Indiana is home to over 30 beautiful state parks with hundreds of miles of trails and thousands of camping facilities. Millions of visitors explore these natural areas yearly, making camping and picnics especially popular during the summer. In this article, we will introduce you to six popular state parks in Indiana, perfect for families.
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Park Highlights: Hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, Nature Center, picnic areas, playgrounds, camping sites, rustic cabins, and Abe Martin Lodge
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 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 riding 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.
Accommodations include camping sites, rustic cabins, and the comfortable Abe Martin Lodge. Amenities like swimming pools, fishing ponds, and dining options ensure an enjoyable stay.
Park Highlights: Hiking trails, sandstone gorges, suspension bridges, waterfalls, canoeing, fishing, picnic areas, playgrounds, camping sites, RV sites, family cabins, and Turkey Run Inn.
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.
Families can visit the park’s Nature Center with interactive exhibits. Educational programs engage children and foster a love for the natural world.
Accommodations include camping sites, RV sites, family cabins, and the Turkey Run Inn.
Park Highlights: Hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, Nature Center, picnic areas, playgrounds, camping sites, cabins, and Abe Martin Lodge.
On Lake Michigan’s southern shore, Indiana Dunes State Park offers natural beauty, outdoor adventure, and relaxation. The 2,000-acre park is known for its sand dunes, diverse ecosystems, and lake views. It’s a memorable destination for all ages with various activities and beautiful landscapes.
The park’s main attraction is its 3-mile sandy beach on Lake Michigan. Families can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking along the shore.
The park offers camping sites, RV sites, and modern restroom facilities. Nearby lodging options include hotels, motels, and vacation rentals. The park’s Nature Center provides interactive exhibits and educational programs for children.
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Park Highlights: Hiking and biking trails, golf course, fishing spots, picnic areas, playgrounds, Museum of 20th Century Warfare, picnic shelters, and Inn at Fort Harrison.
Fort Harrison State Park, located in northeastern Indianapolis, offers families a serene retreat amidst the bustling city. The park covers over 1,700 acres and has beautiful landscapes, rich history, and diverse recreational opportunities.
The park features over 10 miles of biking and hiking trails for different skill levels. Families can explore rolling hills, woodlands, wetlands, and Fall Creek’s scenic banks. The park has an 18-hole golf course, fishing spots, and picnic areas. It also houses the Museum of 20th Century Warfare, showcasing Fort Harrison and U.S. military history.
The park features two picnic shelters and a large playground, making it the perfect spot for a family gathering or a day of outdoor fun. For those seeking overnight accommodations, the park’s Inn at Fort Harrison provides comfortable lodging and dining options in a historic setting.
Location: Madison, IN
Park Highlights: Waterfalls, hiking trails, picnicking, birdwatching, nature photography, camping sites, RV sites, modern restroom facilities, Clifty Inn, and Nature Center.
Located in southeastern Indiana, Clifty Falls State Park is near the historic town of Madison. The park has 1,500 acres of cascading waterfalls, rugged canyons, and diverse ecosystems. It offers various recreational activities and beautiful landscapes for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
Clifty Falls State Park’s main attraction is its waterfalls, viewable from overlooks and hiking trails. Trails cater to different skill levels, letting families explore wooded hills, ravines, and Clifty Creek. Activities include picnicking, birdwatching, and nature photography in the park’s beautiful and serene setting.
Clifty Falls State Park features a campground with tent sites, RV sites, modern restroom facilities, and the comfortable Clifty Inn, which offers lodging and dining options with stunning views of the Ohio River. The park’s Nature Center provides interactive exhibits and educational programs that engage children and foster a love for the natural world.
Park Highlights: Hiking trails, cave boat tours, pioneer village, grist mill, Nature Center, picnic areas, swimming pool, and campgrounds.
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.
Park Highlights: Hiking trails, limestone canyons, flowing creek, swimming pool, Nature Center, picnic areas, playgrounds, and campgrounds.
McCormick’s Creek State Park is a great destination for families wanting outdoor adventure and relaxation. The park has beautiful landscapes, limestone canyons, and a flowing creek with many activities for all ages. Families can explore hiking trails for different skill levels, enjoy the scenery, and see native wildlife. The park also has a swimming pool and a scenic creek for cooling off in summer.
The park features a Nature Center with educational exhibits and interactive programs for children. There are picnic areas and playgrounds for outdoor fun and relaxation. For longer stays, the park offers accommodations like campgrounds and cabins. McCormick’s Creek State Park is perfect for families to create memories and enjoy nature’s beauty.
Updates: Because of recent tornados that hit Spencer, IN, make sure to check the McCormick’s Creek State Park Facebook page for park updates and trail closures.
How much does it cost to visit an Indiana State Park?
The cost to visit an Indiana State Park is typically based on entrance fees for vehicles. It is $8 for noncommercial vehicles with Indiana license plates and may vary for other types of vehicles. These fees apply to all State Parks and state-managed lakes, excluding some specific parks.