Get Out & Play

Indiana’s state parks and recreation areas are packed with options for outdoor fun. Want to explore? Here are some No. 1 spots to…

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1 Turkey Run State Park

8121 Park Rd., Marshall

Test your calf muscles with a jaunt on the picturesque trails that wind through the sandstone cliffs and gorges of Rocky Hollow/Falls Canyon Nature Preserve north of Sugar Creek. Along the way, you’ll glimpse the Punch Bowl, Wedge Rock, the Ice Box and other geologic formations worth taking a selfie with.

2 Brown County State Park

1810 S.R. 46 East, Nashville

Bike magazine ranks Indiana’s largest state park among the top 33 mountain-bike trails in North America, and the collection of easy to rugged paths here has earned the park “epic” status from the International Mountain Bike Association. Panoramic vistas and unsurpassed fall foliage are part of the package.

3 Deam Lake State Recreation Area

1217 Deam Lake Rd., Borden

Saddle up and get along—this southern Indiana state recreation area (SRA) near Sellersburg and New Albany keeps riders and horses happy with a designated campground that includes cabins and stalls. Deam Lake also connects to Clark State Forest, tacking on another 80 miles of trails to explore.

4 Chain O’Lakes State Park

2355 E. 75 S., Albion

Canoe enthusiasts can paddle to their hearts’ content along this scenic string of 13 glacier-formed kettle lakes northwest of Fort Wayne, nine of which link by waterway for miles of adventure along picture-perfect natural shoreline. Canoe, paddleboat, kayak and rowboat rentals are available on-site.

5 Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

1215 N. S.R. 49, Porter

A beach vacation in Indiana? Yep. Visitors can brave the Lake Michigan waves at any of the unguarded sandy spots that dot the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore—Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk, Porter, Kemil, Dunbar, Lakeview and Central Avenue. Bring your own kayak, paddleboard or body board for serious fun in the sun.

6 Interlake State Recreation Area

S.R. 68, 3 miles east of S.R. 61, Lynnville

About 30 miles northeast of Evansville, the varied topography makes for a thrilling ride at this family-friendly destination. Just be sure your off-highway vehicle is registered or street legal/licensed.

7 Salamonie Lake

9214 Lost Bridge Road West, Andrews

Straddling the Huntington/Wabash county line, this 12,500-acre property is home to a 40-mile snowmobile trail that skirts the southern edge of the lake and stays open December 1 through March 31, provided there’s adequate snow. With funding support from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Salamonie Trailmasters keep things running smoothly.

8 Spring Mill State Park

3333 IN 60, Mitchell

Although some caves on Indiana DNR–managed properties are off-limits due to white-nose syndrome (a bat-killing fungus), Twin Caves remain open for boat tours. Donaldson/Bronson Cave and a portion of Upper Twin Cave offer limited access to self-guided groups with reservations.