Taking a Drive: Indy Day Trips

Indianapolis has plenty to do but if you're up for a short road trip, check out our dynamic neighbors.


Known as the home of Indiana University, Bloomington was also recently named the 7th fastest growing destination in the nation for wine and culinary enthusiasts. The choices will tempt your taste buds from the inspired comfort food at Restaurant Tallent and Farm Bloomington to the variety of ethnic cuisines such as Tibetan, Thai, French, African, Moroccan, Turkish, Asian and Italian. Add to that award-winning Oliver Winery, Upland and Bloomington Brewing Companies, stunning scenery highlighted with rolling hills and a growing arts and culture community.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 53 miles.

Home to more than 70 renowned pieces of architecture and public art, Columbus boasts the work of Dale Chihuly, Richard Meier, Henry Moore, I.M. Pei, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Harry Weese and more. Walking or bus tours are available to take it all in. Be sure to take a break and pull up a stool at Zaharako’s Victorian Soda Shoppe, opened in 1900 and still serving classic treats. If bargain shopping is more to your liking, don't miss Edinburgh Premium Outlets with more than 85 stores including Columbia Sportswear, Izod, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 45 miles.

French Lick/West Baden
A true resort community, French Lick West Baden welcomes guests to the ultimate luxury experience. The French Lick Springs and West Baden Springs Hotels are historic, opulent lodging choices set amidst the hills, valleys and lakes of the region. Make a splash at an indoor water park, go boating on Patoka Lake, take a train through the Hoosier National Forest, climb in the saddle for a horseback ride or put on your best walking shoes to explore one of the many scenic trails.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 124 miles.

Hamilton County
Called Indiana's premier golf destination, Hamilton County prides itself on the quality and variety of its courses which include a couple designed by the legendary Pete Dye. On a break from the links, enjoy Geist and Morse Reservoirs for boating and fishing, learn about our past at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park which was recently named one of the top five museums in the nation, explore independent restaurants and creativity in Carmel's Arts & Design District, shop at the area's first outdoor lifestyle center (Clay Terrace) or treat yourself to a show at the newly-opened Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 17 miles.

Hendricks County
From March to October, Lucas Oil Raceway's oval and dragstrip are alive with racing action. See the world's largest drag race, the U.S. Nationals, over Labor Day weekend, NASCAR's Kroger SpeedFest in July and the USAC Sprint Car and ARCA Racing Series throughout the year. Experience an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment phenomenon, Metropolis, with regular live music performances and a Rave theater. For a more relaxing vibe, try shopping in quaint downtown Danville, pick some produce at Beasley's Orchard & Gardens or sample some of the 50 varieties of wine handcrafted at Chateau Thomas Winery.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 13 miles.

Lincoln City
History buffs will delight in seeing the area in which Abraham Lincoln was raised and educated. Lincoln State Park offers ten miles of hiking trails and two lakes with cabins, cottages and campgrounds. The park is also home to the Lincoln Bicentennial Plaza celebrating the 16th president's 200th birthday. Take a giant step back in time while visiting the Lincoln Pioneer Village & Museum with 14 Lincoln-era replica cabins, the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial including a museum with a film and other educational materials and Lincoln Living Historical Farm, which is a re-created, working pioneer homestead from the 1820s.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 150 miles.

Nashville/Brown County
Whether it's an excursion to downtown Nashville with all its eclectic shops and art galleries, a mountain bike ride or a trip on a zip line, you can find it here. Brown County State Park is the state's largest with 16,000 acres of trails, forests, shelters, campgrounds, lakes, a nature center and abundant recreational options. The world's oldest, continuously running bluegrass festival, the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, takes place here each June and the Melchior Marionette Theatre calls the area home.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 45 miles.

New Castle
Hoops rule in Indiana and New Castle feeds the madness as home to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. Thousands of artifacts tell the story of the Hoosier State's proud tradition from its inception with peach baskets to present day championships.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 48 miles.

Santa Claus
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari was the world's first theme park and still has plenty of thrills for the whole family. The park's wooden coasters are consistently voted near the top and the relatively recent opening of Splashin' Safari provides lots of family water rides, action rivers and wave pools. Known for its cleanliness, the park provides free soft drinks, sunscreen, inner tubes and parking in a non-smoking environment. In addition, the world's only Santa Claus Post Office resides here and still receives--and answers--more than 12,000 children's letters each holiday season.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 150 miles.

Put your chips on the table at Indiana Live! Casino or pick your lucky horse at adjacent Indiana Downs. In addition to the table games, you can also bet on finding great eats at the casino's Maker's Mark Bourbon House & Lounge, the Live! Market Buffet and Deli or NASCAR Sports Grille. Spend some of your winnings seeing a true vaudeville show at the BC Supper Club. Come for lunch or dinner and experience a show full of music, dance and comedy.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 30 miles.

West Lafayette
Home of Purdue University, West Lafayette has a thriving arts community and a healthy embrace of the region's history. The Art Museum of Greater Lafayette … take in a concert at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Explore the country's largest collection of Amelia Earhart memorabilia and marvel at the Purdue Marching Band's world's largest drum! Travel back in time to see how the area's woodlands, wetlands and prairie helped shape life at Historic Prophetstown and the Living History Center and how Native Americans fought to unite against the white settlers at the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum. And for something truly unique, visit Wolf Park. Learn about wolf behavior and watch them interact with the park's other residents, like foxes, coyote and bison. Be sure to take part in a Wolf Howl, offered every Saturday night, May-November.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 65 miles.

Zionsville/Boone County
Zionsville's brick streets and buildings may have a quaint, yesteryear appeal, but you'll find no shortage of trendy boutique shops and cutting-edge restaurants in the village. Don't worry if you're looking for treasures from a bygone age. Antique shops are all around and there's even Carter's Toy Museum featuring three stories of antique toys and arcade games as well as an ice cream parlor. Nationally-renowned artist Nancy Noel paints nearby in The Sanctuary, a combination art gallery, cafe and gift shop in a renovated Victorian-era church.
Driving distance from downtown Indy: 20 miles.