Looking for your next travel destination, but not really sure where to go? How about Indiana! Okay, okay, hear me out. Sure, Indiana isn’t some tropical island with crystal clear ocean waters and glistening white sand…BUT, it’s got a ton of other draws that many people don’t know about. If you need a little convincing that visiting Indiana should totally be on your travel bucket list, here are 20 reasons.
1. The insanely awesome state fair.
One of the biggest events in Indiana is the state fair in Indianapolis every August. From fried foods to Ferris wheels, it’s tradition for almost every Hoosier family to attend. One year, I had a doughnut burger…yes, a doughnut burger! It was literally a burger but with two Krispy Kremes as buns. I highly recommend it!
2. The infamous Indy 500.
Another Indiana must? Heading out to the track to watch the Indy 500! It’s basically required to attend at least one 500 if you’re a natural born Hoosier. But if you’re like me and don’t want to stand in the heat for four hours watching cars drive in a circle – then head to the Snake Pit. Although a little wild, there’s always a concert and some guaranteed fun with your friends! Also — lots of celebs come out to the track every year, so you can try to meet some of them 😉
3. The incredible music at Klipsch.
One of my favorite places to go to in the summer? Klipsch Music Center. Being the largest outdoor amphitheater in the Indianapolis area, Klipsch has hosted a wide variety of big name artists such as Drake, Tom Petty, and Luke Bryan. I love dancing in the lawn with my best friends, listening to my favorite artists!
4. The perfection that is Bloomington.
Home to Indiana University, B-town is the perfect place for college students! There are lots of shops, bars and wineries to visit here. This summer, the city plans on hosting lots of art fairs.
5. The must-see James Dean Museum.
Although you may have never heard of Fairmount, you’ve definitely heard of James Dean. The late actor grew up in Fairmount, Indiana where now there is a museum and gallery dedicated to him. Make sure to stop by in September for the annual festival, complete with a James Dean look-a-like contest.
6. The cornfields. JK…Indiana’s gorgeous state parks!
Indiana is more than just cornfields, it’s also filled with lots of nature and beautiful parks! Check out Indiana Dunes in northern Indiana, with sandy beaches and Lake Michigan.
7. The bustling downtown life.
On the weekends in Indiana, Indianapolis is the place to be! There are so many amazing restaurants and shops to visit while you’re in Indy. Broad Ripple is perfect for the “hipster” crowd, and Mass Ave is perfect for drinks and shopping with your BFFs! If you’re on a special date night with your S.O., be sure to head to the canal for a romantic walk.
8. The crowd generating sports.
Hoosiers love them some sports, especially when it means watching Andrew Luck throw footballs or Paul George dunking! Be sure to head to Anderson in August to see the Colts Training Camp, and hang around long enough to meet the players and take selfies with them! Looking for a cheap date night? Indians games are perfect – tickets for the lawn seating are just $10!
9. The oh-so entertaining Indianapolis Zoo.
The Indianapolis Zoo is perfect for a day out with your family! Head over to the orangutan exhibit – one just had a baby!
10. The breathtaking lakes.
Lake life is a great life, according to many Hoosiers. If you’re visiting Indiana, Bloomington in particular, make sure to also take a boat ride on Monroe Lake! Just north of that, Lake Lemon is a beautiful body of water, surrounded by rolling hills. Although it was originally built as a reservoir back in the 40s, Geist Reservoir is now a very desirable place for Hoosiers to live.
11. The sensational Bluespring Caverns in Bedford.
If you’re someone who likes adventure and exploring, head to Bedford for an hour-long boat ride in a cave at Bluespring Caverns. If you’re like me and hate dark and tight places, then you can visit the park, that includes a nature trail, just above the cave.
12. The never-dull-moments in Brown County.
Brown County is a great place to visit because it caters to almost every single person. Check out the state park if you’re a nature person who wants to hike or camp out; or head to the local shops if you want to spend some mulah!
13. The cuteness that is Holiday World.
Located in Santa Claus, Indiana, Hoosiers would put Holiday World at the top of their list for summer activities, right next to the state fair and 500. There are roller coasters and a water park; plus the best part — all drinks are free! Does it get any better than that??
14. The foodie favorite, Fort Wayne’s Famous Coney Island Wiener Stand.
Even over 100 years after its opening, this wiener stand is still one of the most popular places to eat at in Fort Wayne. Families love coming to eat at any time of the year; the line is out the door even during the wintertime! Enjoy a juicy frank topped with chili sauce and onions – yum!
15. The intriguing museums.
If you’ve wanted to become a little more educated on Indiana, or even the rest of the world, Indianapolis is home to lots of museums. One of my favorites is the Indianapolis Museum of Art; in the summers, they have movies on the lawn as well. Don’t forget about the Children’s Museum – just because it has the world “children” in it doesn’t mean adults won’t love it too – and the state museum, full of information on the state’s rich history.
16. The fancy getaways.
If you’re feeling fancy, head to French Lick for some golfing, Vegas-style gaming, horseback riding, and more. Make it a weekend getaway by staying at the resort—it was the 2015 winner of USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Historic Hotel.
17. The “perfect” location for some winter sports.
During the winter time, be sure to head to Perfect North for some skiing and snowboarding! If you’re lucky you may even get to meet Olympic snowboarder and Indiana native (and hottie!) Nick Goepper!
18. The (actually) interesting history.
Want a history lesson, but one that’s actually fun? Conner Prairie is the perfect place then! You can go there with your family, or with your friends. You can learn a lot about history, but science and art as well, with fun activities, classes, and workshops. In the summer, you can experience the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra with Symphony on the Prairie —a perfect date night.
19. The to-die-for ice cream.
Upland is a pretty small city in Indiana, but it’s home to one of the biggest ice cream shops: Ivanhoe’s. Its menu consists of 100 different sundaes and 100 different shakes, all deliciously amazing! But you don’t just have to go there for dessert — Ivanhoe’s also serves tasty hamburgers, salads and sandwiches.
20. The trip back in time.
Take a trip back in time by going to “Amish Country” in northern Indiana. Just because the Amish aren’t up to date with today’s world doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to visit. For a little getaway, this area is perfect with this beautiful scenic trails and quilt gardens.