Aerial view of Madison, Indiana.

7 of the Friendliest Towns in Indiana

Nicknamed the Hoosier State and often called the “Crossroads of America,” Indiana is a midwestern state that contains a mix of agricultural, commercial, and industrial communities. The state is long and narrow, stretching from the Ohio River in the south to Lake Michigan in the north, with the capital city of Indianapolis in the middle. Within the borders of Indiana, visitors are treated to numerous beautiful, charming, and welcoming small towns, filled with friendly people. While you can expect to find several great towns in every county, we have collected a list of seven of the friendliest little towns in the Hoosier State.


The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown, with the old business district buildings.
The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown, with the old business district buildings, in Angola, Indiana.

Named by early settlers from a town of the same name in New York, Angola is located in the northeastern corner of Indiana. Home to about 9,000 residents and the seat of county government, Angola has a downtown area focused around the 67-foot tall Steuben County Soldiers Monument, constructed in 1917 as a memorial to the area’s fallen Civil War soldiers. A range of historic buildings, home to small businesses run by friendly locals, dot the streets surrounding the monument. Angola’s downtown area is a particularly good spot for antique shoppers. Pokagon State Park, located along Lake James, includes numerous options for outdoor recreation and is a short trip from downtown Angola.


The Historic Town Square in Corydon, Indiana.
The Historic Town Square in Corydon, Indiana. Image credit: Charles Edward via Wikimedia Commons.

Corydon, located near the banks of the Ohio River in the far south of the state, was Indiana’s first capital, holding that role from 1816 to 1825. Corydon was also the site of the only Civil War battle on Indiana soil, in 1863. Therefore, today’s small town of Corydon has a larger historical imprint than most communities of 3,000 residents. Corydon’s postcard-pretty downtown area houses the Old Capitol Building, numerous other historic sites, and a range of charming attractions for visitors. Explorers of all ages can also enjoy Indiana Caverns, located just outside of town, which includes a boat tour through the state’s largest cave system and a neighboring adventure park.


Jefferson County Courthouse in Madison, Indiana.
Jefferson County Courthouse in Madison, Indiana.

As proof that the friendliest towns are not always in rural areas, picturesque Madison is located along a densely-populated stretch of the Ohio River that runs between the Cincinnati (70 miles away) and Louisville (50 miles away) metropolitan areas. In spite of this urbanized location, however, Madison itself has only about 12,000 residents and a charming small-town atmosphere. Townspeople are happy to show off the nation’s largest contiguous National Historic Landmark District in Madison’s downtown area, where visitors can see preserved buildings in a range of 19th and early 20th century architectural styles. Visitors to Clifty Falls State Park, located just outside town, can enjoy the scenery of Clifty Canyon and several waterfalls.


Whitewater Canal in Metamora, Indiana.
Whitewater Canal in Metamora, Indiana.

Too small to be officially designated a town with only about 200 residents, the tiny village of Metamora manages to maintain a big reputation as a tourist destination. Established in the southeastern part of the state as a stop along the Whitewater Canal, built in the 1830s and 1840s to connect the Ohio and White Rivers, Metamora transports visitors back into the past to experience midwestern life in the mid 1800s. Along with a well-maintained section of the once 76 mile long canal, an operating gristmill, and train rides, Metamora is home to about 40 businesses in its quaint downtown area. Additionally, the Whitewater River Valley offers numerous biking and hiking trails.

New Harmony

Facades in the downtown historic district of New Harmony, Indiana
Facades in the downtown historic district of New Harmony, Indiana. Image credit: Timothy K Hamilton Creativity+ Photography, via Wikimedia Commons

A town with “harmony” in its name should be a friendly place, and New Harmony fits the bill! Located along the Wabash River in southwest Indiana, New Harmony was founded in 1814 by a group of religious idealists from Pennsylvania called the Harmonists. The town then became home to the Owenists, a utopian society envisioned by George Owen, from 1825 to 1826. New Harmony is now home to about 750 residents who live among lovingly restored buildings from the town’s founding era in the beautiful Historic District. The New Harmony Visitor Center (or Atheneum) is a great starting point for walking tours of the town as well as for outdoor recreation options along the Wabash River. 


new harmony indiana
Farmlands around Paoli, Indiana.

Indiana has an abundance of great tourist draws (including friendly little towns), but, thanks to its mostly flat terrain, it lacks downhill skiing slopes. Paoli Peaks, in south central Indiana, is one of only two ski resorts in the state. Luckily, for skiers and non-skiers alike, the nearby town of Paoli (population 3,500) is an attraction all its own. Settled by anti-slavery Quakers in the early 1800s, Paoli was a part of the Underground Railroad that helped enslaved people escape to freedom in Canada. In addition to this historical connection, Paoli maintains a charming town square and county courthouse. One of the few preserved areas of virgin hardwood forest in the Midwest is just outside of town.


Aerial view of Shipshewana, Indiana
Aerial view of Shipshewana, Indiana.

LaGrange County in northern Indiana is home to about 15,000 members of the Amish community, and the town of Shipshewana (population 650) serves as their hub. Shipshewana’s proximity to the Indiana Toll Road and the cities of Fort Wayne and South Bend gives it a boost as a tourist destination, but the town’s main draw is the chance for visitors to get a taste of the simple Amish lifestyle. The timeless downtown area includes several local businesses that offer Amish cuisine, crafts, and entertainment. Shipshewana also boasts one of the largest flea markets in the nation, with over 700 vendors selling their wares on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during summer.

Indiana, like every other state in America, has its share of rough edges. That said, the Hoosier State is by and large a very welcoming place for tourists seeking all kinds of relaxation and entertainment. Many of the state’s small towns, like the seven listed here, are charming, safe, historic, and interesting places to visit. You can expect to receive a warm greeting and friendly interactions whenever you choose to check out Indiana’s lovely little towns.

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