The 14 Best Places to Visit in Indiana with Kids

Are you ready to explore Indiana with your family? The Hoosier State offers a perfect blend of small-town charm, natural beauty, rich history, and exciting adventures for all ages! In this post, we’ll take you on a journey through the top 14 best places to visit in Indiana with kids – from the captivating small towns of French Lick, Santa Claus, and Shipshewana to the breathtaking state parks and intriguing historical sites. So buckle up and let’s start exploring!

Short Summary

  • Explore Indiana’s unique attractions and rich history with family-friendly adventures, from luxurious resorts to festive Christmas celebrations!
  • Discover stunning landscapes in state parks like Brown County State Park and Turkey Run State Park.
  • Visit iconic sites such as the Conner Prairie, Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, George Rogers Clark National Historical Park or explore Fair Oaks Farms Dairy Adventure & Bellaboo’s Play Center for a memorable experience!

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

Indiana Small Towns

Indiana is home to many charming small towns, each with its own unique tourist attractions and character. Whether it’s:

  • the luxurious historic resorts of French Lick
  • the festive Christmas-themed attractions in Santa Claus
  • the authentic Amish country experiences in Shipshewana

You and your family will find plenty of interesting attractions to explore.

Let’s take a closer look at these three small towns and discover what makes them so special.

French Lick, Indiana

Nestled in the heart of Southern Indiana, French Lick is a picturesque resort town known for its historic luxury hotels, family-friendly activities, and outdoor adventures. From the year-round water park to scenic train rides through the Hoosier National Forest on the French Lick Scenic Railroad, there’s something for everyone in this charming town. Try your hand at zip-lining, hiking, cycling, or horseback riding in the summer, and enjoy snow sports in the winter.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, French Lick offers a variety of accommodation options, including:

  • Historic luxury hotels, including French Lick Resort and West Baden
  • Motels
  • Cabins
  • B&Bs
  • Campsites
west baden, Best Places to Visit in Indiana
French Lick and West Baden Resort

Santa Claus, Indiana

Yes, you read that right – there’s a town in Indiana called Santa Claus! This festive destination is filled with Christmas-themed attractions, making it a must-visit for families during the holiday season or any time of the year. Can you imagine the excitement on your kids’ faces as they experience the magic of Santa’s Candy Castle and Frosty’s Fun Center?

One of the must-see attractions in Santa Claus is the Santa Claus Museum and Village, where you can delve into the town’s unique history and marvel at old letters to Santa from kids and antique toys. Another highlight is the Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari Theme Park, which offers themed worlds inspired by Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July, complete with festive rides and attractions.

Holiday World Water Park Indiana
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Original Santa Claus Post Office, where your kids can write free letters to Santa and experience the magic of the season. With so many festive attractions and activities, Santa Claus, Indiana is the ultimate destination for families looking to create unforgettable memories.

Santa Claus, Indiana

Shipshewana, Indiana

Located in the heart of Amish country, Shipshewana offers a unique experience for families looking to explore a different way of life. Here are some activities you can enjoy in Shipshewana:

  • Take a tour of Menno-Hof, where you’ll learn about the history and culture of the Amish community
  • Buy unique crafts from local artisans
  • Go horse and buggy riding to experience traditional Amish transportation

For a truly immersive experience, explore Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park and hunt for antiques at flea markets and auctions. Shipshewana is the perfect base for exploring Indiana’s Amish country and offers a glimpse into a simpler, more peaceful way of life.

Shipshewana, Indiana
Shipshewana, Indiana

Exploring Indiana’s State and National Parks

Indiana’s state parks are a treasure trove of natural beauty and outdoor adventures. With stunning landscapes ranging from the wooded hills of Brown County State Park to the rugged trails of Turkey Run State Park and the diverse ecosystems of Indiana Dunes National Park, there’s something for every nature lover in Indiana.

Let’s dive deeper into these three captivating state parks and discover the wonders they hold.

Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park, often referred to as the “Little Smokies” due to its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains, offers:

  • Breathtaking views of tree-lined slopes and ridges
  • A variety of outdoor activities for the whole family
  • Scenic trails for hiking
  • Opportunities for birdwatching and sightseeing
  • Wildlife watching in a picturesque setting

The park caters to all abilities of hikers, with trails ranging from easy strolls mountain biking trails to challenging treks.

If you’re looking for a more leisurely experience, take advantage of the park’s amenities, such as the zero-depth entry pool, lazy river, and 30-foot waterslide. Brown County State Park also offers a variety of accommodation options for those looking to extend their stay. Choose from lodge rooms, cabins, and campsites to suit your preferences and budget.

Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, Brown County State Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in Indiana.

Brown County State Park - Fall Foliage
Brown County State Park – Fall Foliage

Turkey Run State Park

Turkey Run State Park is a popular outdoor destination in Indiana, not far from the equally impressive White River State Park. Featuring deep sandstone ravines, aged forests, and scenic views along Sugar Creek, Turkey Run offers a range of activities for all ages, including many hiking trails, floating and canoeing, and camping and lodging. With its waterfalls and the most scenic trail in the state – Trail 3, Turkey Run is a true haven for nature lovers.

For those interested in the park’s history, Turkey Run State Park also features a 125-acre farm with a 1920s feel, where you can participate in homesteading, gardening, and livestock feeding. This immersive experience transports you back in time and offers a unique glimpse into the lives of the early settlers in the area.

Whether you prefer indoor lodgings or camping under the stars, Turkey Run State Park provides various accommodation options to suit every preference. With its rugged trails, outdoor adventures, and historical experiences, Turkey Run State Park is a must-visit destination for families looking to explore Indiana’s natural beauty.

Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park. Photo credit:

Indiana Dunes National Park

Stretching along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park is a diverse landscape featuring sand dunes sandy beaches, wetlands, and over 16 miles of trails. With three miles of beach and a variety of outdoor activities, Indiana Dunes is a favorite destination for families visiting the state. Just a short distance away, you’ll find Indiana Dunes State Park, offering even more opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Hike or bike through the park’s diverse habitats, which attract a wide variety of bird species, making it a popular spot for birdwatching. In the winter, try tobogganing or ice fishing, and don’t forget to visit the park’s interpretive center to learn more about the area’s unique ecosystems and history.

Indiana Dunes National Park. Park offers plenty of amenities for visitors, including an interpretive center with maps, pet wildlife, fossils, and Native American artifacts. With its diverse landscapes and outdoor activities, Indiana Dunes National Park is an unforgettable destination for families seeking adventure and natural beauty in Indiana.

Indiana Dunes State Park
Indiana Dunes State Park

Delving into Indiana’s Rich History

Indiana’s rich history is waiting to be explored, with fascinating state museums, historical sites, and national memorials providing unique insights into the state’s past. From the captivating stories of President Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial to the immersive experiences at Conner Prairie, there’s so much to discover and learn.

Indiana State Museums and Historical Sites

Indiana State Museum’s Historic Sites offer a fantastic way to discover, preserve, and learn about Indiana’s culturally significant sites. The museum network consists of 12 locations spread across Indiana that showcase different aspects of Indiana’s past, including architecture, art, history and science. Each site possesses a rich historical tale to tell, and visitors get to experience immersive and engaging exhibits that tell these stories in detail.

New Harmony
New Harmony

Conner Prairie

With its unique blend of Indiana history and science, Conner Prairie offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience of Indiana’s rich heritage. This museum is a treasure trove of immersive exhibits, both indoors and outdoors, that allow visitors to engage with Indiana’s past through hands-on activities. The interactive experiences include opportunities to interact with costumed characters, tour historical recreations, and explore the Treetop Outpost playground.

Visitors can go back in time to 1836 central Indiana and experience the way people lived, who they were and what they did on a daily basis. You’ll find the Prairietown residents going about their daily lives, ready to interact and tell stories or even some local gossip. 

conner prairie
Conner Prairie’s 1836 Prairietown

Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, located in Southern Indiana, pays homage to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It celebrates his formative years living in the state. The memorial features a living historical farm, park trails, and cultural landscapes, providing an immersive experience for visitors of all ages.

Explore the exhibits in the Memorial Visitor Center, including sculptured panels, Abraham Lincoln Hall, and Nancy Hanks Lincoln Hall. Step back in time at the Lincoln Living Historical Farm, where you can see a log barn, take part in the Junior Ranger Program, and walk the Trail of Twelve Stones, which winds through the park’s beautiful outdoor spaces.

The Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is a must-visit destination for families looking to delve into Indiana’s rich history and the life of one of America’s most iconic leaders.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site, Springfield Illinois
Lincoln Home National Historic Site

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Experience the rich racing history of Indiana at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, a must-visit destination for race fans. Open 363 days a year, the museum offers an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the exhilaration of the renowned Indianapolis 500 race, a pinnacle of the state’s racing heritage.

Situated within the oval of the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway, between Turns 1 and 2, this museum not only showcases the excitement of modern racing but also delves into the deep roots of Indiana’s racing history. Outside of speedway events, visitors can enjoy free access to the museum’s parking facilities. However, during these thrilling events, IMS requires tickets or credentials to enter the premises. For a hassle-free experience, visitors can conveniently enter through Gate 2, using the four-lane tunnel located on westbound 16th Street—providing easy access to all the racing wonders that await within the museum’s storied walls.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
Photo credit: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

Family Favorite Adventures

Indiana is a playground for families seeking unforgettable adventures. From the interactive dairy adventure at Fair Oaks Farms to the world’s largest children’s museum and the award-winning Fort Wayne Zoo, there’s no shortage of excitement and fun for all ages.

Let’s explore these family favorite adventures and create lasting memories together.

The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Spanning an impressive 815,700 square feet, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis offers a vast and diverse array of exhibits and attractions. Inside, visitors can explore 13 major galleries that cover a wide range of topics, including physical and natural sciences, health and fitness, world cultures, American popular culture, and the arts. From stepping into the world of dinosaurs in the thrilling Dinosphere® exhibit to uncovering the stories of children who made a difference in history in The Power of Children: Making a Difference® exhibition, there’s something to captivate and inspire visitors of all ages.

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Dairy Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms

For an educational and entertaining family experience, head to the Dairy Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms. This working farm offers hands-on experiences with farm animals, interactive exhibits, and educational tours that will captivate the whole family. Pick apples, get to know barnyard animals, explore underground soil samples, and climb to the top of a treehouse with ropes, pulleys, and ladders.

The Dairy Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms is an excellent destination for families looking to connect with nature, learn about agriculture, and have a fun-filled day on the farm.

Fair Oak Farm
Fair Oak Farm

Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center

Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center is an interactive play space designed for children aged 0-9, offering hands-on exhibits, creative play areas, and educational programs. The center promotes learning through play and encourages children to explore, create, and discover in a safe and engaging environment.

Children will love the variety of open rooms at the children’s museum, where they can explore and play at their own pace. From art and science exhibits to imaginative play areas, Bellaboo’s Play and Discovery Center is the perfect destination for a fun and educational family outing.

BellaBoo's Children's Play & Discovery Center

Fort Wayne Zoo

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo an award-winning zoo located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This Zoo offers a wide variety of animal exhibits, rides, and experiences for families visiting the state. Explore different animal exhibits like Central Zoo, Australian Adventure, and African Journey, and get up close and personal with species worldwide, including lions, hyenas, giraffes, stingrays, kangaroos, tigers, and sea lions. While visiting Indiana, don’t miss the opportunity to also explore the Indianapolis Zoo for an even more diverse wildlife experience.

In addition to its amazing animal exhibits, the Fort Wayne Zoo also features attractions like:

  • Sky Safari
  • Z.O.&O. Railroad
  • Crocodile Creek Adventure Ride
  • The Endangered Species Carousel

With so much to see and do, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a favorite destination for families looking for an unforgettable adventure in Indiana.

Fort Wayne Zoo Red Panda
Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo. Photo credit:


From charming small towns, breathtaking state parks, rich historical sites, and exciting family adventures. Indiana offers many unforgettable family experiences. Whether it’s exploring the festive town of Santa Claus, hiking through the stunning landscapes of Turkey Run State Park, or immersing yourself in Indiana’s history at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, there’s something for everyone in the Hoosier State. So pack your bags, gather your family, and set out on a journey to create lasting memories in Indiana.


Indy's Child
Indy's Child
For 40 years, Indy's Child has been the trusted source for Indianapolis families seeking fun, educational, and enriching experiences. Our award-winning magazine and website are dedicated to providing expert advice, insider tips, and up-to-date information on everything from the best local attractions and events to parenting resources and support. As local experts deeply rooted in the central Indiana community, our passionate team at Indy's Child is dedicated to uncovering the best family-friendly experiences and resources our city has to offer. Whether you're new to parenting or looking for new ideas, Indy's Child is here to help you enjoy the adventure of raising a family in central Indiana.

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