Piqua to Become “The Day Trip
Capital of the Midwest”
New 2021/2022 Piqua Quality of Life Magazine Available HERE
PIQUA - My Miami County is pleased to announce its partnership with the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce, Mainstreet Piqua and the City of Piqua to help brand the community as “The Day Trip Capital of the Midwest” and a tourist destination for those seeking small town experiences and unique recreation.
We look forward to the challenges ahead and to shining a positive light on Piqua, Miami County and western Ohio. We believe that if you're going to dream, you should dream big. This "day trip" concept has never been tried anywhere before, so it is a chance to do something new, exciting and, yes, challenging. (Watch our progress HERE)
Although it may not be apparent yet, in the coming weeks and months we plan to demonstrate just how much there is to see and do in and around Piqua and that the community sits at the epicenter of a tourism industry that has yet to be fully realized but that could be a catalyst for growth and prosperity throughout the community.
The goal is to create a new tourism industry that brings visitors, money, jobs and growth to Piqua and that allows the community and local entrepreneurs to work together on creative projects, businesses and ideas.
Amazingly, and unnoticed until now, within a 30-mile radius of Piqua are more than 65 themed driving tours that cover a wide range of interests and topics, from canal and Native American history to antiquing, chocolate tasting and waterfall viewing. There’s literally something for everyone! (see Day Trip themes below).
Additionally, Piqua’s strategic location on the Great Miami River, the Great Miami Recreational Trail, the Buckeye Trail and a restored section of the Miami and Erie Canal creates the opportunity for themed canoe, hiking and cycling trips, not to mention being one of the few places in the United States where the public can take a ride on a canal boat. Piqua also contains a hydraulic canal that connects three large bodies of water in the community and that is open to paddle boats and fishing. It is a rare treasure for a city to have and adds to the recreational opportunities that are available in the city.
As “The Day Trip Capital of the Midwest,” and anchored by the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency and the historic downtown and riverfront district, visitors to Piqua will be able to choose from more than 65 themed driving tours, and 35 canoe trips, bicycle rides, hikes and walks. Each begins and ends in Piqua and is self-guided. This will make Piqua the place where travelers lodge, eat and shop, and where they return to after a day of sightseeing and recreation in the area.
It will be up to existing business owners and entrepreneurs to keep them in Piqua longer by creating tourist-based businesses and attractions. (see Tourism Business Ideas below)
Day trips and travel writing is one of the main staples of My Miami County, which also owns and operates This Local Life Magazine. The magazine serves the northern Miami Valley.
to create the 100+ themed day trips for the City of Piqua. We will also be helping to promote the concept through marketing, the creation of a visitor’s guide and an online presence.
There are no tax dollars currently allocated for this project and My Miami County does not speak for or represent the City, Chamber or Mainstreet Piqua.
My Miami County's goal is to begin promoting Piqua as “The Day Trip Capital of the Midwest” by this summer, 2021. You can see our "day trip/road trip" work in This Local Life by clicking HERE. It is free to view.
The "Day Trip Capital" concept was introduced in the new issue of the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce's Piqua Quality of Life magazine. It can be read for free online HERE.
Hard copies are available at the Chamber office (while supplies last) at 326 N. Main St. during regular business hours. They are also free.
Here are some of the day trip themes we're working on. A full example and trip itinerary are located below this list:
Driving Tours/Day Trips
- The Miami & Erie Canal Scenic Byway (start with a canal boat ride and the canal museum at Johnston Farm)
- The Land of Cross-Tipped Churches (starting with Piqua's churches built during the same time and scale)
- Native American & Mound Builder Day Trip (mound and Indian museum at Johnston Farm)
- The Buckeye Candy Trail (Winans)
- Aviation Trail (Hartzell Propeller)
- Ohio’s Homefront to Warfront Trail
- The Donut Trail (Dobo's Delights)
- Our Barn Quilts Tour(s)
- An Annie Oakley Pilgrimage & Wild West Adventure
- Connect the Parks Fall Driving Tour
- Three Rivers Fall Driving Tour
- Get Your Kicks On Ohio Route 66 (starts in Piqua)
- U.S. 36 – The Heart of Ohio Day Trip
- River Road to The Spot
- Meet Ou r German Baptist Brethren – Farrington Road & State Route 48, greenhouses, farms
- Waterfalls & Wildflowers Tour
- Black History & Civil Rights Tour (The Randolph & McCulloch Freedom’s Struggle Complex, Rossville)
- Fall Into Piqua: The Ultimate Fall Foliage Experience By Land, Water & Air (see beneath pictures for description)
- An Antique Shopping Marathon – Days 1, 2 and 3
- A Dam Tour of Western Ohio (Flood of 1913 and its dams and levees)
- Fabrics, Fritters & Ciders Tour
- 15 Old-Fashioned Dining Experiences in 7 Days
- The Bridges of Preble County and The Places Between
- Brukner to the Bog and Piqua’s Garbry Big Woods – A Spring Wildflower Tour
- Redbuds in Bloom Spring Driving Tour
- Small Town Boutiques & Things Unique
- Quiet Hikes & Nature Trails Tour(s)
- Covered Bridges in the Countryside Tour(s)
- A Day at the Beach – Parts 1-2-3
- Hobby Farm & U-Pick Tour
- Hops, Wine & Spirits Tour
- How It’s Made Tour(s)
- Historic Barns, Farms & Mills
- I Love Small Towns Driving Tour – Parts 1-2-3-4
- Beautiful Statues & Gardens Tour
- A Fall Festival Marathon – Parts 1-2-3-4-5, etc.
- A Summer Festival Marathon(s)
- Christmas Lights Driving & Walking Tour(s)
- Early American Forts in Western Ohio Tour (Fort Pickawillany)
- Caves & Castles Tour
- Heroes & Legends Tour – Piqua & Beyond (William Pitsenbarger Jr., Don Gentile)
- The Greenhouse Trail – A Spring Tour (Fifth Season Farm, et al)
- Working—and Riding—on the Railroad Tour (Bradford RR Museum)
- A Midwestern Halloween Experience
- Summer Wildflowers Tour(s)
- To the Top of Ohio Tour
- I Love Museums & Historical Markers Tour(s)
- Vintage Signs & Architecture Tour(s)
- Swift Run to Franz Pond – Paddling the Hydraulic Canal
- The Shoal Tent Experience – Camping on the River – North and South Trips starting or ending in Piqua
- A Very Old Place – A Geological Tour & Canoe Experience (explores fossil beds along the rivers near Piqua)
- Piqua to Adventures on the Great Miami in Tipp City w/ camping, rope swings and tubing fun
- Two Dams Canoe Trip – Lockington Dam to Taylorsville Dam
- The Big Four Bridge to Piqua
- Piqua to Troy – "Under the Eldean Bridge"
- Tube the River or paddle boats near the riverscape
- Port Jefferson to Piqua - Overnight in the Countryside
- Greenville Falls to West Milton on the Stillwater River
- Webster to Covington on the Stillwater River
- Fall Color Canoe Trips
- Greenville to Covington on Greenville Creek
- Maybe Piqua by Torchlight, LED Canoe Floats, Jack-O-Lantern floats on the hydraulic canal...
- Paddling Lake Loramie, Kiser Lake, etc.
- The Piqua Loop – 12 miles
- Exploring Miami County – Piqua to Tipp City & Back for Dinner
- An Evening Bike Ride to a Waterfall and Covered Bridge
- Bike to Bike Night – Piqua to The Rip Rap Roadhouse
- A Dam-Themed Bike Ride (Lockington Dam to Taylorsville Dam + Englewood Dam)
- Six Parks & Lots of Wildflowers Ride - 32-Miles
- The East of Piqua Ride
- Aviation History Bicycle Ride – 80 Miles Overnight
- The Tecumseh Trail
- Duke Park Mountain Bike Trail
- Benjamin Trail
- Cycling the Land of Cross-Tipped Churches
- A Lake-Themed Cycling Tour
- Piqua to Yellow Springs and Back - An Overnight, 2-Day Cycling Adventure
(Promote Piqua as a half-way, or back-and-forth overnight stopping point for cyclists coming from Yellow Springs, south of Dayton, Xenia and, soon, much further beyond)
- The Buckeye Trail & North Country Trail
- Hiking the Historic Canal Towpath
- Piqua's Trail System with walking guide to points of interest
- Mushroom Hunting Hiking Trip
- Arrowhead Hunting Walks
- Fossil Walks
- Quiet Hikes & Nature Centers Series
- Wildflower Hikes
- Fall Color Hikes
- Ghost Walks
- Scavenger Hunts (already provided by the historic district)
- Historical walking tours (already provided by Mainstreet Piqua)
SAMPLE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE AND INTENEARY
Fall Into Piqua: The Ultimate Fall Foliage Experience
(Available in October)
Experience the beautiful fall foliage of Piqua and western Ohio via canal boat, biplane, car or motorcycle, canoe, bicycle, and hiking shoes during this once-in-a-lifetime adventure for people who really love fall colors, and flavors!
Start your journey at the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency with a slow and colorful horse-drawn canal boat ride along the Miami and Erie Canal. Next, head to the nearby WACO Airplane Museum in Troy (or the Piqua Airport?) and take a biplane ride above the amazing foliage and scenery in the area. The next day, take a tour of the Winan’s Fine Chocolates + Coffees factory and taste their freshly made caramel-dipped apples and other fall treats before taking a bike ride to Taylorsville Reserve on the Great Miami Recreational Trail. On the bike ride, pass historic towns, a covered bridge, waterfalls, a ghost town, and plenty of beautiful foliage. Upon returning to Piqua, reward yourself with homemade pumpkin ice cream at Susie's Big Dipper.
Make time for two or three scenic canoe trips along the vibrant corridor of the Great Miami River in Piqua and the equally stunning corridors of the Stillwater River and Greenville Creek. Paddle the Piqua Hydraulic Canal to see some of the most stunning fall color in the region.
Enjoy some fresh air on the Connect the Parks Fall Driving & Hiking Tour. This tour visits10 beautiful parks that offer more than 20 miles of hiking trails and also explores 70 miles of Miami County's most colorful back roads and off-the-beaten-path attractions.
See more local color by driving or cycling the Three Rivers Fall Driving Tour. The loop tour passes through three densely wooded river corridors located north of Piqua, plus a state park, by the highest point in Ohio, to a park with giant animal statues and many other fun and unique places along the way.
Take the River Road to The Spot Tour to see additional scenery and landmarks on the Great Miami River before enjoying some of the best pumpkin pie in Ohio at The Spot Restaurant. This vintage diner and car-hop is located in the quaint and historical town of Sidney, just north of Piqua.
Time up your visit with any number of fall festivals and events that take place in October, including the Fall Celebration at Johnston Farm and Harvest Days in downtown Piqua. Nearby are the Bradford Pumpkin Show, Minster Oktoberfest and the Fall Farm Fest, among many others. Each festival offers an amazing slice of Midwestern life, traditions and flavors. This includes pumpkin milkshakes, freshly made apple cider slushies, buckeye chocolates, candied apples and all the fair and festival food a person can handle.
Round out the fall fun with visits to a year-round Halloween and Christmas shop in downtown Piqua (where you can also get started on some early Christmas shopping) and a visit to the longest haunted attraction in the world at nearby Lewisburg Haunted Cave. Plus, pick apples and pumpkins and enjoy the pleasures of fall in western Ohio!
- Canal boat ride at the Johnston Farm & Indian Agency
- Biplane ride above the foliage at the WACO Air Force Museum in Troy (or the Piqua Airport?)
- Tour the Winans Fine Chocolates + Coffee factory and eat a fresh caramel apple
- Cycle the Great Miami Recreational Trail from Piqua to Taylorsville Reserve for more fall color
- Enjoy homemade pumpkin ice cream at Susie’s Big Dipper
- Canoe the vibrant corridors of the Great Miami and Stillwater rivers and Greenville Creek
- Drive and hike the Connect the Parks Fall Driving & Hiking Tour
- Drive the Three Rivers Fall Driving Tour
- Drive the River Road to The Spot Tour and enjoy homemade pumpkin pie
- Attend the Fall Celebration at Johnston Farm and Harvest Days in downtown Piqua
- Attend small town festivals in the area and sample pumpkin shakes, apple cider slushies, buckeye chocolates and menu items from countless food trucks and vendors
- Visit the Apple Tree Gallery in downtown Piqua, one of the only year-round Christmas and Halloween stores in the region
- Visit the Guinness Book of World Record holding Lewisburg Haunted Cave—the longest haunted attraction in the world, all located underground
- Stay at the spacious, solar-powered WoodsWalk Farm Bed and Breakfast in Piqua and spend a sunny afternoon picking the last apples of the season and then dining on them and other homegrown, homemade goodies by a fire or next to the woods
- Walk Piqua’s Hydraulic Canal path and see some of the most vibrant fall colors in the region. You can also paddle the canal and the ponds and lakes that it connects within city limits
TOURISM BUSINESS IDEAS FOR PIQUA
We'd love to hear your ideas and feedback...
- A business that rents unique bicycles for the bike path and that rents paddle boats for the hydraulic canal. How about pedal cars for little children on the bike path?
- Gondala rides on the hydraulic canal???
- A Youth Hostel (which is actually for all ages) in town that caters to cyclists, canoeists and hikers
- A riverside urban campground that has a hook-up area for Shoal Tents (floating tents) that are made in downtown Piqua. Campers would be right next to downtown Piqua, offering a very unique experiences
- Glamping options (i.e. unique camping options such as pods, cubes and canvas tents)
- Build a wood hinge or astronomy park, which ties in with local Native American history and Johnston Farm
- A Museum of Western Ohio, which explores all of the subjects and topics that can be found on the 100 day trips
- A period restaurant in the downtown that compliments Johnston Farm & Indian Agency with period music, dress, menu items and experience
- A themed dinner theater or outdoor drama group that performs seasonal, themed shows at the new pavilion on the river, or Hance Pavilion or in the Fort Piqua Ballroom
- A tour guide company that can provide equipment, transportation and guidance for canoeing, fishing, hiking, cycling, sightseeing, etc.
- Air BNBs in the numerous historic homes and unique properties in the community
- A haunted house or Halloween attraction
- A U-Pick Farm for flowers, veggies, herbs
- More food trucks and restaurants
- Musicians, artists, crafters, bakers, growers, hobbyists, collectors...
- An archaeological or geological park for hunting arrowheads and fossils
- An artist colony and art galleries
- Mall - Laser tag, paintball, indoor music venue, indoor bike park, flea market space, family entertainment
- Escape rooms and haunted experiences, ghost walks and tours
- Host a Halloween Festival and have the entire community dress up their homes and properties and become known as a "Halloween Town USA." Same for Christmas lights and displays, which are already amazing in Piqua...attract tourists
- Petting zoos and agri-tourism experiences
- Summer Camps for Adults (using all the fun recreation in the area)
- Bed & Breakfasts (with themes?)
- Mills Brothers Hometown Jazz Festival
- Boutiques, specialty shops, more antique stores
- Utilize Captain Underpant's link to Piqua?
- Host triathlons that incorporate all of the recreation, i.e. canoe, cycle, trail run
- 12-mile events on the citywide bike path. Decorate the bike path during different seasons to attract visitors, such as with jack-o-lanterns and scarecrows in the fall or live bands and acoustic acts in the summer. Ride and listen
- Put lights on the front of the Fort Piqua Plaza and do a light show at night
- Put different colored lights on the water fountain from time to time
- A co-op grocery store, which are popping up all over the U.S. now
- Paint murals of famous Piqua residents and historic scenes on buildings in the community (like Fort Recovery and many other towns have done)
- Open air market in an older industrial building
- Create unique experiences and challenges for people
- And on and on...
See dozens and dozens of things that you and visitors can do while visiting Piqua, and just a few miles beyond below these pictures.
Photo by Betsie Bogart
Photo by Jaden Fisher
Things You and Visitors Can Do In Piqua Includes:
- Take a ride on the General Harrison canal boat
- Tour the Winans chocolate factory, or just sample some of the goods
- Canoe and kayak on the river and hydraulic canal
- Take in a national comedy act or performance at Romer’s Catering
- Tube on the river
- Bicycle the Great Miami Recreational Trail
- Swim at a public pool
- Golf at two courses in the community
- Enjoy a candlelit dinner, piano music, wine and homemade pizza and pasta at 3 Joe’s
- Eat homemade ice cream and Hungarian pastries
- Go to the movie theater
- Go to the Miami Valley Centre Mall
- Walk through one of the most amazing public library's in Ohio (and beyond)
- Enjoy some of the best small mouth bass and catfish fishing in the Midwest
- Go cosmic and regular bowling
- Hike on the Buckeye Trail and North Country Trail, both the longest of their kinds
- Go roller skating
- Dine with old-fashioned hop service at the BK Rootbeer Stand
- Grab a cold snack at the Bobo’s Frozen Treats stand
- Shop at a weekly farmers market
- Attend art shows
- Take a ghost tour in October
- See live bands performing next to the Great Miami River, at the mall and in local pubs
- Tour one of the most striking buildings in Ohio and watch a musical performance there
- Go sledding in the winter
- Buy candy and novelties at the hometown, old-fashioned candy store
- Visit comic book and baseball card stores
- Attend a series of free concerts and food truck rallies in the summer
- Play scenic and challenging golf courses
- Go to numerous parades and hometown festivals
- Spend an elegant night at The Orrmont Estate
- Shop at a year-round Christmas and Halloween store
- Rent a Shoal Tent and float down the Great Miami River on an overnight trip
- Walk or bicycle a loop trail around town and through several parks
- Watch an outdoor concert at the pavilion in the park
- Stay at a solar-powered, self-sufficient bed and breakfast and eat homegrown food (WoodsWalk Farm)
- Stay in a hotel connected to a mall, food court and next to a movie theater and restaurants
- See the oldest log barn in Ohio
- Shop and find deals at bargain and thrift stores
- Visit an Indian Mound that is thousands of years old
- Kayak or paddle between three bodies of water in the city limits (almost completely unique to Piqua!)
- Visit three antique stores and other specialty shops located within a block of each other
- Play glow-in-the-dark golf (in season)
- Eat famous Buckeye chocolates
- March in or watch a Halloween Parade
- Cool off under the hose of a fire truck on the 4th of July
- Attend the Downtown Piqua Holiday Horse Parade
- Attend historic reenactments and demonstrations in the summer and fall
- See amazing sunsets and sunrises in the rural countryside
- Hunt for arrowheads along the Great Miami River
- Be greeted by Santa Claus during the annual holiday parade
- Sample local food and view art at the Taste of the Arts in May
- Take a series of guided walking tours of the community
- Enjoy dozens of historical lectures and presentations each year at the Piqua Public Library
- Attend car shows and cruise-ins
- Eat locally made caramel apples in the fall and chocolate covered strawberries in the spring
- Shop at a giant Hallmark store that used to be a movie theater, or an equally large hometown clothing store called Barclay’s
- Schedule a massage at Carried Salon & Spa, located in the heart of the historic district
- Watch fireworks on the Fourth of July
- Play BINGO and eat chicken dinners at local church festivals
- Shop at holiday open houses in Piqua and the surrounding area
- Take a sunset walk or bicycle ride to a nearby waterfall and covered bridge
- Tour an 1829 homestead and visit the American Indian Museum
- See some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the world
- Dine, sip drinks or eat ice cream on an outdoor patio in the historic district
- Eat a giant BLT sandwich at the Lighthouse Café
- Play trivia and darts at the pub
- Take an outdoor architectural scavenger hunt in the historic district
- And much, much more...
Within minutes of Piqua you can:
- Go to a drive-in movie theater
- Ice skate
- Zipline and putt-putt golf
- Hunt for world-famous fossils
- Go spelunking or just take a cave tour
- Swim, boat and fish in the largest hand-dug lake in the world
- Ride more than 4 miles of designated mountain bike trails at one location
- See some of the most vibrant wildflower displays in Ohio
- Hunt for morel mushrooms and four other edible mushrooms
- Visit one of the largest fun centers in the Midwest
- Go sailing and boating
- Rent jet skis or house boats for the day or weekend
- Layout or swim at a sandy beach
- Hand-pick strawberries, pumpkins, apples, sweet corn, blackberries and more
- Race go-carts
- Dine on snake, venison, buffalo, alligator, elk and other wild game, all at one restaurant
- Go skiing and tubing
- Visit a casino
- Choose from more than 100 varieties of tomato plants at one store (Siegels in Covington!)
- Visit numerous wineries, distilleries and brew houses
- Tour an historic mill that still operates to this day
- See major concerts at three major venues
- Visit an exotic zoo and farm—and ride a camel!
- Get lost in corn mazes in the fall
- Go camping, including Halloween Campouts in October
- Hike more than 100 miles of trails
- Swing on a rope into the river and slip and slide down a giant hill
- Take a ride in biplane above the Miami Valley
- Attend one of the largest country music concerts in the world and one of the largest festivals in Ohio
- Drive through an outdoor Christmas light display during the holidays
- Visit the National Museum of the US Air Force and take in an IMAX film
- Go through the longest haunted attraction in the world—Lewisburg Haunted Cave, not to mention dozens of other haunted houses, trails and attractions in the region
- Tour a surprising number of castles in the region and even stay the night in several and get a massage in one!
- Shop at numerous swap meets, flea markets and antique malls in the area
- Sample numerous batches of local apple cider in the fall, some of the best in the world
- Attend hundreds of free festivals in the area, held almost every weekend of the year
- Take guided night hikes to hear the local tree frogs singing in the spring or to see local owls hunting in the fall
- Dine with a view of the river at the River Rock Bar & Grille. Stick around in the evening for live outdoor music by the river
- Stand on top of and hike the 69-foot-tall, 6,400-feet-wide Lockington Dam
- Stay in a hotel connected to a mall and food court, with an indoor pool and a movie theater located next door
- Experience the wildly fun Octoberfest season in western Ohio, including huge festivals in small communities founded by German settlers
- Tour the Bridges of Preble County
- Visit SunWatch Indian Village or climb to the top of one of the tallest Indian mounds in the United States
All of this combined, packaged together nicely and marketed correctly can be a good start to growing tourism in Piqua.