From narrated tractor rides to driving through 30 covered bridges, there are tons of exciting hidden gems tucked away in Indiana. Look forward to having a picnic in a historic cemetery, or seeing handmade ice sculptures. As for accommodations, there are plenty of vacation rentals in Indiana to choose from. Find a rental in downtown Indy or stay in the suburbs to be in a spacious home with a private backyard and hot tub. Check out the most interesting hidden gems in Indiana.
1. Pine Hills Nature Preserve Trail
If you have a vacation rental in Indianapolis, you’re only a little over an hour drive from the Pine Hills Nature Preserve Trail, which is a lesser known trail in Shades State Park. The trail is open year round and allows dogs if they stay on their leashes. This is a difficult trail that goes in a loop through Waveland, but is worth the challenge to see the waterfall.
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2. Crown Hill Cemetery
A local favorite for going on runs and having picnics, Crown Hill Cemetery is not your average cemetery. This peaceful cemetery not only features beautiful, peaceful scenery and sculptures but is also known as the burial place of three vice presidents and President Benjamin Harrison.
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3. Ruins at Holliday Park
Located only six miles from downtown Indy, Holliday Park features natural springs, 3.5 miles of hiking trails, and over 200 species of birds. The Ruins, which were once part of a skyscraper in New York, were just renovated in 2016. Holliday Park is open seven days a week, from dawn until dusk.
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4. Tuttle Orchards
Tuttle Orchards is a go to place for the locals in Indiana. With over 20 acres of pumpkins, 8,000 apple trees, and more than 30 varieties of apples, Tuttle Orchards is a fun family destination all year round. If you are visiting in the fall, you can observe honey bees in action, find your way through the corn maze, and even go on a narrated tractor ride after finding your perfect pumpkins in the pumpkin patch. If you are visiting in the summer, you can go through a sunflower maze! Tuttle Orchards is only about a 30 minute drive to the east of Indianapolis and hours vary by season but Tuttle Orchards is always closed on Sundays.
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5. Oliver Winery
Oliver Winery is located in Bloomington, which is in southern Indiana. In addition to sampling wine and going on a vineyard tour, this winery is also a nice place to just relax on the hills and have a picnic or wander around the beautiful gardens. Bloomington has an abundance of vacation rentals, ranging from a downtown condo with a patio to grill on to a spacious home with a private backyard and hot tub.
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6. Veal’s Ice Tree
If you’re visiting Indianapolis in the winter, seeing Veal’s Ice Tree is a must! This huge ice sculpture is a family tradition that has been recreated from local pond water every winter for over 50 years. You can view the tree any day of the week from dawn to dusk, but just know that the lights turn off at 10pm. There are only about two parking spots, so it might be easier to drive around the tree in a loop to see it.
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7. Ravine Garden
With over 19,000 plants, including perennials, shrubs, and bulbs, the Rapp Family Ravine Garden at Newfields is located behind the Lilly House. Spend some time exploring the garden to see not only the flowers but also a beautiful cascading stream and a bronze sculpture from the Indiana Museum of Art’s fine art collection.
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8. Hotel Tango Artisan Distillery
With a rustic atmosphere and spirits distilled on site, the tasting room at Hotel Tango is a fun place to spend a few hours. The tasting room has indoor and outdoor seating, along with a cocktail menu that changes by the season. Hotel Tango was the first craft distillery in Indiana and is located in Fletcher Place. Make sure to visit on a Tuesday so you can try your luck at trivia night!
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9. Brookville Lake
Brookville Lake, which is in the Whitewater River Valley, is more than just an entertaining spot to go boating, fishing for walleye, or swimming. It’s also known for having remnants of Ordovician fossils nearby, which are about 450 million years old. Aside from searching for pieces of history, there are also two beach areas and several hiking trails that span 25 miles around Brookville Lake. If you’re looking for a challenging, rural hike, the Wolf Creek Trail is over 16 miles long through hills but has gorgeous lake views. If hiking isn’t your thing, Brookville Lake also hosts a few corn hole tournaments every year, usually on holidays.
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10. Covered Bridges Tour
If your vacation rental is in Parke County, you’re in luck because there are 31 charming bridges on five different routes within the county. After driving around and taking a picture in front of each bridge, check out Turkey Run State Park, where you can go canoeing on Sugar Creek, biking along the trails, and horseback riding through the forests and canyons.
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