Indiana is full of roads that take you through breathtaking views ranging from rolling farmland to deep river gorges.
Scenic routes such as the Hoosier National Forest Byway highlight the diversity of the state’s terrain and provide a scenic drive.
From the limestone caves of Clifty Falls State Park to the natural beauty of Brown County, these drives tend to remain etched in visitors’ memories.
The historic Trek Arch Bridge between Madison and Milton adds an extra element of nostalgia to a trip through Southern Indiana.
Another popular stop is along State Road 3 near North Vernon where you can witness plenty of wild horses roaming freely in their natural habitat.
The backroads and highways that stretch across all corners of Indiana reveal magnificent sunsets, striking clifftops and lush forests brimming with life, not to mention some unexpected surprises.
Overview Scenic Drives In Indiana
Indiana offers a variety of scenic drives that range from short trips to full-day tours, not to mention longer journeys along winding roads that let you discover every corner of the prosperous Hoosier State.
From peaceful country roads bordering forests to leisurely drives past endless acres of farmland, you can find it all in Indiana.
A great place to start is the Lincoln Heritage Scenic Byway, which winds through nine counties and provides an insight into Abraham Lincoln’s early years of living in Indiana.
Every turn on this drive reveals something new, whether it’s quaint towns loaded with historic charm or captivating hilltops displaying breathtaking views.
No matter what type of scenery you look for while on your travels, you will undoubtedly find it while taking one of the many scenic drives in Indiana.
Popular List Of Scenic Drive In Indiana
There are a variety of options when it comes to Indiana’s popular scenic drives, but some stand out more than others.
The Hoosier National Forest Scenic Byway winds through lush woodlands and serene meadows that have remained nearly unchanged since their initial settlement by pioneers a century ago.
Along both sides of this route, you can find historic churches, covered bridges, and breathtaking views of the forest colours in autumn.
Similarly, the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Trail takes its drivers through 183 miles of the countryside while exploring landmarks related to our nation’s 16th President.
No matter which scenic drive you choose, Indiana is sure to provide an abundance of unexpected treasures.
The Brown County Scenic Drive
This gorgeous road winds through breathtaking countryside dotted along its 42-mile length, passing through pleasant villages and along the banks of crystal clear rivers and creeks.
The route takes drivers up and down rippling hills covered with a tapestry of trees and fields, providing incredible views at every turn.
Whether you’re looking for a scenic drive while on vacation or just want to see a different side of Indiana, this drive is sure to please everyone.
Along the way, take breaks to admire picturesque waterfalls or let yourself get lost amongst the miles of hiking trails in the nearby state park.
Iconic attractions are scattered throughout and make for perfect souvenirs for visitors. Stop for an afternoon visit at historical sites like Abe Martin Lodge before wrapping it all up with a relaxing retreat by taking an evening stroll along Lake Monroe beneath glowing stars.
The Heritage Trail
A scenic drive is a great way to explore and experience a different part of the world. The Heritage Trail in Indiana is one such route that offers travellers an amazing view of some of Hoosier State’s most spectacular sights.
Located on the northern border with Michigan, this route stretches over 100 miles, winding through vibrant towns and rolling hills that are thickly rich with history, traditional culture, and local traditions.
A perfect place to take in each state’s charm, this route allows you to visit wonderful restaurants offering local specialities or stop by roadside stands offering fresh fruits and vegetables as you drive along.
Marvellous lakeshores and verdant woodland areas are dotted along the trail, inviting curious nature observers to explore lesser-known creatures like foxes or deer while being surrounded by glimmering lakes and rivers that glisten with secrets yet unknown.
The Ohio River Scenic Byway
The Ohio River Scenic Byway, which spans approximately 215 miles of roadways along the Ohio River, is sure to take your breath away.
Running between Aurora, Indiana and Rose Island, near Cincinnati, Ohio, this byway will lead you through small towns with historic charm as well as enchanting landscapes full of rolling hills and lush greenery.
Highlights along the way include the Falls of the Ohio State Park Interpretive Center, a great place to learn about the tremendous geologic features and history of the area, as well as Shadyside Lake, where visitors can enjoy swimming and fishing in its tranquil waters.
Every twist and turn will provide a unique view that will keep you captivated throughout your drive.
The Michigan Road
The Michigan Road is a highway traversing 309 miles of northern Indiana, stretching from the state’s eastern border near Edgerton to Purdue University in West Lafayette. It offers beautiful views of rolling farmlands, as well as picturesque towns like Marshall, Washington and Mishawaka.
The Michigan Road also passes through Huntington County, home of the covered bridge capital of the world, with seven covered bridges to explore.
One destination well worth the journey along the road is Indiana Dunes State Park on Lake Michigan’s shoreline.
Here one can find sprawling sandy beaches and scenic beachfront trails offering captivating views of dunes slowly shifting over time, along with rich habitats for varying species of marine life and birds.
The Historic National Road (U.S. 40)
Indiana’s Historic National Road (U.S. 40) connects some of the oldest cities in Indiana, providing a great opportunity to explore an abundance of history along its route.
From Terre Haute to Richmond, you’ll traverse three different counties and witness breathtaking natural scenery, as well as well-preserved bits of Indiana’s past.
Along the way, you can stop at old-style shops, and family-owned farms, or check out informative museums dedicated to the Historic National Road and the people who settled in this area two hundred years ago.
The Hoosier National Forest Scenic Byway
The Hoosier National Forest Scenic Byway starts in Bloomington and continues southward around some of southern Indiana’s most notable destinations including Story Inn, Brown County State Park, Blue Springs, Jackson-Washington State Forest, and Pioneer Mothers Memorial Forest.
You’ll appreciate the histories shared by markers placed at various locations while you explore the wide range of flora and fauna in this picturesque area.
The Lincoln Highway
The Lincoln Highway stretches breezily across much of Indiana’s northern border and is a 400-mile route that provides some particularly stunning scenery and activity options.
Running between Chicago and Pennsylvania, the highway winds its way through the spectacular Jasper-Pulaski Fish & Wildlife Area, while just south of the highway lies Indiana’s second-largest lake.
The Lincoln Highway National Museum & Visitors Center is located in La Porte County near the Michigan state line, providing interested travellers with its own wonderous museum stores and interesting trivia from various locations along the route.
The Indiana Wine Trail
The Indiana Wine Trail is located in the beautiful rolling hills of southern Indiana wine country. This scenic drive offers stunning views of nature that can be enjoyed while touring some of the best wineries and vineyards in the state.
From family-friendly activities and local events to award-winning wines, visitors can experience something new and exciting with every stop along the trail.
There’s something special to discover at each vineyard, with exquisite offerings of food, live music, and sips of locally made wines.
Whether it’s pizza and pasta at an Italian-themed winery or just enjoying a glass of wine while overlooking the rolling countryside, guests can escape the everyday hustle and bustle on this relaxing getaway.
A casual look into an age-old tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation is sure to be appreciated when taking in all that the Indiana Wine Trail has to offer.
The Old Michigan Road Scenic Byway
Explore Indiana’s rolling farm country, lush deciduous forests, and numerous small towns with the Old Michigan Road Scenic Byway.
This 115-mile highway links historic towns like Plymouth, Goshen, and Richmond to form a unique historical journey.
Begin in Madison, the first town platted in the state of Indiana and finish in South Bend to explore lakes, wildlife areas, and old churches that give this route its charm.
The main attraction is the Historic National Road Memorial Gateway Entry in Rush County which has stood since 1936.
Stop at LaPorte Lake for fishing or enjoy a picnic under one of their century-old trees. Be sure to take note all the way through of how European furnishings were combined with American functionalism to create spaces that were both elegant and practical.
The Iron Heritage Trail
The Iron Heritage Trail is located in the northwestern corner of the state, including popular spots like Chesterton and Valparaiso.
Along the route, visitors will be treated to beautiful countryside views as well as several craft shops, local restaurants and art galleries that boast an eclectic mix of handcrafted wares.
It’s also worth noting that a significant portion of this route follows an old railway line; those keen on history may find it interesting to explore abandoned railyards or station stops that are still standing today.
Tips For Enjoying The Drive
In order to maximize the enjoyment of your road trip, be sure you plan accordingly.
Make sure to check potential routes ahead of time and be prepared with some interesting activities or stops along the way such as museums or points of interest. This can help keep your energy up during the drive, preventing boredom.
Additionally, make sure you bring something to snack on during your journey. A good meal can also help extend your drive and even let you explore faraway destinations more easily.
Most importantly, remember that enjoying scenery requires free time, so take it slow, stop whenever necessary, and enjoy the sights!
Best Time To Visit
The best time to take one of these drives is in the fall when the colours of the trees are at their peak.
Driving through the countryside of Indiana in the autumn is a truly unforgettable experience as you can see valleys filled with orange and yellow leaves from every angle.
Preparing For The Drive
Depending on the length of your journey and route, you’ll want to make sure your car is in good condition and get it checked by a mechanic if necessary.
Additionally, pack your car with items like an extra phone charger, flashlights, snacks, drinks, sunscreen and bug spray so that you can remain comfortable during the drive.
Research the landmarks along your route or consider downloading maps or routes from online sources to be sure you don’t miss out on any of Indiana’s natural beauty.
Make sure to plan ahead for these scenic drives to ensure maximum comfort and pleasure while going off-the-beaten-path in this fantastic part of America!
Taking a scenic drive in Indiana should not be limited to just soaking in the breathtaking views; it should also include ensuring you’re prepared for any type of weather and any kind of terrain.
By having some essential supplies in your vehicle, you can make sure that your tour of Indiana’s beautiful landscape is not marred by any inconveniences or unexpected circumstances.
Water and non-perishable food supplies or snacks can help stave off hunger, while road maps and good walking shoes can help with exploring small towns en route.
Moreover, a first aid kit is mandatory to tackle minor issues that may arise while venturing on these roads less travelled.
Additionally, sunscreen and insect repellent are essential items to keep skin diseases at bay given the unforgiving summer heat and humidity in certain areas of the state.
When you’re planning a road trip to Indiana, it’s important to consider the conditions of the roads you’ll be travelling on. Fortunately, many of the scenic drives offer smooth, paved routes.
All in all, Indiana is full of locations for a wonderfully scenic drive. From the beaches along the south shore of Lake Michigan to the rolling hills of Brown County, there are plenty of back roads and scenic highways for a driver to explore.
Whether you’re looking for a lazy weekend getaway or something a bit more thrilling, you’ll find that Indiana has it all.
With so many activities and sights, you’ll never run out of things to see and do along your drive, making it an excellent choice for both tourists and locals alike.
So buckle up, grab your road map, and get ready to explore some of Indiana’s most beautiful landscapes on your next road trip.