When people think of summer vacation, their first thought isn’t usually Indiana. While the state is well-known for its farmland, steel mills and limestone, it is also home to attractions that visitors can’t find anywhere else. Here are some of Indiana’s lesser-known gems, extending beyond classics like Holiday World and the Indianapolis Zoo.
Shiojiri Garden - Mishawaka, IN
This garden is one of the only authentic Japanese gardens found in the state of Indiana, designed by Shoji Kanaoka, the same arborist who plans the EPCOT gardens at Walt Disney World. Mishawaka is interestingly the sister-city of Shiojiri City in Japan, so the garden serves as a symbol for this relationship. The garden features over 20 different plant types, eye-catching red bridges and other authentic Japanese architecture. Shiojiri Garden is open to public visits and can also be reserved for private events.
French Lick Springs Hotel - French Lick, IN
French Lick is a historic Indiana hotel, originally opened in 1845. The hotel attracted its initial visitors with the belief that the nearby sulfur springs contained “miracle waters.” Today, guests visit French Lick for its modern, yet charming property. The 2006 renovations expanded the resort to have a casino in addition to its riding stables, pools, formal gardens and other luxury amenities.
Wellfield Botanic Gardens - Elkhart, IN
This location in northern Indiana is a community gathering spot for residents and visitors of Elkhart, Indiana. The city uses the gardens as a center for festivals, concerts, and seasonal events open to the public. In addition, the gardens are full of vibrant flowers and a wide variety of foliage. It would be a prime location to have a lunchtime picnic or snap a few photos.
Oliver Winery - Bloomington, IN
For residents and visitors of the legal drinking age, Oliver Winery is the perfect place to try local wine and experience the summer vineyards. Wine tastings, tours and picnics are just a few of the experiences offered at Oliver. Kids and pets are welcome to be a part of the experience as well.
Indianapolis City Market - Indianapolis, IN
This market is the place to shop, eat and explore in Indianapolis. The main summer event is the Farmer’s Market which occurs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Wednesday. The vendor selection ranges anywhere from baked goods to fresh flowers and a majority of the products are local to Indiana.
Warm Glow Candle Outlet - Centerville, IN
Serving as a more niche attraction on the list, this candle shop is unique to Indiana for several reasons. A giant candle greets visitors as they approach the store and is actually a part of the shop itself. The candles sold here are Hoosier-made, authentic and sold in a variety of scents. Visitors can leave Warm Glow Candle Outlet with anything from a Salted Caramel Rum to a Hot Apple Butter candle.