Five places in Columbus to lose yourself in nature

Cooper Creek Park in the late afternoon.
Cooper Creek Park in the late afternoon. Ledger-Enquirer

Columbus may be a busy city, but that doesn’t mean you can’t sit back, take a break and re-energize yourself by losing yourself in nature for a while.

The city boasts dozens of parks and recreation areas, which can be used for sports, exercise and family activities — but which places around town will really make you feel like you’re away from it all?

Here are five places in Columbus that can get you back in touch with the natural world.

1. Cooper Creek Park

Cooper Creek Park is known for it’s world-class tennis facility, but it’s also a beautiful park full of bird and wildlife viewing opportunities. The waterfront views at sunset are well worth the visit.

2. Oxbow Meadows

Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center is nestled right next to the Chattahoochee River, and includes a collection of winding nature trails, a tree canopy walk high in the branches, an indoor/outdoor nature center and a small boardwalk on the water for fishing. Admission is free, though the tree walk is $5 per person.

3. Flat Rock Park

Flat Rock Park is a hilly and diverse park off Warm Springs Road. The park includes a fishing and boating lake, extensive hiking and mountain biking trails, shelters and even rocky creek area, perfect for wading and cooling off. It’s a favorite spot for local dog owners to bring their pets to play in the water.

4. Columbus Botanical Gardens

The Columbus Botanical Gardens are a 23-acre collection of gardens and trails on Weems Road. You can stroll through an herb garden and camellia garden, and view an assortment about 500 plants as you walk along the winding trails throughout the property. The gardens are free to visit, though a $2 donation is recommended. A popular spot for weddings and photoshoots, it’s just as good for a short break from the workaday life.

5. Bradley Olmsted Garden

Tucked in the middle of the Wynn’s Hill-Overlook Historic District, the Bradley Olmsted Garden, maintained by volunteers, features a casual, loping trail from the museum down to street entrance. You’ll pass a spring grotto, pool house and many different plant and flower varieties, each identified by a small sign. It’s a great way to take a breather right in the heart of the city.

Scott Berson: 706-571-8578, @ScottBersonLE