Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: The best road trip destinations for IU students

Many college students want to find exciting things to do over the weekends. Some people go home if they live close to campus. Other students also go to parties or bars to unwind after a hard week. When there is an IU football game, or other sporting event, many students choose to tailgate and watch the Hoosiers play. 

One of my favorite things to do is go on road trips. If a student has a car, or has a friend who has a car, this is a very viable option to do with other friends over the weekend. 

The perfect destination for a weekend road trip will depend on how far everyone is willing to travel and the kinds of pastimes you enjoy. Luckily, there are some good options all within three hours of campus.

1. Monroe Lake
The sun rises March 30, 2021 on Monroe Lake. Natalie Gabor

Monroe Lake is only about 30 minutes away from campus. If students are looking for a day trip, this is perfect for nature lovers.

Monroe Lake offers camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, boating and even small beaches that students could relax at over a long weekend. This makes it a great environment for students to hang out with friends.

2. Nashville, Indiana

Brown County, Indiana, is pictured. Creative Commons File Photo

Nashville is about a 35 minute drive away from campus. People can go to Brown County State Park to explore the hills, ridges and ravines of southern Indiana.

Nashville has many small local shops where you can find gifts, watercolor paintings, wooden furniture, custom jewelry and food. One local shop is Carmel Corn Cottage, which sells homemade caramel corn, kettle corn, candy and fudge. J.B. Goods is another shop that sells customized clothes emblazoned with its slogan “Life is Good”. 

Nashville also has many antique shops such as the Brown County Antique Mall, which sells various collectibles, art pieces, jewelry, coins and quilts. This antique mall has been operating since 1972 and has more than 7,000 square feet of antiques from 65 dealers.

3. Indianapolis

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is a momument located in Memorial Circle in Indianapolis. IDS file photo and Emily Putman

Indianapolis is about an hour and a half away from campus, and although being a bit farther away, it is a good option for students wanting to go to a city.

There are many fun activities to do in Indianapolis for college students such as going to the Indianapolis Zoo or venturing downtown and visiting the Monument Circle. There are also many museums, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana State Museum and the Indiana Medical History Museum. 

Indianapolis is also famous for hosting the Indianapolis 500 every year at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which is about 20 minutes from downtown without traffic. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum provides guided tours of the track and museum.

Students can also see the Indianapolis Colts play football games at Lucas Oil Stadium on various Sundays during the NFL season. The tickets vary in price depending on the opposing team, however, the cheapest tickets are between $35-$100, according to Ticketmaster.

4. Louisville, Kentucky

Number 8 Medina Spirit, ridden by jockey John Velazquez, leads the field around the first during the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1, 2021 in Louisville, Kentucky. Tribune News Service

If students want to travel a little farther south, I would recommend Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville is about two hours away from campus and is on the Ohio River.

A staple of Louisville for years has been Churchill Downs, where people can gamble on horse racing. Churchill Downs is the home of the Kentucky Derby, but guests can also visit various other races throughout the year. 

4th Street Live! is located downtown and reminds me of Kirkwood Avenue here in Bloomington. This location is a good place to find various restaurants such as Pizza Bar and Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse, and live music at night.

5. Cincinnati

The Ohio River is in the background as fans watch a game at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. Tribune News Service

Cincinnati is approximately three hours away from campus. Cincinnati is on the Ohio River and east of IU.

Baseball fans can catch a Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ball Park. Although the season has ended for the Reds, the regular baseball season will begin during the spring semester. 

Walking beside the scenic Ohio River at Smale Riverfront Park has beauty and, more importantly for students, is free. There are 45 acres of Smale Riverfront Park between Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium. This park provides amazing views of the Cincinnati skyline and Ohio River. 

These are just a few road trips options for IU students, perfect for a weekend or break with no homework. There are plenty of things for students to do if they want to experience all the midwest has to offer.

Cassie Golden (she/her) is a sophomore studying psychology and counseling. She is involved in the Marching Hundred, Marching Hundred Student Organization and psychology club.

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