25 Amazing Day Trips from Indianapolis

Are you looking for a perfect day trip destination outside Indianapolis? Look no further! We’ve got you covered with a guide full of family-friendly attractions to explore within a short drive from Indy. 

From outdoor adventures to educational experiences and everything in between, our guide highlights the best day trip options for families seeking fun, education, and adventure.

Whether you’re looking to escape the city, explore nearby towns, or discover hidden gems in the surrounding countryside, our guide invites you into a vibrant community space where you can learn, play, and create lasting memories with your loved ones.

Related Article: Top 17 Things to Do in Indianapolis with Kids

Outdoor Day Trips from Indianapolis

Escape the hustle and bustle of city life with outdoor day trips from Indianapolis that will leave you feeling recharged and connected to nature.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Address: 1215 N State Rd 49, Porter, IN 46304
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours 30 minutes

Indiana Dunes National Park spans 15,000 acres and includes more than 50 miles of trails, which will take you over sandy dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests. There are 15 miles of sandy beach to explore all year, whether relaxing on the sand and swimming in the lake during the summer or marveling at the icy beauty of the water during the winter.

If you are looking for a fun and kid-friendly hiking trails, the Bailly Homestead, Chellberg Farm, Little Calumet River, and Mnoké Prairie Trails will take you through forests and by a river. Then, explore the historic Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm, two must-see gems.

Related Article: 6 Best National Parks in the Midwest for Families

Post and photograph contributed by Edward Byrne, who is a recipient of a 2020 Indiana Arts in the Parks grant through the Indiana Arts Commission.
“Dunes Creek Walk in Autumn” photograph contributed by Edward Byrne, who is a recipient of a 2020 Indiana Arts in the Parks grant through the Indiana Arts Commission. See more. 

Wolf Park

Address: 4004 E. 800 N., Battle Ground, Indiana
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 10 minutes

Just outside of West Lafayette is where you will find Wolf Park, a 70-acre nonprofit park dedicated to providing habitat to wolves, foxes, bison, and other animals for educational purposes.

2 Wolves in Indiana's Wolf Park

Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg

Address: 6310 County Rd 350, Brownsburg
Distance from Indianapolis: 30 minutes

Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg is a gem. The 78-acre ranch that runs along White Lick Creek is the biggest ranch in Hendricks County for horseback riding. It is also known for events like Bountiful Babies (a spring event celebrating the baby animals born on the farm).

Natural Valley Ranch in Brownsburg

Wilstem Wildlife Park

Address: 4229 US-150 W, Paoli
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours

Experience the self-guided Drive-Thru Safari in your vehicle and see over 50 different species! Along the way, there are opportunities to get out of your car and get a closer look at certain animals. 

Wilstem Wildlife Park

 The Apple Works 

Address: 8157 South 250 West, Trafalgar
Distance from Indianapolis: 50 minutes

The Apple Works is a family-run, family-oriented apple orchard and pumpkin patch located on gently rolling hills in Trafalgar, Indiana. The country store and grounds of Apple Works are open 7 days a week April-December, but fall is when the farm really gets to shine. During the weekends of September and October, visitors can enjoy live music and other entertainment, a train ride called the Apple Express, a petting zoo, a bamboo maze, a super slide, and more. 

Bonus: Admission to Apple Works is free, as are several fall activities, including a petting zoo and a bamboo maze. Other activities cost $3-$5.


Apple Works Fall Day Trip


Exotic Feline Rescue Center

Address: 2221 E Ashboro Rd in Center Point, IN
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center (EFRC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, care and conservation of exotic felines. Founded in the early 1990’s, the EFRC has served as a rescue center and forever home to many exotic felines that have been abused, unwanted, or neglected. The EFRC cares for over 100 cats and 6 foxes on its 200-acre property located in Center Point, IN. 

The Exotic Feline Rescue Center: A Must-Visit Destination for Wildlife Lovers

Dougherty Orchard

Address: 1117 North, 9411 Dougherty Rd, Cambridge City

Dougherty Orchards is the oldest family owned apple orchard in the state of Indiana. Located in Cambridge City. Dougherty’s grows 33 varieties of apples, as well as pumpkins, pears, and sunflowers. Dougherty’s Petting Farm allows families to enjoy an up-close experience to view, feed, or pet a variety of farm and exotic animals while strolling around a large pond filled with beautiful large koi and ducks.305281_440044286046395_846334481_n.jpg

Heritage Farm

Address: 4175 North 1200 West, Flora
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 20 minutes

Heritage Farm is a working alpaca farm with more than 50 alpacas you can see, touch, and interact with. Visitors can book an overnight stay at the 120-acre farm in one of the several different lodging options or visit for the day. Tim and Beth Sheets have made it their goal to educate the community about the joys of farming and alpaca care. 

Heritage Farm

Brown County State Park

Location: Nashville, IN
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour

Brown County State Park, often referred to as the “Little Smokies” due to its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, is a popular destination for families seeking an unforgettable outdoor experience. As Indiana’s largest state park, it spans over 15,000 acres and offers a wide array of activities for visitors of all ages. With its lush forests, picturesque vistas, and diverse recreational opportunities, this central Indiana state park is an ideal destination for families looking to create lasting memories while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Families at Brown County State Park can enjoy activities like hiking, biking, and horseback ride on various trails. The nature Center has educational exhibits and interactive programs for children. Picnic areas and playgrounds are available for outdoor fun and relaxation.Brown County State Park - Fall Foliage

Turkey Run State Park

Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 15 minutes

Turkey Run State Park in western Indiana is perfect for families seeking outdoor adventures and nature. Known for sandstone gorges, scenic ravines, and forests, the park has diverse activities for all ages. Covering over 2,300 acres, Turkey Run is a treasure trove of natural beauty and a perfect getaway for families looking to create lasting memories.

Turkey Run State Park has a diverse trail system for all skill levels. Families can explore landscapes, sandstone gorges, suspension bridges, and waterfalls like Falls Canyon. The park also offers canoeing and fishing at Sugar Creek, picnic areas, and playgrounds for a relaxing day outdoors.

Hoosier National Forest

Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours

Hoosier National Forest, in the hills of south central Indiana, provides many opportunities and resources for people to enjoy. Rolling hills, back-country trails, and rural crossroad communities make this small but beautiful 204,000 acre Forest a local treasure.

The Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower, located inside Hoosier National Forest near Indiana University, offers a fall foliage experience like none other in Indiana. The Lookout Tower was built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and remained in use as a fire lookout tower for the park into the 1970s.

Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower

Spring Mill State Park

Location: Mitchell, IN

Spring Mill State Park in southern Indiana has 1,300 acres of outdoor adventure, natural beauty, and history. Families can hike, take a Twin Caves boat tour, and explore a restored Pioneer Village. The park’s Nature Center offers interactive exhibits and educational programs for children to enjoy nature.

Spring Mill State Park offers a rich historical experience through its restored Pioneer Village. This village transports visitors back to the early 19th century. Families can explore the village’s authentic log cabins, blacksmith shop, and the fully operational grist mill. Here, they can witness the process of grinding corn into a meal. The park’s Nature Center offers interactive exhibits and educational programs that engage children and foster a love for the natural world.

photo courtesy of Spring Mill State Park Fall Foliage

Museum & Zoo Day Trips from Indianapolis

Embark on an educational adventure with your family by visiting one of the museums or zoos within a short drive from Indianapolis. These day trip destinations offer unique opportunities to learn about fascinating creatures and historical periods, while engaging in fun and interactive activities that are perfect for all ages.

Bellaboo’s Play & Discovery Center

Address: 2800 Colorado St, Lake Station, IN 46405
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours 15 minutes

Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center is a facility that offers fun, self-directed activities for children from infancy through age nine. Developed by the Lake County Parks and Recreation Department in Indiana, Bellaboo’s mission is to provide kids with learning opportunities while playing. Bellaboo’s outdoor areas feature fossil digging, gardening, an amazing playground, and more.


BellaBoo's Children's Play & Discovery Center


Terre Haute Children’s Museum

Address: 727 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 15 minutes

The Terre Haute Children’s Museum is a hands-on museum for families with three stories of fun and exploration. Located near the Indiana-Illinois border, this children’s museum in Terre Haute features exhibits that encourage exploration of science and technology concepts, with dozens of exhibits designed especially for kids ages 12 months to 12 years old.

Terre Haute Children’s Museum

Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Address: 411 Sherman Blvd, Fort Wayne, IN
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours

There is a lot to do in this family-friendly city! One of the must-visits is the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Everything at this zoo — from the rides to the displays — is designed with the littlest visitors in mind.


Address: 309 Washington Street, Columbus
Distance from Indianapolis: 45 minutes

Drive 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, and you’ll find Kidscommons, a great children’s museum that’s the perfect spot to play and explore when you’re in the mood for a little day trip out of town. Children can use their creativity to learn about their community at this children’s museum in downtown Columbus, Indiana.

Playground at Worth the Drive: Kidscommons in Columbus, Indiana

The Fort Wayne Firefighters’ Museum

Address: 226 West Washington Blvd, Fort Wayne
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours

The Fort Wayne Firefighters’ Museum, Inc. was organized on April 20, 1974, two years after the city closed Fire Station #3 in downtown Fort Wayne. Additional renovations were done between 1998 and 2009 to expand the exhibit area. Today, kids and adults can enjoy learning about firefighter history and fire safety.

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

Address: 3027 E S St, Lincoln City
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours 45 minutes

Abraham Lincoln spent 14 years on his family farm in Spencer County. Here, Lincoln was introduced to the power of books and the concepts of freedom, justice, and law. Get a taste of what life was like in Indiana during Lincoln’s childhood by visiting the site where Abraham Lincoln spent his days. Learn about the lives of the Lincoln family who lived here in a pioneer community from 1816 to 1830. This national memorial features a museum and the Living Historical Farm, a working pioneer homestead with a cabin, outbuildings, split rail fences, animals, gardens, and field crops.


Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

The Best Day Trips from Indianapolis for the whole family to take all year round

Find more of our favorite day trips from Indianapolis that are perfect for your family all year long.

Uranus Indiana Fudge Factory in Anderson

Address: 1423 W. 53rd Street, Anderson, IN
Distance from Indianapolis: 45 minutes

Are you looking for a place to get some great fudge and a good dose of potty humor? Then head out to Anderson and visit Uranus Indiana, a tourist attraction and store that offers a variety of fudge, chocolates, sweets, novelties and more.

Uranus Indiana Fudge Factory in Anderson


Malibu Jack’s Indoor Theme

Address: 2415 Sagamore Pkwy S, Lafayette
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour

Malibu Jack’s Lafayette Indoor Theme Park is a massive, all-indoor space with fun attractions for people of all ages and interests. Visitors to the park can take part in Go karts, bowling, and arcade games. They can also enjoy other amusement park attractions such as the Twist Coaster, swinging ships, and bumper cars. There’s a Kid’s Zone indoor playground for younger children to play.

Malibu Jack's Indoor Theme park

Whitewater Valley Railroad

Address: 455 Market St, Connersville, IN 47331
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 15 minutes

With regular and special trains running April-December, you’re sure to find the perfect opportunity to visit Whitewater Valle Railroad with family and friends! Adults fares are for passengers over 12 years of age. Children fares are for passengers ages 2-12 and passengers under 2 ride for free when accompanied by an adult.

Bluespring Caverns Park

Address: 1459 Blue Spring Caverns Rd. Bedford, Indiana 47421
Distance from Indianapolis: 1.5 hours

Explore the heart of the natural world by boat! An hour-long boat tour through Bluespring Caverns brings you up close to the majesty of the underground during an unforgettable cave tour. This is your chance to visit Indiana’s largest sinkholes (covering over 15 acres).

Bluespring Caverns Park

The Commons Playground in Columbus

Address: 300 Washington St, Columbus
Distance from Indianapolis: 45 minutes

The Commons Indoor Playground is located 45 minutes south of Indianapolis in Columbus, IN. This amazing indoor playground is free and open to the public. The indoor playground features infant/toddler areas, slides, a tunnel, and a two-story Luckey Climber.

The Commons indoor playground in Columbus

French Lick Big Splash Adventure, French Lick

Address: 8505 IN-56, French Lick
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours

Big Splash Adventure is an enormous 40,000-square-foot indoor water park that is entirely enclosed in glass to bring the outside in during your visit. During warm weather days, the glass roof retracts! Includes multiple pirate-themed waterslides, a lazy {“Lost”} river and plenty of interactive water stations for kids. Purchase day passes HERE.

Day Trips from Indianapolis Perfect for Summer

Looking to cool off and bask in the sun? Escape the city heat with refreshing day trips from Indianapolis that offer both water and sun-soaked fun. Dive into the crystal-clear waters of a nearby lake or splash around in a water park to soak up the sunshine and create unforgettable memories with your family.

Pine Lake Waterpark & Beach

Address: 4640 W State Rd 218, Berne, IN 46711
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hrs 

If you can’t decide between the lake or the beach, Pine Lake Waterpark has you covered. This unique destination offers all the adrenaline rushes you would expect from a waterpark while getting back to nature on a trip to the lake. Pine Lake Waterpark, located about 2-hours north of Indianapolis, and is perfect for a summer day trip from Indianapolis.


pine lake

White Rock Park

Address: 7080 South 750 East, Saint Paul, IN, 47272
Distance from Indianapolis: 45 minutes

White Rock Park is located in Saint Paul, IN, about 45 minutes southwest of Indianapolis. This Indian quarry is known for its surrounding cliffs that provide guests with the perfect opportunities for cliff jumping, rope-swinging, ziplining and more adrenaline-producing activities.

White Rock Park

Paradise Rental Boats at Fourwinds Marina

Address: 9301 S Fairfax Rd, Bloomington, IN 47401
Distance from Indianapolis: 1 hour 15 minutes

If you’re looking for a relaxing activity for your family, there’s nothing like being out on a boat in the middle of the water. Whether you’re a seasoned skipper or just looking to get your feet wet like my family, here is my advice from renting a boat with Paradise Rental Boats at Fourwinds Marina.

Hidden Paradise Campgrounds

Address: 802 E Jefferson St, St Paul, IN 47272
Distance from Indianapolis: 45 minutes

Hidden Paradise Campground is truly a water lover’s paradise, as it surrounds Dream Lake and offers a plethora of aquatic activities. Guests can enjoy a floating trampoline, climbing rock, large slide, and various lounging devices within the quarry’s designated swimming area. Kayaks and canoes are available for exploring the Flat Rock River, or rent a paddle boat to explore the lake.hidden paradise

Holiday World Splashin Safari, Santa Claus

Address: 452 E Christmas Blvd, Santa Claus
Distance from Indianapolis: 2 hours 45 minutes

According to TripAdvisor, Holiday World Splashin Safari is one of the top water parks in the United States. With tickets granting access to Splashin’ Safari and the adjacent amusement park, Holiday World, there’s endless fun. Enjoy slides, rides, and wave pools, and take advantage of free soft drinks throughout the parks.

Water Park in Indiana splashin safari


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