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8 Best Weekend Getaways in Indiana

Indiana is a Midwestern state that offers some excellent options for weekend getaways. Whether you’re coming from Indianapolis, Chicago, or somewhere else in the region, sports fans, nature enthusiasts, history buffs, and curious travelers can find lots of fun travel destinations to explore. The following Indiana towns, for example, are our favorite spots for short weekend trips. Read on to find out why!

Bloomington Bloomington, Indiana
Credit: Bloomington, Indiana by © Susan Vineyard | Dreamstime.com

Bloomington

Bloomington, Indiana is the home of Indiana University, but you don’t have to be a college student to enjoy a weekend trip here. As a vibrant college town, you’ll find diverse cuisine, stand-up comedy acts, opera performances, and lots of festivals and local events here. To satisfy your curiosity, you can visit the Eskenazi Museum of Art and the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health, and Technology. Monroe Lake is just southeast of Bloomington and a great place for boating, and the weekly Bloomington Community Farmers Market is always a popular option for locals and visitors. You can also check out the Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural Center, Memorial Stadium, the B-Line hiking trail, and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater while you’re here. After sightseeing, stay overnight in one of Bloomington’s cozy cabin rentals.

French Lick French Lick, Indiana
Credit: French Lick, Indiana by bigstock.com

French Lick

Located in Southern Indiana, French Lick is a historic town that became known for its mineral springs. There is a lot to do in the French Lick/West Baden area still today, starting at the French Lick West Baden Museum. Here you’ll learn about the hometown basketball legend, Larry Bird, the area’s fascinating history with gambling, and even the world’s largest circus diorama. French Lick Scenic Railway is a must-visit spot for train enthusiasts, and the French Lick Winery and Vintage Café in West Baden Springs is a fun place for a wine tasting. The French Lick Casino is always a popular destination for weekenders, and the Big Splash Adventure Indoor Waterpark & Resort is a perfect place for families with kids. If you enjoy golf, make sure to check out the Donald Ross Course at the French Lick Resort.

Madison Madison, Indiana
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Madison

Madison, Indiana is another great getaway destination for a weekend because it has everything from scenic routes to antique shopping, art galleries, historic sites, and wineries. Clifty Falls State Park is a beautiful place to visit, and this is also a popular spot for speed boat tours. To learn more about the area’s history, make sure to see the Lanier Mansion, the Historic District, and the Schroeder Saddletree Factory Museum. A couple of recommended wineries in the area are the Thomas Family Winery and the Lanthier Winery. The Indiana Wine Trail includes a group of wineries that are tucked into the rolling hills of Southeast Indiana. Check the town’s local events calendar to see if any craft fairs, parades, or holiday events are taking place during your weekend trip.

Michigan City Michigan City, Indiana
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Michigan City

Located on the lovely shores of Lake Michigan, Michigan City, Indiana is a wonderful place to spend some time on the water. The Mt. Baldy Dunes are a fun place to climb to the top for great exercise and views of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. There are also some historical lighthouses here that were built in the 19th century, Old Light and the Pierhead. Another idea is to visit Washington Park to hang out at the beach, which is always one of the top attractions in the area. The Lighthouse Place Outlet Mall is recommended for shopping enthusiasts and has a large collection of stores to browse. This is also a great destination for art lovers, so make a point to see what’s happening at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts and the Uptown Center for the Performing Arts when you’re in town.

Nashville Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana
Credit: Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana by © Rachel Sheelam | Dreamstime.com

Nashville

Tennessee isn’t the only place with a town called Nashville. Nashville, Indiana is known for being home to the Brown County Art Colony. It’s located between two state parks in the south-central part of the state and also has covered bridges, wineries, and local shops. Brown County State Park is a great place for hiking and horseback riding. Meanwhile, the Yellowstone State Forest has good lakes for boat rentals. You’ll only be about an hour south of Indianapolis when you plan this weekend getaway and explore the many shops lining the town’s streets.

Patoka Lake Pakota Lake, Indiana
Credit: Pakota Lake, Indiana by LouisvilleUSACE via Flickr

Patoka Lake

Lake culture is a big deal in Indiana, so embrace it with a weekend trip to Patoka Lake. This Southern Indiana destination offers rentals for powerboats, houseboats, cabins, and tubes, as well as boat tours and cruises. This is the second-largest reservoir in Indiana, and it spreads across three cabins. The Patoka Lake Winery is worth a visit, and there are a couple of golf courses nearby too. Fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, horseback riding, and caving/spelunking are also popular activities around the lake. You can tour the Indiana Caverns or take a cave tour at the Marengo Cave U.S. National Landmark. In the winter, head over to nearby Paoli Peaks to get your skiing and snowboarding fix.

Bristol Bonneyville Mill Park in Bristol, Indiana
Credit: Bonneyville Mill Park in Bristol, Indiana by Samdogs via Flickr

Bristol

Bristol is a small and quaint Indiana town with around 1,600 residents. This is a Northern Indiana weekend getaway destination that puts you in the heart of Amish country. One popular attraction here is Bonneyville Mill County Park. You can also take a kayak down the St. Joe River and explore the Elkhart County Historical Museum along the Heritage Trail. The Heritage Trail actually passes through the towns of Bristol, Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee, Karusa, and Elkhart. Overall, this is a great area to get behind-the-scenes looks at Amish life and relax on the scenic backroads of the Indiana countryside. The Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard makes a fun weekend stop too.

Santa Claus Santa Claus, Indiana
Credit: Santa Claus, Indiana by Dougtone via Flickr

Santa Claus

How could a town not be festive with a name like Santa Claus? This southwestern Indiana town has an obvious Christmas theme but is fun to visit any time of the year. Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari and Santa’s Candy Castle are the big theme parks here. You can get into a festive mood by visiting the Santa Claus Christmas Store, the Santa Claus Museum, Santa Claus Post Office, 1935 Santa Statue, and Santa Claus Land of Lights scenic drive as well.

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