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Top 11 Weekend Getaways from Indianapolis

With a central location and convenient interstates and highways nearby, it’s incredibly easy to take a weekend getaway from Indianapolis. From here, you can travel to big cities, tiny towns, and stunning natural areas within Indiana and beyond. This is great for local families, couples, and singles who are looking for fun trips without using up their vacation days. Here are the top weekend getaways from Indianapolis to choose from.

Bloomington, Indiana Indiana University
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Bloomington, Indiana

Bloomington is a college town in Indiana and a fun place to get away for the weekend. Here you can find fun college activities, such as bars and tailgating, but there is also lots of small-town charm here. The Indiana University campus is beautiful to walk around, and the downtown area is full of charming shops and restaurants. For outdoor recreation on the water, you can head over to nearby Monroe Lake. You can get to Bloomington, Indiana from Indianapolis in just a little over an hour from the city.

Nashville, Indiana Nashville
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Nashville, Indiana

Tennessee isn’t the only place with an awesome Nashville to visit, and the one in Indiana is an ideal getaway for art lovers. There are many arts and craft shops here to explore and browse the works of talented local residents. Top places to visit are the Brown County Art Gallery and Brown County Playhouse. To get outdoors a bit during your weekend, head to nearby Brown County State Park. Nashville, Indiana is only about an hour south of Indianapolis, making it an easy weekend getaway if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on your drive.

Chicago, Illinois Chicago Theatre in Chicago
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Chicago, Illinois

It’s also very possible and fun to visit Chicago from Indianapolis for the weekend to attend a Windy City festival, concert, parade, or just explore the top tourist attractions. Chicago is just under three hours from Indianapolis and a great place to take a trip, especially if you have a three-day weekend ahead of you. Plan to take an architecture cruise, watch a live comedy performance at Second City, explore the many museums, and get some exercise on the Lakeshore Path while you’re here.

Valparaiso, Indiana Valparaiso
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Valparaiso, Indiana

Valparaiso is one of the best places to visit in Indiana, particularly on the weekend because it’s near the Indiana Dunes and a haven for foodies. It’s also a lovely place to see the fall foliage. There are lots of top-notch restaurants here, as well as local craft breweries and locally produced wines to sample. The South Shore Brewery Trail is a fun way to kick off your trip to this part to Indiana. Your weekend trip to Valparaiso will only require about 2.5 hours in the car each way from Indianapolis.

Oldenburg, Indiana German bratwursts and sauerkraut with beer
Credit: German bratwursts and sauerkraut with beer by Joshua Resnick/shutterstock.com

Oldenburg, Indiana

Georgia has the town of Helen, Washington has the town of Leavenworth, and Indiana has the town of Oldenburg. All of these are German-themed towns that are historic, picturesque, and brimming with German culture in the food and beer offerings. This is also a nice place to shop for antiques and learn about local history. Summertime is a popular time to visit Oldenburg from Indianapolis because it is when the Oldenburg Freudenfest festival takes place. The town of Oldenburg is only a little over an hour southeast from Indianapolis to give you an easy weekend drive.

Indiana Dunes Indiana Dunes
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Indiana Dunes

One of the most scenic and impressive natural destinations that you can visit from Indianapolis for your weekend is the Indiana Dunes, which is a popular sandboarding destination. From Indy, you can drive north about 2.5 hours to reach the dunes and take long walks through the sand and along the shoreline. It’s fun to rent a sandboard here from a local shop and ride down the dunes for a little adventure. A total of 66 campsites are available at the Dunewood Campground at Indiana Dunes National Park between April and November.

French Lick, Indiana The front porch of an early 1900s hotel in French Lick, Indiana
Credit: The front porch of an early 1900s hotel in French Lick, Indiana by James Pierce/shutterstock.com

French Lick, Indiana

This weekend getaway from Indianapolis might have a funny name, but it’s one of the best places you can go for romance and adventure. Couples enjoy coming here because of the historic and luxurious accommodations, while families with kids will enjoy the Big Splash Adventure indoor water park. This is also an ideal weekend getaway if you enjoy wine because it’s along the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail. From Indy, you can get to the French Lick area in just over two hours. This is also a great home base to explore the nearby Hoosier National Forest.

Syracuse, Indiana Deep sunset with warm oranges and blues over Dewart Lake near Syracuse, Indiana
Credit: Deep sunset with warm oranges and blues over Dewart Lake near Syracuse, Indiana by Goff Designs/shutterstock.com

Syracuse, Indiana

Another wonderful spot for outdoor recreation not far from Indianapolis is the Syracuse area, which is along the shores of Lake Wawasee. This is a fun place to go boating, fishing, swimming, tubing, and jet skiing. Golfers also enjoy this part of Indiana because there are some great golf courses nearby. Check out the Blue Barn Berry Farm to pick berries while you’re here too. With less than a three-hour drive, you can spend your weekend in the Syracuse area of Indiana.

Louisville, Kentucky Stephen Foster Day at Churchill Downs horse race track
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Louisville, Kentucky

The Kentucky city of Louisville also makes for a fun weekend getaway from Indianapolis because there are tons of fun things to do. Louisville is less than two hours from Indianapolis by car. Some of the many top attractions to check out in Louisville are the Louisville Slugger Museum, horse racing at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby Museum, and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience.

South Bend, Indiana Aerial View of Downtown South Bend in Indiana
Credit: Aerial View of Downtown South Bend in Indiana by Jacob Boomsma/shutterstock.com

South Bend, Indiana

You can also head to the city of South Bend for an Indianapolis getaway, which is about 2.5 hours away by car. South Bend is home to the University of Notre Dame and a very family-friendly destination. Here you can check out the South Bend Chocolate Factory and Museum, Deep River Water Park, and Thistleberry Farm with the little ones. It’s also nice to spend some weekend time at Studebaker National Museum and the South Bend Farmer’s Market.

Cincinnati, Ohio Cincinnati
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Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati also isn’t far from Indianapolis and a fun place to get away for the weekend. You can get here in less than two hours by car and explore everything Cincinnati has to offer. Some popular things to do on a weekend trip to Cincinnati include the Smale Riverfront Park, the Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, and the American Sign Museum.

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