With an extensive state park system and 8 reservoirs, there is plenty to do outdoors in this Midwestern state. With good weather year-round, and plenty of adventure to be had in the mountains, rivers and lakes.
If you want a getaway in the woods, Clark State Forest, established in 1903, is the oldest state forest in Indiana and encompasses a total of 24,000 acres of protected land. Used as an experimental forest in early development of forestry techniques and science, more than 150 experimental tree plantings can be observed. There is a 160 acre preserve of white oak, and 20 acres of chestnut oak. Camping is available in two campgrounds, one for standard camping and the other Horseman’s Campground.
Seven lakes are open for fishing in the forest while camping, from the largest (Schlamm Lake) to the smallest (Pine Lake). Boats are allowed on the lakes, but motors are restricted to electric trolling motors only. When in season, hunting is open for whitetail deer, ruffed grouse, turkey, fox, woodcock, and raccoon. Licenses are required.
For an entirely different experience, Falls of the Ohio near Clarksville has the exposed beds of 390-million-year-old fossils, one of the largest Devonian fossil beds in the world. When the river is at its lowest, there are 220 acres of exposed fossil beds.
And showing that Indiana has much more to discover than you’d expect, this 2,182 acre primitive landscape includes three miles of shoreline along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Large sand dunes greet campers, some towering more than 200 feet tall. Try the 3-Dune Hiking Challenge (hiking the three tallest dunes in the park in a single day) and earn the 3-Dune Conqueror badge from Indiana Dunes Tourism.
For a touch of history mixed with gorgeous terrain, go camping in Versailles State Park, the second-biggest park in the state. With history that dates back to the Civil War (Morgan’s Raiders made their way through the area and the town of Versailles was under Confederate control for a time) as well as major projects from the Civilian Conservation Corps, the park is not only home to outdoor spectacle but also large community events. In the fall there is the Versailles Pumpkin Show, and in September the Bluegrass Festival.
While camping, go hiking, horseback riding, fishing, rowboat and kayaking, and even enjoy the swimming pool and waterslides.