Indiana is lined with enchanting small towns that provide for the perfect romantic or low-key vacation. At any of these places, you can breathe in the crisp air, hear the sounds of birds among the trees and enjoy a slower pace of life.
Small town Indiana also harbors some of the state’s most interesting history. Experience the capital of the old territory or explore the childhood town of famous authors. Not to mention historic districts and Amish communities. All the while, enjoy prime access to parks, rivers and national forests for an escape from the city that you’ve been dreaming of.
12. New Harmony[SEE MAP]
A wonderful year-round destination, New Harmony, is a relaxing and picturesque town. Set in southern Indiana, New Harmony has a quaint historic district that makes your morning stroll interesting and beautiful. The range of fine architecture, public art and museums will keep you busy rain, hail or shine.
Settled by Harmonists, New Harmony’s original vision was as a religious utopia. It may have never reached its lofty goals, but the community stewardship has allowed the town to maintain its tranquil vibe into the 21st century. Find peace among the historic architecture, enjoy local whisky or embark on a nighttime ghost tour.
11. Paoli[SEE MAP]
Near the historic town of French Lick, Paoli presents a unique experience in Southern Indiana. A popular destination for families, this adorable small town has dozens of fantastic attractions for young and old.
When the snow is falling across the Midwest, locals and travelers alike can make the trip to Paoli Peaks, for skiing, snowboarding and off-piste adventures. When the sun is out and the flowers are blooming in the late spring and summer, head to the Hoosier National Forest.
Packed with meandering trails through enchanting landscapes, put on your hiking boots and get exploring. While you can later relax with a swim in the Ohio River.
Lathered with history, exploring downtown Paoli is a treat and offers amazing insight into the Underground Railroad.
10. Corydon[SEE MAP]
The former capital of the Indiana Territory, Corydon has a long and interesting past while being one of the more scenic parts of the state. Visitors can enjoy learning about the history of the town and the early days of the territory at the Capitol State Historic Park.
In downtown Corydon, you can walk through the historic district where many of the town’s original buildings stand tall to this day. Visitors to Corydon also make the trip because of the local nature, including the Hayswood Nature Reserve and the Harrison Crawford State Forest.
Hike, zoom through the canopy on a zip-line or enjoy some wonderful bird watching.
9. Goshen[SEE MAP]
Commonly known as Maple City, Goshen is close to the Michigan border towards the north of Indiana. The welcoming small town is lined with charming brick buildings and a large Amish community.
Some of the top landmarks include the century-old Old Bag Factory, which was revitalized in the 1980s. Once an abandoned factory, it’s now a place of creativity with galleries, artisan shops and old factory memorabilia.
When the sun’s out, join the town at their favorite spot, Fidler Pond Park. Home to one of the largest country fairs in the country, travelers can SUP or kayak on the lake, or simply walk around the picturesque landscape.
8. Greenfield[SEE MAP]
Within the Indianapolis metropolitan area and just 30 minutes from downtown, Greenfield is the perfect small town escape for those living in the Indiana state capital. The town was the birthplace of prominent author James W. Riley, who rose to fame with his poem and comics, called the Little Orphan Annie. You can learn more about the author and his works at the Riley Home Museum.
History buffs will have a splendid time wandering through the Old Log Church and Chapel in the Park museums. Uncover a range of ancient artifacts from Native American communities to pieces from the Civil War and even prehistoric fossils.
Get out and about at the local parks, with playgrounds, trails and picnic spots to enjoy.
7. Shipshewana[SEE MAP]
Home to the largest flea market in the Midwest, Shipshewana is also the heart of Amish country. Any visit to the fascinating town will bring the sight of horse-drawn carriages and insight into local Amish-Mennonite culture.
Shipshewana is a popular stop along the Heritage Trail. The town offers a great way to explore the historic Grange County, with a variety of guided tours of local establishments available.
Visitors to Shipshewana should stop by Menno-Hof for an interactive cultural experience along with the family-friendly Dutch Creek Farm Animal Park. From May to September, explore the expansive flea market with over two-dozen independent vendors selling handcrafted wares and antiquities.
6. Nashville[SEE MAP]
Replace country music with Brown County State Park and you’ll have a small glimpse of what this small Indiana town is all about. The only incorporated town in the county, Nashville, has envious access to the state park where hiking trails await in abundance. Hike to scenic viewpoints with vistas of the sprawling Lake Monroe or jump on the mountain bike to explore the landscape at speed.
However, Nashville Indiana’s real claim to fame is its unique artists’ colony. The Brown County Art Colony was founded in 1907, in what is now known as the T.C. Steele State Historic Site.
Today, you can visit the eclectic site, with original works on display. Complement this experience with a visit to the Brown County Art Gallery for the full experience of this distinct community.
5. French Lick[SEE MAP]
With plenty of color and a taste of the Old West, French Lick is as pretty as it comes. The small town rose to fame because of the French Lick Resort and Casino, which opened in the middle of the 19th century. People would arrive in French Lick to bathe in the natural mineral springs before enjoying a night of entertainment around the blackjack table.
Today you can stay in the hotel, play some cards before an invigorating spa experience. But there’s much more to French Lick. No time in town would be complete without riding down the picturesque French Lick Scenic Railway, a 20-mile journey that also features the expansive Hoosier National Forest.
The vibrant downtown streets feature a range of colorful buildings that showcase French Lick as it was way back when.
4. Aurora[SEE MAP]
Around 40 minutes west of Cincinnati, Aurora is a pleasant town along the Ohio River and the North Hogan Creek. The town was established towards the beginning of the 19th century and with its well-preserved buildings, its history is on full-display.
Along the captivating Main Street, you’ll find beautiful old architecture, now home to all you need for a cute, small town getaway. Old industry has been replaced by modern restaurants and small-batch breweries, great for relaxing after a day exploring the region.
Outside of Main Street, explore the Hillforest House Museum on a guided tour or venture to the scenic Veraestau Historic Site. The town’s position on the Ohio River offer a beautiful bike path along the banks, which leads to Lesko Park, a scenic spot for an afternoon picnic.
3. Metamora[SEE MAP]
With a population of under 200 people, Metamora is a tourist destination teeming with exciting and unique attractions. Visiting the town is taking a journey back in time, making it an exciting choice for a weekend vacation.
Once a stop along the Whitewater Canal, Metamora offers a fascinating insight into its past with a still-working grist mill and the only operating wood aqueduct in the United States. You’ll have the chance to journey down the Whitewater Canal on a 25-minute cruise inside a unique horse-drawn canal boat.
Other adventures to be had around Metamora include visiting the historic Whitewater Valley railroad, go gem mining at the downtown mine and hike or ride a horse along the canal. It’s best to visit the charming town of Metamora between May and October when the attractions are open to visitors.
2. Angola[SEE MAP]
In Steuben County, Angola is the adorable small town straight out of your dreams. From the manicured central streets flanked by century-old buildings to the lush countryside, Angola is a romantic escape while remaining great for families.
When the sun is out, residents and visitors come together on Lakes James for a beach day on warm golden sands. You’ll have the choice of bathing under the sky or venturing out onto Indiana’s fourth largest natural lake.
For more adventure, head to Pokagon State Park where you can venture along the many trails, go tobogganing year-round, and find more beaches to lie upon. The enchanting town also presents several memorable wineries, local parks, and a vibrant downtown with live music and home-style eats.
1. Madison[SEE MAP]
A must-stop along the Ohio River Scenic Byway, Madison is a leafy small town that evokes visions of the 19th century. Enveloped by rolling hills and stark limestone bluffs, Madison is packed with historical landmarks and museums.
Some of the top historical attractions include the Lanier Mansion State Historic Site. Built in 1844, the home is the centerpiece of the vibrant Historic District. Another gorgeous piece of architecture is the classical revival Shrewsbury-Windle House built two years prior to the Lanier Mansion.
Beyond history and old homes, Madison is surrounded by lush landscapes home to several quality wineries. Under the warm summer sun, enjoy a wine at Lathier or Thomas Family wineries.
Walk the streets in downtown Madison to find rows of inviting boutique stores, cozy cafes and beer gardens. In the summer, the city hosts free live music in the public parks.