Up to 5 million people visit Ohio’s Hocking Hills each year, drawn by a geologically diverse area of rolling terrain, cliffs, caves, and seasonal waterfalls, all less than an hour southeast of Columbus. Why not stay somewhere just as unusual as the landscape? But do your planning: Some lodgings fill up a year or two in advance. Nab a spot as soon as reservations open for the next season or look for last-minute cancellations.
The Cave at Dunlap Hollow
Built into a natural recess cave, The Cave at Dunlap Hollow blends eco-friendly construction with luxury decorating in a 1,500-square-foot space. Sunlight pours in the windows along the entrance, while natural rock ceilings and rock walls remind you that you are, actually, in a cave. The two-bedroom dwelling was designed and built by owners Bryant and Amy Gingerich, with interior design work from Renee Byler.
A fully stocked kitchen, dining area, pool table, clawfoot tub, and glam decor await inside; outdoors, guests can enjoy a hot tub, fireplace with lounge chairs and access to private hiking trails. Passive solar panels, electric vehicle charger and smart technology underscore the eco-minded approach. (And if you’d prefer a lodging that’s not subterranean, Dunlap Hollow rents an A-frame and a cottage as well.)
Bungalows at The Cliffs at Hocking Hills
Husband-and-wife duo Kimball and Christine continue to add to the luxury rental experience at the Hocking Hills property they purchased in 2019. Their first project was transforming a 1929 Boy Scout cabin into a six-bedroom lodge that can accommodate up to 18 guests. Now, they’ve built three two-bedroom bungalows for those seeking a cozier retreat. The warm cedar walls and expansive picture windows create a cocoon that feels like an Instagram filter come to life. Private hot tubs, luxe linens, and fireplaces—as well as an outdoor water feature called Sandstone Falls—set the stage for a weekend of R&R. Yet to come: Studio bungalows that will also have access to the natural pool and lookout at the falls.
Treehouses at River Ranch
Located on over 150 acres, the Treehouses at River Ranch set the stage for fun and adventure with lodging above the forest floor. A robust array of on-site activities—oversized outdoor games, outdoor Skee-Ball, riverfront access, hot tubs, hiking trails and a hammock hangout—makes the grouping of treehouses well-suited for families looking to entertain the kiddoes. But the treehouses’ pillowtop mattresses, Wi-Fi, gourmet coffee bars, and wrap-around decks also check all the boxes for a romantic escape.
Forty tiny-house cabins nestle on nearly 100 acres of natural beauty. Everything about the Getaway House cabins is designed to put guests in a relaxed, unplugged state of mind; a cell phone “lock box” on the property invites putting away the iPhone and leaving behind work e-mails and Insta-scrolling. With one of these cabins in the woods, you shouldn’t need much encouragement. Hike and bike nearby, keep an eye out for wildlife, and pack a picnic for a waterfront lunch along Burr Oak Lake.
Hocking Hills State Park Lodge
This lodge, which opened in late 2022, is one of the area’s newest accommodations, as well as Ohio’s first new state park lodging in more than 30 years. It’s a game-changer, putting guests right in the middle of the park, minutes away from popular attractions like Old Man’s Cave and Conkle’s Hollow. Each of the 81 guest rooms comes with luxury linens, high-end amenities and pool access. Some have private balconies—all the better for soaking in the scenery. Convenient on-site dining includes Rock House Restaurant, Rock House Pub and Café ’22.
Geodomes at The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls
While cabins at The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls have long been a favorite destination for families and honeymooners, geodomes provide the most immersive experience yet. Don’t be fooled by the domes’ modest 700-square-foot dimensions; each dome includes big amenities such as a king-size bed, full dining table, couch, kitchenette, and custom bathroom (as well as heating and air conditioning). Gaze out the viewing window to forest views, and wake up to sunlight dappling the geometric ceiling.