School is out and there is no better time to pack up the kids and head out for a weekend getaway. Indianapolis’ central location puts us smack-dab in the middle of the action when it comes to family-friendly destinations. Here are just a few of our favorites:
Places in Indiana perfect for a quick summer getaway:
Multiple access locations, appx 50 miles east of Indianapolis
Sugarcreek river is about 93 miles before merging with the Wabash River 5 miles north of Montezuma. The largest community on the waterway is Crawfordsville. Sugarcreek River offers tons of family-fun river fun, including water activities such as tubing, and canoeing & kayaking, camping, and beautiful hiking trails along the river.
A few Sugarcreek River destinations to consider:
If you plan to go big or stay home, Lake Monroe in Bloomington is the place to be. At Paradise Rental Boats, they offer different sizes of boats, including a pontoon, which fits 8 people, and a tritoon, which fits 12 people. You’ll also find deck boats and wave runners. If you really want to make it a party, you can rent a 35-foot double-decker yacht, which fits 18 people.
If you are looking for more than a day trip. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Lake Monroe offers families an action-packed camping experience. Activities offered at Jellystone park range from hiking and smores to foam parties and Wet & Wild Hey Ride.
Fort Wayne is a city that has it all, and it’s just two hours north of Indianapolis. It’s the place to visit where there’s something for everyone to do. From outdoorsy families and sports fans, to animal-obsessed kids and art aficionados, Fort Wayne is the perfect destination for your next family trip. Here are just some ideas of what to do and where to stay in Fort Wayne!
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. Plant lovers will find the Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory an oasis in the middle of the city. Science Central is also a must for kids of all ages. You’ll find lots of hands-on exhibits that teach scientific concepts in a fun and interactive way.
One of the best times to visit Fort Wayne in the summer is during the Three Rivers Festival. The festival takes place from July 8-16, and draws nearly half a million visitors each summer. This weeklong fest offers everything from a food alley, a children’s fest, a drag show, an international village, art in the park, parade, and so much more, culminating with a fireworks finale on the final day.
Before you head off on your Fort Wayne adventure, be sure to check out www.VisitFortWayne.com/Festivals for a list of festivals that take place throughout the spring and summer.
Visitors looking for sand and solitude will find that in abundance at Indiana Dunes National Park. The park gained a status upgrade in 2019, changing it from a national lakeshore to a national park. The park has 15 miles of shoreline that lines Lake Michigan so that visitors can feel the beach right here in the Midwest. Indiana Dunes spans 15,000 acres and includes more than 50 miles of trails, which will take you over sandy dunes, wetlands, prairies, rivers, and forests
Related Article: 6 Best National Parks in the Midwest for Families
Kid-friendly highlights: Exploring the dunes is a must when visiting Indiana Dunes. There are 15 miles of sandy beach to explore all year long, whether you’re relaxing on the sand and swimming in the lake during the summer or marveling at the icy beauty of the water during the winter.
Hiking one of the many trails at Indiana Dunes is a popular activity. If you are looking for a fun and kid-friendly hike, 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.
Be sure to visit the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. This park facility is where you will find educational hands-on exhibits, ranger-guided hikes, lectures, animals, crafts, and a Nature Play Zone for kids.
Pine Lake Waterpark & Beach
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.