The Indiana Insider Blog

Get Fit with the Indiana State Parks 2011 Fitness Challenge

If you read the Indiana Insider regularly, and my posts in particular, then it will come as no surprise that state parks are my favorite way to “Visit Indiana.”  They contain so much of our state’s natural beauty, they are very affordable, and for those of you traveling as a family, they are extremely kid friendly.

Hiking at Turkey Run State Park

So I was really excited to read all about a program that encourages visitors to make fitness a part of their state park experience. It began in May, but it’s not too late to join the 2011 Fitness Challenge. The program runs through the end of October.

Simply log your hiking, biking, swimming, paddling, running and walking miles on this form. You can also ride horseback. Then get a signature from a park employee to document your mileage. Once you’ve reached 25 miles (or 100 miles if on horseback), submit your form and be entered to win several great prizes. My favorite is an annual pass that gets you into any state park (cost is $36 for Indiana residents). My family has one, and we love it. But you might also enjoy a gift certificate to stay at one of the lovely inns, or camping gift certificates, among other rewards.

So visit a state park near you, or incorporate a stop into your travel plans. My recommendations for summer fitness at Indiana State Parks?

  • A cool hike in the shade of the forest. (Specific mileage of every trail is marked in each park’s brochure, so be sure to pick one up at the park entrance.)
  • A long swim in one of the many state park pools.
  • A canoe ride on the open waters of a state park reservoir. (You’ll find a listing of reservoirs at the bottom of this page. Canoe availability depends on each park.)

Start racking up those miles and the benefits will follow, even if its just a shrinking waistline!

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Written by : Nicole is a stay-at-home mom and blogger living in Columbus, Indiana. She blogs about adventures at home and away with her husband and 2-year-old son at She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She grew up in Plainfield, Indiana and graduated from Butler University in 2002. She spent seven years living and working in downtown Indianapolis following college. Nicole is always looking for fun, kid-friendly outing ideas. You can contact her via email or find her on Twitter at @arrowssentforth. Nicole receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.