Boots and mittens ready for fun? Then this is the list for you. Indiana’s outdoor play land is just as beautiful in the winter as the other three seasons, and you don’t want to miss the scenery by staying indoors. We’ve divided our wintry list of outdoor recreation destinations into five categories so you can find your favorite or try something completely new: ice skating; skiing, snowboarding and tubing; sledding; hiking and horseback riding; and snowmobiling. You’ll need to wait for snow for some of the sledding hills, but many of the locations provide snow and ice for your winter fun.
The Ice at Center Green – Outdoor skating right in the middle of Carmel.
Central Park Plaza Ice Rink – Ice skating in the heart of downtown Valparaiso.
Federal Hill Commons Ice Plaza – It’s the third year for this Noblesville ice skating rink.
Riverside Skating Center – Located in West Lafayette, it’s lighted for evening skating, too.
Lawrenceburg’s Winter Wonderland Ice Rink – The pavilion at Todd Creech Park provides a roof overhead and a fire pit.
Skate the Plaza at Deep River Water Park – Water fun in the summer turns to a big skating rink for the winter.
NIBCO Water & Ice Park – A beautiful rink with the Elkhart River as a backdrop.
Skiing, Snowboarding & Tubing
Paoli Peaks – Usually opens the first of December, depending on when it’s cold enough to make the first snow.
Perfect North Slopes – A 100-acre snow playground with hills for all levels of ability.
Cross Country Skiing at Indiana Dunes National Park – The 6.4-mile Ly-co-ki-we Trail takes you through gently rolling wooded dunes.
Toboggan Run at Pokagon State Park – Zoom down the Midwest’s only refrigerated toboggan run.
Fort Harrison State Park – Featuring one of Indianapolis’ largest sledding hills.
Indiana Dunes State Park – Sledding down Devil’s Slide gives you a great view of Lake Michigan.
Hiking & Horseback Riding
First Day Hikes – Spend New Year’s Day on a guided hike in an Indiana State Park.
December Full Moon Hikes – Good shoes and walking sticks recommended for these guided hikes at select Indiana State Parks.
Eagles in Flight Weekend – A full weekend of learning and observing at Turkey Run State Park.
Indiana Cave Trail – It’s always the same temperature inside these four caves.
Natural Valley Ranch – Ride horseback for a 30- or 60-minute trail ride in Hendricks County.
Buffalo Run Snowmobile Trail – A 68-mile trail through St. Joseph County.
Miami Snowmobile Trail – A 60-mile trail in Elkhart County.