7 unique things to do you didn’t know were just a little west of Dayton

Splashes of fall color, like here at Hueston Woods State Park, are on display throughout the region as the weather turns colder. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Splashes of fall color, like here at Hueston Woods State Park, are on display throughout the region as the weather turns colder. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Filled with picturesque prairies, rolling hills and wetlands, Preble County is a place for outdoor activities.

Here are seven things to do and see in Preble County, including some you can enjoy this winter and some you’ll want to file away for later.

1. Valley’s Edge Snow Tubing, 8295 St. Route 121 North, New Paris

Head to New Paris for a few hours of snow tubing Thursday through Sunday during the winter months at Valley’s Edge. Or, stay warm in the lodge, grab a bite to eat and watch your friends or family come down the hill from a large viewing area.

2. Hueston Woods State Park

Located in both Butler and Preble counties, Hueston Woods is nearly 3,000 acres of natural resources for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, fishing, canoeing, boating and fossil hunting, which is unique to this region.

The park surrounds the 625-acre Acton Lake with campsites, cabins and a resort lodge.

3. Bike the bridges

Preble County hosts nine festivals between June and December, and the first one is the Bridges, Bikes and Blues Tour on June 16. Start the day with a pancake breakfast at the Preble County Historical Society building and then set out on a scenic 75-mile ride that includes touring the county’s eight historic covered bridges. The ride ends in downtown Eaton, where there are live music, raffle prizes, vendors and a beer garden.

Other festivals include the Preble County Fair and Derby Days in Lewisburg during August, Preble County Pork Festival and AppleFest in New Paris in September, Oktoberfest in West Alexandria and the Black Walnut Festival in Camden in October, White Christmas in Eaton on the Friday after Thanksgiving and Whispering Christmas in Eaton throughout December.

4. G & J Kartway, 1619 Barnets Mill Road, Camden

Among the cornfields and pastures of Preble County lies a WKA Master Track at G & J Kartway in Camden. In addition to hosting several races, the track is open for practice throughout the year, weather permitting. Races generally run from April to October at this hidden gem for karting.

5. Wild Hearts African Farm and Petting Zoo, 8079 Salem Road, Lewisburg

Learn about conservation practices and meet animals from all over the world on a guided walking tour at Wild Hearts. This working farm provides a chance to see African dairy goats, tortoises, ducks, hawks, a bald eagle and more – many of which are touchable and some you can hand-feed.

6. Safari Junction, 2961 US Route 127 South, Eaton

Similar to Wild Hearts, this exotic animal park provides hands-on interactive and educational animal encounters. See a variety of animals from around the world and learn about their care and their habitats.

7. Natural Springs Resort, 500 South Washington Street, New Paris

Check out one of the most beautiful spring-fed lakes in the Midwest at the grounds of Natural Springs Resort. They offer camping, cabin rentals and a wide variety of activities, such as paddle boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and even scuba diving.