Best destinations to get away in the Hoosier state


It’s 2022. After canceled plans and COVID travel delays, Americans are ready to hit the road this summer.

But what’s that? A gallon of gas could cost you $5 or more? Flight prices are rising?

Sounds like a summer trip will be a hit to the wallet. But if you still want to get out of town, there are some options that will allow you to relax while sticking to the budget.

Indiana: State launches ‘IN Indiana’ tourism campaign following height of COVID-19 pandemic

Sure, cities like Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati are close by, but there are plenty of great travel destinations in the Hoosier state.

Here are some options to chill out this summer while still staying close to home.

Indianapolis staycations

Who doesn’t love a staycation? All the relaxation of a vacation without having to haul your stuff to the airport, deal with cancelled flights or standstill traffic.

The Bottleworks Hotel, at 850 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 100, was recently named one of Tripadvisor’s “Hottest New Hotels” in the world in the annual Traveler’s Choice “Best of the Best” awards. The hotel is a local option for a cool getaway experience within Indianapolis.

Traveling this summer?:Here’s what to expect in Indianapolis and beyond

The hotel has many amenities, including the Woodhouse Spa located inside the building and restaurants and entertainment in the entire Bottleworks District.

Further from downtown, Ironworks Hotel, 2721 E. 86th St., offers an industrial-luxury getaway for locals and travelers alike.  

There are also many public pools and water parks within just a few miles of Indianapolis, including the Waterpark in Carmel, Splash Island in Plainfield and more. Find more public pools and aquatic centers here: 

Missing the Month of May? You can relive all your Indy 500 dreams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Looking for things to do? Our newsletter has the best concerts, art, shows and more — and the stories behind them

Day trips in Indiana


Channel your inner woodsy artist in the town that’s known as part of Brown County’s historic Hoosier art colony. The quaint town has much to love, including Brown County State Park for hiking, camping and fishing.

There’s also tons of places to shop, eat and see the arts and entertainment scene.


This charming town in northern Indiana is home to a vibrant Amish community. The famous Shipshewana Trading Place Flea Market, which boasts itself as the largest flea market in the Midwest, is a must-see when it’s open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

There are also plenty of uniquely Amish experiences, like a buggy or carriage ride, a quilting bee or more.

Shipshewana has many local places to eat and stay, including the local Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, where you can enjoy a home-style Amish meal and baked goods.  

Shipshewana is also the birthplace of the award-winning Rise’n Roll Bakery. In 2001, a young Amish couple started selling baked goods from their back porch, and eventually, the first Rise’n Roll bakery opened up in nearby Middlebury in 2004. 


The iconic Sample Gates are seen on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, Tuesday, April 23, 2019.

A true day trip at just over an hour away, Bloomington has great eats and tons to offer. 

Explore Indiana University’s campus, spend a day at one of the town’s three lakes or just enjoy the town’s vibrant and expansive food scene. 

There’s also the Bloomington Community Farmer’s Market, a popular destination on Saturdays, as well as the downtown square with lots of local shopping options.

If you’re up to stay the night, there’s also the Stranger Things-themed suite at the Graduate hotel. Visit before the final two episodes of Season 4 drop July 1, if availability allows. 

Progress:First I-69 lanes in Marion County are almost ready. Here’s when they could open.

If you’re driving from Indianapolis, avoid lingering I-69 construction and take I-65 south through Johnson County and take State Road 46 through Brown County. It’s a bit longer, but offers the chance to stop at the outlet mall in Edinburgh and small shops in Nashville on the way!


The town is famous in Indiana and beyond for its architecture and artsy vibe. Just over 40 miles south of Indianapolis, it’s worth the trip for its unique buildings alone. The city features the work of famous architects like Eero and Eliel Saarinen. 

An artistically designed alley along Washington Street in Columbus, Ind., on Monday, Jan. 4, 2020.

There are many tours of the city’s impressive architecture, which you can book here: For $25 a person, you can tour the historic Miller House and Garden for an up-close look at mid-century modern style and architecture.

There’s also a vibrant public art scene in Columbus. View a guide here: 

Santa Claus

The Voyage is a wooden roller coaster at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Ind.

It’s always Christmas, even in July, in this southwestern Indiana town. 

Perhaps its most well-known attraction is Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari theme park, where it’s always a celebration of some sort. 

How did Santa Claus, Indiana, get its name? Christmas community almost was a ‘Santa Fe’

The park is located at 452 E. Christmas Boulevard. While prices will vary, a daily ticket for a specific date is $49.99 online, and children 3 and under can enter for free. You can buy tickets here: 

For more information about Holiday World, visit the website:

Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort 

Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort is located northwest of Indianapolis, in Monticello. The amusement and water parks are located at 5224 E. Indiana Beach Rd.

A single daily ticket for people 4 feet (48 inches) or taller is $39.99, for people 4 feet and under, it’s $29.99. For people who are 60 and older, it’s $19.99. 

For more information about the park and season passes, visit 

More theme parks: Six Flags, Cedar Point or Holiday World? 8 theme parks worth the drive from Indianapolis

The great outdoors

Get outside this summer! Indiana offers many locations to enjoy the great outdoors. Just be sure to pack water, sunscreen and bug spray.

Brown County State Park

A hot spot to see the leaves change, Brown County State Park is beautiful year round and a great spot for camping.

While the popular destination, located at 1801 Indiana State Rd. 46 E. in Nashville, is commonly known for its fall foliage, there’s plenty to offer in the summer, too. 

There’s a $7 daily entrance fee for cars with Indiana license plates and $9 for cars with out-of-state license plates, as well as a $2 fee for pedestrians, bikers or horseback riders five years and older entering the park. Gates are open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The “Little Smokies” encompass nearly 16,000 acres of land. You can hike, swim, bike, fish, ride horseback or take advantage of the playground facilities or nature center.

The park, as well as the Indiana Dunes, is a stop on the Indiana Birding Trail: To camp, you’ll need to make a reservation.

Indiana Dunes 

Part of the Cowles Bog Trail at Indiana Dunes National Park leads to a secluded beach.

Of course, when we’re talking about day trips in Indiana, the Hoosier state’s only national park has to be included. There are both state and national parks at the Dunes, and both are worth a visit.

Indiana Dunes National Park, located at 1215 N. State Rd. 49 in Porter, is a beach destination off the shore of Lake Michigan. There’s hiking, swimming, birding, camping and boating opportunities available, and that’s just a start. 

Daily entrance fees per car for the state park are $7 for Indiana license plates and $12 for out of state plates. As of March, you need a pass to enter the national park. It’s $25 per vehicle or $15 per person for walk, bike and boat-ins. 

There is an annual pass option for the national park, as well as a state annual pass option that is accepted at all Indiana state parks. Because the parks are separate, the state park pass will not be accepted at the national park entrance, and vice versa.

Both the state and national parks have campgrounds. To book a campsite at the state park, visit here: For the national park, you can book here:

Hoosier National Forest

The forest contains Indiana’s only officially designated wilderness area, the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area. Located in Southern Indiana with headquarters in Bedford, the forest contains miles of trails for hiking as well as camping, horseback riding and biking.

Most of the forest is open to the public for free, however, there are some costs depending on the activity. Costs to enter Hoosier National Forest include a daily use permit for a trail for $5 per day if riding a horse or bicycle. Some recreation and developed campground areas require a daily pass. 

For more information on the Hoosier National Forest, visit the website:

Contact IndyStar trending reporter Claire Rafford at or on Twitter @clairerafford.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here