7 Amazing Hidden Gems in Indiana

Rob Adams
Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash

While it may not be your first choice when booking a holiday, Indiana is without a doubt a very good one. Home of the Hoosiers and a history that runs deep, all corners of Indiana offer entertainment and attractions. From fun things to do in the state capital, to family-friendly attractions in Fort Wayne, Bloomington, and Lafayette, Indiana has no shortage of exciting places to visit. Here are some of the best things you can do in Indiana:

1. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the largest children’s museum in the world, with 472,900 of square feet, 5 floors of exhibits, and over 100,000 artifacts. There are 3 different sections to choose from: the American Collection, the Cultural World Collection, and the Natural World Collection. Here, you can see a simulated dinosaur at the Dinosphere exhibit and an old-fashioned steam locomotive, among many other impressive things. The museum is also home to the world’s largest water clock.

2. Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum boasts noteworthy vehicles from the 1890s through the 21st century. With a focus on the achievements of the Auburn Automobile Company, the museum tells the story of the car from past to present times.

Here, you can check out the 120+ vehicles that have been loaned to the museum by companies and individuals. Lastly, the Auburn Museum also contains archives that are packed with useful information about the transportation industry.

3. Indy 500

The Indy 500 is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Founded in 1911, the 100th race was held on Memorial Day, 2016. Whether you make it in May for the actual race or not, visit the stadium affectionately nicknamed the Yard of Bricks that holds up to 300,000 people on race day.

Photo by Karo Kujanpaa on Unsplash

4. Marengo Cave

Marengo Cave was discovered in 1883 by two young children who entered the grotto by candlelight. Located beneath the town of Marengo, the cave quickly became known as an exciting attraction for locals and visitors alike. Although the cave was originally located on private land, the Marengo Cave Company was established in 1900 to protect and preserve the unique landmark.

A new entrance to the cave was carved out in the early 1900s so that visitors didn't have to deal with the 160-step staircase that stood beneath the original entrance. Today, the cave receives individuals and tour groups on a daily basis.

5. Holiday World and Splashin' Safari

Holiday World and Splashin' Safari are two popular amusement parks in Santa Claus, Indiana. At Holiday World, visitors can be thrilled by massive roller coasters with hairpin twists and turns or hop on some carnival-style rides that are fun for the whole family. Each ride is assigned a rating from mild to wild so that guests can easily find rides that they are comfortable with. Splashin' Safari features all kinds of water rides, including slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, and splash pad areas for young kids.

6. Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. Here, you’ll be in awe of the sandstone cliffs and deep ravines that dot the park, as well as the hemlock groves and old trees that have lived through more history than one could imagine. Bring your camera and explore nature much like that seen and experienced by the Native Americans hundreds of years ago – it hasn’t changed much.

Don’t be surprised if you see a lot of wildlife, deer and turkey vultures are just two of the animal species that call this place home. Bring your walking shoes and hit the trails, or hop on a horse and go deep into the wilderness. You can camp and enjoy the outdoors, or stay at the Turkey Run Inn if you don’t want to rough it. Take a canoe out on Sugar Creek or go fishing. Cool off in the summer at their swimming pool or take a dip in the river.

7. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

Overlooking the shores of Lake Michigan near the Illinois border, Indiana Dunes presents a unique landscape found no other place in the state. A wide variety of outdoor activities are available at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the adjacent state park of the same name, with hiking, biking, and beach-going as some of the most popular.

During the winter, activities like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing tend to reign supreme. Fishing and boating are also available at the lakeshore, and camping at the seasonal Dunewood Campground is a great way to make a multi-day trip. A recommended experience for any visit, sunsets at Lake Michigan often resonate with brightly changing colors and tones.

Have you ever been to Indiana? If so, what did you visit? What did you like most about the state? Is there something you didn't like? Would you go back? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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