From arts, entertainment, and family fun venues to grown up getaways, Southern Indiana is home to it all. You can spend your days hiking at Patoka Lake State Park or adventuring through Marengo Cave, and your evenings drinking refreshing craft wines and eating authentic Italian meals at the French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe.
1.French Lick Resort
© French Lick Resort
Recognized as having one of the ‘Top 50 US Hotel Spas’ by Conde Nast Traveler and being one of the ‘Best Historic Resorts’ by USA Today, the French Lick Resort is a category of luxury all on its own. You can find the large resort property nestled within Hoosier National Forest. Once there, you’ll find two AAA Four-Diamond nationally historic hotels, a Vegas-style casino, two rejuvenating spas, three challenging golf courses, numerous event venues, and so much more. They haven’t forgotten about younger guests; KidsFest is a popular hangout for children of all ages and is filled with interactive activities and games supervised by trained attendants. You’re sure to find luxurious contemporary comforts amidst old world charm during your stay at the French Lick Resort.
8670 West State Road 56, French Lick, IN 47432, Phone: 812-936-9300
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Though it’s privately owned, public tours of Marengo Cave have been given since 1883 - just a short while after it was discovered. In fact, it is currently one of only four caves in the state that are open to public viewing. The National Natural Landmark spans over seven acres and is filled with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. There are two different walking tours available: the Crystal Palace Tour last nearly 40 minutes and covers ? mile of the cave, while the Dripstone Trail Tour lasts around 70 minutes and covers one full mile of the cave. Altogether, there is almost five miles of known passageway, making it one of the longest caves in the state.
400 East State Road 64, Marengo, IN 47140
3.Patoka Lake State Park
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Spanning over 25,000 acres and encompassing a nearly 9,000-acre lake, Patoka Lake State Park is one of the best places in Southern Indiana to enjoy the outdoors. There are several programs and events which take place at the park including docent-guided walks, adventures to the reconstructed Moery Cabin, and guided hikes to explore the flora and fauna. The park provides habitats for many animals including bald eagle nesting sites, osprey, river otters, and freshwater jellyfish. Activities you can partake in while there includes camping, hiking, biking, picnicking, hunting, swimming, waterskiing, fishing/ ice fishing, cross-country skiing, boating, archery, and other skill programs like Dutch oven cooking. Next read: Best Day Trips in Indiana
3084 N. Dillard Road, Birdseye, IN 47513, Phone: 812-685-2464
© Culbertson Mansion
Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Culbertson Mansion was the home of William Culbertson - once the richest man in all of Indiana. The mansion was built between 1867 and 1869 and was designed by local architect, James T. Banes. There are guided tours of the mansion and the property which will take you through some of the twenty-five bedrooms and parlors, dining rooms, and kitchen. You’ll be able to see stunning features such as the carved rosewood-grained staircase, hand-painted frescoed ceilings, crystal chandeliers, and much more. Several events, such as their annual Haunted House, are popular occasion which attract locals and visitors.
914 E Main Street, New Albany, IN 47150
5.Angel Mounds State Historic Site
© Angel Mounds State Historic Site
Angel Mounds State Historic Site comprises the remnants of a town that was constructed and occupied between 1100 AD and 1450 AD. Located on the banks of the Ohio River, the site is one of the farthest northeastern displays of Mississippian culture. It is nationally recognized as one of the best-conserved ancient Native American sites in the US and is identified as a U.S. National Historic Landmark and on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Today, visitors will be able to experience how the thriving community lived a thousand years ago through the site and many artifacts which have been discovered there.
8215 Pollack Avenue, Evansville, IN 47715
6.Squire Boone Caverns
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Offering one of the most spectacular underground adventures in America, Squire Boone Caverns comprises a cave and surrounding village that was first discovered by explorer brothers, Daniel and Squire Boone, when they were hiding from Native Americans in the late 18th century. Squire Boone, who later came back to live near the caves and loved it so much that he was buried at the entrance upon his request. Today, visitors can explore the caves with experienced guides and see sights such as an underground stream, a large waterfall, several unique rock formations, and massive stalactite and stalagmite formations. The surrounding pioneer village includes an old-fashioned candy shop, hand-dipped candles, and soap which is made by hand using lard.
100 Squire Boone Road SW, Mauckport, IN 47142, Phone: 812-732-4381
7.Spring Mill State Park
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Spanning 1,358 acres, Spring Mill State Park is a beautiful natural sight with many cultural attractions housed within it. Visitors from all over flock to the park to see the several caves which can be found there. Many of the caves are open to the public for guided tours; the Twin Caves boat tours are a popular option as guides pull the boats through stream passages, so you can view the unique formations and cave animals that reside there. In addition to the boat tour, there are another three interpretive facilities: the Nature Center, Pioneer Village, and Grissom Memorial. There are 20 historic buildings inside of Pioneer Village including an 1817 limestone gristmill that still grinds cornmeal today.
3333 State Road 60 E, Mitchell, IN 47446, Phone: 812-849-3534
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8.George Rogers Clark Memorial
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Start your visit to the George Rogers Clark Memorial at Visitor Center which will give you a little background to the George Rogers Clark story. You’ll see exhibits as well as a 30-minute orientation movie, Long Knives. Afterwards, head to the memorial which was constructed between 1931 and 1933 and was, at that time, a major feat of architectural engineering. Inside the stunning memorial rotunda, you will see the Hermon MacNeil statue of Clark - a frontiersman who led his men bravely. On the walls of the memorial rotunda you will see seven 28-feet-tall murals which depict Clark’s expedition story.
401 S. 2nd Street, Vincennes, IN 47591, Phone: 812-882-1776
© Evansville Museum
Located on the Ohio riverfront in the downtown area, the Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science is a general interest museum that is filled with many artifacts. The museum was founded in 1904 and now has over 30,000 objects in its permanent collection. You’ll be able to see several examples of fine art, historic artifacts, decorative ornaments, photographs, historic documents, and more. One of the museum’s main features is its built-in semblance of a 19th-century American rivertown street you can walk down which is decorated with shops and homes. The permanent exhibits are so varied, from 16th century artwork to informative science demonstrations.
411 SE Riverside Drive, Evansville, IN 47713
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10.The Henager “Memories and Nostalgia” Museum
© The Henager “Memories and Nostalgia” Museum
Enjoy a stroll down memory lane at the Henager’s Memories and Nostalgia Museum. Having officially opened in 1996, the museum now has a collection of over 20,000 items. Many of the artifacts and memorabilia you’ll see was donated and has come from all across the nation. The stunning array of items are which preserved and on display focuses on several topics such as Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy, Smokey Bear, Western Movie Stars, Santa’s Workshop, American Music, Automotive Heritage, and a Veteran’s Exhibit. Classic movies are played at the museum throughout the year and are free to watch with general museum admission.
8837 S. State Road 57, Buckskin, IN 47613, Phone: 812-795-2230
11.Dubois County Museum
© Dubois County Museum
The Dubois County Museum is a wonderful attraction which focuses on the area’s heritage and history. The non-profit museum was established in 1999 and has an array of exhibits and artifacts which make it interesting for visitors of all ages. There are over 41,000 items on display in the 50,000 square foot exhibition space. Additional aspects are the 17-room interactive exhibit reminiscent of Main Street in the 1890s, several community murals, a huge model train display, a wild game safari display, and a two pen log house which was built in 1885. You’ll be able to learn so much about Dubois County’s history and heritage through the exhibitions which tell stories that have been passed down from generation to generation.
2704 N Newton Street, Jasper, IN 47546, Phone: 812-634-7733
12.The Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
© The Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
Home to one of the largest communities of Benedictine women in the United States, the Monastery of the Immaculate Conception is a beautiful structure which is recognized in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The monastery complex includes the main building which was constructed in the late 1880s and a Romanesque Revival style convent chapel which was added in 1915. Visitors are invited to explore and spend time in the serene monastery; you can visit the peaceful gardens, the labyrinth, the shrines, or the outdoor Stations of the Cross. Guided tours are offered throughout the year and mass is held at varying times every day of the week.
802 E 10th Street, Ferdinand, IN 47532, Phone: 812-367-1411
© Bluespring Caverns
Bluespring Caverns is an intricate cave system that has a karst and river type cave formation which drains a sinkhole plain. It is renowned for having the longest known subterranean river in the United States, of which three miles is navigable. There are 21 miles of surveyed passages within the caves, much of which can be seen in the hour-long boat ride tour which is offered there. In addition to several limestone structures, you will also see various wildlife in the cave including beetles, spiders, crickets, crayfish, bats, and the rare sightless Northern Cavefish.
1459 Blue Springs Cavern Road, Bedford, IN 47421, Phone: 812-279-9471
14.French Lick West Baden Museum
© French Lick West Baden Museum
The French Lick West Baden Museum is filled with local history exhibits which tell you stories of the area and the events and people that shaped it over the years. The exhibits are dedicated to various aspects of the past such as illegal gambling in their Casino Exhibit, the artworks of Henry and Ferdinand Cross in the Cross Exhibit, and the many hotels which called French Lick home in the Our Grand Hotels Exhibit. The display which is the most popular at the museum is of the World’s Largest Circus Diorama; with over 150,000 pieces, it is incredibly detailed and visually stunning to see.
469 S Maple Street #103, French Lick, IN 47432, Phone: 812-936-3592
15.French Lick Scenic Railway
© French Lick Scenic Railway
The French Lick Scenic Railway has many aspects which attract children of all ages as well as the inner child of adults. It is home to the Indiana Railway Museum which was founded in 1961, but this is unlike any museum you’ve been to before which is filled with displays and exhibits. Instead, you’ll find an operating passenger train which will take you on a twenty-five mile journey from French Lick to Jasper and back. The experience will give you the sense of how long-distance travel was long ago and is filled with informational tidbits about the area’s history and its once-thriving rail industry.
8594 W. State Road 56, Box 150, French Lick, IN 47432, Phone: 800-748-7246
16.Sycamore Springs Park
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Though Sycamore Springs Park is seasonal when it comes to camping sites and other events and activities, visitors are free to walk through the park any time of the year. Spanning over 250 acres, the scenic park is a wonderful place to go hiking, fishing, camping, or just spend a day exploring the wooded area and playgrounds. Facilities that are provided include designated picnicking areas and camping amenities such as complimentary firewood and sites fitted with fire pits, port-a-potties, and piped restrooms and showers. Visitors who are engaged may consider getting married at the park as there is a beautiful wedding chapel available.
717 West Tunnel Hill Road, English, IN 47118, Phone: 812-338-3846
17.Gasthof Amish Village
© Gasthof Amish Village
An oasis in Southern Indiana, Gasthof Amish Village transports you to a completely different world. The 92 acres of land is home to over 7,000 Amish people who are living the Old Order Amish Life. You can see and so much in the village; start your experience with an Amish Community Tour which lasts approximately two hours and includes visits to Amish homes, farms, small businesses, and even an Amish schoolhouse. You can then spend time in the town, visiting the many unique shops, talking to the locals, learning about Amish skills such as carpentry, and eating authentic Amish recipes from their restaurant.
6747 E Gasthof Village Road, Montgomery, IN 47558, Phone: 812-486-2600
18.G.A. Schimpff’s Confectionery
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The Schimpff family has made candy since the 1850s, long before they opened G.A. Schimpff’s Confectionery in 1891. It is one of the oldest, family-owned candy businesses in the United States and has continuously operated through floods, depressions, and recessions. Walking into the unique confectionery and lunch room will transports you back in time; you’ll see old-fashioned candy jars, turn-of-the-century equipment, and even a 50’s soda fountain. You can go on a tour of their Candy Museum to learn about candy making industry and its rich history. Stop by the Candy Demonstration Area to see experts concoct your favorite sweet treats such as their famous cinnamon Red Hots and hard candy fish.
347 Spring Street, Jeffersonville, IN 47130, Phone: 812-283-8367
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One of the newest show caves in the nation, Indiana Caverns is a part of the Binkley Cave System and spans over 43.9 miles long. It is the 11th longest cave system in the United States and is an incredibly beautiful site to explore. Tours of the caverns last 1½ hours and combine walking through the stunning structures as well as a 25-minute boat ride through the cave tunnels. During that time, you’ll descend 110 feet underground and learn about the rich history of Indiana Caverns. Features of the caverns which really stand out are the enormous boulders of Big Bone Mountain, the underground waterfall, and the run-ins with blind cave crayfish.
1267 Green Acres Drive SW, Corydon, IN 47112, Phone: 812-734-1200
20.O'Bannon Woods Pioneer Farmstead
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Located within the 3,000-acre O’Bannon Woods State Park is the historic O’Bannon Woods Pioneer Farmstead. The homestead site is a fascinating recreation of a mid-19th century farmstead and buildings. In addition to exploring these wonderful structures, you’ll also be able to see a unique, fully-restored three-story hay press barn. Interpretive panels allow visitors to delve into the history of the area and learn fun tidbits about life on a homestead. Other recreational activities you can participate in in the surrounding state park include biking, boating, canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, picnicking, swimming, and much more.
O’Bannon Woods State Park: 7234 Old Forest Road, Corydon, IN 47112, Phone: 812-738-8232
21.Dubois County Bombers
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Enjoy America’s favorite pastime at its best by visiting the Dubois City Bombers in their home, League Stadium. You may recognize the stadium and features such as the vintage signage and scoreboard from the blockbuster hit, A League of their Own. The Dubois County Bombers is a summer collegiate baseball team comprising players from near and far that play high-quality contemporary baseball in a throwback setting. And they’re dedicated too, as all the players wear vintage uniforms complete with knickered pants and stirrups. The signs, uniforms, sounds, and atmosphere will surely transport you back into the golden age of baseball and you will definitely have an amazing time watching the Bombers play.
203 South Cherry Street, Huntingburg, IN 47542, Phone: 812-683-3700
22.Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino
© Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino
The Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino not only has a lively casino floor but also houses a hotel, spa, multiple entertainment venues, award-winning restaurants, and much more. Offering the best odds and highest limits, the casino at Horseshoe has over 1,650 slot machines, 200 video poker games, high-limit table games, and a comfortable poker room. Take a break from the bustling casino and head on over to the Envy Bar & Lounge for a drink or the full-service spa for an indulging massage. The Horseshoe is constantly bringing legendary entertainment to Southern Indiana and has several concerts and shows lined up throughout the year. At the end of your excitement-filled day, fall into a comfortable bed at their hotel.
11999 Casino Center Drive SE, Elizabeth, IN 47117, Phone: 866-67-7463
23.French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe
© French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe
A favorite among Indiana’s many wineries, the French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe has both, a great selection and an incredible setting. Head on over to their tasting room to sample their array of wines. You can enjoy a glass on their patio overlooking the stunning surroundings or while browsing the tasting rooms gift shop for unique gift items such as gourmet foods, wine gadgets, wine glasses, apparel, and other souvenirs. There are over 30 different award-winning wines to choose from, ranging from dry to sweet. If you’re hungry there nothing better to pair your glass of wine with than the authentic Italian cuisine at the Vintage Cafe. Their Spirits of French Lick line uses distillation methods from around the world to produce products such as Aquavit, Old Tom Gin, Absinthe Le Blue, Vodka, White Bourbon Whisky, and Stamper’s Creek Rum.
8145 W Sinclair Street, West Baden Springs, IN 47469, Phone: 812-936-2293
23 Best Things to Do in Southern Indiana
- French Lick Resort, Photo: French Lick Resort
- Marengo Cave, Photo: Courtesy of Nick - Fotolia.com
- Patoka Lake State Park, Photo: Courtesy of Jonas - Fotolia.com
- Culbertson Mansion, Photo: Culbertson Mansion
- Angel Mounds State Historic Site, Photo: Angel Mounds State Historic Site
- Squire Boone Caverns, Photo: Courtesy of Nick - Fotolia.com
- Spring Mill State Park, Photo: Courtesy Light Source - Fotolia.com
- George Rogers Clark Memorial, Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com
- Evansville Museum, Photo: Evansville Museum
- The Henager “Memories and Nostalgia” Museum, Photo: The Henager “Memories and Nostalgia” Museum
- Dubois County Museum, Photo: Dubois County Museum
- The Monastery of the Immaculate Conception, Photo: The Monastery of the Immaculate Conception
- Bluespring Caverns, Photo: Bluespring Caverns
- French Lick West Baden Museum, Photo: French Lick West Baden Museum
- French Lick Scenic Railway, Photo: French Lick Scenic Railway
- Sycamore Springs Park, Photo: Courtesy of schankz - Fotolia.com
- Gasthof Amish Village, Photo: Gasthof Amish Village
- G.A. Schimpff’s Confectionery, Photo: Courtesy of natalya23 - Fotolia.com
- Indiana Caverns, Photo: Courtesy of Jenny Pierce Photo - Fotolia.com
- O'Bannon Woods Pioneer Farmstead, Photo: Courtesy of angelafarina - Fotolia.com
- Dubois County Bombers, Photo: Courtesy of 33ft - Fotolia.com
- Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino, Photo: Horseshoe Southern Indiana Casino
- French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe, Photo: French Lick Winery & Vintage Cafe
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SNEHIT - Fotolia.com