12 Scenic State Parks In Indiana To Explore, One For Each Month Of The Year
Indiana is a gorgeous place to visit or live, and we just can’t get enough of its spectacular natural beauty. What some might call a “flyover” state is actually a hidden gem filled with wonder and intrigue, and what better way to appreciate this than by visiting its state parks? We went ahead and compiled a list of one dozen of the best
state parks in Indiana – one for each month of the year – for you to add to your bucket list for 2023. Which of these are your favorites? Let us know!
1. January - Pokagon State Park
Pokagon State Park is amazing all year, sure, but in the dead of winter it offers a very special perk to anyone who enters: it's the home of the
longest toboggan run in Indiana
, and we can't think of a whole lot of things more fun than zipping down a snow-covered hill at high speeds with your favorite people. January is typically the coldest month of the year, so why not have a little fun with it?
Pokagon State Park, 450 Ln 100 Lake James, Angola, IN 46703, USA
2. February - Summit Lake State Park
Summit Lake State Park is gorgeous, always, and in February it's a veritable
Indiana winter wonderland
, spanning a moderate 2,680 acres (800 of which are a gorgeous, frozen lake). If you're a fan of camping in cold weather, this is one of the state parks in Indiana that does indeed allow camping all year round.
Summit Lake State Park, 5993 N Messick Rd, New Castle, IN 47362, USA
3. March - Charlestown State Park
Early spring brings with it new opportunities, like exploring another amazing Indiana state park. Charlestown State Park is fascinating in part for its natural beauty, but also for the mysterious, intriguing
abandoned theme park
within its borders. Once upon a time, this was the site of Rose Island, an amusement park that operated way back when (from the late 1800s until 1937, when a massive flood destroyed most of the property). It's full of mystery, intrigue, and wildflowers. You'll love it.
Charlestown State Park, 12500 IN-62, Charlestown, IN 47111, USA
4. April - McCormick's Creek State Park
Ah, yes. Come April, spring is in full swing, and one of the best times to see some of the most breathtaking
waterfalls in Indiana
is right now. Head to McCormick's Creek State Park and enjoy not one but several amazing waterfalls, varying in size and intensity (but definitely best to witness after a good rain). This one's great for anyone who enjoys chasing waterfalls, as it's got a plethora of options.
McCormick's Creek State Park, 250 McCormick Creek Park Rd, Spencer, IN 47460, USA
5. May - Ouabache State Park
Ouabache State Park (pronounced Wa-bash) is one of those
underrated Indiana state parks
that even some locals don't know exists. We think that's kind of unfair, because it's pretty amazing - and May is the perfect month for exploring. Oh, and we can't go without mentioning that this is one of the very few places in the Hoosier State where you can view a buffalo herd. Neat!
Ouabache State Park, 4930 IN-201, Bluffton, IN 46714, USA
6. June - Indiana Dunes National Park
Few things are more spectacular than all the photogenic
beaches in Indiana
, and some of the best ones lie along Lake Michigan. This June, check out the awe-inspiring wonder that is Indiana Dunes National Park, which is home to the single most unique landscape in the state, with a mixture of sand dunes and beaches that are so outrageously photogenic you'll forget you're still in the Midwest.
Indiana Dunes National Park, Porter, IN 46304, USA
7. July - Brown County State Park
Brown County has a very specific reputation: it's said to be the
most beautiful place in Indiana
, and it's almost impossible to disagree. Enjoy camping in some of our state's most beautiful surroundings, and earn yourself a whole new appreciation for Indiana you never knew your soul needed. Bring a camera for this one (and for all of them, really).
Brown County State Park Road, Brown County State Park Rd, Nashville, IN 47448, USA
8. August - Shades State Park
Shades State Park
used to be called Shades of Death, and we're... not really sure why. It's got this incredible, otherworldly beauty to it that just can't be explained or described - you simply need to experience it. Explore crags, canyons, riverbeds, and so much more in a gorgeous setting that seems like something out of Middle Earth instead of Indiana. This is one you'll never forget.
Shades State Park West Road, Shades State Park W Rd, Brown Township, IN 47933, USA
9. September - Falls of the Ohio State Park
Falls of the Ohio State Park is a bit unusual, and we love it for it. It's a somewhat urban
Indiana state park
with a large bridge, a waterfall, and something particularly special: it's a hotspot for finding ancient fossils. Thousands of them! Sure, you cannot collect them and take them home, but finding them (and taking pictures, of course) is cool enough, honestly. Explore the critters of the past at this fascinating park that never gets the attention it deserves.
Falls of the Ohio State Park, 201 W Riverside Dr, Clarksville, IN 47129, USA
10. October - Turkey Run State Park
Ah, October. The air is getting chillier, the nights are starting to get lengthier, and the state parks are all awash in some of the
best fall color in Indiana.
Lovers of golden foliage need to take a day or two and explore Turkey Run State Park, which is amazing during the summer while lush and green - which translates to pure, unadulterated amazingness in the fall. Enjoy!
Turkey Run State Park, 8121 Park Rd, Marshall, IN 47859, USA
11. November - Spring Mill State Park
November is a weird time, isn't it? It's not quite winter yet, but it definitely doesn't really feel like autumn anymore, either. It's an amazing time to check out
Spring Mill State Park
, which is also one of our favorite places for fall colors (and is also amazing when covered in snow). So, whether there are still leaves on the trees or if the first snow has already fallen, it's all good: Spring Mill State Park's a good one for the transition of the seasons.
Spring Mill State Park, 3333 IN-60 E, Mitchell, IN 47446, USA
12. December - Cataract Falls at Cataract Falls State Recreation Area
Ah, finally, December is here: another year over, and a new one on the horizon. If you're a fan of
frozen waterfalls in Indiana
, this one's for you. Okay, so maybe Cataract Falls State Recreation Area isn't *technically* a state park, but it's still worthy of a December visit just for the falls alone. Waterfalls are awesome. Frozen waterfalls are divine.
Cataract Falls State Recreation Area, 2605 N Cataract Rd, Spencer, IN 47460, USA
What are your plans for the coming year? Any big ideas? Will you check these parks out? Let us know!
If you can’t get enough of Indiana’s amazing state parks, check out some of the most sadly
underrated state parks in Indiana for some ideas re: your next adventure.
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