Seven great local summer vacation spots


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – With gas prices hovering around $5 a gallon, a long vacation drive might not be possible for many people this summer.

However, if you’re interested in something closer to home, Indiana has plenty of great camping areas that might be closer.

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Camping in Southern Indiana

Spring Mill State Park

This Lawrence County state park has campsites for everyone, whether you bring an RV or trailer, prefer water and electric, or just want to get primitive. Spring Mill offers cave tours, an old wood, a pioneer village, a 74-room lodge with dining facilities, picnic areas, a pool near the campground, a nature center, playgrounds, games and a museum dedicated to Hoosier astronaut Virgil I. ‘Gus’ Grissom.

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Hoosier National Forest

Located in south-central Indiana, the Hoosier National Forest spans over 204,000 acres and offers opportunities for a variety of camping preferences, hiking, horseback riding, biking and more.

Buffalo Trace Park

This unique park in Palmyra is operated by Harrison County Parks. Buffalo Trace Park offers everything you can find in a state or national park. There are cabins, modern and primitive campsites, swimming, fishing, boating, huts, a walking trail and more.

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Central Indiana State Parks

Shades State Park

Located near Crawfordsville, about an hour west of Indianapolis, Shades State Park is known for its hiking and canoeing opportunities. It offers camping, a nature preserve, scenic Sugar Creek and more.

Turkey Run State Park

Sugar Creek also runs through the popular Turkey Run State Park in Parke County. It offers hiking, fishing, swimming, nature center, historic sites, canoeing, kayaking, hostel and cabins, RV rentals and camping.

Northern Indiana has dunes, Pokagon

Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes offers over 2,000 acres of sand dunes and scenery on the shore of Lake Michigan. Its campground is less than a mile from the lake beach and a short walk from the South Shore train station. Each site has electrical hook-ups, with access to modern toilets and showers.

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Pokagon State Park

Since it’s located in the Lake District of northern Indiana, it’s perhaps no surprise that Pokagon State Park has more lakes than any other state park, including Lake James of 1,000 acres. It offers opportunities for boating, fishing, swimming, horseback riding, hiking, camping, and picnicking. There is also an inn and cabin rentals.

Mark Wilson covers education and the environment at Courier & Press. Contact him at [email protected]

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