The Steuben County Soldiers Monument surrounded by rustic buildings in downtown Angola, Indiana. Editorial credit: Roberto Galan /

7 Loveliest Small Towns to Visit in Indiana This Summer

The dynamic Midwestern state of Indiana is an exciting place to visit all year. It offers miles of vacation fun, from the stunning Lake Michigan beaches in the north to the gently rolling hills and charming covered bridges in the south. However, the state truly comes to life during the warm summer months, when the flora, fauna, and local vibes come to life. Rather than sticking to Indiana’s bustling big cities, get off the beaten path and discover one of these seven lovely and welcoming small towns this summer.


View of the Ohio River from Madison, Indiana.
View of the Ohio River from Madison, Indiana.

Situated on the scenic Ohio River just over the Kentucky border, Madison is a small Midwestern town with a charming southern flair. Madison is home to the impressive Clifty Falls State Park, and the town's 133 historic blocks are known as the country's largest contiguous National Historic Landmark District. Those interested in Clifty Falls State Park adore its several waterfalls and hiking trails year-round. Moreover, guided tours and nature programs are offered during the summer months.

Meanwhile, history enthusiasts stroll through Madison's historic downtown, taking in the pretty architecture, boutiques, eateries serving local cuisine, and perhaps live music on a warm summer night. One can learn about Madison's rich past by checking out the Jefferson Co. History and Art Center, a popular attraction featuring steamboat and Civil War exhibits, a general store, and a schoolroom. Afterward, visiting families can cool off at the town's new Crystal Beach Aquatic Park, which offers a children's area, a lazy river, lap lanes, and two slides.


Buildings along Main Street in Nashville, Indiana.
Buildings along Main Street in Nashville, Indiana. Editorial credit: Roberto Galan /

The charming town of Nashville, Indiana, is a vibrant destination known throughout the Midwest as "Little Nashville" due to its thriving live music scene. This beautiful Brown County destination is an artists' enclave with an abundance of art galleries and studios where visitors can purchase an original piece or see creators at work. For more cultural charm, the picturesque Bean Blossom Covered Bridge dates back to 1880 and draws travelers to Nashville from all over.

While visiting this quaint town, check out Brown County State Park, the largest state park in Indiana. It offers peaceful trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding. There are also several scenic overlooks for those who want to take in the rugged hill and lush ravine views. The park is home to the Abe Martin Lodge if you want to gather with a group or stay overnight.


Aerial view of the town of Shipshewana in Indiana.
Aerial view of the town of Shipshewana in Indiana.

Shipshewana is a charming retreat in LaGrange County, known for having the country's third-largest Amish community. To this end, visitors can spend their summer vacation strolling charming downtown Shipshewana, sampling authentic Amish cuisine, buying handmade arts and crafts, or even taking a buggy ride. Not only can one purchase mouthwatering Amish baked goods at the famous Blue Gate Restaurant and Bakery, but they can also take in a live show at the Blue Gate Theatre right upstairs.

If you visit this charming town between May and September, don't miss the Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market, the largest one in the Midwest. The expansive market features hundreds of vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade furniture and is open every Tuesday and Wednesday.

New Harmony

Aerial view of the New Harmony Labyrinth in Indiana.
Aerial view of the New Harmony Labyrinth in Indiana.

New Harmony is an idyllic southern Indiana town on the Wabash River. During the summer months, it is the ideal place to cool off or enjoy water sports. The town offers a paved boat ramp that is open to the public if you want to launch your own watercraft or rent one into the scenic river. Back on land, Church Park, a formal garden featuring a water fountain, is in the center of town and ideal for a summer stroll.

Dating back to the early 1800s, New Harmony is full of historic buildings now housing unique boutiques and eateries, arts and cultural attractions, and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. The quaint town features two lush, green labyrinths you can get lost in, the Harmonist Labyrinth on Main Street and the New Harmony Cathedral Labyrinth, which was inspired by one in Chartres, France. If arts and culture is your thing, don't miss the New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, home to rotating exhibits and public workshops and programs.

French Lick

A small church in the town of French Lick, Indiana.
A small church in the town of French Lick, Indiana. Editorial credit: GypsyPictureShow /

Another quaint Indiana town, French Lick, is situated in the gently rolling hills near the Kentucky border and is known historically for its mineral springs. French Lick began as a French trading post in the early 1800s and transformed into a health spa destination due to its famous springs. Today, the small, charming town is still a popular vacation spot, especially during the summer months when many outdoor recreational opportunities beckon travelers from all over.

The French Lick West Baden Museum is the best place to begin your visit, as you can learn about the area's storied gangster and gambling history, as well as hometown basketball legend Larry Bird. The museum also features the world's largest circus diorama, which depicts the early 1900s French Lick winter home of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus. Check out the French Lick Scenic Railway, a historic tourist railway offering themed excursions, such as the Polar Express train ride, the 2024 Bourbon Tasting train ride, the Scenic Train ride, and the Dinosaur Adventure train ride.


The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown Angola, Indiana.
The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown Angola, Indiana. Editorial credit: Roberto Galan /

Located in picturesque Steuben County, the charming small town of Angola is known for its vibrant downtown filled with architectural beauties, boutiques, and eateries. It has more than its fair share of parks and natural areas like Pokagon State Park. This scenic retreat is located on pretty Lake James and offers hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails, as well as boat rentals and two swimming areas. The county also boasts more than 100 lakes, all of which are within easy driving distance of Angola.

After the outdoors, visitors can cool off with a cold beer or two at The Venue, which is known for its upscale bar food and upbeat drinking atmosphere. If you like golf, swing at the scenic Glendarin Hills Golf Club.

Winona Lake

View of Winona Lake in Indiana.
View of Winona Lake, Indiana during the sunset.

Situated on its namesake body of water, eye-catching Winona Lake is a welcoming community for all. Bikers, for example, rejoice at the town’s 9-mile Winona Lake Trail System that winds through scenic natural areas, parks, a historic downtown, and the Village at Winona, a bustling shopping area. If you crave a Midwest summer getaway that includes swimming, fishing, and sunset dinners with lake views, consider stopping at Winona Lake. The Winona Lake Limitless Park, Beach, and Splashpad is another perfect spot to spend a hot day.

The Winona Lake History Center is ideal for learning about the town's background via four galleries, historic pictures, and artifacts. During the summer, you can catch a live concert, shop at a farmers market selling local produce and other goods, or attend a jazz festival at the Miller Sunset Pavilion.

Wrapping Up

No matter where you're traveling in the great state of Indiana this summer, you'll find a lovely small town that offers everything you need to enjoy the season. From the confusing labyrinths in New Harmony to the scenic biking trails in Winona Lake, each type of traveler can find an activity to enjoy. Thus, whether you want to spend time in a cool building immersed in local history or exploring lakes, beaches, and trails, Indiana is the place to do it.

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