In a state famed for its iconic racetracks and bustling cities, Indiana holds a treasure trove of lesser-known destinations waiting to be discovered. From charming historical enclaves to breathtaking natural wonders, journey through the Hoosier State’s hidden gems.
Market Street Catacombs, Indianapolis
Even residents don’t know that lying underneath the City Market is a century-old maze of interconnected passageways. Initially, they helped retailers with time-sensitive products such as meat and produce before the advent of commercial refrigeration.
Today, these spooky catacombs are one of the most unique spaces in the state. Public tours on select Saturdays in September depart from the City Market’s second floor.
Bluespring Caverns, Bedford
The Bluespring Caverns, located in Bedford, is home to the longest underground river in the U.S.
It houses some of the most exciting wildlife. They consist mainly of albino animals and aquatic species, including crickets, spiders, crayfish, beetles, frogs, and blind fish. The caverns act as a canopy, protecting them from harsh weather and hot sun.
Visitors can boat or kayak through the caves and even have an overnight adventure. The cavern is open every day from 9 to 5.
Rotary Jail Museum, Crawfordsville
The Rotary Jail Museum in Crawfordsville houses an innovative architectural marvel – spinning jails. The cell compound consists of prison cells built in wedges with a central hub for guards. Those in charge of the inmates would rotate the cells using a hand crank.
Although the design is interesting, it wasn’t successful. Prisoners would often get their arms and legs trapped as the cells moved.
The museum is open to visitors on select days throughout the year.
Gravity Hill, Mooresville
Sitting just one mile off IN-43 is the infamous Gravity Hill, a space that seems to defy physics. Those who park their car in neutral at the bottom of the hill will roll up it.
The truth is the land creates an optical illusion that makes it seem like cars move uphill.
RV Hall of Fame, Elkhart
The RV Hall of Fame is a testament to the recreational vehicle industry and the people who influence it. Each year, they nominate new members.
Visitors can learn more about those inducted into the Hall of Fame at several of the fascinating Museums there.
The complex houses a library, Manufactured Home museum, RV Founders Hall, Exhibition Hall, and Go RVing Hall.
Visitors can even park their RVs in the lot for several days while they tour the various exhibitions.
Jug Rock, Shoals
Just outside Shoals is the largest free-standing rock formation in the country. It sits in the middle of the Jug Rock Nature Preserve.
What makes this rock formation so different is that nothing around it explains how it formed. There are no rivers. There are not even any other rocks. It’s just one large rock structure that looks like a jug, as the name suggests.
Pine Lake, Berne
Four miles west of Berne, Pine Lake has something many visitors don’t expect – a full-blown waterpark. The park has been there since 1922 and continues to be family-owned and operated.
There are four significant water slides, with the highest being 30 feet. Visitors also enjoy a cable ride, log walk, and splash pad among the attractions.
For those not interested in the thrills of the water slides, Pine Lake is an impressive body of water with incredible views.
Sunken Gardens, Huntington
The city of Huntington built the Sunken Gardens to cover up an unattractive quarry in the 1920s. Today, it is one of the only gardens in the state and is reminiscent of something out of a fairy tale.
Visitors enjoy rock steps, fountains, and stone bridges, all surrounding a stunning garden. It is the perfect spot for everything from weddings to a quiet day with a book.
Red Barn on a family farm-Miami County Indiana
Located in Miami County, Indiana, there’s a charming red barn that stands as a symbol of family heritage and hard work. This barn, weathered by time and filled with stories, has been a gathering place for generations. It’s where laughter echoes during family picnics, where crops are stored after a long day in the fields, and where memories are made under the Indiana sun. This red barn is more than just a structure; it’s a cherished piece of family history, a testament to the enduring spirit of rural life.
Krider World’s Fair Garden Park, Middlebury
This park in Middlebury takes you to a magical land with sculptures and whimsical displays. It was initially the home of Krider Nurseries in the early 1900s.
In the 1990s, the last business on the property closed its doors, and the park transformed into the gardens they are today.
Some of the standout features of the park include waterfalls, a giant mushroom statue, and a swing arbor.
The park also serves as a rest area along the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.