The winter blues…. it happens to the best of us. We are stuck inside, it’s dreary and cold. The days are short, and sometimes our tempers are even shorter. It’s hard to find indoor activities that keep the whole family entertained, and the pandemic has made it even harder. So let’s get outside!
Even though most of us wouldn’t think that the winter months are ideal for outdoor activities, there is still so much to see and do. Our state parks are a great place to start! Indiana is home to over 30 state parks and lakes, this doesn’t even include state forests and recreation areas. There is so much to see and do, and winter is the perfect time to explore.
Here are a few reasons to check out our wonderful state parks in the winter. 1- They are close! Although, there are state parks all over our state and some of them are a several hour drive from central Indiana, there are so many that are just a short drive from Central Indiana. Brown County, Eagle Creek, Ft. Harrison, and White River State parks are less than an hour away from most central Indiana locations. There are several other state parks just over an hour or so away. Want to take a weekend getaway, try visiting a state park and town you’ve never seen before.
Admission is free!
During the peak season (April through November) the state parks charge $7 a carload for in-state vehicles. During the winter months, admission is free! This is a great incentive to make a day or weekend out of your visit, you can even try visiting a few parks on the same day or weekend if they are close to each other.
A natural way to social distance.
COVID-19 has rained on everyone’s parade when it comes to indoor activities, and social distancing has become a top priority. Being outside and exploring is a great way to social distance. During the winter months, the parks are less crowded, this is a great time to check out popular park trails and attractions with fewer crowds.
It’s beautiful out!
Even though the trees are bare and the days are cold, the parks are so beautiful. Bundle up and walk trails that are longer and more rugged and during worry being hot and sweaty! Also, the bugs are sleeping, that is a big plus!
Want to make a weekend of it?
Check to see if the park you want to visit has an Inn to stay at Brown County state park has the choice between the Abe Martin lodge or cabins for the family. The lodge also has an indoor water park for families to enjoy! The Inn at Clifty falls state park is on the River and you can choose the room that has the best views. Have an RV or camper? Stay in the park campgrounds and reduced rates, just keep in mind that some parks have limited resources in the offseason. Love winter adventures? Head up north near Angola, IN to Pokagon State Park and try out the refrigerated toboggan run.
A few helpful tips to keep in mind when planning your winter state park trip:
Layer up! Bring lots of extra layers to bundle up for trail hikes. Pack extra socks and shoes, this helps if you encounter muddy or icy trails. Resources or limited in the winter months. Most parks shut off their running water during winter months, but they usually have outhouse-style toilets available, be safe and pack hand washing supplies. Don’t forget snacks and water to keep you hydrated.
So this winter, when you’re bored, the cabin fever is setting in, and everyone needs something to do, plan a day at a state park and enjoy a little winter adventure.