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Make your trip more memorable and gear up for outdoor adventures in Indiana. From summer watersports to winter wonderland thrills, the Hoosier State is brimming with opportunities for year-round recreation. Northern Indiana is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. Portage Lakefront Park and Riverwalk is situated on the Northern Indiana border of Lake Michigan. Enjoy scenic views of the lake and Indiana Dunes. It’s a popular destination for swimming, watersports, and bird watching.
Chain O’ Lakes State Park, near Fort Wayne and Kendallville, features 11 lakes and offers hours of outdoor fun. Enjoy fishing, swimming, and boating, or kick back on the shore and bask in the sun. You’ll find 10 miles of hiking trails with scenic views and glimpses of regional wildlife.
Ouabache State Park offers spectacular views of the Wabash River. Located just south of Fort Wayne, it’s a prime spot for fishing, boating, hiking, or biking. Families love the plentiful playground areas, picnic facilities and access to volleyball, basketball, and tennis courts. The nature center is fun for kids and bird watchers. Kunkel Lake is well known for its abundance of largemouth bass and crappie. Set your sights on reeling in a big catch or spend an afternoon hiking the six-mile Ouabache Trail. Don’t miss the observatory tower with panoramic views of northern Indiana from 100 ft. high. The Kendallville area is also a favorite with anglers and boat enthusiasts.
For those who prefer outdoor fun closer to the city, Fort Wayne offers 80 parks and the 25-mile Rivergreenway. Fox Memorial Park in La Porte features hiking trails, batting cages and Clear Lake for water sports. Enjoy Concerts in the Park in the summer and a skate park. Maple Wood Nature Center, near Howe, offers scenic hiking trails through hardwood forests and prairies. The Maple Syrup Days Festival in March is a day of fun for the whole family.
Raccoon Lake State Recreation Area in Rockville is a short drive north of Indianapolis. A favorite destination for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, it’s also a great spot for boating or metal detecting along the shore. Mounds State Park in Anderson is northeast of the Indy metro area. View 10 mounds created by the prehistoric Adena and Hopewell tribes. Tour the historic Bronnenberg House and the visitor center, or enjoy canoeing and fishing on the White River. For a city of its size, Indianapolis offers a lot of green space for outdoor fun. Garfield Park Conservatory & Sunken Gardens is the oldest park in the Circle City. Take a stroll through the gardens, enjoy bird watching, and learn about the thousands of plants that beautify the grounds. White River State Park in the heart of the city is always bustling with activity. Visit the Indianapolis Zoo, enjoy an outdoor performance at the White River State Park Concert Series or tour the Indiana State Museum.
Eagle Creek Reservoir on the northwest side of Indianapolis offers 10 miles of hiking trails and 1400 acres of water. Launch a boat from the marina, test your skill at the shooting range, or watch rowers practicing for upcoming tournaments. Cataract Falls Recreation Area in Owen County is southwest of Indianapolis. At 86 ft., Cataract Falls is the largest waterfall in the state. Tour the upper and lower falls area at Mill Creek and enjoy the nature trail, wildlife viewing and a picnic area.
Patoka Lake in French Lick spans 8,800 acres. Enjoy swimming and boating in the summer months and ice fishing in winter. Nearby Marengo Cave is one of four caves offering tours in Indiana. Discovered in 1883, the cave became a national landmark in 1984. Tours are offered year-round on weekends. Jimmy Nash City Park in Martinsville offers a pool with water slides and two miles of hiking trails. Test your skills on four tennis courts, have a picnic, or let the kids romp around the playground.
Brown County State Park is the largest in the state. Nicknamed the Little Smokies, the park spans nearly 16,000 acres in the hills south of Indy. Offering hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding, the park seems miles away from the city. Enjoy the scenic drive along 20 miles of tree-lined roads for spectacular views of fall foliage.
Lapping Park in Clarksville sprawls over 300 acres. Enjoy hiking trails, playgrounds, tennis courts, and basketball courts just steps from city shops and eateries. Nearby Falls of the Ohio State Park is a fun place to explore historic fossil beds. Hike along the Woodland Loop Trail and check out the exhibits at the Interpretive Center. Lincoln State Park near Evansville offers ample opportunities for boating and fishing. Hike the easy James Gentry Trail or explore scenic views along the Weber Lake Trail.
In winter enjoy skiing at Paoli Peaks in the Hoosier National Forest and Perfect North Slopes in Lawrenceburg. Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis offers sledding and ice fishing. Pokagon State Park in Angola has a fun toboggan run that hits speeds up to 40mph. Go snowmobiling at Buffalo Run Snowmobile Trail in South Bend, or try cross-country skiing at Ox Bow County Park in Elkhart. Indiana Dunes State Park is a fun spot for snowshoeing along state park trails and the lakeshore.