3 Weekend Getaways Near Indianapolis | Midwest Living

3 Weekend Getaways Near Indianapolis

Head to Santa Claus for family fun, or opt for exploring the parks and shops of Winona Lake or the architecture of Columbus.

Santa Claus, Indiana: 154 miles southwest of Indianapolis

This family-centric town offers a nice variety of affordable activities. The big lure is Holiday World and Splashin' Safari (left), with a plethora of colorful rides and slides that will elicit squeals from the backseat. (Grown-ups will cheer for the free pop, parking and even sunscreen.) In town, you can read kids' letters to Santa at the Santa Claus Museum or try frozen hot cocoa at Santa's Candy Castle. But the area isn't all kitsch. Plan to visit a handful of Abe Lincoln sites, canoe on the Blue River or tour Marengo Cave. Lake Rudolph Campground provides RV rentals for newbie campers, or, if your crew prefers plusher digs, the Leavenworth Inn is lovely—and kids are welcome. santaclausin.com


Santa Claus: Trip guide

Lincoln boyhood sites and Santa-theme attractions draw big crowds to this south-central town of 2,200. For information: Spencer County Visitors Bureau (888) 444-9252; legendaryplaces.org

Cave Country Canoes Water lovers can get their fix by taking advantage of a half-day trip along the Blue River. (812) 365-2705; cavecountrycanoes.com
Holiday World Theme Park and Splashin' Safari Families dig the slides and rides, plus free parking and inner tube use. Give yourself one day for rides and coasters and another for the water park. (877) 463-2645; holidayworld.com
Lincoln Amphitheatre Watch Lincoln, the new theater production of his life. (800) 264-4223; lincolnamphitheatre.com
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial A small but well-executed museum commemorates the place where Abraham Lincoln spent most of his childhood. (812) 937-4541; nps.gov/libo
Lincoln State Park Vacationers lodge, fish and swim at the 1,700-acre park. (812) 937-4710; stateparks.in.gov
Marengo Cave This family-friendly attraction includes an in-cave movie and post-tour mining. (888) 702-2837
Santa Claus Museum The museum focuses on the town's history through displays of newspaper clippings, photos and letters mailed to Santa. (812) 937-2687; santaclausmuseum.org

Blue River Cafe This little place next to Cave Country Canoes serves spruced-up dinner fare. (812) 633-7510; bluerivercafe.com
Overlook This family-friendly spot serves mile-high biscuits, delish coconut cream pie -- and great Ohio River views. (812) 739-4264; theoverlook.com
Santa's Candy Castle Shop for specialty chocolates, candy canes, souvenirs, and frozen hot chocolate. (812) 544-3900; santascandycastle.com
Silent Night Cafe This urban-style cafe near Holiday World serves great coffee as well as fresh breakfast and lunch choices. (812) 937-9066

Lake Rudolph Campground and RV Resort This park next to Holiday World is family-oriented, with playground, pool, organized kids activities, mini golf, ice cream and pizza stand, and a game room. RV rentals from $125. (877) 478-3657; lakerudolph.com
Leavenworth Inn (Pictured at left) This four-building complex has recently updated rooms plus outdoor activities such as bicycles, shuffleboard and a tennis court. From $109. (888) 739-2120; leavenworthinn.com



More getaways near Indianapolis

Columbus, Indiana: 44 miles south of Indianapolis Two-hour bus and walking tours highlight Columbus' striking architecture, including buildings by Eliel Saarinen, his son Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei and other noted architects. (At left, visitors view Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church and Henry Moore's Large Arch sculpture.) The hip Hotel Indigo downtown perfectly complements the city's modernist spirit, and local restaurants hold progressive dinners and other special events. (800) 468-6564; columbus.in.us

Read Midwest Living's Columbus trip guide

Winona Lake, Indiana: 120 miles north of Indianapolis This seen-better-days resort town is, well, seeing better days. Rehabbed houses along a European-style canal hold a handful of shops and galleries. Two pretty, art-filled parks beg for strolls or picnics, and on the lake, the luxe Blue Heron Guest House offers stunning lake views. (574) 268-9888; villageatwinona.com


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