Just what is meant by “hoosier” in the Hoosier State of Indiana? One theory is it’s the welcome call, who’s there, used by the friendly folks who call this Midwest state home. Well off the tourist radar, Indiana offers low-key but quality nature, folksy culture, and a rich farming community.
There’s really just one city in Indiana. Indianapolis is the center of almost everything that happens with a cool historic downtown district, a trendy neighborhood or two, loads of professional sports and the Indy 500 Speedway. If you need a solid dose of nightlife, inventive dining, or diverse shopping, Indianapolis is the place to go.
Few visitors venture much beyond the main city, but there is plenty to see and do if you’re willing to look off the beaten path. Amish country in the north is real treat of timeless craftsmanship and living. The southeast is where Indiana’s wineries are located nearby the beautiful and huge Brown State Park. Indiana also has loads of outdoor recreation to mix with visits to historic rural towns, where the famous Hoosier hospitality is on full display.
With Indianapolis dead smack in the center of the state, it’s the ideal starting point for road trips around Indiana. Head north to the shores of Lake Michigan and the outstanding Indiana Dunes or go south to the lively college town of Bloomington or the nature of Brown State Park. Indiana is a great value, both in terms of eating and drinking, as well as hotel rates and entry fees into attractions.
But to really get around Indiana and enjoy the hidden little gems tucked down its rural roads you need your own wheels. The Greyhound bus can get you from Point A to Point B, but after that a car is necessary to reach parks, historic sites, and other places like wineries and Amish country. All the major car rental companies have offices in downtown Indianapolis and at the airport. While you could easily spend your whole trip in the wonderful city itself, a couple of days in the farming countryside really rounds off the experience of Indiana.
- Wine and dine in the trendy Broad Ripple Village district of Indianapolis
- Hike through Brown State Park in fall when the hardwoods change color and the skies are impossibly blue
- Play in the unique sand formations along Lake Michigan in Indiana Dunes State Park
- Slip back to 19th-century at the living museum of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park
- Shop for handmade quilts and fruit preserves in one of the old-world towns in Amish country
- Visit in late May for the annual Indy 500 motorcar race
- Rent a car and cruise the Indiana Wine Trail in the southeast where a half dozen wineries await you to taste test