Fun for the Frozen: Discover Our Favorite Indoor Activities This Winter in Southern Indiana

Fun for the Frozen: Discover Our Favorite Indoor Activities This Winter in Southern Indiana

November 28, 2022

Some days, the snow is much more fun to look at than to play in. When the winter doldrums set in, venture out of the house to some of our favorite indoor activities in Southern Indiana for when you’d rather not freeze to have fun.

Travel Back in Time

Fell asleep during history class? Stop by one of Southern Indiana’s many museums and arts centers to learn something new about the region and what makes us who we are today.  

The Lawrence County Museum of History opened almost 100 years ago and proudly displays many of the artifacts that helped shape Lawrence County into all that it is today. Built in the old Masonic Lodge, the Daviess County Museum is a piece of history itself. It’s home to the largest horse-drawn vehicle and many other pieces of memorabilia from the county’s rich past. Time travel from the Ice Ages until present day at the Dubois County Museum and learn about everything from sports to religion and everything in between. Dive into the interesting heritage of French Lick West Baden and see the world’s largest circus diorama at the French Lick West Baden Museum. Learn how aviation took flight in the country and make an appointment to visit the Piper Flight Museum – one of the largest collections of educational materials in the Midwest! A flight simulator and three aircrafts are just the beginning of the fun history showcased at the museum.

Photo from the Monastery of Immaculate Conception

Brush Up on Arts and Culture

Whether you want to attend a mass or prayer, or simply take a tour, The Monastery of Immaculate Conception holds history from its beginnings in 1867 and grounds include serene gardens, outdoor Stations of the Cross, a labyrinth, and three shrines. The Jasper Arts Center’s multiple art exhibits showcase a variety of art styles that rotate to keep you coming back for more. Plays and concerts are also hosted at the Jasper Art Center to keep you entertained with local talent.

Marengo Cave

Explore Underground

Did you know that Marengo Cave’s temperature never changes? The cave is a nice 52 degrees all year long  – and compared to typical Indiana winters, that sounds pretty cozy to us!  Take a tour at one of the U.S.’s National Natural Landmarks and see what Southern Indiana looks like underground. After your tour through the cave, stick around the area and play a round of indoor mini golf or challenge yourself to complete the mega maze to keep the fun going.

The Schnitzelbank

Warm Up from the Inside Out

Nothing says cozy like a hot cup of coffee or a nice warm meal. Many of our Sweets and Treats Trail stops have delicious menu items for both our sweet tooths and those looking for a heartier, savory option.  Sweet Tooth Cafe can provide you with the perfect cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and a sweet baked good to go along with it. Midwest Cafe and Markets claim to fame is their scrumptious muffins, but they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you can stop by for a warm meal at any time of the day. Nothing will fill you up quite like a pretzel, bratwurst, and German beer! The Schnitzelbank offers a hearty dining experience to keep you warm and full this season. 

 

For more things to do in Southern Indiana, explore our events calendar.

Discover the Holidays in Southern Indiana

Things to Do for the Holidays in Southern Indiana

October 25, 2022

Southern Indiana shines during the holidays with dozens of opportunities to revel in the small-town charm of a quaint Christmas celebration. Make your list and check it twice – these are just a sampling of the holiday happenings you and your family won’t want to miss.

Shopping

Photo Credit: Visit Dubois County

Get your holiday shopping underway before it’s time to carve the turkey with these festive opportunities to whip out your wallet.

36th Annual Huntingburg Christmas Stroll, Nov. 6-13
Stroll through the Victorian-era historic district and take in the decorated storefronts, or pop into the eclectic local businesses for one-of-a-kind gifting. 

Patoka Lake Winery Girl’s Day Out, Nov. 12
Sorry, fellas; this one’s for the girls. Grab a glass of wine or a wine slushy and shop ‘til you drop from an array of wine-and food-themed gifts and home decor.

25th Annual Ferdinand Christkindlmarkt, Nov. 19 – 20
Shop from over 200 lavishly decorated booths offering a variety of handmade items, antiques, and delicious regional food, and take in seasonal entertainment including the Monastery Bell Choir, Marionette Theater, and more.

Loogootee Christmas Parade and Stroll, Nov. 27
Enjoy refreshments and great specials and discounts from local vendors before taking in the holiday parade.

Santa Visits

Even with Santa’s busy holiday schedule, he makes time to make several visits to the region to spread holiday cheer.


Visit Santa at French Lick West Baden, Saturdays from Nov. 26 until Dec. 17
After sharing your Christmas wishes with Mr. Claus, enjoy cookies and cocoa, holiday music and a candy cane scavenger hunt  at the French Lick Visitor Center. 

Jasper O’Tannenbaum Days, Dec. 2-4
Take in all things holly and jolly with not only Mr. Claus himself, but also carriage rides, a cookie walk and the Holiday Bazaar. 

Indiana Rail Road Santa Train, Dec. 2-4
Meet both Santa and Mrs. Claus when the bright red train rolls into town and stops for visits with locals. The train will visit multiple towns, so be sure to check the schedule to find the best location for you!

Annual Christmas on the Square, Dec. 10
Head to Orleans for the ultimate holiday celebration, featuring horse and carriage rides, a telling of the Christmas story, a childrens’ train ride, Santa visits and lots of holiday treats.

One-of-a-Kind Experiences

Photo Credit: Marengo Cave on Facebook

Start a new holiday tradition with these adventurous, outside-the-box events

Caroling in a Cave, Dec. 11
Marengo Cave’s year round 52 degree temperature will feel downright balmy on a cold winter night. Descend to the cave’s underground Music Hall for seasonal tunes performed by local artists.

Wilstem Winter Fest, Nov. 11- Dec. 31
Drive through the beautiful covered bridge adorned with holiday lights and venture into a winter wonderland with magical light displays, a Victorian Holiday scene, multiple animal families, the Candy Factory and more.

Craft Show at Pioneer Village, Nov. 5
Step back in time at Spring Mill State Park’s Pioneer Village. During this annual craft fair, each building in the historic, 1800s-era village will host vendors selling unique, one-of-a-kind finds

French Lick Resort 50 Days of Lights, Nov. 12 – Jan. 9
With more than half a million lights adorning the property and a packed calendar of events including tree lighting ceremonies, letters to Santa, holiday movies, and much more, this stunning resort is the perfect place to revel in holiday cheer.

And all season long, warm up with a cup of holiday cheer at one of the many stops on Discover Southern Indiana’s Sweets and Treats Trail! Coffee, hot chocolate, and delicious sweets are the perfect way to treat yourself this season.

For more things to do this holiday season in Southern Indiana, explore our events calendar.

Top Five Fall Activities in Southern Indiana

Top Five Fall Activities in Southern Indiana

September 19, 2022

We’re a little biased, but when it comes to reveling in the best activities of the fleeting autumn season, Southern Indiana has the best picks around. Here’s your cheat sheet for packing in the region’s must-do activities before the leaves fall.

1. Pumpkin Patches

Photo by @cornucopia_farm on Instagram

Fall wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the pumpkin patch. Bledsoe Farms offers a classic autumnal experience with a corn maze and pumpkin patch to offer a day of fun for the family. Cornucopia Farms boasts a café filled with apple cider slushies and sweet fall treats to replenish you after a trip to the U-Pick pumpkin patch. For unexpected delights including a zip line and carnival rides in addition to the familiar fall vibes, swing by Lark Ranch in Loogootee. Visit any of these pumpkin patches for the ultimate fall day!

2. Haunted Adventures

It’s officially spooky season! Grab some friends who aren’t afraid of the dark and check out the PsychoPath Haunt for a night so fun it’ll scare you. The Forbidden Hollows Haunted Farm is another must-do experience sure to give you a fright on its haunted trail. On October 15, Spring Mill Park’s Amish Village will be transformed into a Haunted Village with scares around each corner. If these experiences aren’t spooky enough for you, brave a night at Whispers Estate, a house said to be truly haunted by its previous tenants.  For a more family-friendly affair, head to the French Lick West Baden Museum for Thrill Night and a costume parade on October 29! 

3. Wilstem Wildlife Park Fall Festival of Lights

Wilstem Ranch is worth a visit at any time of the year, but the Fall Festival of Lights makes it extra special. From Sept. 23 through Oct. 29, Wilstem will be illuminated with spook-tacular lights celebrating the fall and Halloween season.

Photo from @patokalakemarinaofficial on Instagram

4. Fall Foliage Wine Cruises on Patoka Lake

On Saturdays during the months of September and October, Patoka Lake Marina offers wine cruises featuring local wines and breathtaking views of the fall colors. Each cruise includes 5-7 wine tastings paired with complimentary food, two glasses of your favorite wine from the tasting, and a souvenir wine glass to take home.

5. Ferdinand State Forest

We couldn’t make this list without mentioning some of the natural beauty our region has to offer. Ferdinand State Park has over 900 acres of trails and waters to explore to get an up-close view of the breathtaking fall foliage. 


Want more? Find more fall fun on our events page.

What’s Brewing in Southern Indiana: Local Coffee Shops

What's Brewing in Southern Indiana: Local Coffee Shops

September 13, 2022

Move over, PSL. If your fall outfit isn’t complete without a caffeinated accessory, check out our list of locally owned coffee shops to discover in Southern Indiana. And with National Coffee Day on Sept. 29, there’s no better time to find a new local haunt. 

As an added bonus, these spots are all part of Discover Southern Indiana’s Sweets and Treats Trail, which rewards guests for exploring the region to try the best local coffee, ice cream, and sweets shops Southern Indiana has to offer. Just sign up for the free mobile passport, hit the road, and ask for the check-in PIN at each location, and you’ll start earning cool swag from Discover Southern Indiana.

Photo by Yelper Maria C. at Cherry Ghost Coffee House

424 E. Main St., Washington, IN

Cherry Ghost Coffee House is an eclectic spot in Washington that gets rave reviews from locals and visitors alike for its organic, Brown County-sourced coffee and espresso served in mismatched coffee mugs. Customize your cup from a long list of autumn-inspired flavor syrups, including maple, amaretto, and brown sugar, grab a fresh baked scone, and take a seat for live music on Wednesday and Friday nights at 7 p.m.

Photo by Yelper Anthony T. at French Lick's

469 S. Maple Street, French Lick, IN

Despite the name French Lick’s, there’s more to this sweet stop than ice cream. In addition to small batch sweet treats and a robust menu featuring specialty pizzas, burgers, and apps, guests can also enjoy coffee and espresso from beans sourced from around the world and roasted right here in our backyard.

Photo by Silver Fox Cafe

248 S. 1st St., Pekin, IN

A trip to the homey Silver Fox Cafe feels a lot like a visit to grandma’s house. Which makes sense, since it was named after the proprietor’s beloved grandmother, who also had a passion for good coffee. The menu includes a full list of hot and iced coffees, including a rotating list of seasonal specials, plus breakfast and lunch options. 

Photo by Zax Creamery

2603 N Newton St., Jasper, IN
120 Main St. Montgomery, IN

With two locations, a drive-thru, and convenient online ordering, Zax Creamery is the perfect place for a quick pick-me-up. Grab the signature Hoosier Mocha–a blend of white chocolate and caramel flavors, served hot, iced, or as a frappe–or a cozy Chai Tea Latte. Pair with a homemade Blueberry Streusel muffin, and you’re on your way. 

 

For more local coffee and sweets businesses, sign up for the Discover Southern Indiana Sweets and Treats Trail and explore our website. Cheers!

Fall Break Fun: Discover Fall in Southern Indiana

Fall Break Fun: Discover Fall in Southern Indiana

September 2, 2022

Fall break isn’t just for students! Whether you went back to the books in August or your school days are long behind you, bright fall weekends beg you to gather your group and sneak in another adventure before the first frost.

Swanky Stays

West Baden Springs Hotel

Whether you’re looking for a unique lodge, a luxury hotel, or a place that shows true Hoosier Hospitality, Southern Indiana has lodging options that will capture your trip’s vibe. Book a stay in a cottage on Pleasant Grove Farm in Greene County and wake up to scenic views every morning. For a couple’s retreat, soak in the luxury at either West Baden Springs Hotel or French Lick Springs Hotel. Both offer an experience rich in history and are centrally located to many southern Indiana activities. For a girls’ retreat, check into The Destination Bed & Breakfast in Salem, which has three uniquely themed rooms to choose from, plus catering options and a vintage market to take home a piece of your memorable stay. 

Autumnal Adventures

Photo by @ellelhumbert at Glendale Fish & Wildlife Area

Explore some of our natural landmarks and soak in the many colors of autumn. Take a short hike off road in Martin County to see Jug Rock – the largest free-standing table rock formation in the United States east of the Mississippi River– and House Rock – a large cave-like structure that was once used as shelter and meeting places for indigenous tribes. Or, take the long road and visit Knobstone Trail, the longest trail in Indiana at 58 miles long, the majority of which is accessible in public forests. For a picture-perfect picnic spot, journey to the Tulip Trestle. At 2,307 feet long and 157 feet tall, this steel railroad trestle is a true marvel and is surrounded by equally gorgeous scenery. Nearby, stroll through the Sculpture Trail and enjoy over 100 sculptures created by artists all over the world installed in an idyllic forest setting. To give the kids something to tell their friends about when they go back to school, check out Big Splash Water Park, a 40,000 square-foot indoor water park in French Lick.

Cornucopia Farm

Fall Festivities

It’s not officially fall until the persimmons can be picked! Celebrate this coveted fruit at the 75th Annual Persimmon Festival in Lawrence County from September 17 – 24. Amusement rides, nightly entertainment, food trucks and parade make this festival one you won’t want to miss! Spend a day at the Cornucopia Farm for the epitome of fall fun including a pumpkin patch, corn maze and hayride. If you’ll be here October 15, stop by the annual Sorghum Festival in Crawford County, where local artisans and craftsmen showcase their talent. Check out the Wilstem Wildlife Park Fall Festival of Lights, which takes guests on a one-and-half-mile fall and Halloween themed light show. Come early for a close-up encounter with the park’s menagerie of animals including sloths, grizzly bears, giraffes and more. For more information on things to do in Southern Indiana this fall, explore our website.

Splish Splash: Wring Out the Last Bit of Summer with These Water Destinations

Splish Splash: Wring Out the Last Bit of Summer with These Southern Indiana Water Destinations

August 3, 2022

It may be back-to-school month, but we’re determined to squeeze out just a little more summer. Whether your favorite lakeside pastime is fishing, boating, swimming or simply relaxing by the water, Southern Indiana offers plenty of opportunities to dive right in. 

Fishing Frenzy

Cast your lure out at Daviess County’s Glendale Fish and Wildlife Area which features more than 1,400 acres of water across 22 ponds and Dogwood Lake, all full of catfish, bluegill, and largemouth bass. On dry land, this beautiful reserve has over 8,000 acres of land to explore and allows for camping as well. Over in Greene County, Goose Pond boasts a 9,000 acre marsh, suitable for boating, canoeing and kayaking. In almost any country across Southern Indiana, you’re sure to discover plenty of fishing opportunities.

Paddle Around Southern Indiana

If active recreation is more your speed, try your hand at canoeing, kayaking, or paddle boarding. Lawrence County’s Bluespring Caverns combines water with one of Southern Indiana’s other natural wonders: caves! Opt for one of the guided kayak tours to explore the United States’ longest underground river and learn how Blue Springs came to exist. Bluespring Caverns also has more leisurely boat tours through the cave. 

If you’d prefer to stay above ground, Cave Country Canoes in Crawford County is your go-to place to rent a kayak or canoe and explore the waters of Blue River. Options for guided tours include a half day, full day, or two day trip filled with beautiful scenery, wildlife and small rapids. 

Camping by the Water

Make a weekend of it with any of the area’s dozens of camping and lodging opportunities. In addition to plentiful lakeside campgrounds and cabin rentals, Patoka Lake Marina in Crawford County offers unique floating cabins complete with private boat slips and long, waterfront decks. Nearby Hoosier Hills Marina also offers “Playtoons” complete with water slides and plenty of space for socializing. For a boatload of activities the whole family will love, check out West Boggs Lake in Martin County – its campground is outfitted with shelter houses for family events, shower houses, and an activity center featuring arts and crafts, air hockey, a kids’ play area, and much more. Even if you don’t spend the night at West Boggs, it is worth visiting for dinner at Stoll’s Lakeview Restaurant!

View more attractions through Discover Southern Indiana

Rain-Proof Water Fun

Summer showers won’t rain on your parade at Big Splash Adventure in French Lick, a 40,000 square foot indoor water park. Bring the whole family and check out the water slides, interactive playgrounds, and a lazy river. Rain or shine, summer or winter, this water park is always open and a fun way to get in the water.

For more information on outdoor recreation in Southern Indiana, explore our website.

Here’s the Scoop on Discover Southern Indiana’s Sweets and Treats Trail

Here's the Scoop on Discover Southern Indiana's Sweets and Treats Trail

July 19, 2022

There are some things about Indiana you just can’t beat  – sunsets, basketball, sweet corn, and of course, sweet treats! We’ve got your roadmap to miles of indulgence, so grab a friend and hit the road.

Discover Southern Indiana’s Sweets and Treats Trail includes more than 20 stops highlighting the region’s best coffee, donuts, ice cream, chocolate, and more – sure to bring a smile (and maybe a sugar high) to anyone who joins in on the fun. 

Sign up for the free Sweets and Treats Trail passport, and the mobile-exclusive passport will be instantly delivered to your phone via text and email, ready to use immediately. There is no app to download. Your passport can be saved to your phone’s home screen for easy one-tap access. 

When you visit a participating business, check-in via the passport using the specific stop’s unique PIN number. The more stops you go to, the more prizes you can earn! Five check-ins earn you a sticker, 10 check-ins get you an ice cream scoop, and 20 check-ins earn you a tote. Check-in to all the participating businesses, and take home a special treat from one of the participating stops!

While every location on the trail is worth a visit, be sure to check out some of these local favorites.

Solsberry, Indiana

As you polish off that Indiana tenderloin, be sure to save room for a scoop of Yoho’s butter pecan ice cream. Pair it with a slice of Yoho’s rotating assortment of pies for a truly decadent dessert baked with love.

Orleans, Indiana

For a taste of the tropics, swing by Hometown Scoops for a Hawaiian Ice. They’ll even serve up a scoop for your pup, garnished with a Milk Bone. Sweet and Treats Trail participants receive $1 off any ice cream – just show the passport on your phone. 

Fun Fact: Hometown Scoops is owned and operated by a local teenage entrepreneur!

Bedford, Indiana

Make this cute bakery your first stop of the day for an assortment of freshly made doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and savory pastries. If you’d rather sleep in, choose from a delicious  assortment of homemade cakes, cookies, and homemade fudge.

Washington, Indiana

Perfect to wake you up in the morning or for an afternoon pick me up, this coffee shop has a delightful selection of coffees to choose from. Check out their organic food options as well to fuel you for a day along the Sweets and Treats Trail!

Leavenworth, Indiana

Travel into yesteryear for this stop! Stephenson’s has delicious lunches that will pair perfectly with their mouthwatering ice cream and old time candies that are a true blast from the past. Enjoy your sweet treats as you wander around the store and do your shopping, too!

Livonia, Indiana

Sometimes the best things are the simple classics. Check out Little Twirl for a HUGE soft serve cone that is anything but little, an ice cream cookie sandwich, or a banana split. This dairy bar is a true hometown hero.

Jasper, Indiana

There are few things in life that chocolate can’t fix. From ooey-gooey caramel filled candies to decadent truffles and chocolate covered strawberries, this gourmet chocolate is sure to help you find some bliss. 

Hungry for more? Check out the complete list of all of the local businesses participating in the Sweet and Treats Trail and download your passport.

Discover New Fourth of July Traditions in Southern Indiana

Discover New Fourth of July Traditions in Southern Indiana

June 6, 2022

Cookouts. Lake days. Fireworks. The Midwest is at its best on Independence Day weekend. And no one does it better than Southern Indiana, with a packed calendar of festivities, hiking, and the oldest consecutive 4th of July celebration in the history of our great nation. Grab some sparklers and read on for a list of events you won’t want to miss.

Fireworks

Southern Indiana has some of the best and brightest fireworks displays you can find. Check out West Boggs Park for a gorgeous display over the water. Another option is the Campbellsburg fireworks show located at Medora Town Park. Prior to the show, the fairgrounds will host food trucks and games. If you’re looking to get the party started early, head to Patoka Lake on July 2 for Thunder Over Patoka, an annual fireworks show which can be viewed on the water and the beach.

Festivals

Fireworks may get top billing on July 4, but there are plenty of other options to occupy the daylight hours. If you consider yourself a fisherman, check out the Shoals Catfish Festival which has fishing competitions, fireworks, and a plenty of catfish sandwiches. For some old-fashioned fun, Spring Mill State Park’s celebration is the place for you with plenty of activities going back to its pioneer roots. 

The Linton Freedom Festival – the largest 4th of July celebration in the state– begins on July 1 and continues through July 9. Visit Humphrey Park for the Freedom Festival Carnival each night of the celebration beginning at 6 p.m. in addition to live music. The celebration on July 4 begins at 6 a.m. with breakfast at the fire station and continues all day with a parade, the carnival, and of course, a fireworks show. 

To experience a true piece of Americana, stop by the Pekin 4th of July Celebration. Pekin boasts the longest-running consecutive Independence Day celebration in the history of the United States, having hosted the first celebration in 1830. Today, you can catch the festivities in Pekin Community Park, where the celebration has been held since 1909. Activities include the Pekin Queen contest, corn hole tournaments and, of course, a parade. 

Outdoor Adventures

Soak up the sun at Patoka Lake to make the most of Indiana summers. Not only is it a beautiful sight to take in, but Patoka offers a lot of fun activities including miles of walking trails, fishing, and pontoon rentals. Patoka Lake has a variety of lodging options including camping and cabins. For the 21+ crowd, Patoka Lake Winery offers a wide variety of drinks including wine slushies to cool you off after a day of exploring the park.

If you’re looking for a place to cool off during the summer, try going underground. Visit and tour Indiana’s coolest caverns and Marengo Cave and Blue Springs Caverns. In addition to cave tours, your family can take part in pedal karting, gemstone mining, and camping. 

For a bit of adventure during your trip, the Wilstem Wildlife Park is the way to go.  Experience over 50 different animal species from the comfort of your own vehicle throughout the Drive Thru Safari, or try some horseback riding through the many miles of trails in the park. End your adventure with a high – that is a 5,000-foot canopy zipline tour through the trees of the park. Take your adventure to the next level by booking a cabin on the property to enjoy the beautiful views and be steps away from all the fun.

View more attractions through Discover Southern Indiana

Kid-Free Fun

If you are traveling kid-free, stop at some of Southern Indiana’s more “spirited” sites. French Lick is home to both a winery and a distillery located on the same property. Both locations are open everyday, and all days except Tuesdays you can grab a meal at the site’s restaurant, Drift Coast Italian. French Lick is also home to a Casino with 700+ slots and a wide array of games to play.  If wine isn’t your cup of tea, check out one (or multiple) of Southern Indiana’s breweries including St. Benedict’s Brew WorksSalt Creek Brewery, and Feed Store Beer Co.

Young or old, Southern Indiana is waiting for you to come celebrate the 4th. Whether you’re here for the weekend or just for the day, there’s no better time to visit Southern Indiana.