As the holiday season unfolds, there’s something undeniably enchanting about small-town festivities that can warm the coldest of hearts. Nestled in the heart of Ohio, Portsmouth and its surrounding areas offer a holiday experience that’s nothing short of magical.
We invite you on a two-day journey through Portsmouth and its neighboring towns as we uncover the hidden gems of the season. From the mesmerizing Christmas lights adorning Otway Bridge to the subterranean wonderland of White Gravel Mines Christmas Cave, and the lively atmosphere of Portsmouth’s Winterfest, we’ll explore the best this charming region has to offer during the most wonderful time of the year.
Get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of the season as we embark on a holiday adventure filled with lights, laughter, and unforgettable memories.
Day 1: Exploring Portsmouth, Otway Bridge, and Christmas Caves
- Start your day with a hearty breakfast at a local diner in Portsmouth. A popular option is Market Street Café.
- After breakfast, head to the Portsmouth Floodwall Murals located along Front Street. These massive outdoor murals depict the history of the area and are a great way to learn about the town’s past.
- Take a short drive to the Otway Covered Bridge. During the day, you can appreciate its rustic charm, and make sure to take some photos for comparison later when it’s illuminated with Christmas lights.
- Enjoy lunch at a local eatery like Patties and Pints, where you can savor delicious burgers and craft beer.
- Spend some time shopping for unique holiday gifts in the Boneyfiddle Historic District, known for its quaint shops and boutiques.
- Return to Otway Bridge after sunset to witness the magical transformation as it’s adorned with Christmas lights. Don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful scenery.
- Drive to White Gravel Mines Christmas Caves, located in Minford, Ohio. Explore the stunning underground Christmas lights display and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
- Cozy up for the evening in a newly renovated room at Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center.
Day 2: Shawnee State Park and Winterfest
- Take some time to relax and explore the scenic Shawnee State Park. Depending on the weather, you can go for a nature walk, birdwatching, or simply enjoy the picturesque views.
- Grab a late brunch at a local cafe or bakery like Lofts Coffee.
- Experience a round of duckpin bowling at Portsmouth’s newest Oddfellows venue, where you can savor your favorite beverage while having a blast. Depending on the number of games you play, you can even indulge in a delicious lunch right on-site.
- In the afternoon, make your way to Portsmouth’s Winterfest, an annual holiday event filled with festive activities, carriage rides, and the opportunity to meet Santa Claus. (and lots more!)
- Wrap up your visit by attending Winterfest’s evening festivities. Enjoy the holiday light displays, ice skating (if available), and perhaps some hot cocoa and smores from the Grinch Hut.
- For dinner, try something from one of the food trucks at Winterfest!
Cindy’s Insider Ohio tips!
I’ve personally followed this Holiday Itinerary and it made for the perfect weekend! If you want a more relaxed weekend, you can adjust the schedule to fit your needs and wants!
This 2-day itinerary allows you to explore the Portsmouth area during the holiday season, taking in the festive lights at Otway Bridge, experiencing the magic of the Christmas Cave, and enjoying the holiday spirit at Winterfest. Be sure to check the event dates and hours of operation for specific attractions to plan your visit accordingly.
Let’s Visit Scioto County, Ohio
Have you visited Scioto County either during the festive season or at any other time of year? What was your favorite place to visit or activity to take part in? Leave a comment below and share your experience.