Brown County State Park is a 16,000-acre wilderness, boasting hills, mountains, ravines, woods and glaciers in the great state of Indiana. Called the “Little Smokies” for its resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee; the park offers hiking, boating and everything in-between. Although there are many towns that lie around and inside the park, finding one with vacation rentals can be tricky so here’s a list of Brown County State Park vacation rental locations to begin your search.

1. Washington Township

Located between Yellowwood State Forest and Brown County State Park, Washington Township is conveniently located to provide you with the best of both worlds. The rentals are buried deep in the rural countryside, giving you all the peace and quiet required to recharge your batteries. You can drive west to Bloomington or east to Nashville in less than 20 minutes for food and fun.

2. Nashville

Nashville, on the northern edge of the Brown County State Park, is a small town nestled among the hills and trees. Although not a thriving metropolis, it’s just big enough to give you the amenities of civilization. Enjoy eateries like Brozinni’s Pizza and The Nashville House, and visit local art houses, including Brown County Art Guild and Brown County Playhouse. Stop at the Copperhead Creek Gem Mine, where you can dig for gems and learn about arrowheads and other local relics.

3. Stone Head

Stone Head lies on the park’s eastern border. Even smaller than Nashville, Stone Head is a collection of rural houses that allows you to privately explore the countryside at your leisure. Spend afternoons exploring the Middle Fork Salt Creek and evenings barbecuing with your family. Venture a few minutes west to Brown County State Park. Stop at Strahl Lake for a dip in the water, or take a hike up Trail 6.

4. Story

If you want to literally step out of your vacation rental in the Brown County State Park, then get a place at Story, a community located inside the park at the junction of State Rd 135 and Elkinsville Road. You can hop on either road and make your way anywhere in the park, or stay closer to home and hike to Mobley Hollow. Head west to Elkinsville for some serious hiking trails that reach all the way to the Middlefork Waterfowl resting area.

5. Houston

Like Nashville, Houston isn’t the big urban city that you expect from its name, but like Story its located in the park, and the nexus of roads and streams ensure plenty of immediate outdoor satisfaction. Head to tiny Berry Branch Lake for some boating and swimming, and enjoy a hot meal at the Hendricksville Community Building, one of the few found at the lake.

6. Harrodsburg

To the west of Brown County State Park lies Lake Monroe, and on the other side of the lake is Harrodsburg. Harrodsburg is just large enough to boast a community center and post office, giving you a taste of that small town flavor. However, you can reach Bloomington in a matter of minutes and enjoy some big city amenities. More importantly, the lake is just a mile away, with waterside rentals and plenty of water for boating and swimming.

7. Bloomington

The only real city in the vicinity of Brown County State Park, Bloomington, boasts parks, golf courses and a thriving downtown. Split your time between the nature of Brown County State Park and the unique flavor of Bloomington town life. Make an afternoon of the downtown area. First, visit Kirkwood Observatory and Dunn’s Woods, studded with a multitude of walking paths, then stroll on over to India Avenue for a bite to eat.

8. Handy

Handy also lies on Monroe Lake as well as the Cartop State Recreation Area. Here you can camp, hike, and boat, or just enjoy your vacation rental on the lake and spend your days fishing. Take a kayak over to Pate Hollow for some more hiking.

9. Paynetown

Paynetown lies in the Paynetown State Recreation Area. It not only offers vacation rentals, but easy access to the lake, hiking, and boating. Explore Monroe Lake Park via the Pate Hollow Trail, or opt for the easy 1.25-mile Blue Bird Trail. It takes you through woods and meadows, where you can teach your kids about nature. Lounge on the beach while the kids splash in the shallows or rent a watercraft and paddle across the lake.

10. Belmont

Belmont lies just north of Brown County State Park and North Fork State Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy your solitude and family time at the refuge, which is rich in plant and animal life. Spend a night camping on the banks, or take a scenic tour around the area. For more hiking, head further south to the Brown County State Park or north to Yellowwood State Forest.

11. Benton Township

Speaking of Yellowwood State Forest, getting a vacation rental in the the Brenton Township puts you with walking distance of this 2,000-acre area. If you want to enjoy nature on a smaller, more private scale, opt for this little wilderness. Canoe around the 130-acre lake, or hop on the Jackson Creek Trail for an in-depth exploration of the area. If you’re feeling more adventurous, hike up to Bill Jack ridge.