I’m not sure if it is super common for a person’s hometown to become really cool (and I mean like really cool) right after they move out of state, but this is definitely the case for me.
Hamilton, Ohio has always been a city centered around the arts, which made it an enjoyable place to grow up. However, as of late, Hamilton has become a place full of thriving small businesses, parks, and events. There have even been multiple big-name movies that were filmed in Hamilton and its surrounding cities (including the newest film about Ted Bundy featuring Zac Efron). However, one of the more fun and quirky tourist features Hamilton has to offer is the multiple donut shops included in their county’s (Butler County) Donut Trail.
The Butler County Donut Trail is comprised of a list of 12 Butler County donut shops. The idea is that a person will visit all 12, collecting a stamp at each location and then submitting their passport to the Visitor’s Bureau for a free t-shirt. You can visit the shops as frequently or infrequently as you’d like, but keep in mind the passports have been known to change with each calendar year. In my opinion, it is much more of a challenge and adventure to complete the entire trail in one day.
Around this time three years ago, my husband Devin and I drove all the way from Greenville to brave the donut trail. We woke up before sunrise (6:30 AM, I believe) in the hopes of reaching all destinations before they sold out and closed shop for the day. We spent all morning driving to and from each location, getting our passports stamped and buying a donut for each person from each stop – though we weren’t eating them all, of course.
We weren’t the only ones braving the trail that day! We made many friends along the way, as we all happened to hit the same shops at the same time. It was a really great experience—we got to enjoy the company of friends, collaborate, and plan the best routes, as well as buy some delicious donuts. When asked if he thought it was worth it to drive all the way to Butler County to take the Donut Trail, Devin explained, “it was definitely worth every minute. It was a really fun way to visit my hometown, as well as surrounding areas I didn’t visit as often when I lived there.”
I couldn’t agree more— traveling far to “hike” the trail is still a favorite story of mine to tell.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Butler County Donut Trail, here is some information that may be helpful. For Greenville locals, the closest shop is about four and a half hours away. This means you may want to find a place to stay overnight. The Visitor’s Bureau has a list of accommodations on their website, or you may want to look into the Airbnb options. You can look at the map and plan your route ahead of time, as well as print out your passport – don’t worry if you don’t bring yours, you can just ask for one at your first stop.
Once you’ve finished the trail, don’t forget to submit the passport to get your free shirt, then you can buy some Donut Trail merch so you can show off to your friends that you finished the trail. While you’re in the area, you could also try the Donut Trail GeoTour, visit Kings Island, or adventure in Cincinnati. With so many fun opportunities, you’re bound to have a great trip!