 7 years old and 45” tall in order to enter. Each session is 60 minutes long and includes a 10 minute safety orientation. Life jackets are provided.

The Whoa Zone at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

Shaded seating with an umbrella is also available to rent! This is definitely an added perk!

4. Swimming Beach

The Whoa Zone at Pleasant Hill Lake Park in Perrysville Ohio.

I grew up going to the beach at Pleasant Hill Lake as a kid so it was fun to come back as an adult with my own kids! Beach admission is included with your entrance to Pleasant Hill Park so it’s also a beach you can visit just for the day, even if you are not camping!

The kids loved playing in the sand and we also enjoyed walking to the beach in the mornings when things were quiet and still!

5. Hiking Trails

There are 6 hiking trails within Pleasant Hill Lake Park including the Bluebird Trail with 9 bluebird nesting boxes. If you have a horse, there are also trails for horseback riding! Pick up a map at the Welcome Center for all locations.

If you’re interested in hiking through the nearby State Parks, there are connector trails to Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm!

6. Birdwatching

Though birdwatching could easily be included in several of the above activities, it’s worth mentioning as an activity on its own! 

Bald eagles and osprey nest around Pleasant Hill Lake. In fact, the park has five osprey nesting platforms installed which makes them easy to spot. One easy one to find is right at the beach near the WhoaZone!

Osprey nest platform in Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

The eagles and ospreys are most active in the early morning and evening. As I mentioned above, we were mesmerized watching the osprey dive into the water to find their dinner while on our sunset cruise!

Other bird watching opportunities include the Bird Observation Window at the Welcome Center and the Bluebird Trail.

7. Camping

camping site with picnic table at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

Pleasant Hill Lake Park has close to 500 campsites available for tent and RV campers. We stayed in the lot closest to the lake which offered easy walking access to the beach, trails and Welcome Center! Each site includes a concrete pad, a fire ring and a picnic table.

family roasting marshmallows at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

Probably the best part about tent camping was waking up to singing birds in the morning. If you’re not a morning person, bring ear plugs! But if you want to experience what it would be like to wake up in a songbird aviary, you’re in luck! It was just incredible!

shower house at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

The shower house was a 5 minute walk from our campsite and was VERY modern and nice! I felt comfortable and clean showering here! There is also a family shower room that is bigger and has lots of room for helping your kids get dressed and ready.

8. Exploring the Welcome Center

Make sure to leave a little time to explore the Welcome Center where there are a lot of educational and historical displays, animal pelts and resident creatures to visit!

two boys looking at the fish wall at the Welcome Center at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

The Fish Mural Wall includes mountings of local fish species and you can see other native Ohio animals on display on the walls! On the screen in the Welcome Center you can watch a 6 minute orientation video to learn about the history of the area!

inside the Welcome Center at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.


Where to Eat Near Pleasant Hill Lake Park:

1. Phase Two Pizza

boy eating Phase Two Pizza in Perrysville Ohio.

Phase Two Pizza is a great option for dinner while staying at the campground! This local pizza shop is just 6 minutes from Pleasant Hill Lake Campground and is a take-out only pizza shop that also serves subs, wings, gyros, pasta and more!

We picked up pizza on our first night and it made for a great, easy dinner after getting the tent set up and settled in! The pizza was a hit with our family!

2. Malabar Farm Restaurant

If you’re looking to get away from camp for a nice dinner, head to Malabar Farm Restaurant. Author Louis Bromfield made his home at Malabar Farm and dreamed of opening a restaurant at this very location. Though that didn’t happen in his lifetime, he did sell fresh produce at a market stand right at this spot!

Malabar Farm Restaurant.

Check out the Niman Spring on the property that pours forth over 2,000 gallons per hour. Rumor has it that Johnny Appleseed stopped to drink from the spring on his travels!

boy eating at Malabar Farm Restaurant.

The menu has French influences and there are three Kids Meal options including grilled cheese, corn dog and cheeseburger!

3. MooMali’s Perrysville Drive In

boy ordering at MooMali's in Perrysville, Ohio.

If you’re looking for a quick stop for take out food or ice cream, check out MooMali’s in Perrysville. Formerly the Perrysville Drive-In, as a child, we stopped here many times on our trips to the beach! This is another (mainly) to-go spot though you may be lucky enough to snag a picnic table outside!

All in all, I consider our first family camping trip a success! I dare say we may even do it again this year! Pleasant Hill Lake Park is a great spot for camping and outdoor adventures and the bonus is it’s just a quick drive from Columbus!

Related: 25 Super Fun Things to do in Ohio with Kids

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8 Fun Things to do at Pleasant Hill Lake Park.

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How to Visit Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

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One of the most outstanding waterfalls in Ohio, Brandywine Falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park are easy to visit and well worth the trip!

Brandywine Falls is the tallest Ohio waterfall at over 60 feet high! The falls flow from the Brandywine Creek which extends from the Cuyahoga River. Brandywine Falls is just one of the many sights to be seen inside Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio’s only National Park which covers 33,000 acres in Northeast Ohio!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park was established as a national recreation area in 1974 and it was officially designated a national park in 2000.

Where are Brandywine Falls?

As mentioned, Cuyahoga Valley National Park covers 33,000 acres and Brandywine Falls are inside this area. The falls are somewhat central within the park and on the eastern side of the park. Luckily, this is an easy sight to see within the park because it is on the outside edge of the park and the hike to the falls is short!

Brandywine falls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

You can view the entire park map here!

How Long Does it Take to Hike to Brandywine Falls?

trail sign at Brandywine Falls.

When you park in the parking lot you have two options to see the falls: hiking the Brandywine Gorge Trail or taking the boardwalk directly to the falls. To take the boardwalk, head right and the hike to see the falls is a boardwalk trail and it will take you 5-10 minutes.

If you head left, the Stanford Trail and the Brandywine Gorge Trail are together for a while. You will need to make sure to follow signs for the Brandywine Gorge Loop which is an estimated 1 mile hike back to the falls. See the map here.

Where is the Best Place to View Brandywine Falls?

a carved map of the 3 observation points at Brandywine Falls.

There are three observations points from which to view the falls, each of them offering their own unique view! If you are are visiting the area, it is absolutely worth seeing the falls from each of the observation points! They are so close to each other, it’s really no trouble to see all of them!

I’m going to number the decks to correspond to the picture above so it doesn’t get confusing, but it doesn’t make sense to visit the observation decks in numerical order as listed here. The first deck you will encounter is the Lower Deck and you may want to visit there first, or go all the way to the end (Old Mill) and work your way back!

1. Upper Deck

The Upper Deck observation point.

Viewing the falls from the upper deck is one of the best views of Brandywine Falls! The falls are rushing and powerful and the Upper Deck allows you to get pretty close to the falls!

view of Brandywine Falls from the Upper Deck.

2. Lower Deck

view of Brandywine Falls from the Lower Deck.

When you are on the boardwalk trail, you will first pass the entrance to the Lower Deck which is where you can view the falls from more of a middle perspective. You could stop here first or save it for the way back.

a woman viewing the falls from the Lower Deck.

3. Old Mill

Champion Electric Sign in front of the building's ruins.

The boardwalk ends here at the Upper Deck, but you can keep walking on a cement path up stairs through the area of the old gristmill. This area was once the Village of Brandywine and a man name George Wallace built a sawmill, gristmill, woolen mill and houses right here near the falls. His house and barn are now the home of the Inn at Brandywine Falls.

Here at this same site, as you can see in the picture above, some of the remains of the Champion Electric Company still stand. This is the sight of the last industry in the area.

Old Mill Observation Point.

From the Old Mill observation area, you can see the falls from above. You can continue going in this direction to stand on the bridge over top of the falls! If you are hiking the Brandywine Gorge Trail, you will enter Brandywine Falls from this direction.

view of Brandywine Falls from the Old Mill observation point.

Does it cost anything to visit Cuyahoga Valley National Park?

No! It is completely free to visit this National Park! Cuyahoga Valley National Park has over 125 miles of hiking trails, including the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail which is an accessible trail. The park is also home to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Boston Mills Ski Resort, Hale Farm and Village and much more! These activities have an additional cost to partake.

the boardwalk trail to the falls.

Are Dogs Permitted at Brandywine Falls? 

Dogs are permitted on the Brandywine Falls trails, but they must be kept on a leash.

boardwalk trail to the brandywine falls.

Visiting Brandywine Falls is a treat! I would definitely plan a visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, or if you’re in the area but don’t have a lot of time, it’s definitely possible to visit the falls in about 30 minutes!

view of Brandywine Falls from above.

Looking to visit more Ohio waterfalls? Make sure to read my list of Ohio Waterfalls and plan your next road trip!

brandywine falls.

Know Before You Go:

Address: 8176 Brandywine Rd, Northfield, OH 44067

  • Restrooms are available at the parking lot area.
  • There are just a few picnic tables in the area as well.

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Get Ready for Spring Break with Tire Discounters’ “Skip The Shop” Service

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Make sure your car is road-trip ready and plan to take one of these family-friendly road trips for a fun staycation in Ohio during Spring Break!

Spring Break in Ohio might look a little different this year. If you’re like us, you may be looking into some activities that are a lot of fun but also easily drivable from here in Central Ohio!

I’m partnering with Tire Discounters to give you 9 road trip ideas for Spring Break plus some tips and discounts to make sure your car is ready for the drive! Make sure you don’t miss the special discount just for my readers mentioned later in this post!

Is your Car Road Trip Ready?

You might also be like me if you haven’t been driving as much lately! Doing school at home has kept our car in the garage for more days than not. When planning your Spring Break road trip, don’t let much needed car maintenance sneak up on you!

Tire Discounters Offers ‘Skip the Shop’ to Make Car Maintenance Easier for Families

I don’t need to talk about all of the ways 2020 changed every day life. Most of us parents are already well aware. But one of the biggest changes for me is having my kids with me ALL. THE. TIME. Right now we have better things to do than sit around at the mechanic’s waiting to get our oil changed. (Like multiplication tables and science experiments!) 

Tire Discounters has come up with a way to make this service process easier for parents like us and it’s called Skip the Shop! A Tire Discounters Personal Vehicle Assistant will pick up and drive your car to the nearest Tire Discounters location, keep you updated on your vehicle status and return your car home to you when all the work is done!

man and woman standing in front of a red car.

Last week I was able to take advantage of the Skip the Shop service! My car got an oil change and an alignment while my boys and I worked on their schoolwork for the day! It was so easy and now I can be confident that my car is ready for our next road trip in a couple of weeks!

It’s so convenient to not have to leave the house to get your automobile serviced! The Skip the Shop service of pickup and delivery is being offered at no additional cost for a limited time! Think of all the things you can do (besides sit at the mechanic’s) while your car is getting ready for your super fun Spring Break!

 Want to take advantage of this limited time offer? Schedule your appointment for Skip the Shop now!

I’m happy to partner with Tire Discounters to share some inspiration for your next road trip! These activities in Ohio would make a fun day trip or quick getaway for your family during Spring Break!

7 Ohio Road Trip Ideas for Spring Break:

1. The Wilds

Looking for an exotic spring break trip? Take an open air safari trip through the 10,000 acre safari park where animals can come right up to the tram! You will be surprised you’re still in Ohio!

2. Ohio Bird Sanctuary

Ohio Bird Sanctuary is a hidden gem that provides education and a unique experience for kids! See bald eagles, feed the birds and take a hike at this awesome bird sanctuary in Mansfield, Ohio!

3. Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills is a beautiful area to hike with the family! Some of the most breathtaking scenery in Ohio can be found in Hocking Hills and Old Man’s Cave will not disappoint!

4. African Safari Wildlife Park

African Safari Wildlife Park opens on March 26th and is a drive-through experience! Get up close to exotic animals like giraffes, zebras and more!

5. Olentangy Indian Caverns (opens April 1)

Olentangy Indian Caverns opens on April 1 and makes for a fun day out for families! Options include cave tours, mini golf, a petting zoo, gem mining, a large maze and more! Kids will have fun and learn something, too!

6. Ohio Caverns

Ohio Caverns is the largest of all the caves in Ohio. Choose from several tour options available to see the caverns! Kids can also enjoy gem mining on the property!

7. Butler County Donut Trail

Butler County, Ohio boasts the largest number of donut shops per capita in the Midwest! The Butler County Donut Trail consists of 13 stops and if you hit them all you can turn in your passport to receive the official t-shirt!

Tire Discounters has 17 Store Locations in Columbus 

Tire Discounters is the nation’s largest, 100% family owned and operated independent tire provider and is growing rapidly. Columbus is Tire Discounters second largest market.

There are 17 store locations in the Columbus area with Westerville being the newest location! Tire Discounters was recently named Tire Dealer of the Year and they are dedicated to delivering outstanding customer service.

Get Your Car Ready for Your Next Road Trip with a Special Discount

Tire Discounters store sign.

Did you know that Tire Discounters does more than just tires? Tire Discounters offers a full range of automotive services and they are offering my readers a special deal!

My readers can receive a free “Skip the Shop” car pick up and delivery service (a $24.99 value) plus 1/2 off a Full Synthetic Oil Change (Retail price is $69.99)! Total price for service will be $34.99 plus taxes and fees. Click here to access this special deal for readers of What Should We Do Today Columbus?!

Tips to Keep Your Vehicle Running Smoothly While Traveling for Spring Break

Now that you know how easy it is to get your oil changed and your tires aligned before your next trip, take a moment to read through these vehicle care and maintenance tips to prepare your vehicle to make sure you are ready to go. Tire Discounters does not charge for many of these checks!

  • Check your brakes. Your braking system is arguably the most important part of your vehicle. If you notice a screeching or grinding sound, you feel a vibration, you sense a reduced responsiveness or you feel your car pull to one side, it’s time for a pro to inspect them
  • Have an expert test your battery before you head out for a long road trip
  • Check the condition of your tires. Ensure that they are expertly aligned, properly inflated and have an ample amount of tread.

Other important areas to check:

  • Check your air filters.
  • Keep an eye on oil levels.
  • Check your wiper blades.
  • Fill wiper fluid and anti-freeze.
  • Remove dirt from sensors.

Finally, be sure to pack an emergency kit. You never know when you’ll get stranded. Be sure to have a kit with warm clothes and a blanket, some non-perishable food and a few bottles of water, a couple of safety flares, a first-aid kit and a mobile phone charger in case you get stranded.

Before you hit the road, be sure to monitor the weather before traveling!

Tire Discounters does not charge for many of these checks! Check out their funny YouTube video for more info!

Tire Discounters

Be sure to follow Tire Discounters on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to keep up with all of the latest tips and specials!

My car and my family are ready to hit the road and I hope you are, too! Have a great Spring Break!

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