When we need to get out of the house and spend time outdoors, one of our family's favorite ways to do so is along scenic Route 8 in Northern Kentucky. More than 114 miles of winding road, Route 8 is also known as Mary Ingles Highway or River Road. Its scenic route runs along the Ohio River, stretching from Boone County all the way to South Portsmouth. Because of its location along the river, Route 8 is the perfect road for an afternoon drive or bike ride, and, lucky for all of us, there are plenty of fun spots to stop along the way. (Be sure to share the road! Route 8 is popular with cyclists and motorcycle riders, too.)
Stop One: The Anderson Ferry
4030 River Road | Hebron, KY 41048
Our first stop along Route 8 is Anderson Ferry. Founded in 1817, the Anderson Ferry is on the National Register of Historic Places, and our list of favorite places, too. Depending on what you are in the mood for, there are a variety of ways to ride the Ferry - you can ride across from the comforts of your car for $5 (or bike for $1), or you can do what we love, and park your car and ride across on foot for just $.50 per person each way.
Stop Two: United Dairy Farmers
4332 River Road | Cincinnati, Ohio 45204
Once you cross the Ohio River by ferry, your children will be excited to see that directly across the street from the Anderson Ferry on the Ohio side is a United Dairy Farmers. (Very smart of you, UDF...) After a fun ride across the Ohio, who couldn't use an ice-cream treat? After enjoying our ice cream, we headed back down to the Ferry and rode across to our car in Northern Kentucky.
Stop Three: McGlasson Farms
5832 River Road | Hebron, KY 41048
Back in our car, we continue our journey west on Route 8 to one of our family's favorite spots - McGlasson Farms. This roadside farm has been in operation for six generations and is a great spot to stop and pick up fresh fruits, homemade apple cider and of course, plenty of fresh veggies. We always like to stop here to pick up snacks to take with us to the park (our next stop).
The boys love getting to choose which apple they'll get from all the varieties that McGlasson's has. Also, you can use this as an educational opportunity to talk about the different varieties, and the staff is always super friendly and happy to answer questions about what makes for a good eating apple, what makes for a good pie apple, etc. The farm also has events throughout the season including a big Fall on the Farm event where you can pick your own pumpkins, listen to live music, enjoy caramel apples and other seasonal fun.
The boys love weighing their apples on the old-time scale at McGlasson's. In addition to apple cider (which I forgot to snap a picture of), the farm also makes its own maple syrup!
Stop 4: Giles Conrad Park
7500 River Road | Hebron, KY 41048
After McGlasson's, we pop back into our car and continue our scenic drive down Route 8. Our next stop? Giles Conrad Park for bike riding, boat watching and playground fun. A relatively young park, Giles Conrad Park opened in 2004 and it is pretty big - 43 acres. The park features a playground, basketball court, fitness stations, and a beautiful view of the river. The park also has 1.3 miles of paved path perfect for bike riding, dog walking or just walking/running in general. The park also has a creek, which my boys love exploring - looking for turtles, frogs and fossils.
Stop 5: Homeward Bound!
After spending a few hours at the park we decided to call it a day. In total our day cost us $20.50, not including gas. We spent $3 riding Anderson Ferry, $7.50 on ice cream at UDF and $10 on produce at McGlasson Farms. I'd say it was a pretty affordable and fun day and that plenty of memories were made!
Written by Shannan Boyer of Family Friendly Cincinnati.