It’s just one of those Indiana days when it’s so hot you feel like you can’t catch your breath. I’m fairly certain the water in our backyard baby pool might start to boil if I keep it in the sun much longer. These are the days I daydream of a visit to one of Indiana’s caves–where it’s always a crisp, cool 52 degrees. Even in July and August! Not only is it a great way to beat the heat, but it offers exciting, family-friendly adventures outside of the stale air of the air conditioner.
Let’s start the exploration at Marengo Cave, well deserving of its status as a U.S. National Natural Landmark. Located deep in southern Indiana, I think this cave is best experienced on your own two feet. Two different walking tours are offered, Crystal Palace is an easy, 40-minute walk and Dripstone Trail is a 1-mile, 70-minute trail. Kids will love that they can also mine for gems or crawl through the cave simulator. Hour and directions are available here. Pricing varies depending on which activities you choose, so be sure to check out their website.
If you’ve always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Daniel Boone, then a visit to Squire Boone Caverns is your chance to do just that. He discovered these caverns two centuries ago. They’re probably best known for the amazing waterfalls you’ll find. Guided 1-hour walking tours depart every 30 minutes in the summer months and prices range from $8 for kids to $14.50 for adults. (Print this coupon and save $2 per person!) Before or after your tour of the caverns, you can stop in the Village and see the Grist Mill, browse the Rock Shop, or participate in other period activities like candle dipping and gold panning.
After all these walking tours, give your feet a break and tour Bluespring Caverns by boat. Your tour guide will point out rare fish and explain the unique history of how the caverns were formed and discovered. The caverns are open daily throughout the summer. Cost is $14 for adults and $8 for kids for the 1-hour boat ride. (Print this coupon and save $1 per person!)
These three caves make up the Indiana Cave Trail. If you plan to visit all three, be sure to pick up a passport at your first stop, have it stamped along the way, and get a free t-shirt. Each cave is within about a 1-hour drive of each other.
Photo courtesy of Bluespring Caverns.