Indiana offers plenty of places for your travel bucket list

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Jeff Big Four Bridge

Pedestrians enjoy walking the Big Four Bridge connecting Jeffersonville and Louisville in May 2019. Last year, the bridge marked its five-year anniversary.

Dreaming of a tropical spring break or a summer cruise, but don’t have the available funds? Plenty of places in our great state offer the perfect getaway over a long weekend or a staycation.

The Hoosier State gained worldwide recognition recently when Frommer’s travel guide published an article titled “Best Places to Go in 2020.” Indiana was first on the list of 20 and was the only entire state in the United States that was included. Three other U.S. cities/locations were listed, but most of the locations were international.

So while Hoosiers are trying to get away from it all, a major travel publication is suggesting that people visit here. Maybe instead of looking elsewhere for greener grass, we can check out a few destinations in our own back yard this year. Without further adieu, here’s a list of 20 cities of all shapes and sizes around the state to add to your 2020 bucket list:

Madison, Indiana

Rembrandt’s Gallery and Wine Bar in Madison combines a fine art gallery with an upscale wine bar and fine dining.

1. Madison — This charming Southern Indiana river town is known for its artistic community, quaint shops and rich history. The town boasts the largest historic district in the state with over 133 blocks on the National Register of Historic Places.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Visitors relax at Indiana Dunes National Park.

2. Porter — Home to Indiana Dunes National Park, Porter is one of our state’s best kept secrets. The dunes recently were designated as America’s 61st national park, reason enough to visit this town to our north.


Take a ride on the Ben Franklin III through the only existing wooden aqueduct in the United States, located in the tiny town of Metamora.

3. Metamora — Step back in time in this tiny burg known as Indiana’s only functioning canal town. Take a ride on the canal boat through the only surviving covered wooden aqueduct in the United States, or spend some time strolling and shopping. Be sure to check hours as some shops and businesses are seasonal.

Indianapolis Zoo

A young visitor meets Katy at the Indianapolis Zoo’s International Orangutan Center in 2016.

4. Indianapolis — From the world’s largest children’s museum and the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway to a world-class zoo and symphony, the state’s capital is full of fun and adventures for the entire family.

5. Columbus — Blending world-class architecture with small-town charm, Columbus is filled with more than 70 buildings created by famous architects. Several types of architecture tours are available, including a self-guided bike tour.

6. Fort Wayne — Indiana’s second largest city has some great offerings for families such as Science Central, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo and Promenade Park, to name just a few.

7. Zionsville — This quaint city’s brick-lined Main Street hearkens back to a simpler era, but its shops and restaurants are right on trend with 2020. After shopping until you drop, choose from more than 40 varieties of pie at My Sugar Pie on Pine Street.

8. Jeffersonville — On the banks of the Ohio River, “Jeff,” as the locals call it, features riverfront dining and shops galore as well as the Big Four Pedestrian Bridge that leads to Louisville.

9. Nashville — From Brown County State Park to a downtown mecca for art and shopping, Nashville is the perfect getaway, especially during the peak color of the fall season.

10. Shipshewana — Known for its famous flea market the size of 30 football fields, this small town comes alive from May through September. But there’s plenty to do during flea market “off season,” including the famous Blue Gate Theatre, shops and restaurants.

11. French Lick — A world-class resort featuring two opulent hotels and spas, three golf courses and a casino draws people from all over the country to this southern Indiana town.

12. Carmel — Walk the Monon Trail, explore the arts and design district and take in a concert at the internationally-renowned Palladium in this beautiful town just 40 minutes southwest of Anderson.

13. Monticello — This northern Indiana town is home to Indiana Beach Boardwalk and Resort on the shores of Lake Shafer, where families have flocked for fun since 1927.

14. Bedford — Channel your inner spelunker in the caves at Bluesprings Caverns Park, then head 10 miles south to Mitchell’s Spring Mill State Park for more caving adventures. Spring Mill also includes a restored pioneer village and a memorial to famed astronaut Gus Grissom.

15. Bloomington — Home to Indiana University, this college town has more than its share of arts, nightlife and culture.

Rockville, Parke County

Covered bridges are tucked into the scenic countryside around Rockville, the county seat for Parke County, which is known as the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World.”

16. Rockville — This charming town is the county seat of Parke County, known as the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World.” Beautiful Turkey Run State Park is just down the road in Marshall.

17. Noblesville — An eclectic mix of shops and dining options lines the streets of Noblesville’s downtown district, making it the perfect place for a day-long getaway. Breakfast and baked goods at Rosie’s Place are a must.

New Albany

The Culbertson Mansion in New Albany is a favorite of history and architecture buffs.

18. New Albany — With more than 75 restaurants and shops within a 15-block radius and a restored downtown area, New Albany is a little river town that offers big benefits for travelers.

19. Santa Claus — Home to Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, this southwestern Indiana town is known for its year-round Christmas cheer.

20. Winona Lake — As the name suggests, the lake is the centerpiece of this delightful little town with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants.

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