Indiana Staycation

Enjoy a stay at the Caribbean Cove Hotel with a package, normally $269, discounted to $159.

This package includes:

  • (1) Night Stay
  • (4) Waterpark Passes
  • (4) Breakfast Passes
  • $10 Arcade Card
  • (1) Large Pizza
  • (4) Drinks

All the ways to save on In Good Cents are good in Indiana, but sometimes there are Indiana deals that’s available only to Hoosiers.

More Ways to Save:

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Top Indianapolis Area Parks for Families & Kids

by Beth Montgomery on June 3, 2013 · 0 comments

in Indiana

Photo Taken at Brook School Park

There are so many parks in the Indianapolis area, but if you’re looking for a great park to spend some time with the kids. Touring the local parks during the summer is a great frugal way to entertain kids. Don’t forget your sunscreen and a picnic lunch. Here is a list of our favorite parks and why we love them in no particular order.

Best Indianapolis Parks

1. Holliday ParkHolliday Park is an Indianapolis City Park that is a great place to spend the day. It has a huge Nature Center that focuses on Marion County and includes observation areas to watch birds and wildlife. Plus, there are trails that go down along the White River, gardens, and a playground with a spider’s web to climb. Don’t forget to check out The Ruins while you’re there.

2. Brook School ParkBrook School Park is close to our home, so we may be a bit bias, but it boasts an awesome three-story playground with some fun tunnel slides. Plus there is a great creek and bridge nearby to play Pooh Sticks or toss rocks. It’s small, but a great place to let kids get out some energy.

3. Garfield Park Conservatory & Sunken GardensGarfield Park is the spot for many FREE activities from movies in the park to summer concerts. There are beautiful sunken gardens with gorgeous fountains, plus multiple playgrounds and trails. Keep watch for Take What You Pull Day where you can get flowers from the garden to plant in your own garden at home. Kids, especially girls, love “picking flowers”. Admission to the conservatory is only $1 per person.

4. Fort Harrison State ParkFort Harrison State Park is another place you can spend an entire day with trails, playgrounds, and $3.50 parent-assisted pony rides ($3 if you pay cash!). There are places to fish, ride bikes, and a beautiful lake to throw rocks or feed ducks. Fort Harrison State Park has a ton of free activities (with paid entrance) like movies at the museum, bird hikes, movies, wildflower hikes, and bike hikes. There’s also the Museum of 20th Century Warfare.

5. Forest ParkTucked inside Forest park is the “Little Beauty” Carousel with $2 rides and Indiana Transportation Museum with themed train rides throughout the year. This park is located in Noblesville and the playgrounds are not anything overly exciting, but my kids love to go for the tiny outdoor carousel.

6. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Arts & Nature ParkThis is not your average park, because instead of playgrounds there is playful art that you can climb on, swing from, and interactively explore. It’s also home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which always has free admission, gardens, trails, wetlands, and a greenhouse.

7. Morse Park & BeachMorse Park and Beach is in northern Hamilton County, but it is another great place to spend the day – in the water! For only $2 per adult and $1.50 per child you can play at the small beach. There’s a small playground on the lake and some beautiful views, but really this is where you go to hit the beach!

GoApe! 7-14-12 (10 of 19)GoApe! at Eagle Creek Park

8. Eagle Creek ParkEagle Creek Park is a huge park surrounding Lilly Lake. It’s another great place to hit the beach for the day for the cost of admission to the park ($5 per vehicle). There’s over 20 miles worth of trails, archery and pistol range, and a place to rent boats and canoes. It’s also home to the Earth Discovery Center and if you’re feeling like swingin in the trees – GoApe!

9. Flowing Well ParkThis park is small with no playground and one short trail, but that’s not why we go there. The park features an Artesian flowing well that you can fill jugs with water to take home. Plus, along the trail is a small creek where kids can play and splash.

10. West ParkWest Park has a unique theme – farming. There’s a silo playground with tunnel slides and it has a great sprayground the streams into a small creek where kids can play. It’s also home to prairie gardens, hills to roll down, and a wetland pond with a boardwalk.

11. Cool Creek Park & Nature CenterCool Creek Park has a great little nature center that focuses on the Indiana Woodlands, plus trails to explore and look for animals and a small pond with waterfall. Honestly though, the reason my kids love it is the fact that it has child-size picnic tables near the playground. It also has great FREE events throughout the year like haunted trails and summer concerts.

Montgomery Family Our family portrait at Coxhall Gardens

12. Coxhall Gardens: Coxhall Gardens garden is another unique place to play. It has a fun village-themed children’s garden with a small slide and village stores for the children to let their imagination run wild. It’s also a beautiful spot for family photos, because of the gorgeous architecture and lake. Plus, there are fun FREE activities such as Family Frog Night and more.

13. Ritchey Woods Nature PreserveRitchey Woods in Fishers has some great FREE activities like night hikes, hosted campfires, and for small fee, fun classes where kids get to touch snails, catch tadpoles, and explore the wetlands.

14. Potter’s Bridge ParkPotter’s Bridge is more about the covered bridge than anything else, but it’s another great place to play Pooh Sticks. There’s also paved trails and a playground, plus canoeing nearby on White River. It’s also home to the Potter’s Bridge Fall Festival in October with music, art, crafts, and a great climbing wall.

Share your favorite Indianapolis Park and why you love it!

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Camping is a frugal way to vacation and Indiana has some great camping spots. Growing up my grandparents would take me for an entire month and we’d camp at different parks around Indiana.

Here’s top 10 favorite places to camp in Indiana and why we love them in no particular order.

Indiana Dunes Camping (1 of 1)-2
Indiana Dunes Country’s Breathtaking Views

1. Indiana Dunes State Park: Indiana Dunes Country is absolutely beautiful! Play in Lake Michigan, climb the dunes, and just enjoy the breathtaking views. Plus you’re surrounded by so much history – make sure to visit the surrounding communities for delicious food, farmer’s markets, museums, and more. Read about our trip to Indiana Dunes completely with photos.

2. McCormick’s Creek State ParkMcCormick’s Creek is another beautiful spot in Indiana with limestone canyons and waterfalls. You can climb the fire tower for a birds eye view of the park, plus explore caves. Don’t forget to checkout the historic Statehouse Quarry while you’re there. If you like a bit of luxury while camping, there is an inn in the park, along with a restaurant.

3. Chain O’ Lakes State ParkChain O’ Lakes is by far our favorite place to take small kids. In fact, my daughter camped there for the first time at the age of 9 months old. It’s has calm lakes with a beach and canoeing that even little ones can enjoy. Plus, the campground seems to be in the center of everything, so it’s not a long walk to venture on trails.

4. Pokagon State ParkPokagon State Park has a rich Native American heritage. It’s surrounded by two lakes that are great for canoeing, swimming, and fishing, plus has some beautiful sunsets if you’re looking for a romantic view. You can enjoy a nature center, horseback riding  and volleyball courts. It also has some great winter-only activities and an inn (so you don’t freeze in your tent!) if you’re into cross country skiing, toboggans, ice fishing, and sledding.

5. Turkey Run State Park: Turkey Run State Park is great for older kids and adults. Sugar Creek flows through the park and has affordable canoe, tube, and kayak rentals. You’ll also find an inn with restaurant, hiking trails, swimming pool, fishing, horseback riding, and nature center. Don’t miss Trail 3 which follows the cliffs of along Sugar Creek. You’ll see the Punch Bowl, climb ladders, and more. It’s rugged, but so fun! It’s also rated one of the best parks for mountain biking.

6. Mounds State Park: Love history? Mounds State Park is close to Indianapolis. It’s home to some beautiful mounds that were gatherings for religious ceremonies built by pre-historic Indians in 160 B.C., including The Great Mound. Read all about it at the Nature Center, plus enjoy wildlife viewing, animal displays, and check their schedule for family games. It’s also rated one of the best parks for running if you’ like to jog.

7. Spring Mill State ParkSpring Mill State Park is a unique experience. You can explore the Twin Caves by boat during a tour – it’s very neat to see. Plus, nearby is a Pioneer Village with over 20 historic buildings. Also enjoy a swimming pool, hayrides, nature center, and more caves to explore.

8. Potato Creek State ParkMost don’t realize that Potato Creek is rated one of the top state parks in Northern Indiana. It includes the huge Worster Lake that is great for fishing, boating, canoeing, and swimming. Plus, if you can’t live without electricity (like me!), Potato Creek State Park has a huge amount of electric campsites. It caters towards those who love to bike (like us!) and ride horses.

9. Clifty Falls State Park: Clifty Falls is another one of those beautiful spots in Indiana. It has waterfalls that change throughout the year from light drizzles and mists to roaring waters. It’s rated the top hiking spot in Indiana, because of the beautiful views complete with a tunnel. While you’re there, keep watch for fossils. They are everywhere along the water and make great FREE souvenirs of your visit.

10. Brown County State Park: Brown County State Park is huge, so there’s tons to do – nature center, horse & hay rides, fishing, swimming pool, tennis courts, and trails. It’s especially nice if you’re not into roughing it, because they have a beautiful inn in the park complete with a restaurant, as well as private cabins and a picturesque town nearby with wineries, antiques, and handmade candy store.

Where is your favorite place to camp in Indiana?

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Summer is a great time to enjoy music, especially outdoors with all the FREE summer concerts. Here’s a list of FREE summer concerts in the Indianapolis area.

**Click the link for full schedules and line-ups.

Indianapolis Free Summer Concerts

Carmel Free Summer Concerts

  • Kids KoncertsMondays, June 3rd – August 5th 10 AM – 11 AM

Fishers Free Summer Concerts

Greenwood Free Summer Concerts

Noblesville Free Summer Concerts

Know of any more FREE summer concerts? Share in a comment below!

 

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