About this trip idea
Notes: Of course, you could do this trip all in one day, but why? Stretch it out over a few and enjoy yourself. Also, be sure to check routes and attraction hours before setting out.
3 hours, 38 minutes
1 START HERE: HAMMOND Start your trip at the Indiana Welcome Center to get your bearings. And if you’re lucky enough to visit during the holiday season, you’ll find cool stuff centered around the movie A Christmas Story, based on author Jean Shepherd’s recollections of growing up in this town. Six animatronic window displays depict iconic scenes from the film, and special events include the Oh Fuuudge! relay race.
2 PORTER (31 miles/35 min.) Feel sand between your toes when you cross into Indiana Dunes country. The beach draws swimmers and sun worshippers all summer long, and when the air turns crisp, theaters, hiking trails, buzzy restaurants and other attractions call.
3 MICHIGAN CITY (13 miles/24 min.) Serious savings await at Lighthouse Place Premium Outlets, where you’ll find some 120 shops from major brands. Or try your luck at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel & Spa, which offers 65,000 square feet of gaming.
5 SOUTH BEND (27 miles/39 min.) Cruise through 150 years of auto history at the Studebaker National Museum, and then step back in time at the Center for History.
6 ELKHART (16 miles/32 min.) At the RV/MH Hall of Fame, climb aboard the “long, long trailer” that mirrors the one Lucy & Desi made famous in their 1953 road-trip movie. Don’t miss Mae West’s car parked just down the aisle, and explore vintage Airstreams and Winnebagos.
7 BRISTOL (9 miles/19 min.) Make a stop on the Heritage Trail, which features an array of gorgeous “quilt gardens” from May 30 to October 1, and continues into the next three towns listed here (and beyond). Maps available at each of the seven sites guide the way.
8 GOSHEN (10 miles/16 min.) You’ll find everything but old bags at the Old Bag Factory, an artsy enclave of shopping and dining, where you might see a potter molding clay at his wheel, eye-popping quilts in a log cabin and a sculptor at work in his studio.
9 WAKARUSA (11 miles/19 min.) More quilt gardens (and murals) await in this Amish Country town, which also hosts a popular music festival each summer.
10 NAPPANEE (8 miles/12 min.) This city has— surprise!—still more quilt gardens, but also Amish Acres Historic Farm & Heritage Resort, a working farmstead with eateries and a theater.