Real Life Parks and Recreation
After going to the popular state parks like Brown County or Turkey Run, we decided that we wanted to see more. Not being from Indiana, but living here most of our lives, we decided that we wanted to explore Indiana.
With Lindsay working for the DNR, she knew that Indiana had a lot to offer. And what better time to do this than the centennial year! We knew if we planned early enough we would be able to get it done, and we were able to do just that with some time to spare.
If you plan on doing something similar, make sure to do your research, plan far in advance, and just have fun. Enjoy the memories you’ll make while you see the hidden treasures around the Hoosier State.
Top 5 Favorite Indiana State Parks
We enjoyed each nature center we visited. Each center offered unique facts about the park, including its history, wildlife, foliage, settlers, etc.
This park is like none other. With a beach and a lake it's like the Midwest has an ocean. While at the nature center we learned about the uniqueness of the dunes and how they were formed. We enjoyed watching a raccoon feed from the bird feeders at the wildlife viewing room.
We hiked to the base of Big Clifty Falls on trails eight and two. They were tough trails but so rewarding at the end. That night we stayed at Clifty Inn. We enjoyed the pool, and the hot tub was a must after the hike. Don't miss the overlook to the Ohio River and Madison below. It's so picturesque.
We enjoyed the cool history behind Shades. The legends say three murders took place there. But today, the landscape offers a unique carving in the ground called Devil’s Punchbowl. Under the tree canopy and down into the canyon, the breeze was cool but the sun was warm. The trees cast rays of light on the rock walls that were awe-inspiring. As the canyon came to an end, the view opened up to treetops while a waterfall flowed to the ground below. Silver Cascades Falls was unique because it was convex, unlike most waterfalls that are concave.
We first went to Wyandotte Caves just outside the park. The caves opened specifically for the centennial celebration, so we rearranged our schedule a bit to see their beauty. We toured the Little Wyandotte Cave and were fascinated by the stalagmites, stalactites, rock formations and cave creatures. From here, we ventured into the park to climb the fire tower. We took a moment to snag a photo with Smokey the Bear then ascended the tower. Once we reached the top we were amazed by the view. You could see trees for miles straight to the horizon while birds soared above the vast greenery.
Falls of the Ohio – Angie
The view's incredible! It's right on the Ohio River with Louisville across the way. Inside the museum was a replica statue of a mammoth based on the real structure of a mammoth in Salt Lake City, Utah. We enjoyed hopping around on the rocks trying to find unique embedded fossils. The history of Lewis and Clark is interesting and the home of Clark’s brother, George Rogers Clark, provided insight into the way of life in the early 1800s.
Prophetstown – Lindsay
We, unfortunately, chose to visit this park the day before a holiday so we did not get to go to the Nature Center. But, we did get to check out the Native American settlers and pioneer settlers replica buildings. We took the time to learn about their way of life and reflect on what it would have been like to live in that time period. Lindsay has always heard how her family has Native American heritage and was most fascinated by the rich history. The Farm at Historic Prophetstown allowed us to view some amazing animals. Being city girls this was the highlight of our day. Tom the turkey liked to strut his stuff for us. The rooster ran around with all the hens and would occasionally crow. We were most enthralled by the rooster crowing.
Lindsay and Angie are just two small town girls livin’ in a lonely…wait. That’s a Journey song. Lindsay and Angie are two graphic designers living in the Indianapolis area with a taste for travel and some adventure, mixed with a little bit of curiosity for the world around them. They became friends while working as ad designers at Gannett.
Lindsay holds a bachelor's degree in journalism graphics from Ball State University. She currently works in the communications department of the Indiana DNR as a photo archivist and graphic designer. Angie has her bachelor's degree in graphic design from The Art Institute of Indianapolis. She currently works at DEFENDERS as a graphic designer.