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George Rogers Clark National Historical Park & Memorial

5 Best Things To Do In Southern Indiana (2024)

If you are planning to visit Southern Indiana, a great ‘guide’ to this region would be to watch the movie ‘Hoosiers’ with Gene Hackman. You will be left with an intense desire to visit this stunning part of Indiana, where the landscapes become hilly, and the pace of life slows down just a bit. It is here in the lower half of Indiana that you will get to see rolling hills, lush forests, waterparks, a vibrant arts scene, and lots of opportunities for wholesome family fun. You can decide to spend your days hiking and exploring the many state parks, and once the evening falls, you can indulge yourself in authentic Italian cuisine at the famous French Lick Winery and Vintage Cafe.

5 Best Things To Do In Southern Indiana

So if you are planning a trip to the southern half of The Hoosiers State, here is a complete guide to the best things to do in Southern Indiana.

1. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park & Memorial

The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is a famous national park in Southern Indiana owing to it being the site of one of the greatest achievements of the American Revolution. This is a national park that is rich in history, unique attractions, and many exciting stories. When you visit the park, you will get to learn many details about the famous George Roger Clark and his march from Kaskaskia to Vincennes (which is today the site of this historical park). The tales tell of how Clark and his men claimed victory over Fort Sackville and other nearby territories, which went on to ultimately become the states of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, and Wisconsin that we know today.

This famous journey took Clark 18 days to complete in February 1779 during a bitterly cold winter month. There were 170 American and French men who made this journey along with Clark to reach Fort Sackville.

Today, this historical park is named after Clark. The George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is sprawled out over 9.8 hectares (24.3 acres) and is home to an impressive monument to Clark, many smaller statues, and a Visitor Center where you can find out all about this remarkable feat. The park is located along the beautiful Wabash River in the southwestern part of Indiana.

Begin the trip by visiting the Visitor Center, where you can find out about the story of George Rogers Clark and his men and the military campaign they undertook. This is a half an hour movie that is shown here detailing the entire story. There is also a separate exhibit area at the Visitor Center, and the staff is well equipped to answer all your queries.

From the Visitor Center, take a short walk to reach the biggest national monument located outside of Washington DC in the US, which is the George Rogers Clark Memorial. As you come closer to the monument, you will see 16 majestic granite columns standing around in a circle with a bronze statue of Clark inside. The memorial also has seven murals that showcase the story of the entire expedition. There are many other statues also in the park that honor the brave men of the war.

2. Falls of the Ohio State Park

The Falls of the Ohio State Park is located along the magnificent banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville and it is a marvelous attraction in Southern Indiana. The fossil beds here are believed to be over 385 million years old, and they are some of the world’s largest exposed Devonian fossil beds.

The state park is home to a fantastic interpretive center that overlooks these magnificent fossil beds and also features many immersive and interactive exhibits. Some of the popular activities to indulge in inside the Falls of the Ohio State Park area include bird watching, fossil viewing, hiking, picnicking, and fishing.

If you want to get up close to the park’s fossil beds, the best time is to visit the Falls of the Ohio State Park during the months of August, September, and October, when the river is usually at its lowest level and provides better opportunity and accessibility to the fossil beds that stretch on for 220 acres.

3. Marengo Cave

One of the most stunning sights in Southern Indiana is the Marengo Cave. Even though the attraction is privately owned, but since 1883, regular public tours have been taking place. The Marengo Cave is one of four caves in Indiana that are open to the public.

This is a National Natural Landmark that is spread over seven acres, and you will find miles and miles of beautiful stalactites and stalagmites to captivate your attention. Once you enter the caves and behold these magnificent structures, it is difficult to tear your eyes away from them.

There are two walking tours that are available, including the Crystal Palace Tour, which lasts for almost 40 minutes, and the Dripstone Trail Tour, which lasts for over an hour and takes you through one full mile of the Marengo Cave. The Marengo Cave has around five miles of known and identified passageway, which makes this one of the longest caves in Indiana.

4. Squire Boone Caverns

Southern Indiana is the perfect destination for adventure lovers as it is home to many unique and spectacular attractions. The Squire Boone Caverns offer visitors one of the most fascinating underground adventures in the entire country. The caverns are made up of a vast cave system as well as a nearby village that was discovered by explorers Squire and Daniel Boone while attempting to hide away from Native Americans during the late 18th century. One of the brothers later returned to start living near the cave itself because he loved it so much. In fact, Squire Boone was so much in love with the place that, upon his request, he was buried at the entrance of the caves itself.

There are experienced guides available here today that take visitors on a tour of the caves. You can see stunning sights like a large underground waterfall, an underground stream, many unique and incredible rock formations, and some of the biggest stalagmite and stalactite shapes you will find in Southern Indiana. The tour also includes the nearby pioneer village, where you get to see a charming old-fashioned candy shop, handmade soaps from lard, and hand-dipped candles being made. The Suite Caverns are a sight to see for yourself to truly believe the magnitude of the cave system present under the ground.

5. French Lick Resort

The French Lick Resort is home to not one but two award-winning AAA Four Diamond hotels. These are the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel. People from all over the country come to the French Lick Resort to enjoy a luxurious stay, away from the noise and stressors of the city.

Both these resorts are stunning examples of historic architecture, considering that the French Lick region itself is on the National Register of Historic Places, and West Baden is a National Historic Landmark.

The resort is nestled away in the hills of the Hoosier National Forest and just a short drive away from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Louisville. The resorts are perfect for couples as well as families. The hotels have a wide variety of entertainment options and amenities, including a 45-hole Pete Dye golf course, two luxurious and world-class spas, horseback riding, a Vegas-style casino, and many activities for children as well.

You will be surprised to know that the stunning French Lick Springs Hotel resort has been voted as one of the ‘Best Historic Resorts’ by USA Today, and it has even earned the right to be named as one of the Top 50 US Hotel Spas by the famous Conde Nast Traveler. This resort is definitely luxury redefined. A stay here is the perfect way to round off your trip to Southern Indiana.

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