When you say you’re from Indiana, people tend to scoff and say, “Alright, what’s even there besides corn fields?” A) Um, that’s offensive and B) Indiana is home to several historic sites, parks, botanical gardens, and waterfalls. So take that!
Despite what travel Instagram accounts try to sell you, travel doesn’t necessarily always have to revolve around month-long excursions to the most exotic places in the world. You can take stunning Instagram photos in Indiana too! The key is finding the best spots that are still considered hidden gems.
So for those who are beginning to think that Indiana is boring, well this list is for you. Grab your best friends, assign each person to a job for the road trip, and hit the ground running. Adventure is waiting for you and all you have to do is pick a place! There’s a getaway destination for everyone at these spectacular places.
Krider World's Fair Garden
Where: 302 Bristol Avenue, Middlebury
Haven’t you heard? This is the pride and joy of the Middlebury park system! This garden was originally designed for the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair and has been immaculately maintained ever since. The garden features several species of plants and trees, a fountain, reflecting pool, double waterfall, toadstool sculptures, and a mill house. It’s got some major Alice in Wonderland vibes!
Where: 6100 Ardmore Ave, Fort Wayne
Some people would point out that it’s a gravel pit. But it’s all about perspective! The quarry has an observation tower that lets you look at the landscape, which also features a man-made mountain created from a glacial till. Now you can see crews mine limestone right from the observation deck. Hey, you have to admit that it’s the prettiest gravel pit you’ve seen.
Where: 8780 E County Rd 75 N, Bowling Green
Fancy staying in a castle for the weekend? You don’t have to travel to Scotland to do that! Head to Bowling Green to see the medieval-style castle. In addition to the beautiful space, there are gardens for romantic strolls, a hedge maze for you to get lost in and blame whoever in your group is the worst at directions, and there are several trails that will take you around the property.
The bed and breakfast also offers over 100 medieval costumes for you to wear, so this is your chance to pretend you’re royalty. So get on it! And if you visit at the end of September, you can attend the Medieval Faire that happens every year.
The Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
Where: 802 E 10th St, Ferdinand
This monastery will take your breath away. It’s one of those places where pictures can never do it justice. See for yourself when you head here. They offer free tours and the Sisters will tell you the rich history of the monastery along with some fascinating tales. And even though it seems completely random, there is a brewery on the grounds so you can head there for a beer after the tour. Kind of a great way to end a religious experience, no?
Where: Brown County
Besides having a cute name, Beanblossom is home to a bluegrass festival that happens every year near the end of September. Head here to hear some great musical acts or you can even reserve a cabin and do some good ole’ camping. Beanblossom is also home to covered bridges, which are also called kissing bridges. So definitely take your SO here for some cute pictures.
McCloud Nature Park
Where: 8518 Hughes Rd, North Salem
Sometimes, you just need to get away from it all and here is where you go to escape. This beautiful park has over 200 acres just waiting for you to explore its woods. Choose a trail and try to listen to the birds and other wildlife over the sound of you huffing and puffing from doing cardio. If you can, find the iron truss bridge that’s over 100 years old!
Where: Washington County
If you’re looking for a fun afternoon excursion, this is it. Salem is a small city that is easily walkable and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported back in time especially if you visit this water mill that’s still working. You can take a tour of Beck’s Mill and hear the interesting history of the surrounding area and the family who owned the mill. After the tour, hike up to an old cabin above the mill and look over at the city.
Hemlock Cliffs Falls
Where: National Forest Rd, English
You’ll never be able to visit all of Hoosier National Forest, but a good start would be to do the Hemlock Cliffs trail. The trail doesn’t rank high in difficulty, so it’s something everyone can do! Just take your time and you’ll get to see cliffs, creeks, waterfalls, and caves. If you go when the weather is still nice, pack a picnic and eat with the waterfall as your background music.
East Pierhead Lighthouse
Where: 115 Lake Shore Dr, Michigan City
The lighthouse is the destination, but the experience getting there is amazing. Walking along the beach or taking a stroll on the pier toward the lighthouse is a nice way to end the day if you want to see the sunset. Make sure to dress for the weather because it’s going to be windy on the pier! Unfortunately, you can’t go inside the lighthouse but photos you take outside will be worth it.
Potawatomi Wildlife Park
Where: 16998 State Road 331, Tippecanoe
Come visit this nature sanctuary with your friends and even your furry friends. Take a hike, rent a kayak, go birdwatching, and pick the perfect spot for stargazing. If you have to hide away from bad weather, there are four really cute gazebos in the park that would also make a great picnic spot!
Huntington Sunken Gardens
Where: 1125 W Park Dr, Huntington
Since when does size matter? This garden is fairly small, but packs a punch. There are several stone bridges, koi ponds, and gazebos. In the warmer months, there are concerts held here and there’s even a screen put up for movies!
Where: Elkhart and Kosciusko counties
There’s so much to do that you’ll want to spend a full day here. Head here to experience Amish culture where you’ll see men in suspenders, horse drawn buggies, and a marketplace where you can buy goodies. If you head to Amish Acres, you can get a tour of the barn and even get a tour of the grounds in a wagon. If you’re looking for a more self-guided adventure, do the historic downtown walk or the historic driving trail that will take you to go see the quilted gardens!
West Baden Springs Hotel
Where: 8538 W Baden Ave, West Baden Springs
If you want to really treat yourself, you come here. This luxury hotel was built over a century ago and every inch of this place is Insta-worthy. You can sit in the atrium and have afternoon tea or enjoy a pampering session at the spa. It’s kind of the perfect romantic getaway if you’re looking to spoil your SO.
Clifty Falls State Park
Where: 1501 Green Rd, Madison
Choose your own adventure! There are 6 hiking trails that range from easy to moderate and there’s even a lookout tower where you can see the Ohio River. But the best part about the state park are the waterfalls and that stunning view of downtown Madison.
Hardin Ridge Recreation Area
Where: 6464 Hardin Ridge Rd, Heltonville
Hardin Ridge is the ultimate way to enjoy the outdoors. Located on the shores of Lake Monroe, there are endless activities for you. You can swim, boat, fish, or hike. This recreation area has a spectacular view of Hoosier National Forest if you take the Hardin Ridge Trail.
The Roofless Church
Where: 420 North St, New Harmony
This unique open air cathedral is worth the drive to New Harmony, a small town filled to the brim with charm. The space also features a walled garden and it’s the ideal destination for a peaceful walk. There’s nothing quite like it and therefore, don’t forget to get some photographic evidence that you went there!
Friendship Botanic Gardens
Where: 2055 E, 2152, US-12, Michigan City
How can you pass up a place with the word “friendship” in it? The botanic gardens have become a popular place for weddings and photoshoots and it’s easy to see why. The cultivated gardens are the highlight, but there is also the option to walk through the woods and see der, squirrels, and even wild turkeys. And how can you pass up the opportunity to see wild turkeys?!
Where: 1267 Green Acres Dr SW, Corydon
Welcome to Indiana’s longest cave! Here you can take a walking tour underground that also includes a boat tour. While you’re there, you can see panoramic views of Big Bone Mountain as well as an incredible waterfall that splashes down from almost 40 feet.
Where: Alrbright Ln, Shoals
This hidden gem is a free-standing table rock formation that’s just off the US 50. It’s one of those things where you can’t stop looking at it because you’ve never seen anything quite like it. And after you’re done admiring the natural wonder, head into Shoals for a meal. The town is apparently known for its catfish dishes!
Where: 12500 Highway 62, Charlestown
If you’re into spooky things, visit this abandoned amusement park. To get to the ruins, just cross the Portersville Bridge over the creek and you’ll be on the island. There are several trails you can walk on, but practice caution. You could be sharing the space with, um, ghosts. It is an abandoned area after all!
Where: 6363 Spring Mill Rd, Indianapolis
If you’re in the mood to see more ruins, head to Holliday Park in Indianapolis. Take a stroll around the ruins that were originally part of a building in Manhattan. Or if statues aren’t your thing, don’t worry. The park also has picturesque trails that will lead you to the banks of the White River.
Shades State Park
Where: 7751 S 890 W, Waveland
Looking for some peace and quiet? Skip Turkey Run State Park because it’s become very popular and head here instead. The view is just as beautiful! You can climb the sandstone cliffs or choose one of the many trails that will lead you to a view of Sugar Creek.