COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Amid record-high gas prices and inflation across the country, many people are pumping the brakes on summer road trips and travel plans.

Fortunately, Central Ohioans share an area code with some of the best tourist attractions in the United States — from COSI to the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium to Red, White & BOOM!

“Research by Longwoods International does show that those rising gas prices are greatly impacting people’s decision to travel in the next six months. 37% of Americans have said it’s impacting them,” said Leah Berger, Public Relations Manager with Experience Columbus. “It doesn’t mean they’re not traveling, but they might be flying instead of driving, or perhaps they’re changing their destination to a more local area, and Columbus is perfect for that because we’re within a day’s drive of 50% of the U.S. population.”

In addition to the dozens of free festivals and fairs, Berger noted the everyday activities throughout Columbus that are also budget-friendly.

“The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden regularly has free days where the public can come and enjoy… and then just going to the Scioto Mile and strolling, maybe biking or doing stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking. These are all free activities you can enjoy throughout the summer,” Berger added.

Berger also recommends the Columbus Outdoors Trails Pass which gives recommendations for scenic walks and attractions throughout the Columbus region. Experience Columbus has detailed itineraries for 11 of Columbus’s most popular neighborhoods to inspire residents and visitors with ideas for where to eat, shop, stay, and more.

“Columbus is a thriving destination. We have restaurants like Chapman’s Eat Market, which was named on the New York Times list of best restaurants in the whole country,” Berger said. “I think there’s a lot to explore in Columbus that people don’t even realize, so if you want that big city feel head to the Short North Arts District on a Friday evening and you will have tons of options of some of the best restaurants and galleries in town.”