Sep. 14—The summer of 2021 brought rounds of heat waves that left many Daytonians stuck in front of the AC or in the shade.
Now that the first hints of fall are upon us and the weather is more forgiving and enjoyable, this is the perfect opportunity to fit in those last-minute summer bucket list items.
There are endless ways to soak up Dayton, but here are eight of our top picks for things to do before autumn's colors start poking through.
1.Take a tour of the many covered bridges in Preble County
Before the summer ends, be sure to take a drive to see the oldest covered bridge in the state of Ohio. To see this historical site, you'll need to travel to Preble County, where seven other covered bridges exist in quaint communities and rural roads.
The oldest covered bridge in Ohio is the Roberts Bridge, built in 1829 and located on Beech Street in Eaton.
The seven other bridges gracing the most rural parts of Preble County were built in the 19th, 20th and early part of the 21st centuries.
Here is the full list of covered bridges to explore in Preble County:
Northern tour: — Warnke Bridge, Swamp Creek Road — Dixon's Branch Bridge, Lewisburg Community Park — Geeting Bridge, Price Road — Christman Bridge, Eaton-New Hope Road
Southern tour: — Roberts Bridge, Beech Street — Harshman C Bridge, Concord-Fairhaven Road — Hueston Woods Bridge, Camden College Corner Road — Brubaker Bridge, Brubaker Road
2. Hit the Great Miami River Trail
Are you ready for an adventure? With 75 miles of trails, the Great Miami River Trail is the ultimate spot for runners, skaters or cyclists. The trail winds through downtown Dayton, RiverScape, museums and several monuments.
3. Drop a line in Dayton's waterways
With the Great Miami River, its tributaries and other waterways of the Five Rivers Metroparks, a fisherman is sure to find what they're looking for, no matter how seasoned they may be. And if you're not sure what you're looking for because you're brand new to the sport, the Five Rivers Metroparks staff is ready to help you find your sea (or Miami River) legs.
According to the experts, here are a few of the most visited spots where Daytonians are baiting their worms:
1.) Eastwood Lake & Blue Lake
If you prefer to float on your boat while waiting for a bite, the depths of Eastwood Lake and the neighboring Blue Lake make them a perfect destination. Deeper water means cooler water, which often means bigger fish! The lakes are also occasionally stocked.
2.) Englewood MetroPark
When high rains cause the Miami River to flood, water and aquatic life spill over into the North Park Pond in Englewood MetroPark. After the water recedes back into the river, fish are left behind, creating an ideal fishing habitat.
3.) Huffman Lake
The views at Huffman Lake lure many kayakers. Fly fishing from the comfort of a kayak is a popular choice at this popular fishing location.
Note: Fishing regulations and license requirements vary among waterways. Check posted signs or contact Five Rivers MetroPark's help line at 937-275-PARK before you fish.
4. Hike Clifton Gorge
The prettiest 2-mile stretch of the Little Miami State and National Scenic River, east of John Bryan State Park, Clifton Gorge is a must-do adventure. It's the perfect example of post-glacial canyon cutting and offers striking views for hikers.
There is easy access into the gorge via the parking lot located on Jackson Street in Clifton.
This bucket list must-do makes the list just about anytime of year. However, Clifton Gorge might be in its full glory in the summertime. Just before fall strips away some of the foliage, the gorge is a lush, shaded oasis for a great hike.
5. Visit Dayton's newest hot dog stand
A new hot dog stand in the neighborhood is not something to miss. Hot dog stands, especially those with a menu as impressive as The Bun Bros, has the potential to become a classic foodie stop in the city.
In May, The Bun Bros LLC ConeyLand or just The Bun Bros opened at 2509 Valley Pike in Riverside. It is a full-service ice cream shop with a lengthy grill menu, including some not-so-average hot dog stand items.
6. Find peace in a sunny Dayton MetroPark
End the summer season with a clear mind on one of Five Rivers MetroParks' new Mindfulness Walks.
Four "Mindfulness Walks" have been established with signage along the way, guiding visitors and inviting them to stop and engage in a variety of simple breathing and meditation activities. The new paths are located at Eastwood MetroPark, Huffman MetroPark, Possum Creek MetroPark and Sunrise MetroPark.
-Sunrise MetroPark: 50 N. Edwin C. Moses Blvd.
-Possum Creek MetroPark: 4790 Frytown Rd.
-Huffman MetroPark: 4439 Lower Valley Pike
-Eastwood MetroPark: 1385 Harshman Rd. (park entrance) or 4349 Springfield St.
7. Test your skills at a local skate park
Locally, the skating scene continues to grow. As Skatin Dayton co-founder Jen Effinger put it, the Dayton skating scene is all about "community."
Before summers' end, push your limits and challenge yourself to make it to at least one new skate park. Here are some good spots in the Dayton area to get your skate or ride on:
Grange Hall Skate Park
Address: 640 Grange Hall Rd., Beavercreek
More info: beavercreekohio.gov
Brookville SK8 Park
Address: 301 Sycamore Street, Brookville
More info: brookvilleohio.com
Address: 51 Erie Ave., Fairborn
More info: fairbornoh.gov
Address: 1700 Delco Park Dr., Kettering
More info: playkettering.org
Rob Dyrdek/ DC Shoes Skate Plaza — Indian Riffle Park
Address: 2801 E. Stroop Rd., Kettering
More info: ketteringoh.org
8.Get down to Out on Fifth
Dayton's famous Fifth Street transform into a pedestrian walkway during Out on Fifth in the Oregon District. On weekends, the street transforms into a pedestrian promenade, featuring expanded outdoor dining areas, sidewalk retail sales, entertainment and other special activities.
Thanks to the DORA program people are allowed to consume alcohol on the streets that are purchased at participating businesses.