Occasionally, less is more when it comes to getting out of Indianapolis for the weekend. Stay at one of many incredible vacation rentals in Indianapolis during the week to see popular attractions. On the weekend, venture to small towns in the greater Indiana area, Illinois, Missouri, or West Virginia. Delve into the Mothman legend, connect with nature, meditate in a peaceful setting, or pet a zonkey, the adorable offspring of a zebra and another equine. Escape the noise and the bright city lights of Indianapolis for the weekend and discover a few unusual attractions nearby.

1. New Harmony, Indiana

bushes lighthouse
Source: Flickr/christina rutz

Find your zen in New Harmony, a little town on the Wabash River, just three hours from Indianapolis but light-years from the daily grind. The Harmony Society constructed the original Harmonist Labyrinth in about 1815. It was rebuilt in 1941 on an adjacent site, with the same concentric circular pattern. The varying paths in the maze lead to dead ends, and only one path leads to the center. Continue your peaceful journey toward relaxation at Moon River Spa and the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art. Enjoy local cuisine in small eateries, including the Yellow Tavern and Mary Scott’s Kitchen.

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2. Bristol, Indiana

red barn
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nothing says “weekend getaway” better than a visit to the RV Museum in Bristol, a scant three hours from Indianapolis. Ever since Henry Ford put autos on the road, Americans love using them for recreation. The museum celebrates the history of recreational vehicles, with displays all the way back to the 1913 Earl Travel Trailer. Celebrate your weekend with a tranquil float down the Little Elkhart River in a canoe from Lazy Dayz Canoe and Kayak rental. Take a cooler and plan to stop on a peaceful sandbar for a family picnic. Later, spend some time in Bonneyville Mill County Park to enjoy the trails and visit the mill. It’s a working flour mill that includes a gift shop.

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3. Wadsworth, Illinois

gold pyramid bridge
Source: goldpyramid.com

It isn’t every day that you get to tour a pyramid overlaid in real 24-karat gold, which makes the four-hour drive to Wadsworth, Illinois, worth the time. The 17,000 square-foot home is six stories tall and surrounded by a moat. Other features include a metal palm tree and a 50-foot statue of King Tut. For the kiddies, head over to Patch 22, a mecca of pony rides and farm fun. Let the kids pet the animals and take them on hayrides to round out a happy afternoon. Over at the Shanty Restaurant, there’s a full bar and menu, including seafood, steaks, and burgers. Located in Van Patten Woods, a forest preserve, Savanna House Restaurant dishes up traditional American cuisine.

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4. Belknap, Illinois

lake trees
Source: Facebook

Stow the overnight bags at your Belknap, Illinois, vacation rental, and head on over to Mermet Springs. It’s a great place to unwind after your four-hour drive. This diving site exists especially as a playground for divers to explore an unusual underwater playground that includes a full semi-trailer, a motorcycle, an ambulance, and even a Boeing 727. There’s also a collection of statues, ranging from lions to sharks, in the petting zoo area. Pamper yourself with dinner on the balcony at Cache River Basin Vineyard and Winery. Sit back and enjoy the varied selection of wine and beer with your meal.

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5. Bonne Terre, Missouri

caves caverns
Source: Flickr/Robert Stinnett

The 19th-century lead mines that built Bonne Terre, Missouri eventually flooded in 1962. Later, the mine opened as a recreational attraction, giving scuba divers what is now the world’s largest freshwater diving spot. Visitors swim through arches and chambers to discover millions of dollars of sunken mining equipment in the underground lake that covers 17 miles of subterranean rooms. You can also take walking and boat tours to check out the wonders of this man-made cavern. As you emerge from underground, reach for the stars in a galaxy of space memorabilia at the Space Museum, where you can see and touch space rocks. You have to settle for earth food at the Homestead Restaurant and Hubs Pub & Grill, but all of this is only four-and-a-half hours from Indy.

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6. Point Pleasant, West Virginia

cabin woods
Source: Wikimedia Commons

There’s no better place to begin your Mothman mystery quest than in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, the origin of the legend. In under five hours from Indianapolis, you’re parking in front of your Point Pleasant vacation rental, ready to begin a fun weekend tracking down the origins of the mysterious red-eyed creature that rivals Bigfoot for fame in this area. Start at the world’s only Mothman Museum on Main Street to discover props from the movie “The Mothman Prophecies.” As you expect in a quaint town, there’s a shop meant for browsing that contains two floors of everything from antique stoves to jelly. Enjoy plenty of antiques and collectibles from different eras at the Mason Jar, and get mostly anything you need at the other boutiques, cafes, and coffee shops. Outside of town, the West Virginia Farm Museum features a collection of historical structures, including a log cabin, schoolhouse, doctor’s office, and log church.

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7. Delton, Michigan

zonkey zoo
Source: Flickr/Strange Biology

Exchange Indy’s hustle and bustle for the folksy vibes just four hours away in Delton, Michigan, where Horn Creek Pub serves some good bar food. It’s a friendly place out in the sticks with an experienced bartender who knows how to mix your favorites. Family-friendly Tujax Tavern brews some distinct ales and the menu includes everything from burgers to steaks. Introduce the kids to zorses and zonkeys at Rarity Acres, where the owner cross-breeds zebras with horses and donkeys. Less than 10 minutes to the south, the Gilmore Car Museum features over 400 antique and vintage automobiles displayed in its facilities that are sprawled out over the 90-acre compound. While you’re there, treat your family to a nostalgic lunch at George and Sally’s Blue Moon Diner, a 1941 railroad dining car.

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