Are you are looking for Indiana state parks? Are you confused and unable to decide which parks to visit in Indiana? Well, then you have come to the right place. In this article, we’ve put together a list of the best state parks. Also, we’ve tried to cover everything you need to know before visiting these parks. From the list of the best parks to the number of state parks in Indiana to the ideal packing list, this article has it all. So, without any further ado, let’s start!
When it comes to state parks in Indiana, there are tons of options to choose from. You’ll be able to find a state park within just one hour of anywhere in Indiana. Well, if you’re not a local and will be visiting Indiana for the first time, then you are in for a treat. Indiana has a wide variety of places to visit with the best ones being its state parks. It’s because the state parks here, are filled with and offer beautiful landscapes, rolling hills, cascading waterfalls, scenic trails, campsites, sandy lakeshores, golden beaches, etc. You’ll be able to find everything as per your preferences in these state parks.
Best Indiana State Parks:
Let’s start this list with the largest state park in Indiana, Brown County State Park. The park is also popular by its nickname, ‘Little Smokies’. Located in the beautiful hills of Brown County off Highway 46, the park stretches over nearly 16,000 acres.
Brown County State Park is filled with rugged hills, ridges, ravines, large campgrounds, hiking trails, mountain bike trails, etc. Also, the park is quite popular for its comfortable accommodations like the rustic Abe Martin Lodge, horse riding facilities, and interpretive services.
Next up, on this list of Indiana state parks, we have Spring Mill, State Park. The park is well-known for offering endless recreation opportunities. While you are at the park, make sure you once visit ‘Pioneer Village’. The village will take you to travel through time to the early 1800s.
Also, while you’re there, make sure you go for the Nature Center, Grissom Memorial, and Twin Caves Boat Tour. Spring Mill State Park offers nearly all facilities and activities such as fishing, picnicking, hiking, swimming, camping, boating, etc.
Located at W. State Road 48 Jasonville, Shakamak State Park is one of the best state parks in Indiana. If you’re looking for a place to spend fun, relax, and quality time with your family, this is the option for you.
Shakamak State Park is home to a total of three man-made lakes that together offer over 400 acres of water for various activities. The park is the best place out there to go for water activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming.
Charlestown State Park is located in southern Indiana, 8 miles east of I-65, on State Road 62. The park is popular for offering scenic vistas of the Fourteenmile Creek valley as well as the Ohio River. In addition, the park is filled with a number of rugged hills and deep ravines.
Also, the park is heaven for all the bird watchers out there. Well, Charlestown State Park is home to over 72 species of birds, which include birds like bluebirds, black vultures, occasional bald eagles, and more.
Ouabache State Park, pronounced as O-bah-chee, is one of the oldest state parks in Indiana. Initially, in the 1930s, the park operated as Wells County State Forest and Game Preserve. Not just this, the park was also considered to be the “Greatest Wildlife Laboratory in the US” at that time.
Later, it was developed for wildlife management, forestry demonstration, and a state park. Today, the park is located along the Wabash River near Bluffton. Ouabache State Park features Kunkel Lake, which is considered to be the best place out there for fishing.
“Also Check: 15 Best Wisconsin State Parks for a Great Holiday“
As the name suggests, the park has numerous waterfalls as well as offers exciting opportunities for hiking, scenery, camping, etc. Clifty Falls State Park is one of the best places to explore and discover. It’s because the park’s stony bed is filled with fossil remnants like ancient corals, ancestral squids, brachiopods, etc.
If you wish to get the best experience, we would recommend you visit the park during winter and spring. Also, you can visit the park visit during one of the community’s special events, which usually takes place in July and late September.
Nestled along State Road 47 southwest of Crawfordsville, Turkey Run State Park is one of the most beautiful state parks in Indiana. It’s filled with several natural geologic wonders. For adventure, thrill, and fun experiences, you can go exploring deep sandstone ravines.
Whereas for a peaceful and mesmerizing experience, you can walk along stands of aged forests and enjoy the scenic views along Sugar Creek. Also, we would suggest that you once visit the Colonel Richard Lieber Cabin situated in the park.
Located in north-central Indiana and about 12 miles southwest of South Bend is Potato Creek State Park. The park is filled with a wide array of activities and offers facilities for year-round enjoyment. The park is home to 327-acre Worster Lake, old fields, mature woodlands, restored prairies, and diverse wetlands.
Also, the park is known for offering unique opportunities for plant and wildlife observation. Potato Creek State Park is one of the most popular and crowded parks out there. Hence, we would suggest you make reservations beforehand to have peace of mind.
Next up, on this list of Indiana state parks, we have Pokagon State Park. In the beginning, the park was originally called Lake James State Park. Later, its name was changed to Pokagon State Park.
Well, this was done to acknowledge the rich Native American heritage of the state and region. Located near Angola, just off I-69, this park features rolling wooded hills, wetlands, open meadows, beautiful landscapes, scenic views, and more.
Indiana Dunes State Park is located at the north end of State Road 49 in Porter County and spreads over 2182 acres. The park is very famous for offering primitive, beautiful, historic, and unique Hoosier landscapes. The park features over three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore.
Also, the park features large sand dunes, 200 feet above Lake Michigan. Indiana Dunes State Park is home to a wide range of plant, animal, and aquatic species.
McCormick’s Creek State Park is most famous and popular for its spectacular limestone canyon, flowing creek, and scenic waterfalls. However, that’s not the end. The park also is home to some great hike trails featuring diverse forest trees, spicebush, native wildflowers, and more.
In addition, the best part about McCormick’s Creek State Park is that it offers a wide range of active enjoyment opportunities through all seasons of the year. You can go to several cultural events and other special events hosted at the park’s amphitheater.
If you are looking for an adventurous, thrilling, and fun-packed experience, you should straight head to Chain O’Lakes State Park. Here, you’ll get to experience nine connecting lakes meeting at the center.
You can have the experience of paddling through the chain of serene kettle lakes, hiking miles of forested trails, fishing the electric-motors-only lakes, and a lot more. Also, you’ll be able to enjoy a number of other facilities. These facilities include a campground, a family cabin, a beach, picnic shelters, and more.
The park is famous out there for its 10 unique earthworks. Well, these earthworks are considered to have been built by prehistoric Indians who were also called the ‘Adena-Hopewell’ people. The largest earthwork in the park is the Great Mound, which is believed to have been there from around 160 B.C.
It is after these mounds that the park has been named. Located off 1-69 east of Anderson, Mounds State Park features a nature center. The nature center features a wildlife viewing room, animal displays, interactive games, etc.
Located near New Castle, Summit Lake State Park is one of the best places out there for family picnics as well as other events. Summit Lake State Park is spread over 2680 acres, and as the name suggests, it features a large lake. The lake makes the park an ideal place for water activities like swimming, fishing, boating, etc.
Apart from this, the park also offers a range of facilities, which include 120 electric campsites, three boat ramps, a beach bathhouse, and two large open shelters. Also, the park offers excellent areas for bird watching and wildlife observation.
Next up, on this list, we have Falls of the Ohio State Park, one of the best Indiana state parks for discovery and exploration. The park is conveniently nestled on the banks of the Ohio River. To be more accurate, the park is located at 201 West Riverside Drive, Clarksville, Indiana.
Falls Of The Ohio State Park is home to one of the largest exposed Devonian fossil beds in the world. In addition, the park also features a spectacular interpretive center overlooking the fossil beds.
If you are one of the hikers or canoeists out there and looking for Indiana state parks, then your search ends here. Located about 17 miles southwest of Crawfordsville, Shades State Parks is the best option out there for you.
Also, if you are a nature lover, then this park is a paradise for you. Shades State Park is filled with beautiful sandstone cliffs, numerous shady ravines, and spectacular topography for a fairly long hike.
“Also Check: 55+ Best National Parks in the U.S. (Explore Nature)“
Located at Glenn Road, Indianapolis, Fort Harrison State Park is yet another great option you can go for in Indiana. The park is spread across 1,700 acres and features a lot of attractions. Well, the park is filled with walking trails, jogging trails, picnic sites, fishing spots, and two national historic districts.
Fort Harrison features one of the biggest sledding hills and is one of the hidden gems in the area. It is one of the most unique places out there where landscape and history blend together.
If you are looking for a place for a great family getaway, then Whitewater Memorial State Park is the option for you. The park features a lake of 200 acres and is a part of the Brookville Lake-Whitewater Memorial State Park Complex.
The park offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, flat-water boating, swimming, fishing, camping, and more. In addition to all these, the park boasts 9 miles of trails ideal for horseback riding. The park has access to Brookville Reservoir. As a result, it offers ample opportunities for seeing migrating flocks of birds.
Last but not least, on this list of Indiana State Parks, we have Versailles State Park. Well, Versailles State Park is the second largest state park in Indiana. The park features a 230-acre lake, which as a result, provides plenty of opportunities for fishing. Well, you can enjoy fishing by renting a rowboat, kayak, or canoe. The park features long hiking trails, mountain bike trails, and even horse riding trails. Versailles State Park is also famous for its Versailles Pumpkin Show as well as several Halloween festivities.
How many State Parks are there in Indiana?
If we talk about the number of state parks in Indiana, then there are approximately 24 state parks. In addition to these parks, there are 7 small satellite locations and 8 reservoir properties. Also, there are 2 state forest recreation areas and 2 off-road riding areas. Well, together all these including the state parks occupy nearly 170,000 acres of the Hoosier landscape of Indiana.
Indiana state parks feature over 2,000 buildings, 700 miles of trails, 17 swimming pools, 15 beaches, 7,701 campsites, and more. In addition to these, the parks also offer a wide array of facilities. These parks offer 636 hotel & lodge rooms, 17 marinas, 75 launching ramps, 200 shelters, 160 playgrounds, 150 cabins, and more. Each of these state parks located in Indiana is unique.
Each of them offers a different set of opportunities for adventure, thrill, exploration, discovery, and fun. At these state parks, you can go hiking, kayaking, swimming, camping, canoeing, fishing, and a lot more. Well, that’s not the end, as there are also a total of seven Indiana State Parks Inns.
So, with all these said, we come to an end of our post on ‘Indiana State Parks’. Well, you can choose the right fit from the aforementioned parks keeping in view your tastes and preferences. Whichever state park you choose to visit, we can assure you’ll never be disappointed and have the best experience. Now, as the knowledge part comes to an end, it’s time for you to plan and visit these parks with your friends, family, or loved ones.