Whether you live there or you’re just visiting, Indiana is a fantastic state. There is beautiful nature to be explored, awesome museums to learn from, and much much more.
The only problem? Deciding which things to do and see.
Fortunately, you have this Indiana bucket list to turn to. This travel list consists of all our favorite things to see and do in the Hoosier State. This is perfect because it allows you to pick and choose the bucket list ideas that sound best to you, and create an Indiana travel bucket list of your own.
— What is a Bucket List? —
Wondering what in the world a bucket list is? For those one you who have never heard this term, a bucket list is a collection of things to see, places to visit, and people to meet before you die.
Some people keep a single bucket list for all of their top must-dos. Others prefer to keep separate lists, sorting them based on types of experiences or location.
We prefer to do the latter—keeping a bucket list for each place we plan to visit—and encourage you to start doing the same. Below is our Indiana bucket list.
— Bucket List Vacations: Indiana’s National Parks —
Parks, monuments, and other sites run by the National Parks Service are always 100% worth visiting. For this reason, we always start our state bucket lists with the NPS sites in that state. This is something we’ve never regretted doing, and Indiana’s NPS sites are as good as any we’ve seen.
#1. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park
Learn about the capture of Fort Sackville and what that meant for America and its western frontier at George Rogers Clark National Historical Park. This is an interesting peek at a part of our past that is often glazed over.
#2. Indiana Dunes National Park
An absolutely gorgeous park set on the shore of Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Park is a great place to learn about the diverse ecosystems found within these incredible dunes. It’s also a fun place to spend a day on a sandy beach.
#3. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
President Abraham Lincoln grew up in Indiana, and while living there learned many of the lessons that made him the man he was. Learn about his childhood and the events that shaped this incredible man at the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial.
— More Indiana Bucket List Experiences —
Want even more Indiana fun? Fortunately, this isn’t hard to find. Check out the list below for some of the very best options that we think you need to add to your list of Indiana must-dos.
#4. Go to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum
Often touted as the best children’s museum in America, the Indianapolis Children’s Museum certainly is incredible. Whether your kids choose to explore the world of dinos, check out the super cool train exhibit, ride the carousel, watch live theater, or go back to ancient Egypt, they are sure to learn something new while having a blast in this amazing place.
#5. Walk the Garfield Trail
Most of us grew up with the classic Garfield comics and cartoons. Relive your childhood and share these beloved characters with your children by checking out the fun and exciting character sculptures along the Garfield Trail.
#6. Try Breaded Pork Tenderloin
An Indiana favorite, breaded pork tenderloin is comfort food at its best. This delicious meal can be found at all kinds of local eateries. Find a place that serves and order it as a sandwich. You won’t regret it!
#7. See the Quilt Gardens
The Quilt Gardens of Elkhart County are a lovely sight to see. During the spring and summer months, when the flowers are in full bloom, these gardens are as intricate and brightly colored as a lovingly made quilt, and the scavenger hunt to find these gardens just adds to the fun.
#8. Follow the Indiana Glass Trail
Believe it or not, Indiana is an excellent place to go for decorative glass pieces. The Glass Trail links glass artists and other glass-related attractions in 5 counties. Following the Glass Trail allows you to see glass being made and be a part of the glass experience.
#9. Step Back in Time at Conner Prairie
Have you ever wished you could step back in time and experience history first hand? At Conner Prairie you can do just that. Ride in an old-fashioned hot air balloon, walk through a frontier town, and check out the animals in a barn from the past. You’re sure to have some unique experience while learning about life in the past.
#10. Go Wild at Wilstem Wildlife Park
The perfect attraction for animal lovers of all ages, Wilstem Wildlife Park hosts animal encounters, allowing you to get up close and personal with all sorts of creatures. It’s also home to a really cool drive-through safari, as well as horseback riding and a zip-line.
#11. Meet a Wolf at Wolf Park
Another excellent option for the animal enthusiasts in your group, Wolf Park is dedicated to protecting wolves and advocating to people about the animals. A visit to the park allows you to see a couple of different kinds of wolves, as well as foxes and bison.
#12. Have a Bob Ross Experience
Offered at Minnetrista, the Bob Ross Experience is a lot of fun for the whole family. Check out Bob’s former studio, see paintings and artifacts, and learn about the life and philosophy of this incredible man that so many look up to. This is an experience you won’t soon forget!
#13. Admire Architecture in Columbus
Columbus, Indiana is home to some seriously beautiful architecture. Some of the world’s finest architects have contributed to this gorgeous place, working to make it a lovely place to live since the 1940s. It’s well worth taking a stroll around the city just to admire their work.
#14. Visit the Historic Hoosier Gym
The filming location for the 1986 movie Hoosiers, Hoosier Gym is a lot of fun to visit. In addition to retaining the look and decor used in the movie, the gym also hosts several high school basketball games each year, including their annual Hoosiers Reunion All-Star Classic.
#15. Drive the Ohio River Scenic Byway
Looking to take in some of the natural beauty of Indiana? We highly recommend a drive on the Ohio River Scenic Byway. This will take you through some beautiful natural areas as well as some adorable small towns. Be sure to stop in the tiny towns and do some shopping and dining. You never know what gems you might find!
#16. Explore Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Easily one of the best zoos in the country, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo is a must-see if you’re visiting with kids. We especially love the “Australian Adventure” and “Indonesian Rainforest” sections. However, all of the zoo’s exhibits are lovely and well done.
#17. Have a Slice of Hoosier Pie
No food says “Indiana” quite like a slice of Hoosier pie. Originally born as a “desperation dessert,” the pie is now beloved by Indianans of all ages. This sugar cream pie can be found in eateries all across the state, and you’ll want to make sure to order some before you leave.
#18. Tour the Rotary Jail Museum
Old jails are almost always interesting to see and explore. However, the Rotary Jail Museum is even more interesting than some. This is because the circular jail was made in such a way that the cells can be rotated and only one cell can be accessed at a time. This unusual design is definitely cool to see in person.
#19. Hike to Cataract Falls
The Cataract Falls are an absolutely beautiful sight to see. This is the biggest fall in the state by volume and features both upper and lower falls. This waterfall is located in the Lieberman State Recreation area, and a covered bridge and smaller waterfall can also be seen there.
#20. Watch a Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
No visit to Indianapolis is complete without seeing a race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Be sure to plan your visit to this part of the state around a race so you can have this incredible experience.
#21. Obsess at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum
If you’re a diehard Indianapolis Motor Speedway fan, you’ll also want to make sure you check out the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum where you can learn all about the history of this famous speedway.
#22. Find Fun at the Indiana Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park
Looking for some family fun and thrills? Look no further than the Indiana Beach Boardwalk and Amusement Park. Yes, you read that right, Indiana has a boardwalk! This one is on Lake Shafer rather than the ocean, but it has all the same charm you’d expect from an ocean boardwalk.
#23. Spread Cheer in the Town Of Santa Claus
Do you love Christmas? Do you wish it could be a year-round event? If so, the town of Santa Claus is the place for you. The people of this town take the town name pretty seriously, and in order to honor the name, they celebrate the holiday year-round. Stay in Lake Rudolph (the Christmas-themed campground), visit Holiday World (the Christmas theme park), and shop in the Christmas Shop.
#24. Wander Brown County State Park
Those who enjoy a good hike and time spent in the fresh air and sunshine will love Brown County State Park. Swimming, horseback riding, and fishing are popular things to do in the park. Camping is also available, meaning you can stay right in the middle of all the outdoor fun.
#25. Spend Time at the USS LST Ship Memorial
The LST-325 is a decommissioned tank landing ship belonging to the United States Navy. The ship is the last fully operational WWII landing ship tank. It is now located in Evansville, Indiana and open to the public for tours. This is the perfect stop for military enthusiasts and ship fans alike.
#26. Discover the Indiana Uplands Wine Trail
Most people don’t think of Indiana as wine country, but the wine produced here is actually quite good. The Indiana Uplands Wine Trail features several wineries and vineyards, meaning you can spend a few days touring various wine-related spots and trying new wines.
#27. Learn about the History of RVing
Ever wonder about the history of RVs? The RV and Motorhome Hall of Fame tells the story of RVing in America. It houses a large number of vintage RVs which can be walked through, and really helps visitors get a feel for how RVing became what it is today.
#28. Check Out an RV Factory
Another great way to learn about RVs while in Indiana is by visiting one of the many RV factories located in Elkhart. Most of these tours are free, but some do require that you make a reservation in advance. All of them give you a peek at how RVs are made, a topic that is surprisingly interesting.
#29. Enjoy an Amish Donut from Rise ‘n Roll
The eastern side of Indiana is home to several large Amish communities. We highly recommend visiting these communities to get a feel for this slower, more intentional way of life. While you’re there, be sure to try some of the amazing made-from-scratch food that the Amish make and sell. We’re particularly fond of the “Amish crack” donuts sold at Rise ‘n Roll bakery.
Indiana is without a doubt an interesting and fun place to visit. In fact, there’s so much to see and do in the state, we recommend visiting in an RV. Choosing an RV as your lodging allows you to travel from place to place in the state, helping you squeeze in everything you want to see and do. Not only that, it also ensures you stay comfy as you hop around the Hoosier State checking items off your Indiana bucket list.