Take Me to the River

Drop into the water for a little rest and relaxation

Story by Meredith S. Jensen

With our networks of rivers, tributaries and creeks in the fertile Mid-Ohio Valley, it’s easy to take for granted the relief from the heat these cooling freshwaters can be. Landlocked states are missing out!

The ever-changing river means you never step foot in the same water twice. A vacation on the banks of the region’s rivers is a great way to reflect on the fluid nature of the world, or a chance to embrace a little aquatic adventure. Bring your family and friends, or take some time for yourself. Whatever you’re looking to get out of your getaway, a river retreat just might have what you need.

The key to any good holiday, no matter where you are going, is to figure out the best way to keep everyone happy, including yourself. How long are you going to be gone? Do you need some place to be comfortable for a summer-long stay, or do you just need something for the weekend? Do you have a boat or want to rent one? From pontoon boats to canoes, jet-skis and more, many riverside parks and businesses offer great rental deals for a day on the water. (Note: Not all locations along a river will have docks and boat slips. You don’t want to be caught up the river without anywhere to store your paddles.)

Consider amenities and adventures that are important to you and your family, too. Do you need a bed to be comfortable? Are you bringing pets? Do you need the comfort of a shady tree or two? Electricity? Indoor plumbing? Do you want to swim? Float? Fish? Unplug from the world and ignore everyone? You can either start by researching what you want to do, then find a place to complement your activities, or vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with picking a lovely location and encouraging your family find their own fun!


The cream of the crop when it comes to getaways, most river lodges have all the amenities you’ll love. With several rooms, lodges operate like a hotel, often outfitted with a dining room, wifi, air conditioning, satellite television, hot tubs, fitness centers, indoor or outdoor pools, and more. They’re the way to go if you want the creature comforts of home with a little bit of pampering.


If you prefer a more “home away from home” approach, a cottage or cabin is an absolute must. For many, living on the river is just their every day, but for others, a cabin is a great way to experience what it’s like. Take your coffee out on the front porch and look at how nearby trees reflect in the ripples of the water. Cook up a big dinner for the family and enjoy it on a picnic table. Some of them also offer “extras” like hot tubs and wifi if you don’t want to feel too rustic.


Forget a strange roof altogether and bring your own. Campsites with electrical hookups and pull-in full service abound. An RV adventure lets you travel with your own home, but still feel like you’re away from it all. Keep a map on the wall and mark off where you’ve been!


Roofs too fancy? Take a tent! There’s always primitive camping to really get you close with nature. Cook dinner over an open fire, stare at the stars as you fall asleep, then wake to the sun on your cheek. Sites at several campgrounds along the river are drive-up or dock accessible, or easily approached on foot. Don’t forget to bring along proper food storage to keep out the critters.

As summer transitions into fall, enjoy the last of our warm days as they burst into color down by the water. Explore some of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s charming river towns! There’s plenty of history and culture to enjoy in along the banks of the Ohio River. From large cities to quaint villages, our region has it all.