Angola, Indiana, the Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown, with the old business district buildings. Image credit Roberto Galan via Shutterstock

The Best Small Towns In Indiana For A Weekend Escape

The Midwestern state of Indiana, bounded by four states, has easy access from Chicago or Michigan maritime lands. Enjoy freeing sights from the city amid rolling hills and state parks surrounding Indiana's many small towns. Seek a water-bound respite at one of the hotspots along Lake Michigan's shoreline. Join the athletic culture, home to the Indy 500 and renowned basketball players, through many pursuits. Immerse yourself in nature through scenic hikes, many parks with recreational areas, and shores with beach access.

Whether you are coming from Indianapolis or out of state, this sprinkling of small towns includes fun destinations for any taste. Find your niche if you are a history buff, a culture enthusiast, a foodie, or a curious tourist in uncharted territory. You will also enjoy quick access to the Indiana Wine Trail, with its scenic wineries nestled amid the hills.


The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown, with the Courthouse in the background, Angola, Indiana
The Steuben County Soldiers Monument in downtown Angola, Indiana. Image credit Roberto Galan via Shutterstock

Angola is a perfect weekend getaway with a small college town feel and notes of history ringing through the streets. Feel the youthful vibe emanating from Trine University on your way to see the famous Civil War monument. After taking a picture of the notable landmark, allow yourself to immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere to which this town aspires. The adorable small town in Steuben County inspires a stroll through the manicured streetscape, where you will feel eons away from city life.

The enchanting town offers a romantic escape or weekend away with family among the century-old buildings in the surroundings of lush countryside, along with several wineries and local parks. Revel in a vibrant downtown with live music and home-style eats at student prices, or stock up at a local store for a sunny day picnic by Lake James. The beautiful beach with warm golden sands around Indiana’s fourth-largest natural lake is perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Access the nearby Pokagon State Park with many trails, year-round tobogganing, and undeveloped beach fronts for a secluded respite.

Beverly Shores

Historic 1933 Chicago World's Fair Century of Progress home on a beautiful Summer morning, Beverly Shores, Indiana.
Beverly Shores, Indiana. Image credit Nicola Patterson via Shutterstock

Indiana's dark-sky town is a dream-come-true getaway for water fans and stargazers, spreading quaintly along the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Beverly Shores is a national historic site, with architectural charm during the day and evening strolls along the dimmed streetscape beneath billions of stars. Visit this town on a relaxing weekend escape, and you will be awestruck by all the sights while perusing the town and enjoying your favorite pursuits. Marvel at the artistic Century of Progress Homes from the 1933 World Fair and visit the Armco-Ferro House.

Have a picnic, or go swimming in the summertime at the stunning Kemil Beach, which is void of seasonal crowds. You can also go hiking through the beautiful Indiana Dunes State Park or stroll along the shoreline. With only about 600 residents to the town's name, you will quickly find a private spot along Lake Michigan's immense shoreline. The humid air and sea breeze on your face will refresh and reinvigorate you, filling your mind with peace and your heart with gratitude. Balance the tranquil vibe on a stroll through the vibrant retro town with iconic neon signs and architectural feats.


Daytime photo of the red barn mill at Bonneyville Mills in Bristol, Indiana with a calm pond and reflection in the foreground
Bonneyville Mills in Bristol, Indiana. Image credit Scott K Baker via Shutterstock

The small and charming town of Bristol is home to only about 1,600 residents in northern Indiana, amid the heart of Amish country. This quaint town is an idyllic weekend getaway from the mundane city feel for sight seekers and culture fans. Discover Bristol's unique heritage on a stroll through town and seek balance through outdoor pursuits at the Bonneyville Mill County Park. Enjoy kayaking down the St. Joseph River or simply sprawling along the banks with a picnic.

Hike the Heritage Trail with a stop at the Elkhart County Historical Museum, or ride a bike and see how far you can make it along this trail that passes by the towns of Middlebury, Shipshewana, Goshen, Nappanee, and Elkhart. Immerse yourself in the Amish scene back in town, where life slows to the rhythm of the idyllic surrounding Indiana countryside. You can also visit the nearby Fruit Hills Winery and Orchard for drinks and strolls.


Greenfield, Indiana, the business district on Main Street
Greenfield, Indiana. Image credit Roberto Galan via Shutterstock

Greenfield is an ideal small-town getaway for any group or taste of pursuit only 30 minutes from the Indianapolis city center. Visit the Riley House Museum, commemorating the creator of Little Orphan Annie, poet and cartoonist James W. Riley, who was born in Greenfield. Discover his childhood days in the town that he eventually left for great success through his written works. There are a ton of options to stay, eat, and shop amidst the sights along the historic central neighborhood. Make a challenge out of visiting all of the unique booming businesses, delicious eateries, and beautiful buildings on one memorable weekend escape.

Visit the Old Log Jail and Chapel in the Park museums for a flight through the past, from prehistoric fossils to antiques from the Native American settlements and insights into the Civil War. There are many family-friendly parks like the Tuttle Orchards and Riley Park with convenient picnic areas, paths, and playgrounds. Hike through the renowned Brandywine Park for more wilderness and birdwatching, and choose to siesta at any budget from a variety of great hotels.


The view of Jefferson County Courthouse in Madison Indiana
Jefferson County Courthouse in Madison Indiana.

The small town of Madison comprises a vibrant streetscape of antique shops, art galleries, and architecture. Find many scenic areas, complete with winery visits, and the beautiful Clifty Falls State Park for strolls and picnics along the shore with revving speed boats. Take a historic stroll through the Lanier Mansion, the Historic District, and the Schroeder Saddletree Factory. The Indiana Wine Trail runs right through town, with a group of wineries around the area.

Visit hotspots like Thomas Family Winery and the Lanthier Winery tucked scenically into the rolling hills of southeast Indiana. Stumble on one of the many local events like craft fairs, parades, and holiday festivities with engagements for everyone on a weekend trip any season. Madison, established in 1809 along the beautiful Ohio River, boasts Indiana's very first railroad. Scavenge for many sites nodding at the deep history of the town and the Hoosier State.

New Harmony

large white building, the atheneum, new harmony
The Atheneum, New Harmony.

The town with a perfect name offers a harmonious weekend escape that you will find both a little strange and evocative within a relaxing atmosphere. You will quickly spot the Atheneum Visitors Center, named after the goddess Athena. It beckons visitors to see what is behind the intriguing exterior of a sleek white building from 1979, stark against other wooden Harmonist homes. The museum offers a miniature replica of the town and a film about its astounding origins. Learn about the harmonists who wanted to create a utopia starting with a layout of their town in a symmetrical fashion.

After your own enlightenment, you will see the town from a whole new perspective via a tram ride from just outside. Ride through different parts of town amid buildings and homes housing incredible history. There is also no shortage of ways to enjoy the great outdoors, like the unique Harmonist Labyrinth. Venture into Tillich Park and Our Lord's Woods with a stunning lake and head back after a hike for some amazing restaurants in New Harmony. You will find casual taverns and beautiful restaurants like the popular Red Geranium, which doubles as a historic inn. Enjoy the wonderful dining experience with amazing food amid history inside or in the picturesque courtyard.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus, Indiana
Santa Claus, Indiana.

Do not be fooled into thinking that the town with a descriptive name is an exclusively winter-time destination in southwestern Indiana. Santa Claus is an adorable small town with plenty to do on your next weekend's getaway. Feel the beloved Christmastime vibe year-round and revel in a number of pursuits for all groups and tastes that are as unique as the town's moniker. The Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari and Santa’s Candy Castle theme parks are big hits with families. Get festive and visit the Santa Claus Christmas Store, a perfect place to stock up on decorations for the next season.

Head on a thematic stroll with a camera to the Santa Claus Museum, Santa Claus Post Office, and 1935 Santa Statue. You can also take the scenic "Claus Land of Lights" drive before checking out the town's famed drinking scene and food with local flavor. Relish in the amazing selection of wineries and breweries for tastings and flights before selecting a bottle or two to bring with you. Choose from fruity, sweet, strong, and stout flavors to relax and recharge over a great meal at the Monkey Hollow Winery and Distillery.


Buildings on the northern side of the 1300 block of 119th Street in Whiting, Indiana
Whiting, Indiana.

The small city of Whiting spreads quaintly between Chicago and the shores of Michigan, acting as a beautiful corridor from the city to the lake. The historic town from 1889 is only 15 miles from Chicago for easy access to nature's bounty and must-stop hotspots on your next weekend's escape. Enjoy the wealth of scenery and attractions in this small town replete with history, a waterfront, family-friendly pursuits, and events.

Spend the afternoon at the small, flourishing downtown with quaint shops and a wide variety of cuisine, and head to the historic movie theater or a microbrewery in the evening. The city is home to a wonderful Whiting Lakefront Park with stunning views from the boardwalk and more attractions. Embrace the simple joys of life like residents and join the heartwarming community for a game at the Oil City Stadium.

Indiana is replete with small towns that are idyllic for a low-key or exciting weekend escape. The vast countryside and natural areas of the state include trails for both hikers and wine aficionados. Choose the lake towns and enjoy the endless water views from the shore, swim, or explore the depths on a boat. Stroll through historic downtowns and scenic waterfronts with boardwalks strewn with attractions. These eight towns offer the most diverse weekend escape for any group and taste, with easy access from a big city in Indiana. Each unique town with an incredible backstory, or "it" factor, promises an unforgettable weekend escape.

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