As a native, here are my top 5 things to do in southern Indiana.
First, a little background on me:
- I grew up in Brown County, easily one of the most beautiful parts of the state. (It’s pictured above.)
- I’ve traveled around the world and decided to come back to Indiana to live on purpose.
- Vacations that involve sitting on a beach for hours or never leaving a hotel room sound awful. (No judgment, just personal preference.) So you won’t find recommendations like that here. Besides, Indiana doesn’t have much of a coastline.
5 Things to Do In Southern Indiana
5. Go hiking
Southern Indiana is home to thousands of acres of woods from the Hoosier National Forest to Brown County State Park on down to Clifty Falls and New Harmony State Park.
My personal favorites for hikes close to Bloomington are:
- The Deam Wilderness
- Ogle Lake and Lake Strahl in Brown County State Park
- Morgan-Monroe State Forest – Low Gap Trail
All of our state parks and national forests are historic. You’ll find CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) era structures, steps, and bridges in many of them.
4. Explore Some Historic Architecture
Indiana has been a state for a long, long time (since 1816).
We’ve had a lot of time to build things in those 200+ years.
Most of the original log cabins are gone, but some of the buildings built out of sturdier stuff are still here.
West Baden Springs Hotel is one of them. It was built over 100 years ago and was once referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”
Not bad for a small town with a funny name. (French Lick, IN)
If you’re more interested in the rustic side and pioneer life, New Harmony is worth a trip.
I spent many Spring Breaks there as a kid, learning about early settlers and enjoying the peace and quiet.
3. Do A Self-Guided Eating Tour of Bloomington’s Fourth Street
Bloomington isn’t just a college town, but it definitely benefits from having Indiana University in it.
The city has become a cultural melting pot of people from many different nations around the world.
I love getting to know different people and I especially enjoy eating food with them.
If I’m ever looking for a food-based adventure, all I need to do is start at one end of 4th Street and eat my way to the other end.
Along the way I’ll hit everything from Tibetan to Creole to vegan donuts. (As a non-vegan I put them up there with the best of ALL donuts.)
If you run out of options on 4th Street, you’re still right in one of the densest pockets of amazing food in the entire state.
A quick Google Maps search will show you a full list of microbreweries, Afghan food, traditional Irish fare, and a lot more.
2. Take an Art Class
If you enjoy laughing, painting, and sharing a little bit of wine, Bloomington’s Wine and Canvas classes might be a good choice.
You don’t need to have an art background to make something fun that looks good. And the people there are bound to be good company.
Not technically an art class, but the Sculpture Trail in Solsberry is an open museum of metal arts. (Fair Warning: The video below contains heavy metal music. I’m more of a Sinatra guy myself so feel free to keep it on silent.)
Pretty. Freaking. Cool. =]
1. Make It All One Epic Trip
There’s no shortage of awesome, interesting things to do in southern Indiana.
We didn’t even touch on the Madison Regatta (like super-fast boats?) or the historic houses down there by the Ohio.
If you’re from out of town, add all of these things together and throw in a dash of spontaneity and you’ve got yourself quite a trip.
If you’re from here, hopefully you got some new ideas from this article.
Gone are the days of just sitting around waiting for something to happen.
It’s time to get into it and Enjoy!