Outdoor Fun

Columbus might be a big city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get out into nature. 


Westerville Parks and Rec 

Rent an Otter-bike for free from the Courtright Memorial Library and explore more than 600 acres of parks, thanks to the 30 miles of bike paths. Alum Park goes right past The Point, providing the ideal start and finish place for you and your friends, while Hanby Park is just a block away from campus, so re-live your youth on the swings, or get competitive on the sand volleyball court! Westerville is often described as ‘A City in a Park,’ and with a Parks and Rec setup like this, it is no surprise.

Sharon Woods 

Oh Deer! Go for a walk, jog or bike ride through Sharon Woods, and experience nature up-close, with a nature preserve, natural play grounds, and fishing, all just five minutes from campus. The deer who call Sharon Woods home are rumored to be Cardy’s best friends (after Otterbein students of course)!

Community Garden

The Otterbein Community Garden is a give back garden, meaning at least 50% of produce grown there is donated to food pantries. So, get creative, build your perfect garden alongside senior citizen living communities, schools and your classmates, all while improving the lives within the Westerville community.

On campus 

Grab a hammock and read a book in one of the many green spaces we have on campus. If that isn’t your cup of tea, then get together with some friends and play some ultimate frisbee behind Shear-McFadden Science Center. We also provide lots of outdoor seating and picnic options for you to enjoy.


The Scioto Mile

Described as an urban oasis, the mile is ACTUALLY 175 acres running from the Arena District all the way to the Whittier Peninsula. Connected by eight parks, several bike and pedestrian paths running along the waterfront, this is the perfect place to go for a first date or walk your dog. *

You can take in concerts in front of the 15,000-square-foot fountain, catch an outdoor movie in the summer, or take a guided kayak, canoe or paddleboard tour down the river.

*Sorry… dogs not provided by Otterbein. But we do bring them in during finals week!

Hoover Reservoir 

You’ve heard of the Hoover Dam? Well this is not the reservoir formed by that famous dam… but it’s still worth visiting. Whether you want to go sailing on the 3 miles of water, play disc golf, or bird spot, this 4,700-acre park is the perfect spot.  


Image by Mark Michaels

Columbus Parks and Rec 

We might not have Leslie Knope, but the Columbus Parks & Rec team offer a hike, bike and park system throughout central Ohio which provides a variety of views and activities.

With over 350 parks, 12,000+ acres, six golf courses, 120 miles of trails, five dog parks, a skate park and 14 nature reserves, there will always be somewhere new for you to explore during your four years here. Our Parks and Rec team would make Leslie proud!

Hocking Hills 

Ok so this isn’t technically in Columbus, but it’s too cool not to include! Described as Ohio’s scenic wonderland, Hocking Hills is a collection of nine state parks comprising of 25 miles of hiking trails, rock formations, waterfalls, caves, legends and myths.

Less than an hour from campus, this natural wonderland is a must-see. And for those looking for more than a thrill, you can even zip line through the trees!