The Butler County Donut Trail
Ohio’s Sweetest Escape
At RogueTrippers, we love donuts, and we always make it a mission to seek out great donut shops wherever we go on all of our road trips. We follow many ‘craft donut’ shops across Canada and the USA on Instagram if we are ever in the vicinity of one on our road trip. We can include them in our travel itinerary. One day, I got a suggested account that came up in my Instagram feed for the Butler County Donut Trail. So, hearing there was a donut trail not too far from our home, of course, our curiosity was piqued. We needed to plan a road trip to Butler County Ohio; but when.
Find it here in Ohio.
Several months later, we planned a birthday road trip to Ohio to check out a few fun spots that included a day in Sandusky for Cedar Point, followed by a trip to Cincinnati for the American Sign Museum. By now, I had forgotten all about that Instagram post suggesting the Butler County Donut Trail. As it turns out, the drive from Sandusky to Cincinnati takes you right through Butler County. We had an overnight stay booked in Fairfield, which is in Butler County.
The next morning, as we were getting ready to take the leisurely drive back home, we stopped to grab a cup of coffee at this cute donut shop a short distance from our hotel. There on the counter was a passport for the Butler County Donut Trail. As luck would have it, we were in the heart of Butler County, and we just made our very first stop on the Donut Trail.
Nick and I looked at the map, and all of the locations seemed reasonably close together. “How hard could it be?” we thought, to complete the trail before we head home. After all, it was still early in the day, we were already in Butler County, and we didn’t need to rush home.
So, with our passports in hand, and the ink barely dried from our first stamp….off we went on the quest to take the Butler County Donut Trail.
Butler County Donut Trail – Part 1
🍩 Jupiter Coffee & Donuts
Donuts of Choice: Lemon Meringue, Banana Cream
The lemon curd was beautifully sweet and tart at the same time. The donut was soft and fluffy, and the meringue was thick, creamy, and peaked perfection. The banana cream was so full of real banana; the car had the sweet aroma for hours after. This donut tasted just like a banana cream pie. These were such spectacular options to have as our first stop. It set the bar relatively high.
🍩 Holtman’s Donuts
Donuts of choice: Red Velvet cake – plain and powdered
When we arrived, there was not much left. There were several chocolatey options, but I had red velvet cake options as I cannot eat chocolate. Yes, I know red velvet is basically chocolate, but it doesn’t seem to bother me as much.
🍩 Stan The Donut Man
Donuts of choice: Pineapple fritter & Boston Cream
They didn’t have many options when we arrived, but they have the Pineapple fritter, which I believe is their signature offering. One of the most exciting donuts that we had on the Butler County Donut Trail.
🍩 Central Pastry
Donuts of Choice: Uglies and cinnamon Beignets
The ugly donut is one of their signature donuts- and it looks kind of like a fritter. The beignet is a powdered sugar style donut. This is a local old-world bakery that makes custom cakes, cookies, pastries, danishes, and donuts. They also have the only mural for your Instagram photos.
🍩 Martin’s Donuts
Donuts of Choice: Banana Pudding and peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.
Delicious banana pudding filled donut that tastes like the classic southern dessert, and the most delightful Peanut butter filled donut topped with chocolate chips. – just like an Ohio buckeye. Good things do come in bright pink boxes.
We bit off more than we could chew
We gave the Butler County Donut trail the old college try to get it completed before we had to head home. Unfortunately, after 2 of the shoppes we visited were closed for the day, we knew we would not be able to do it—five out of twelve – not too bad for one day. So, we decided to give up, and we vowed to come back to Butler County and try again. But when? It’s not like we go to Ohio all that often.
Butler County Donut Trail – Part 2
Several months later, we had a 3-day weekend coming up, with no plans. What better to do than go on a road trip? Ohio isn’t far….what about going to finishing the Donut Trail? Perfect.
So, armed with a better plan (or so we thought) we got in the car and headed back to Butler County – for some donuts. However, if even one location was closed, or sold out while we were there, this trip might have been a bit of a bust.
Day 1 (Saturday)
🍩 Ross Bakery
Donuts of Choice: Fruity Pebbles, Strawberry glaze, Peanut Butter Cup, Peach Fritter
We almost didn’t make it to our first donut shop in time. They closed at noon on Saturdays, and our ETA was 11:45 am. They are also not open on Sundays, the only shop we had to get to on Saturday for sure, stop #1 could have ended it all. I sent them a message at 9 am asking if they could reserve 2 of their favourites, and we would be there before noon – luckily, they got my message, and they were happy to oblige. We made a great time, got there at 11-ish, and they had lots of donuts left. Thank goodness, because their donuts are spectacular.
🍩 Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery
Donut of Choice: Blueberry cake with Lemon glaze, coconut, peanut butter filled
We hadn’t seen a blueberry donut at any of the other shops, and when you make the donut trail, it is essential to get some variety in your diet. It was delicious.
🍩 Milton’s Donuts
Donut of choice: Boston cream, caramel, lemon filled, cinnamon bun
Milton’s has so many fantastic flavours from classics to unique, and seasonal options, and with 3 locations in the area, they must be doing something right.
Day 2 (Sunday)
🍩 Kelly’s Bakery
Donuts of Choice: Blueberry cake w cream cheese, raspberry filled, Cherry Cake w cream cheese, lemon filled
On our first trip, they were one of the shops that were closed when we arrived. This trip, we got here fairly early on Saturday, but they were actively turning over the “Sold Out” sign upon our arrival. Luckily, they were open Sunday, so we were able to try for the 3rd time. The third time was the charm. Small, simple, fluffy, and pretty little donuts packed with flavour. * (see ‘Tips’ below)
🍩 The Donut Spot
Donut of choice: Triangle croissant donut, coconut custard
We might not have noticed this small coffee and donut shop tucked into a strip mall if we were not on the Butler County Donut Trail. We asked for their ‘signature donut’, and the girl suggested the Triangle. It is like a fritter, but not. It is relatively large, fluffy, and tasty.
🍩 The Donut Hole
Donuts of choice: Cookies and Cream, Caramel walnut
“Donut Worry, Be Happy”. We made it to our last stop on the Butler County Donut Trail. The guys working here were excited for us to have finished the trail with them.
They were happy to take our “End of the trail” photo for us as well.
🍩 Oxford Doughnuts
Your passport comes pre-stamped for Oxford, so it is optional to visit when you take the donut trail. We wanted to see this one, but due to time constraints, and the fact that we were there on a holiday weekend, there wasn’t time to make it there.
We did it! We completed the Butler County Donut Trail. What a sweet excuse for a road trip. Four of our favourite things wrapped into one road trip: going on a road trip, donuts, a challenge, and t-shirts. That’s right, upon completion of the Butler County Donut Trail, you get a free T-shirt when you submit your finished passport. Do you Dare to Donut?
Conveniently, the Butler County Visitor centre is close to our final stop – The Donut Hole, so we could easily submit our completed passport. Unfortunately, it was Sunday, and the office was closed, so we had to drop our passports off into the mail slot, without the immediate gratification of getting the t-shirt right away.
10 Tips from the Trail
When you embark on the Butler County Donut Trail, you will want to have a great plan to make the adventure a success. Especially if you are taking a road trip from a reasonable distance away – like us, plan your visit before you head out on the road. We had to break up our adventure into two different trips, and here are some tips we learned as a result.
Drive me Glaze-y
The Donut trail covers many towns and communities throughout Butler County, and while they all seem close, it can be deceiving. Know exactly where they are and try to group donut shops to cover as many as you can on each day you are there. GPS your way to minimize drive times.
Be éclair of the Hours.
Posted closing times are not always a guarantee that they will be open when you arrive. Know the business hours of each location and hit the ones that close earlier, first. Some donut shops are not open on Sundays (*see Ross’ Bakery), so plan that into your itinerary.
Rise and Shine
Donut shops and bakeries are notorious for opening early, and ‘closing when we sell out’, which can be hours before their posted closing time. The trail isn’t something to attempt if you are a late riser. (*see Kelly’s Bakery)
The closer you stay to Butler County, the earlier the start you can get, and more spots you can hit in a short time.
Cruller to be Kind
Sharing is caring. Have a plastic knife to cut the donuts you purchased to share the flavours with your group members. You will NOT want to eat a whole donut at each stop – trust me, we tried.
The Butler County Donut Trail is a lot of fun, but 12 (13) donut shops can be a real sugar rush in one or two days. Choose your donuts wisely – try to have various flavours and avoid similar options from different bakeries.
Coffee & Donuts
Take a coffee break. Bring a reusable travel mug to have on hand and be sure to get a coffee (or Tea) to enjoy along the way to help balance that sugar rush.
Sprinkle in some healthy food
You may be tempted to follow the rule of “go hungry, leave happy” but I would recommend starting your day with a light breakfast of healthier food to avoid a sugar crash. You will want to enjoy eating some of the donuts, so don’t fill up too much, but a light protein-rich breakfast will go a long way.
Icing on the Cake (donut)
If you want to get your t-shirt immediately after completing the trail, you need to drop your passport off in-person. The Butler County Visitors Bureau office is only open Monday to Friday, 9 am – 5 pm. Otherwise, like us, you will have to submit your passport in the dropbox and wait to get your t-shirt in the mail. Inside the Visitor Bureau office, there is also an excellent spot for a photo inside the office, and other souvenirs to purchase. Still, you can only do this during business hours. You may want to plan your trip during weekdays if this is important to you.
Donut Give Up
If for some reason, you can’t complete the entire Butler County Donut trail in one trip – it just gives you an excuse to come back and try again. Like we did, and get started on earning your NEXT t-shirt.
Don’t Forget: take lots of photos and tag the business & Butler County Donut Trail, and use the hashtag: #DonutTrail
Eat more Hole Food:
🍩 The Donut Dude
This donut shop is a brand-new addition to the Donut Trail, not included when we were there.
🍩 Jupiter Donuts
Even though we already had a stamp, we returned to the place where we started this hole rogue trip, because we loved their donuts the last time we were there, and we wanted more. The first time we were here, we had friends who got their only stamp at Jupiter. They want to make the whole Butler County Donut Trail, and so we got our first stamps to get started for round two.
So, if you are looking for a sweet escape…. Consider a road trip to Southwestern Ohio and take the Butler County Donut Trail. Our 2nd trip to Ohio was done in February 2020, a mere few weeks before Covid-19 caused the shut down of travel and border crossing. Making this our last vacation prior to the pandemic.
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all images marked with * are courtesy of The Butler County Visitor Centre.