Known as the Hoosier State, Indiana was admitted to the U.S. as the 19th state in December of 1816. It receives some of its national and worldwide fame for being the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the location of the Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Colts, and the site of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the largest children’s museum in the world.
Other favorite tourist attractions include the famous University of Notre Dame, a town named after Santa Claus, and a scattering of beautiful parks and historical sites.
Prior to the American Indians that inhabited the lands now known as Indiana, the area was populated by Paleo-Indians. The evidence of their lives and culture makes Indiana a rich site of archaeological and anthropological importance, with evidence of these early populations still apparent today.
Some of the most famous of these sites include the Angel Mounds, Mounds State Park, and the Sugar Loaf Mound. It is estimated that the “Mound Builders,” as they are often called, lived in the area for more than 5,000 years. They included the Calusa, Adena, and Hopewell Cultures and spanned the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian Periods.
Today, museums such as the Eiteljorg Museum and parks such as Mounds State Park all allow visitors to experience artifacts from these ancient peoples and their contributions to the land. Modern contributors are also honored throughout the state with sites such as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, both located in Indianapolis.
The Hoosier state offers so much to see that visitors won’t have any trouble knowing what to do in Indiana!
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Below is a list of the best places to visit in Indiana!
- Most significant landmark – The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
- Best park – Indiana Dunes National Park
- Best free activity – Snite Museum of Art
- Best activity for kids – Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
- Best activity for adults – Indianapolis Motor Speedway
- Best food – Traditions Restaurant and Bar
- Best nightlife – The Exchange Whisky Bar
- Best all-around accommodation – The Alexander, a Dolce Hotel
The Best & Fun Things To Do in Indiana
1. Culbertson Mansion
Address: 914 East Main St., New Albany, IN 47150
As part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, the Culbertson Mansion is a beautiful example of Second Empire architecture and mid-19th Century affluence. Built in 1867 by William S. Culbertson, this stunning mansion features hand-painted ceilings, ornate plasterwork, marble fireplaces, and a striking curved staircase.
Culbertson was once known as one of the richest men in the Hoosier state, and in addition to building a home that reflected his status, he also funded philanthropic works such as the Culbertson Widows Home and the Cornelia Memorial Orphans Home.
The lavish 20,000-square-foot mansion can be toured by purchasing tickets in advance. In addition to the standard tours, specialty tours can also be booked by calling ahead of time.
2. Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Address: 3411 Sherman Blvd., Fort Wayne, IN 46808
The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is one of the most highly-rated zoos in the nation. Its interactive experiences and exhibits will educate both kids and adults in a vibrant and exciting environment!
In addition to seeing all the amazing animals, visitors will enjoy other zoo features and attractions which include the Sky Safari ride, a canoe ride, a carousel, and a railroad.
With 40 acres of land, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo has enough room to house animal species from around the world in specially designed habitats. Visit lions, and hyenas, and feed the giraffes in the African Journey.
Pet stingrays before exploring the coral reef aquarium and kangaroos in the Australian Adventure. Experience the zoo from the treetops and then visit the tigers in the Indonesian Rain Forest. And finally, interact with the animals at the Indiana Family Farm before heading over to check out the sea lions in the Central Zoo.
If you’re looking for a place to stay after a great day at the zoo, check out the TownePlace Suites Fort Wayne. It’s less than a mile away from the zoo!
See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US
3. Fort Wayne Adventure Pass
Address: Fort Wayne, IN
Fort Wayne, Indiana has more to offer than just an amazing zoo, and visitors can purchase the Fort Wayne Adventure Pass which grants access to them all! The pass includes entrance to the Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo (#2 on the list), the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, and Science Central.
The Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory features beautiful gardens complete with a lovely waterfall, four seasonal exhibits, and a café and gift shop. Special events, such as the butterfly exhibit during the spring, also take place throughout the year.
The Fort Wayne Museum of Art features a collection of almost 5,000 works of art that include paintings, drawings, prints, and more. It is a museum dedicated to highlighting American history and providing visitors with a stimulating artistic environment.
Science Central is an amazing place to introduce your children to or encourage their interest in STEM and STEM-based learning. With more than 200 exhibits, families can experience hours of interactive opportunities, educational events, and more.
Please note that Science Central has seasonal hours that change depending on if the school is in session. Please visit their website for the most current information on hours and admission.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Lafayette, Indiana
4. Eskenazi Museum of Art
Address: 1133 East 7th St., Bloomington, IN 47405 (On the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington)
The Sydney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art is a modern teaching museum located on the campus of Indiana University, Bloomington. The museum features artwork and exhibits from around the world, including pieces by Monet, Picasso, and Pollock, as well as ancient art from Sub-Saharan Africa. A collection of works from contemporary artists is also on display.
In addition to the amazing art galleries, the Eskenazi Museum of Art houses a beautiful sun-filled atrium. This lovely space includes a gift shop and museum café that will enhance your visit!
5. Angel Mounds
Address: 8215 Pollack Ave., Evansville, IN 47715
The Angel Mounds State Historic Site is part of the Indiana State Museum and is located along the banks of the Ohio River in Southwest Indiana. The mounds are remnants of a Mississippian culture that once inhabited the area. Archaeological evidence suggests that the ancient city associated with the mounds was once home to more than 1,000 people and took up more than 100 acres.
Today, the site features a recreation of Mississippian buildings and an interpretive center that takes guests back in time. Visitors can explore the history of the Mound Builders as well as the archaeologists who first unearthed this amazing find.
In addition to the history associated with this historic area, there is also a beautiful nature park and preserve with walking and hiking trails. Featured within this preserve is the Angel Mounds Loop Trail, a 4-mile trail that winds through the stunning scenery and archaeological past of the grounds.
See Related: Most Beautiful Valleys in the US
6. Conner Prairie
Address: 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, IN 46038
Conner Prairie is a unique living history museum that reflects life from Indiana’s pioneer period. Central to the site is the William Conner House, one of the state’s oldest brick homes.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this beautiful structure helps visitors envision 19th Century pioneer life along the banks of the White River. The home is unique in that guests are encouraged to participate in the interactive exhibits found throughout the house and gardens.
Also found at Conner Prairie is a beautiful nature walk, a playground, a treetop adventure, a splash pad, and farm animal encounters. An interactive replica of an 1836 prairie town and a hot air balloon experience are featured here as well. Conner Prairie hosts a variety of special presentations throughout the year that focus on events related to Civil War history, the Lenape Indians, blacksmithing, and other pioneer life and survival skills.
Life on the prairie is hard, yo. If you’re looking for a more modern place to stay after a day on the prairie, consider this nearby luxury rental home!
7. Whitewater Canal
Address: 19073 Main St., Metamora, IN 47030
Once a major transportation and shipping route during the early 1800s, the Whitewater Canal is now a testament to Indiana’s growth and industry as well as a functioning example of life during the early years of the Hoosier state. Though waterways like the Whitewater Canal were once an essential part of life in Indiana, the railroad eventually made the canals less important for transportation and shipping. Instead, they became a vital source of power for grist mills and other industries that could utilize water power.
The Whitewater Canal is home to the Metamora Grist Mill, a corn mill that still uses water power from the canals to make corn meal just as it did 100 years ago. Visitors can explore the mill and watch how water power is used to grind corn into products such as corn flour, corn meal, and grits. They can also try their hands at interactive exhibits that reflect skills needed during the mid-19th Century.
In addition to the canal and grist mill, Whitewater Canal also features several hiking trails that lead to original locks and aqueducts. In fact, Whitewater Canal is actually the location of the only known wooden aqueduct in the nation.
It was once featured in an edition of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not,” is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
See Related: Best Vacation for a Group of Friends
8. Snite Museum of Art
Address: 100 Krause Drive, Notre Dame, IN 46556 (located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame)
As part of the efforts to support the University of Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, the Snite Museum of Art strives to exhibit works of art that inspire diversity, creativity, introspection, and social responsibility. It features both permanent and temporary collections that include themes such as art from Africa, Irish art, photography, contemporary art, and Native American art. The museum also hosts special events throughout the year that promote community engagement and education.
As part of the Snite Museum of Art, the Charles B. Hayes Family Sculpture Park provides guests with the opportunity to enjoy amazing sculptural art and the beauty of the outdoors at the same time. The Hayes sculpture garden features an amphitheater, an extensive lawn, paved and lighted pathways for running, bicycling, and walking, and more than 1,000 trees and shrubs.
The Snite Museum and the Hayes Sculpture Park are both free to the public. For a mouthwatering meal after a day at the art museum, head to Traditions Restaurant and Bar. Their menu offers a fresh twist on some American favorites, while their location directly across from the University campus makes it a convenient stop.
9. Indiana State Capitol
Address: 200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Built in 1888, the Indiana State Capitol is a 4-story Neo-Classical structure made from Indiana limestone and Indiana-sourced white oak. The stunning glass rotunda suspended high above the ground floor is completely original to the building and was crafted from German glass. After more than 100 years, the building still houses all three branches of the Indiana state government.
Tours of the Indiana State Capitol are free and though walk-ins are welcome, reservations are preferred. The Statehouse Tour is a guided tour that provides access to available offices and chambers, while a guide discusses the three branches of government as well as the building’s architecture and history. School Tours for large groups can also be scheduled in advance. For more information, please visit this link.
You can explore Indiana and other attractions by getting the 3-Day Indy Attraction Pass. For a luxurious hotel experience after a day at the capitol, consider The Alexander, a Dolce Hotel.
Not only is it close to the Indiana State Capitol, but it is also conveniently located near other famous locations in the city such as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Lucas Oil Stadium, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
See Related: Best Museums in the US
10. Studebaker National Museum
Address: 201 Chapin St., South Bend, IN 46601
The Studebaker National Museum is dedicated to honoring the story of the automotive and industrial history of Indiana, specifically the South Bend region. On display at this unique museum are several Studebaker exhibits which include the Original Collection, the Military Collection, the Presidential Carriage Collection, and a variety of temporary and featured collections.
Visitors can see the original Barouche that President Lincoln used the night he was assassinated, the Studebaker family’s Conestoga Wagon, and a selection of military vehicles supplied to the U.S. government for use in several different wars.
The Studebaker National Museum also offers several interactive exhibits that include a children’s auto shop where they can work on a miniature car. Samples of different road materials used throughout driving history are also available to touch to demonstrate how street textures affect the driving experience.
Address: 200 6th St., Geneva, IN 46740
Limberlost is an unusual treasure where gifted author and naturalist, Gene Stratton-Porter, wrote some of her most famous novels and nature books. As part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, the cabin, marsh, and nature parks that Stratton-Porter called home have been carefully preserved to honor her place in Indiana’s history.
The original cabin at Limberlost is open for tours as are the grounds and nature preserves that surround it. There are actually 5 different preserves on the property which offer visitors the opportunity to enjoy a walk, hike, or a guided nature tour.
Also available for viewing is part of Stratton-Porter’s extensive moth collection. As an avid naturalist, she spent years documenting and collecting the many different species of moths she encountered.
For more information on Limberlost, including guided tours and seasonal hours, please visit the official Limberlost website.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Greenwood, Indiana
12. University of Notre Dame
Address: Notre Dame, IN 46556
Located outside of South Bend, Indiana, the University of Notre Dame is a private Catholic university. As one of the top universities in the United States, Notre Dame has been the inspiration behind novels, movies, music, and more since its founding in 1842.
While it offers an excellent education in fields that include medicine, law, architecture, and art, it is, perhaps, most famous for its football team. The NCAA Division I team, known as the “Fighting Irish” were partly responsible for the university’s growing fame during the early 1900s.
In addition to football and other sports, Notre Dame is also home to the Snite Museum of Art, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Hesburgh Library, and the Main Building with its beautiful golden dome. General tours of the campus are available throughout the year as are Notre Dame Stadium Tours, which are offered separately.
For a unique night out on the town, visit the Exchange Whisky Bar. Located just a few minutes from the university, the Exchange offers more than 450 whiskeys to choose from and a vintage speakeasy vibe.
13. Santa Claus, IN
Address: Santa Claus, IN 47579
Yes, you read that right! Santa Claus is in Indiana! Or, at least his name is. Though the origins of exactly how this town got its unique name are not completely known, all sources agree it started when the new city applied to open a post office in 1856 under the name of “Santa Fe.”
The name was rejected by the Post Office Department due to there already being another Santa Fe, Indiana, and the people of the town were forced to choose another name. For reasons unknown, Santa Claus was agreed upon and approved for a post office. Yup.
However the city received its name, it is now home to a variety of Santa-related attractions, shops, and events. Favorite tourist attractions include the amusement parks Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari water park, Santa’s Candy Castle, and the Holiday Drive-In Movie Theater.
Though it may seem that Santa Claus, Indiana would only offer winter events, the city plays host to special events and festivals throughout the year. Its proximity to President Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home also makes the city a great place to stay and explore.
See Related: Best Holiday Destinations for Couples
14. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Address: 3027 East S Street, Lincoln City, IN 47552
Located in Southern Indiana, The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial honors the life and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. It features the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, 2 miles of park trails, the lovely memorial itself, and the Commemorative Cultural Landscapes of the Midwest.
The Living Historical Farm, a national historic landmark, is a recreation of a typical early 1800s Indiana farmhouse. None of the original structures of Lincoln’s family home remain in existence, but great efforts were taken to accurately depict what it would have been like to live and work on a farm like the one Abraham Lincoln would have been familiar with.
Today, the farm features historically accurate demonstrations regarding farming techniques, household responsibilities, animal husbandry, and even chopping firewood. There is no entrance fee to visit the memorial.
15. Lanier Mansion
Address: 601 West 1st St., Madison, IN 47250
The Lanier Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, was completed in 1844 and is considered one of the greatest examples of Greek Revival architecture in the U.S. The historic mansion was built and owned by James Franklin Doughty Lanier, a banking and railroad developer. His mansion was considered the grandest residence in Madison with its massive Corinthian columns and detailed woodwork.
Today, tours of this magnificent mansion allow visitors to marvel at the beautiful spiral staircase, grand rooms, and the Ionic columns that separate the double parlors on the first floor. Visitors can also learn about the archaeological efforts that were started in 1990 and continue to this day. These efforts have uncovered amazing details regarding other buildings once located on the grounds as well as furnishings and décor used throughout the original home.
Once guests have finished their tour of the mansion, they can wander the beautifully landscaped gardens and green space that surround the property.
See Related: Best Father Daugther Trips & Vacation Ideas
16. White River Gardens
Address: 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46222
Located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Zoo, the White River Gardens offer visitors a 5,000-square-foot oasis with stunning flowers, a beautiful glass conservatory, and over 20,000 honey bees! The beautiful outdoor gardens, known collectively as the DeHaan Tiergarten, are a combination of inspirational organic designs, gardening ideas, and gardening information to delight and educate guests.
The lovely Hilbert Conservatory section of the White River Gardens is filled with tropical plants and flowers that create a lush, green environment. The glass ceiling towers 65 feet above the conservatory floor and provides warmth and sunlight to guests and flowers alike. Its unique design is a famous compliment to the Indianapolis city skyline.
As part of the Indianapolis Zoo, the White River Gardens have been subject to some of the zoo’s construction projects. Hours of operation may have been affected by these projects.
17. Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Address: 4790 West 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46222+
Perhaps the most famous Indiana tourist attractions are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Home of the Indianapolis 500 and the Verizon 200, this speedway is known throughout the world and has inspired countless movies and novels. Before the United States Grand Prix was relocated, this iconic racing event also took place on the Indianapolis speedway tracks.
Uniquely positioned within the racing oval is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The museum features exhibits that honor the speedway’s racing history and include an impressive collection of race cars, trophies, and memorabilia from the speedway’s extensive history. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum also provides several different tours of the museum and of the speedway itself.
See Related: Best Family Road Trips in the US
18. Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
Address: 3000 North Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208
Located in Downtown Indianapolis, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is the world’s largest children’s museum. In addition to being one of the most fun things to do in Indiana with kids, the museum offers engaging, hands-on educational activities and displays that will captivate both children and adults.
It is the best place to visit and travel with kids. Visitors will have the chance to interact with real scientists who talk about the day-to-day responsibilities of their profession and help guests explore science-based careers. Additional exhibits include topics that range from ancient history and archaeological finds to modern innovators and the International Space Station.
In addition to the hundreds of exhibits and displays, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis also hosts special events, activities, and even birthday parties. For a side quest in Indianapolis, you can take the kids on a scavenger hunt adventure.
19. Downtown Indianapolis
Address: Downtown Indianapolis, IN 46208
One of the best things to do in Indiana for adults is to explore Downtown Indianapolis. This vibrant city is a mecca for sports fans, art lovers, state park enthusiasts, and those who enjoy cultural attractions. You can explore Downtown Indianapolis on a smartphone-guided walking tour.
Anyone who loves sports will want to see the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. They’ll also want to visit the NCAA Hall of Fame and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Museum nerds will enjoy taking in the exhibits at places like the Eiteljorg Museum with its western art displays, the Indiana Medical History Museum featuring the oldest surviving pathology building in the nation, and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, home of the 23rd President of the United States.
In addition to these educational and cultural attractions, Downtown Indianapolis offers fun things to do such as duckpin bowling and several connected state parks. Restaurants, bars, canal walks, and other entertainment venues beckon visitors to stay and enjoy all the attractions the city has to offer.
See Related: Best Father Son Trips & Vacation Ideas
20. Indiana Dunes National Park
Address: 1215 North State Rd. 49, Porter, IN 46304
The Indiana Dunes National Park consists of 15,000 acres of trails, wetlands, prairies, forests, and sand dunes. It also offers 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline with access to water sports, fishing, boating, and swimming.
The park also provides miles of walking, biking, hiking trails, horseback riding, picnicking areas, and camping. Bird watchers will enjoy the excellent birding opportunities as the park provides multiple habitats that attract dozens of different bird species.
The Indiana Dunes National Park is also home to several historical sites and landmarks including the Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm, and the Good Fellow Youth Camp. The national park’s Visitor Center is the best place to start your visit as it will provide you with maps, brochures, information on water activities and horseback riding, and locations for various amenities and historic landmarks.
To learn more about the seasonal hours of operation or required permits, please visit the NPS website for Indiana Dunes National Park.
21. Market Street Catacombs
Address: 222 East Market St., Indianapolis, IN 46204
The Market Street Catacombs are a remarkable part of Indianapolis, Indiana history. The massive barrel-vaulted, brick tunnels were once the basement of Tomlinson Hall, a huge building that housed an auditorium with a seating capacity of 4,200 people and a stage capacity of an additional 650 people.
It was used for public events, shows, and rallies throughout the next 70 years. When Tomlinson Hall accidentally caught fire and burned to the ground in the late 1950s, the structure was quickly demolished to make way for new building projects.
Despite the destruction of the upper floors of the massive building, the basement was left untouched. Once used as a storage area for the Indianapolis City Market across from Tomlinson Hall, the tunnels and passageways of the basement were an excellent way to transport food and goods without vendors having to wind through the market itself.
The cooler temperature of the underground area also helped preserve perishable goods. When the building was demolished after the fire, the basement level was left untouched. Today, it only serves as a tourist attraction and has been renamed the Market Street Catacombs.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Warsaw, Indiana
22. Levi and Catherine Coffin House
Address: 201 U.S. North, Fountain City, IN 47341
The Levi and Catherin Coffin House has a unique and courageous history as “The Grand Central Station of the Underground Railroad.” This Federal-style brick home was once a haven of safety for those seeking to escape slavery by heading north into Canada.
History shows that the Coffins were so successful at their stealthy operation, that every individual who passed through their home eventually made it to freedom. The Coffins, and the Quaker community they lived in, helped save the lives of more than 1,000 freedom-seekers.
Ranked as one of the top 25 historical sites in the nation, the Coffin House now provides visitors with hands-on displays that demonstrate the experiences freedom-seekers would have had on their journey to Canada. The guided tour of the home offers insights into the skill and sacrifice of the Coffins as well as the courage and strength of those willing to risk their lives for freedom.
23. New Harmony Utopian Community Site
Address: 401 North Arthur St., New Harmony, IN 47631
New Harmony is a historical site with an interesting story. Founded by George Rapp in 1814, it served as a Utopian community created by the Harmony Society.
Members of the society, or “Harmonists,” were German religious Separatists who worked to establish a perfect Christian community where equality in education and society would be permanently established. Though the community eventually dissolved in the late 1820s, it left a positive lasting impact on early American educational theory and practice.
Today, New Harmony offers visitors a chance to explore some of the restored buildings that once made up the Utopian community. This includes Thrall’s Opera House and a functioning print shop.
A privet hedge maze, reconstructed to show the beauty of a Harmonist labyrinth, tempts visitors to wander through its manicured paths, while beautiful trees offer a quiet place to rest in the shade. Though the Utopian community once dreamed of by Rapp more than 200 years ago no longer exists, some of the peace and tranquility of the New Harmony settlement remain. You can learn more about tours and exhibits on the Indiana Museum website.
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24. Brown County State Park
Address: 1801 Indiana 46 East, Nashville, IN 47448
Located in beautiful Nashville, Indiana, the Brown County State Park provides visitors with views of stunning tree-lined slopes, ridges, and gullies. Known as the “Little Smokies” due to its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, the state park features miles of trails, a 90-foot fire tower with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, a water park located at the park’s Abe Martin Lodge, and an educational nature center.
In addition to hiking trails, Brown County State Park also provides miles of mountain bike trails, horseback riding trails, and nature trails, each with its own unique views. There are also picnic tables, fishing opportunities, open fields, playgrounds, and tennis courts.
Camping areas for RVs, trailers, and tents are available as well with both electric and non-electric site options. For more information on Brown County State Park and its many amenities, please visit the Brown County State Park website.
Address: 1 West Harrison St., Vincennes, IN 47591
Established long before Indiana became a state, Vincennes was once part of the French-owned territory of what would become the United States. The original town was founded in 1732 and today, is the oldest city in Indiana.
The historical site features the oldest major government building in the Midwest, the “Red House,” which served as the original capitol of the territory. Also located here are the French House, Jefferson Academy, Elihu Stout Print Shop, and an important military outpost, Fort Knox II.
In addition to these historic sites, Vincennes also holds evidence of an even older civilization. As early as 900 C.E., the Woodland Indians constructed what is now known as the Sugar Loaf Mound, another example of the Mound Builder culture. Before it was well-researched as an archaeological and anthropological site, the mound was used as a landmark for those seeking freedom from slavery along the Underground Railroad.
Vincennes offers tours, special events, historical re-enactments, and examples of daily life throughout the city’s long existence. Visitors will be enthralled by the beautiful countryside and the amazing original structures that have stood for more than 200 years.
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in a Small Town
26. Bluespring Caverns
Address: 1459 Blue Springs Cavern Road, Bedford, IN 47421
First discovered in the 1800s, the Bluespring Caverns consist of 21 miles of unique cave systems and the longest underground river in the United States. Its complete lack of light has led to the evolution of some truly amazing species of wildlife, many of which are albino or blind.
Some of the more unusual creatures in the caverns include blind crayfish and a very rare blind cavefish. Salamanders, bats, and a variety of insects also call the caverns home.
Tours of the caverns include an hour-long boat ride along the underground river. The grounds above and around the caverns feature other sites and activities such as the largest sinkhole in Indiana, the Karst Natural Area Trail, the Colglazier Visitor Center, and the Myst’ry River Sluice.
27. Empire Quarry
Address: Bloomington, IN 47451
Many of the historic structures throughout the state are made from Indiana limestone. In fact, buildings throughout the U.S. were built with limestone that came from Indiana quarries. These buildings include the Washington National Cathedral, the Pentagon, and a shocking 35(!) out of 50 state capitol buildings.
Though there are multiple quarries scattered across Indiana, the most famous is the Empire Quarry. This is due to its building contributions to one of the most iconic structures in America: the Empire State Building in New York City. It provided 18,630 tons of limestone for the construction of this massive skyscraper, leaving a huge trench in the quarry as a result.
The Empire Quarry is famous for another reason as well. Its sheer rock faces, steep drops, and lovely landscapes make this a serene, if not somewhat intimidating, location.
The deep gouge in the limestone from years of mining is now filled with a pool of tranquil aquamarine-colored water. Though it is often tempting for cliff divers and swimmers, the water’s opaque surface makes its depth in certain places hard to determine, so such activities should not be attempted.
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28. USS LST-325
Address: 610 NW Riverside Drive, Evansville, IN 47708
The USS LST-325 is the last fully operational WWII ship of its kind. Landing Ship Tanks (LSTs) were used to support amphibious missions in bringing supplies, tanks, and troops directly to shore when there were no docks present. The USS LST-325 played an essential role in multiple missions from ports in England to beaches in Sicily and France.
The ship lost crew members and sustained damage in more than one German assault and was also badly damaged during an intense storm on its way back to the U.S. at the end of the war in Europe. After being repaired, the USS LST-325 was to set sail for the continuing war in the Pacific, only to have the war come to a final end the day before the ship was scheduled to depart.
Today, the ship remains a fully operational testament to the heroic service of those who sailed on her throughout WWII, as well as various other military missions over multiple decades. She sets sail once a year to visit various ports along the Midwestern states of the U.S.
The USS LST-325 offers guided tours through publicly accessible parts of the ship. Normal tours include multiple stops at locations such as the Main Deck, Troop Berthing, Guns and Anchor, Captain’s Cabin, Tank Deck, and more.
Shorter tours are also available for those who need to avoid the flights of stairs included in the normal tour. Please check the website before your visit to make sure the USS LST-325 will be at her home port in Evansville.
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Is Indiana worth visiting?
Indiana is definitely a state worth visiting! Places like the Brown County State Park, Holiday World amusement park, and Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo make this a must-see U.S. destination.
What are the best Indiana places to visit?
Famous destinations like the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, Conner Prairie, and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis all offer amazing experiences. Lucas Oil Stadium, the Eskenazi Museum, and the campus of Notre Dame are also top places to visit.
What are the most fun things to do in Indiana?
The Indiana State Museum and Historical Sites are a great state-wide experience. The different locations offer a multitude of fun, hands-on experiences that kids and adults will both enjoy.
What are the best free things to do in Indiana?
Free activities in Indiana include the Snite Museum of Art, the Indiana State Capitol, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, and the University of Notre Dame. Other free activities include the many nature and hiking trails in Indianapolis and the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site.
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