Unique Places in Indiana

  • Bathhouse before the summer rush.
    Bathhouse before the summer rush.
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  • Beachgoers (with metal detectors)
    Beachgoers (with metal detectors)
    by Toughluck
  • Dunes Creek
    Dunes Creek
    by Toughluck

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Indiana

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    Exotic Feline Rescue Center

    by staindesign Written Oct 20, 2013

    The Exotic Feline Rescue Center is a truly hidden gem in Indiana. It's unfortunate that the rescue has to even exist bc people here believe it's a good idea to make money by breeding or getting these wild animals as pets. I personally think a domestic cat can be pretty demanding, not to mention a 150+ wild cat.

    There are 226 rescued cats living at the center currently. There are tours Tuesday-Sunday. $10 for adults & $7 for children. There are lions, tigers, leopards, bob cats, etc. The donations are critical for the up keep at the center. They are very fortunate that since the surrounding farmers are very supportive by donating their dead livestock to the center for fresh meat for the cats. We were told that it takes about 3,000lbs of fresh meat daily to feed all of the cats. The enclosures are a bit sad looking, don't expect to see a space designed like the zoos. It is not luxury, but the cats are treated well and are living where they are not abused any longer. Caging these cats can seem like abuse, but the abuse from taking them from their natural habitat has affected them where they wouldn't be able to survive in the wild now. It seems it is the best scenario at this point and hopefully people are receiving education from this place to help prevent continual abuse of these animals in our state and our country. A final note, you are so much closer to these huge cats then you ever would be at a zoo.

    Also, I'd like to mention the staff. They are very hard working and caring for these cats and their cause. The founder is a very humble man. He works hard along side the keepers and volunteers. I was honored to meet a person with such a big heart.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Family Travel

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    The Bailly Homestead

    by traveldave Updated Sep 13, 2012

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    The Bailly Homestead was the home of Honoré Gratien Joseph Bailly de Messein, a French-Canadian fur trapper from Montreal. He established a fur-trading post at the crossroads of several important trails in 1822 and thus became one of the first settlers in northern Indiana. He and his family later played an important role in the development of the Calumet Region of the state. Bailly traded blankets, cloth, and metal hatchets with the local Potawatomi Indians for beaver, muskrat, and mink pelts. Other than the White Pigeon post in Michigan, Bailly's trading post was the only stopping place for travelers between Detroit and Chicago.

    In the 1830s, Bailly acquired legal title to his homestead along with 2,000 acres (809 hectares) of land. After his death, his heirs cut the timber on the property and sold some of it for the construction of a nearby railroad. Joel Wicker, the husband of one of Bailly's daughters, opened a sawmill and recruited Swedes from Chicago to run the sawmill and to cut timber. The Swedes established a settlement called Baillytown. Many purchased land for farms, and a thriving Swedish community was established in northern Indiana.

    The main house was built in 1834. It was extensively renovated in 1891 after it had lain abandoned since 1869. The homestead consists of the main house, five historic log outbuildings (including the cabin from which Bailly ran his fur-trading business), and the Bailly family cemetery. The homestead complex is now located within the boundaries of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark.

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    The Monroe County Courthouse

    by traveldave Updated Sep 13, 2012

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    The Monroe County Courthouse is the third building at this site to house offices of the Monroe County government. It contains offices of some county government agencies, but most of the other government offices, such as those of the Board of Commissioners and the circuit court, are located in other newer buildings in the downtown area.

    The courthouse was constructed between 1907 and 1908 of Indiana limestone quarried in the Bloomington area. The Beaux Arts building was designed by the architectural firm of Wing and Mahurin of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

    The first building to serve as the Monroe County Courthouse was a one-story, two-room log cabin that was built in 1818. It quickly became too small and inadequate for its intended purpose, so in 1826 a second larger courthouse of brick and stone was built. The county government also outgrew that building, despite expansions carried out in the 1850s and 1870s, so the current building was approved and built.

    The domed courthouse is now an iconic symbol of the City of Bloomington, and is located in the center of the downtown area. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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    Hoosier National Forest

    by traveldave Updated Sep 13, 2012

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    Located in south central Indiana, Hoosier National Forest covers 202,814 acres (82,076 hectares) of rolling, forest-covered hills interspersed with steep-sided ravines. Recreational opportunities include camping, picnicking, hiking and backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting. There are 12 campgrounds, eight picnic areas, and 26 hiking trails totaling 239 miles (385 kilometers) in the four separate units of the national forest.

    The Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area is located within the boundaries of Hoosier National Forest, and protects 13,000 acres (5,261 hectares) from any sort of development. In order to protect the land and plantlife, no motorized vehicles are permitted within the wilderness area, and horses are restricted to the trails. It is the only recognized wilderness area in Indiana.

    Settlers began building remote cabins and tiny settlements in the forests of what is now Hoosier National Forest in the late eighteenth century. Lumbering began in the nineteenth century, and cutting in the more difficult terrain began after 1865. By 1910, most of the forest was cut, and the land was being eroded away because the soil was no longer held in place by trees. The governor of Indiana asked the federal government to do something about the erosion problem, and the national forest was thus established in 1935. Since then the trees have grown back, and many areas of the national forest contain many miles of heavily wooded areas. A patch of virgin forest, the Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest, that was not cut over can be visited to experience the forests of southern Indiana as they were before lumbering occured.

    The picture was taken from the top of the 110-foot (34-meter) Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower on the edge of the Charles C. Deam Wilderness Area near Bloomington. The Hickory Ridge Lookout Tower is the last of eight fire towers that once stood in Hoosier National Forest. At the time it was built, there was a small cabin at its base to house a forest ranger and his family, but it was demolished decades ago.

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    The Chellberg Farm

    by traveldave Updated Sep 10, 2012

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    The historic Chellberg Farm was home to three generations of a Swedish immigrant family, the Kjellbergs. (Like the names of many European immigrants, the original spelling was changed to become "more American." Kjellberg therefore eventually came to be spelled Chellberg). The farmhouse and outbuildings, including the original barn, a water house with a windmill, and the chicken coop, have been preserved so visitors can experience turn-of-the-century Indiana farm life. Since 1972, the farm has been a historic site that is part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

    The Kjellberg family lived in Baillytown, a Swedish-American community that no longer exists but thrived in Porter County from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s. The community had its beginnings when one of the earliest settlers, Jonas Asp, encouraged other Swedes to settle in the area and work his farm. The hard-working immigrants eventually purchased land for their own farms, and they brought in family members and friends. Baillytown grew and became the center of the local Swedish community. They established churches and schools in which the Swedish language was taught. The railroad connected Baillytown with nearby Chicago where there was a large Swedish population. The lumber mills in the city provided a ready market for the trees cleared from the land.

    The Kjellberg family immigrated from Sweden in 1863. They may have first settled in Chicago, but they eventually ended up in Baillytown. The family took title to the 80-acre (32-hectare) Chellberg Farm property in 1869. They cleared the land of trees, which they sold for lumber, planted the cleared land in crops, and started an orchard with apples, pears, and peaches. Their livestock included cattle, horses, sheep, pigs, and poultry. In 1872, the family purchased an additional 40 acres (16 hectares).

    The original farmhouse and barn were built between 1869 and 1872. The current brick house was built in 1885 after the original house was destroyed by a fire. It is in the Folk Victorian style of architecture, a popular style in the United States at the time. It was constructed of red Porter brick. (The local clay made good bricks, and a brick industry arose in the Baillytown area. The bricks were called Porter brick, after Porter County).

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    Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

    by traveldave Updated Sep 9, 2012

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    Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore stretches 25 miles (40 kilometers) along the south shore of Lake Michigan from Gary in the west to Michigan City in the east. Its two separate units protect 15,067 acres (6,097 hectares) of sand dunes that are unique to the south shore of Lake Michigan.

    Beginning toward the end of the glacial period of the last Ice Age, a current, called the Longshore Drift, has transported sand southward along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, despositing it at the southern end of the lake. Over the millenia, untold amounts of sand have piled up along the lakefront, creating an area of sand dunes. The tallest, at 123 feet (37 meters), is called Mount Baldy and is located within the national lakeshore.

    A movement began in 1899 to protect the dunes from encroaching development, particularly the ports and steel mills that were being built eastward from Gary along the lakeshore. In 1926, Indiana Dunes State Park (not a part of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore) was created by the state to protect a small area of the dunes. The national lakeshore was finally authorized by Congress in 1966 to set aside an area of ecologically sensitive beaches, sand dunes, prairies, bogs, wetlands, and woodland forests. Historic sites consisting of the Bailly Homestead, the Chellburg Farm, and the Bailly Cemetery are also contained within the national lakeshore. (See my tips on the Bailly Homestead and the Chellburg Farm for more information). Four expansions in 1976, 1980, 1986, and 1992 increased the size of the protected area.

    Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore provides habitat for several endangered species, including two species of mammals, one species of bird, and five species of plants. Surveys have turned up a total of 41 species of mammals, 352 species of birds, 23 species of reptiles, 18 species of amphibians, 71 species of fish, and 369 species of flowering plants within the boundaries of the national lakeshore.

    Recreational options for visitors include swimming and sunbathing on the beaches, picnicking, hiking along 45 miles (72 kilometers) of trails that wind through the dunes and other habitats, wildlife watching, and visiting the historic sites.

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    Civil War battle of Corydon

    by JREllison Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Battle of Corydon was a result of a raid by Confederate forces led by John Hunt Morgan, a confederate general from Lexington, Ky. Morgan led a raid across Kentucky to Brandenburg on the Ohio River. By lat July 1863 the raiders had used their horses up and knowing there were horses in the Corydon area Morgan comandeered two Ohio riverboats and invaded Indiana.

    Battle Park is South of town on Old State Road 135.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Seniors

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    Bridgeton Covered Bridge and Mill

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Located in the small village of Bridgeton, Indiana, this is one of the most picturesque of Parke County's 32 covered bridges. Built in 1868, it is 245 feet long and of two-span Burr Arch construction, crossing Big Raccoon Creek at a small waterfall.

    Next to the bridge is Bridgeton Mill, established in 1823, the oldest working grist mill west of the Allegheny mountains. The mill and the first two blocks of Bridgeton are on the National Register of Historic Places. After walking across the bridge and exploring the mill, we bought fresh ground cornmeal and a refrigerator magnet for our collection.

    Bridgeton is ten miles south of Rockville on Park County Hwy. 21.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

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    Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area

    by traveldave Updated Oct 9, 2010

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    Located south of Linton in south-central Indiana, Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area is a restored wetland that provides outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, birdwatching, hiking, and nature study in general. The area is part of a glacial basin that is drained by Black Creek and Brewer Ditch, and is part of the larger Ohio River Ecosystem.

    What is now Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area was historically a large wetland providing food and shelter to enormous numbers of waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wildlife. However, during the early part of the twentieth century, the area was drained for farming purposes. The rich, loamy soil was perfect for raising crops, but all of the wildlife disappeared.

    In 2000, the state obtained an easement from the then-owner to begin a wetland restoration project to try to bring the area back to its original state. In 2005, the state purchased the land outright. The restoration program was operated under the Wetland Reserve Program by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. The wetland restoration program undertaken at Goose Pond is one of the largest in the United States. It includes 30 miles (48 kilometers) of earthen dikes, 400 acres (162 hectares) of tree plantings, 1,400 acres (567 hectares) of prairie restoration, and close to 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) of shallow water. The total amount of land protected at Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area amounts to 8,034 acres (3,251 hectares).

    Nowadays, the mixed grassland, marsh, and open water is one of the most significant waterfowl use areas in the Midwest. Water levels are manipulated by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to optimize habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl during the appropriate times of the year. During migration and in the winter, thousands of ducks, geese, and cranes use the area for its open water and food sources. It also provides habitat for herons and egrets, shorebirds, rails, sparrows, and many other species of birds. In addition to birds, mammals that are commonly seen include coyotes, foxes, raccoons, minks, and muskrats.

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  • Tropical Island in Muncie, In.

    by bsudad Written Jun 12, 2009

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    This place is worth a tank of gas to see! It is called "The Island Muncie" and that is what it is. A tropical paradise Muncie, IN. along the Cardinal Greenway just on the north side of McGalliard Ave. The site has a really big waterfall, banana trees - one of them had a stalk of bananas growing on it, palm trees, lots of flowering plants and a very large area covered in sand.
    When you walk down the ramp you will transported to an Island in the Caribbean. If you are looking for a very unusual place, fun, relaxing and with super smoothies then you should go their.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Photography
    • Family Travel

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    Shakamak State Park

    by Toughluck Written Oct 9, 2007

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    Located in west central Indiana, Shakamak is a reservoir that has been turned into an oasis. To the east is rolling farm land. Bloomington is just 20 miles away. To the southwest, lies the coal fields of Indiana. Huge strip mines have recontoured the land. FOrest have disappeared and begun to return. But here at Shakamak it is quiet and peaceful. Birds chirp, fish bit, and campfires keep everyone warm on cold nights.

    Directions: Take US 41 south from Terra Haute to Shellburn (apprx 11 miles - 17.6 km). Turn east (left) on Indiana 48. It's about 6 miles (9.6 km) to the park. The entrance is around the 1st big bend (90 degrees to the right - south).

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    McCormick's Creek State Park

    by Toughluck Written Apr 27, 2007

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    The states first park is one of the more interesting. Small and compact, it consists of deep canyons hidden in an Oak and Beech forest. Along the canyon floors, Sycamore trees dominate with their white splotted bark. Come in the winter when you can see into the canyons, or come in the summer when the cool air rising from the depths provide refreshing relief from the heat of the day. For more tips, see my McCormick's Creek State Park page.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Eco-Tourism
    • National/State Park

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    Turkey Run State Park

    by Toughluck Written Apr 27, 2007

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    One of the state's most enjoyable state parks, Turkey Run offers a unique environment. Narrow canyons, the width of the stream in it's bottom. Towering sycamores and oaks. Two covered bridges and a full range of recreational opportunities, including a pool, picnicing and horseback riding. An enjoyable day out, weekend or a week. For details, see my Turkey Run State Park page.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Indiana's Railway - The Monon

    by Toughluck Updated Apr 3, 2007

    Indiana is really the 'Crossroads of America'. That is one of the many nicknames the state has and as far as railroaders go, it's true. It seems like every little town has it's railroad museum. For many it's just one car, others have many more.

    The Monon Railroad was the original railroad of Indiana. Not that it was the first, it's never been big, just that it connects the state to itself. One line (said to be original) runs from New Albany (okay - Louisville), IN through Indianapolis to Hammond/Gary, aka Chicago . The second line runs from Evansville straight north to Michigan City. The tracks cross each other where Monon Creek is and today the town of Monon (on US 421). What was named for what? I've never known.

    Other Monon Museums:
    Linden

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    Madison - On the River

    by Toughluck Updated Mar 8, 2007

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    Located on the Ohio River, Madison is a well preserved town. The historic downtown offers a pleasant walk and plenty to see and do. Up the hill, you'll find the modern town spread along the federal highway, with the shops and stores of modern America. See my Madison page.

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Indiana Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Indiana off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Indiana sightseeing.
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