Find A Cheap Weekend Getaway the Whole Family Will Love
According to Reader’s Digest, nearly 60% of families are planning a family vacation during the next six months. Most families are on a budget and looking for fun and affordable vacation ideas that will be exciting for the entire family. Thankfully, you don’t need to venture far from home to have unique experiences. There are plenty of attractions for inexpensive vacations in Indiana, from movie nights to waterparks. Here are 13 inexpensive family vacation ideas in Indiana that you should add to your list!
Big Splash Adventure Waterpark
Whether you are looking for an overnight adventure or just a day-trip during the week, French Lick’s Big Splash Adventure Waterpark has you covered. This unique, 40,000 square foot indoor waterpark has a retractable roof. That means your kids can enjoy the water, rain or shine. The park includes the Jolly Roger Jetty (a towering water slide), Pirate’s Plunder (a fully enclosed body slide), Buccaneer Bay (a three-story play area), Lost River (a lazy river) and the Splish Splash Pool (a safe area for kids three and under). Best of all, Big Splash Adventure Waterpark is an affordable family vacation in Indiana, with admission for the little ones just $12.00 a day. The park is attached to a 154-room hotel with a variety of rooms for any size family.
Battle of Corydon Memorial Park
If you’re looking at giving your kids a taste of American history, you don’t need to travel to Gettysburg to do it. The Battle of Corydon Memorial Park commemorates the only official pitched Civil War battle fought in Indiana. The Battle of Corydon and Gettysburg were the only two Civil War battle sites on northern soil. Learn the story of the 450 brave men who joined Harrison County militia to face 2,400 Confederate soldiers led by General John Hunt Morgan, who was beginning the longest cavalry raid of the Civil War. The park is listed listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Artifacts include a Civil War cannon, log cabin, historical plaques and wooded trail. The cabin is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the summer.
Harrison County Discovery Center
This museum experience is unlike any other – a place of magic and discovery that brings Harrison County’s history from the dusty page into the living world. Start your Harrison County adventure here. Explore history, natural science, caves, the Civil War and more through hands on and immersive experiences. Tickets start at $4.00 for kids 2-12 so it’s a very affordable weekend getaway idea.
Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant
Enjoy a day at the farm at Joe Huber’s Family Farm and Restaurant. Located in Starlight, Indiana, the restaurant serves homestyle food like fried chicken and rolls with apple butter. The Huber family immigrated from Germany to Indiana and have farmed the same land for eight generations. There are activities for all ages at the farm, including playing in the barnyard, enjoying the pumpkin patch, or listening to live music. Families can also tour the farm, visit the Soda Pop Shop and Farm Market. Joe Huber’s is budget-friendly: kids 11 and under eat free on every Friday in July and August.
The WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology is a children’s science museum located in the city of Bloomington. Tickets are only $8 per person, and members get in for free. The museum is not a stuffy building where no one is allowed to touch anything. Instead, the museum’s philosophy is that science should be hands-on. At exhibits like How Things Work, kids can learn concepts like the properties of air, gravity and motion, and light and color. Fun exhibits include the Bubble-Arium, which features viscosity tubes, strobe drops, a cloudball machine and giant bubbles. There is even a special area just for children ages 6 and younger, the Discovery Garden. WonderLab is an affordable Indiana vacation for everyone – on the first Friday of each month, admission is half-price.
Looking for a cool spot on a hot summer day? If you visit the Indiana Caverns, be sure to bring along a light jacket. Located in Harrison County in Southern Indiana, the Indiana Cave is just one of four show caves in Indiana. Indiana Caverns offers an 80 minute tour daily starting at 9 am. The tour includes a variety of experiences: heights, depths, a waterfall, formations, a boat ride and ice age bones!
Xtreme Lazer Tag
Lazer Tag doesn’t need to be an expensive endeavor with lots of equipment. At Xtreme Lazer Tag in Avon, the sessions run as low as $8.00 a person. The family-operated business prides itself on creating a fun and family-friendly atmosphere where people of all ages and abilities can have a good time. The lobby includes plenty of arcade games with redemption prizes and a concession stand. It’s a great way to kill a few hours.
Buffalo Trace Park
There’s so much to do at Buffalo Trace Park in Palmyra, Indiana that it’s perfect for an inexpensive vacation. Buffalo Trace Park is a 147-acre public park preserve named for its location along the edge of the old Buffalo Trace, a historic bison migration trail. Residents of Indiana pay an entry fee of just $4.00 per car, while non-residents pay $6.00 per car. The secluded location is relaxing and offers more than 18 different activities such as camping, fishing, walking trails, playgrounds, a petting zoo, disk golf a public beach and ball courts. Families who like camping can set up a tent for $10 a night during the weekdays and $15 a night on the weekends.
Bryant’s Blueberries is a pick your own blueberry farm located in New Salisbury, just 30 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky. The farm has nearly 8,000 plants, in varieties like Duke, BlueJay, BlueRay, Patriot, BlueCrop, Darrow, Brigitta and Coville. After the blueberries are picked, enjoy some unique photo opportunities among a beautiful setting. Bryant’s Blueberries is a good break from the norm and gives you the chance to take them home for blueberry pie, blueberry ice cream, blueberry pancakes and much more.
Catch a movie under the stars and give the kids the experience of watching movies the old-fashioned way at the Georgetown Drive-In. This drive-in is an inexpensive vacation idea since it offers two movies for the price of one. Children under age 6 are free, while those 6 to 12 are admitted for $6.00. Georgetown Drive-In has two digital screens and the sound is played through FM radio. But for the sake of nostalgia, it has maintained some working window speakers. The drive-in opened in 1951 and has the same retro concession stand. The drive-in also maintains a playground. Be sure to have cash on hand, since the pizza tent and front gate do not accept cards. (The concession stands do accept plastic.)
Turkey Run State Park
Turkey Run State Park is the place to go for adventures in nature. The Marshall state park is literally all about ancient history, with ravines and sandstone gorges that represent 300 million years of Mother Nature’s handy work. The Nature Center will help connect the dots about the area’s flora, fauna and geology. There are more than 10 hiking trails with some of Indiana’s most rugged scenery and there are miles of bridle trails for horseback riders. Turkey Run State Park offers an abundance of wildlife, including sightings of many different birds, turkeys, beavers, deer and more animals that call the park home.
Recreate pioneer life in Indiana at Conner Prairie, an interactive history park, in Fishers, Indiana. Located on the White River, Conner Prairie was founded by pharmaceutical executive Eli Lilly in the 1930s. He restored the home and grounds and created a living timeline, showing what life was like in different time periods. At 1836 Prairietown, families can experience a one-room schoolhouse, watch tradespeople made goods, help with chores and witness residents going about their daily lives. The 1859 Balloon Voyage explores the history of manned flight, the early rigors of mail delivery and venture into the sky in a hot air balloon. At the 1866 Civil War Journey, you’ll participate in living history by gathering supplies for the troops and participating in military drills.
All families should experience the hustle and bustle of the city, and there’s no better way to do it than by visiting the Indianapolis Artsgarden. The Artsgarden is a glassed dome spanning the intersection of Washington and Illinois streets in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana. It connects the Circle Centre Mall and other buildings but also gives a bird’s eye view of the city below. The Artsgarden hosts 300 performances a year, many of them free to everyone. The art exhibits are also free. The Indianapolis Artsgarden Cultural Concierge desk is open seven days a week. It provides families with brochures and performance schedules for many of the arts organizations and venues in Indianapolis.
Want More Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas in Indiana?
There’s a whole lot more where this list came from. Visit the rest of our site to find more things to do in southern Indiana.