We’re continually on the hunt for opportunities to add richness to our lives. In the time of the road trip revival, we are proud to feature a monthly section featuring destinations within driving distance of Charleston that make for a great getaway. We feel that our worldly and devoted readers will find these places interesting.
Driving 3 1/2 hours northwest of Charleston brings you to Hamilton, Ohio. The destination lured me with its compelling “Donut Trail,” including 16 participating stops. You, too, will most likely be intrigued by it. Hamilton has a wealth of cool things to see and do, plus some noteworthy sites are only a short drive away. Here is what you may want to plan for your visit.
WHAT TO SEE & DO IN HAMILTON, OH
Downtown Hamtilon is great for spending some time in. There are several boutique shops, restaurants, sculptures, and historical buildings, such as the restored 1804 Log Cabin and Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument. I didn’t even make the correlation to Alexander Hamilton until I saw his bronze figure surrounded by a beautiful flower bed between the lanes of traffic. Be on the lookout for murals and art galleries throughout Downtown Hamilton; they are worth checking out!
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park is a must-see destination for those who prefer nature over city life! This park features over 300 sculptures spread across 300 acres of land. Spend an afternoon walking through these breathtaking works of art or see the property via a golf cart for a $25 rental fee.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, Marcus Park also offers plenty of hiking trails and picnic spots where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. Kids will love the sprayground, runnel, and 6-acre space along the picturesque Great Miami River. If you have teens, they may enjoy making a custom-scented body product (moms will love the candles!) at Petals & Wicks.
Who doesn’t love stepping into a retro arcade and pinball joint? Check out Pinball Garage, an interactive arcade establishment with fantastic machines like KISS, Beatles, and Game of Thrones. And when night falls? Head to Holiday Auto Theatre for classic ’50s drive-in theatre vibes, watching mainstream movies under the stars!
If you want to be amazed, drive over to Jungle Jim’s International Market, an expansive grocery store in Fairfield stocked full of international foods from around the world, plus about a zillion other things. You could easily spend hours in this treasure trove.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK IN HAMILTON AND NEARBY AREAS
For lunch, Billy Yanks is a tasty and appealing restaurant. Here, you’ll find deep-fried deviled eggs and Spam fries, a winning combination. Another is Pinball Garage, with its creative menu items such as macaroni and cheese balls or “garage-made” pizzas topped with house-cured meats.
Cozy’s Cafe and Pub in Liberty Township is one of the best places to get dinner. This adorable eatery serves stellar eats, such as the buttermilk fried chicken with a house mash or the delicious clam and shrimp pasta. In addition to its excellent food, Cozy’s also offers live music on the weekends. Reservations are recommended. Come for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, starting at 9 AM.
Don’t forget about all the tasty treats Hamilton has to offer! Start your day off right with a visit to Jolly’s Drive-In for breakfast sandwiches, or head over to Butler County Donut Trail for some delectable pastries in the afternoon. Two places for mouthwatering donuts are Jupiter Coffee & Donuts (go for the Buckeye) and Holtman’s (try the creme brûlée ). You can also visit Jolly’s for an inexpensive lunch – how do hot dogs, onion rings, and an ice-cold root beer sound?
Satisfy your sweet tooth with a classic ice cream treat from Flub’s, ranging from banana splits to crunch coat-dipped cones. Or, Henry’s Candy Co. on High Street has dozens of options—my pick is the chocolate-covered espresso beans — in an Instagram-worthy space.
WHERE TO STAY IN HAMILTON
The Courtyard by Marriott Hamilton is a perfect location for walking to many attractions. Municipal Brew Works is across the street, and the hotel sits on the edge of beautiful Marcum Park. The hotel has well-appointed rooms that are spacious and have all the modern conveniences, plus the indoor pool is a big draw.
For a romantic option, try the Benninghofen House, a charming, historic boutique hotel with which you’ll easily fall in love.
If you’re ready for an adventure-filled weekend getaway, look no further than Hamilton, Ohio. From cozy cafes and pubs serving up delicious food to outdoor activities surrounded by stunning scenery—this town has it all! Pack your bags, hop in the car, and hit the open road toward Hamilton—you won’t regret it!