6 Top Rated Weekend Getaways in Indiana (2022)
With so many beautiful cities and small towns, planning a weekend getaway in Indiana can be a high-octane excitement task. You can build a bucket list with places to visit in Indiana over the weekend, from checking out the Indy 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or looking to disappear into a low-key retreat in nature at the Indian Dunes National Park. There is no shortage of destinations that are perfect for weekend getaways.
6 Top Rated Weekend Getaways in Indiana
Here are some of the best weekend getaways to check out in Indiana.
1. The Charming Town of Santa Claus
One of the first places to head to for the weekend is the charming town of Santa Claus in Indiana, especially if you are thinking of spending the weekend with your family. The unique feature of Santa Claus is that you and your family can experience the magic of Christmas all year round. In fact, the town of Santa Claus is known as America’s Christmas Hometown, and the entire town takes this name very seriously.
All the residents of Santa Clause take a lot of pride in making their hometown the perfect Christmas destination all year round, and the best part is that you can see the Christmas spirit everywhere you look. No matter the time of year, you get to enjoy attractions like a Christmas store, a toy shop, a Santa Claus Museum and Village, and so much more. The quaint town of Santa Claus is the perfect weekend getaway for families that love celebrating Christmas together.
2. A Weekend at Indy 500
There are few things in the state of Indiana that are as iconic as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. To plan the perfect exciting weekend getaway, you should plan the weekend around the Indianapolis 500 or Indy 500 that is held in the spring of every year.
And it’s not just the main event, but there are actually several days of events that led up to this big race, letting you make a complete weekend getaway out of this and also be a part of this high-octane live event. However, be prepared to pay a premium price for the tickets and places to stay if you want to be close to the raceway.
If you are a racing enthusiast, you can plan a getaway at any time of the year and not just at the Indy 500. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway actually hosts many other important races throughout the year, so you can always choose a weekend getaway when one of these races interests you. You can also plan a getaway to take part in an Indy Driving Experience, where you get to ride in a real racecar and ride along with driving professionals like Mario Andretti.
And don’t forget to include a visit to the Motor Speedway Museum, which remains open all year round and contains many behind-the-scenes exhibits that showcase the history of racing at this speedway and in Indiana in general.
3. Enjoying the Outdoors at Indiana Dunes National Park
If you love spending time in nature, the best place to spend the weekend is on the shores of Lake Michigan at the Indiana Dunes National Park. Located on the northwestern side of the state near Porter, Indiana Dunes became one of the newest addition to the US National Parks system in 2019. Having 15 miles of shoreline and West Beach, most visitors flock to this national park for swimming and picnics.
Spread out over more than 15,000 acres, the Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the most diverse ecosystems in Indiana. This magnificent national park is home to forests, swamps, prairies, savannas, and even wetlands. And as the name suggests, it has many sand dunes as well.
The natural beauty of the park is not the only reason to visit this place. Indiana Dunes National Park is the best place to enjoy all types of adventure and outdoor activities. From camping under the stars to hiking through the dense green forest, there are many adventures awaiting people of all ages.
And the best part is that you can visit the part at any time of the year and you will find many different activities to enjoy. The park offers horseback riding in the summer months, and cross-country skiing is a very popular activity in the winter. No matter the time of the year, there is always plenty of stuff to do here.
4. Have a Full Sports Movie Weekend
Many visitors to Indiana are surprised to find out that the state has made many cameos in sports movies. So many appearances, in fact, that you can spend an entire weekend exploring many of these famous baseball fields and gyms that have been featured in Hollywood movies.
The best idea is to start your weekend trip from Huntingburg at the League Stadium, which was featured in the movie A League of Their Own starring Tom Hanks, Madonna, Geena Davis, and Rosie O’Donnell. Though the stadium is now home to the Dubois County Bombers baseball team, there are still many movie memorabilia to check out and, of course, the iconic movie atmosphere of the stadium to take in.
From here, travel to Butler University in Indianapolis to visit the famous Hinkle Fieldhouse. This was the backdrop in the famous film Hoosiers, where the finals of Indiana State Basketball took place. While you are here, also consider making a stop at the Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, which was also shown in the movie.
Your next stop should be to check out the gymnasium at Frankfurt High School in Frankfurt, where NBA icons like Larry Bird and Dick Vitale starred in the famous movie Blue Chips.
And to round off your weekend, head to Notre Dame, where you get to experience the atmosphere of the most iconic Hollywood sports movie of all time, Rudy. You can take the movie tour and also check out the actual locations where the film was shot, and also stay to catch a live football game with the Fighting Irish team at Notre Dame University.
5. Exploring the Unique Antique Alley in Richmond
If you like to check out antique things, then a visit to Indiana’s famous Antique Alley in Richmond County is a must. There are thousands of people who take antiquing to be a very serious hobby and are always looking for something old and classy to add to their collection instead of running after the latest fad.
To reach this fascinating place, you need to hop into your car and drive on the 60-mile Historic National Road that connects Richmond to Knightstown. You will find over 1000 antique dealers lining this national route, their shops inviting you to check out the many antique treasures. You can peacefully spend the day browsing through thousands of antiques and also experiencing the peaceful Indiana countryside. This popular route is located in historic Cambridge City, where there is even an entire mall dedicated to antiques and numerous antique dealers, all located within just a three-block radius. So head over to the Historic National Road without any more delay to bag some unique and priceless antiques.
6. A Fun Weekend at Indianapolis
The capital city of Indiana is home to some of the best tourist attractions and fun things to do in the state. Indianapolis is also one of the top family weekend getaway destinations in Indiana. This city is the one-stop for families looking to indulge in entertainment, shopping, activities, and fine dining all at one place.
Begin your weekend by spending a full day at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, which is the largest children’s museum in the world. The museum is home to thousands of interactive exhibits, seasonal outdoor sports activities, and live theater shows. Some of the other must-see exhibits here include the 43-foot tall Dale Chihuly glass sculpture, and an interactive playscape that is designed just for preschoolers, and many full-sized dinosaur skeletons, including one of the few mummified dinosaurs in the world.
After the museum, take out half a day to visit the Indianapolis Zoo, which is one of the most popular destinations in all of Indiana. The zoo is home to over 3,500 animals belonging to 320 species and subspecies. This is a huge number of animals that not many other city zoos can boast of. It is the ideal attraction for people of all ages who can spend the day at their own pace, wandering through the various exhibits and trying out new experiences like swimming with the dolphins at the zoo. In fact, this is the only zoo in the entire Midwest where you can get up close with dolphins in the water. The major attraction of the zoo is the five different biomes, with each biome consisting of plants and animals that are from the same habitat. The five biomes include Oceans, Deserts, Forests, Plains, and Flights of Fancy.
For those who want to spend time enjoying the outdoors, you can plan an afternoon to enjoy the green space at the White River State Park or even rent a bike to travel along the Cultural Trail in downtown Indianapolis. And to round off the perfect day, spend one of your evenings just strolling around Mass Avenue to have dinner at one of the many local restaurants, and finish off the night as you watch a show at the historic Old National Center.