There are plenty of fun things to do in Daviess County Indiana – definitely enough to keep you busy for a day or even a weekend!
From the rustic charm of the Chandelier Barn Market to the family-friendly splash zones of WaterWorld, and from the historic Washington Carnegie Library to a trip down memory lane at the Indiana Theater, there’s no end to the surprises Daviess County has up its sleeve.
I’ve shopped the downtown boutiques, indulged in an iced vanilla coffee at Ghost Cherry Coffee House, and let me tell you—I’ve barely scratched the surface!
1. Start with the Daviess County Historical Museum
The Daviess County Historical Society & Museum in Washington, IN is truly a hidden gem. While strolling downtown, we saw the sign and decided to check it out. What we thought would be a quick few minutes walking through ended up being over an hour exploring the exhibits and learning all about the history of the county.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well done the exhibits are, and they are super interesting. The exhibits cover everything from a one-room schoolhouse, to a military gallery, and even a funeral exhibit.
What? Yep, an entire section of the top floor walks you through how funeral practices evolved and changed throughout the history of the United States. Very unique and quite fascinating.
Right now the museum is in the midst of a pretty significant expansion, so it’s only going to get better! Take time while you are there to talk to one of the volunteers – they know everything about the county and have some excellent stories to share. This was definitely my favorite of the things to do in Washington Indiana.
Related post: Looking for more fun Indiana day trips or weekend getaways? Be sure to check out my Explore Indiana project, where I’m sharing fun ideas for every county in the state!
2. Hear the story of the courthouse arsons
In fact, while we were at the museum, we met Bruce in the research room who shared with us the story of the courthouse. The Daviess County courthouse was set on fire (arson) three times.
Two of the fires were set by offenders who were supposed to appear in court the next day and they thought that if the courthouse had a fire, the trial wouldn’t happen. TWICE!
One of the fires completely destroyed the courthouse and it had to be rebuilt. The museum has a few pictures of the original courthouse which was in a completely different style from the current one.
If you don’t happen to get as lucky as we were and run into Bruce to hear his stories firsthand, you can still get the overview from an interactive display on the second floor. Take a few moments to check it out – it’s a crazy but intriguing story!
Related Posts: Want to extend your time in Southern Indiana? Combine your Daviess County Indiana day trip with an afternoon in Greene County!
3. Check out Putters Bay
The holes have enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, and the little challenges throughout the course make it a blast for all ages. The course is affordable and surprisingly pretty.
Putters Bay can be a little tricky to find, so look for the Hampton Inn – it’s right behind it.
4. Have fun at Eastside Park
Eastside Park is an absolute must-visit! It’s like a one-stop shop for all things outdoorsy. Pack a picnic and snag a spot by the lake; the views are nothing short of breathtaking. The kids will love the playground, and there’s even paddleboats for the thrill-seekers in your family.
The walking trails wind through the woods, and it’s so serene you’ll forget all about the daily grind. There’s also an amphitheater where they host concerts in the summer. Picture this: a warm Indiana evening, live music filling the air, and you with a cold drink in hand. Heaven, right?
East Side Park, 310 NE 21st St, Washington, IN
5. Enjoy a game of bowling at Champion Lanes
If it’s too cold to play miniature golf, one of our favorite things to do with kids in Daviess County is to go bowling! And Champion Lanes in Washington is the place to do it.
The retro feel of the place gives you all the nostalgic vibes, but the lanes themselves are modern and super slick. The best part? They also have axe throwing and an arcade. With all these options, Champion Lanes is definitely a great option if you are looking for things to do in Daviess County at night.
Hungry? Their snack bar has some surprisingly good options. Pizza, grinders, and tasty sides like loaded fries and breadsticks will keep you bowling!
Champion Lanes, 2100 State St. Washington, IN
6. Walk and shop downtown Washington
After you enjoy the museum, spend a few more minutes walking around downtown. There are several adorable shops well worth checking out. I picked up a darling IU sweatshirt in one of them that I wore all winter long. There is also a store that specializes in sewing, quilting, and the like. Ideal for crafters.
Luckily for Washington, Indiana most of the downtown buildings haven’t been torn down and many are in the process of being renovated and revitalized. Even the ones that are empty are still lovely to look at, so on a nice day, it’s fun to walk Main Street and imagine the town in its heyday.
7. Explore the past at Gasthof Amish Village
Okay, so I didn’t get to visit this one personally, but visiting Gasthof Amish Village is high on my list for next time! Imagine strolling through an Amish village, complete with a restaurant & bakery, and quaint little shops offering hand-crafted goods.
I’ve heard their fried chicken is legendary, and let’s be honest, who can resist the charm of an Amish bakery? I’m a sucker for good fried chicken and Amish baked goods.
8. West Boggs Park
Wait, you’re probably scratching your head right now. West Boggs Park? What’s that, you ask? West Boggs Park is one of the best things to do near Washington Indiana. This place is an oasis for fishing enthusiasts. With a well-stocked 622-acre lake, you’ll feel like a pro even if you’re just a beginner. Just remember to bring your fishing license!
And it’s not just about the fishing. They’ve got hiking trails that rival those of the Indiana State Parks, perfect for bird-watching or simply soaking in the natural surroundings. There is even a swimming beach on the lake if you want to enjoy the water from a different perspective. Talk about a peaceful escape.
West Boggs Park,16117 US Hwy 231, Loogootee, IN
9. Thousand Acres Nature Preserve
Thousand Acres Woods Nature Preserve is a must-see, especially if you’re a nature enthusiast like me. Picture this: you’re hiking on flat terrain through a rare silver maple and elm forest—yes, one of the last of its kind in Indiana!
Managed by the Nature Conservancy, this gem offers an easy hike thanks to its relatively flat ground. But, don’t expect any well-marked, developed trails; it’s a more authentic experience. Ah, the sweet smell of nature, right?
🦟 Insider tip: during the hot summer months, mosquitoes and poison ivy are living their best life here, so come prepared! Slather on that bug repellent and keep an eye out for that itch-inducing plant. Also, there is no parking lot, so be careful where you leave your car at the entrance.
Thousand Acres Wood Preserve, Washington, IN
10. Washington Carnegie Library
You can’t leave Daviess County without a visit to the Washington Carnegie Library. The Carnegie libraries were funded by Andrew Carnegie, the world’s richest man at the turn of the 20th century! These libraries were literally the cornerstones of American literacy.
The architecture is a storybook blend of history and charm, offering up a feast for your eyes before you even crack open a book. At this library, it’s not just about the books. They host a slew of programs and activities that serve the whole Daviess County community. It’s a literal hub of information and fun—yes, libraries can be fun too, I know I took full advantage of our local library when the kids were little – we enjoyed story time every week along with other fun events.
Do yourself a favor and “check out” the Washington Carnegie Library. It’s one of the best free things to do in Daviess County, and you might just fall in love with its historic ambiance and community spirit!
Washington Carnegie Library, 300 W. Main St. Washington, IN
11. Watch a movie at the Indiana Theater
Also downtown is the Indiana Theater. If you enjoy watching a movie in an old downtown theater, a visit to Indiana Theater should be on your list of things to do in Daviess County Indiana at night. It is a nostalgic cinematic paradise that’ll transport you straight back to the Roaring Twenties!
Built-in 1926, this gem is a living relic of a bygone era, and the architecture is simply to die for. With ornate molded plaster columns, decorated beams, period sconce lighting, and a full-featured stage, it’s a beauty.
The theater shows new releases, and the prices are amazingly inexpensive. There are typically only two movies shown a few times each day, so if the timing is right and you can squeeze it in, you should consider adding a movie to your list of fun things to do in Daviess County Indiana!
Indiana Theater, 419 E. Main St. Washington, IN
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12. Arts & Crafts Shows
I love a good art or craft show, and Daviess County is home to several. First off, let me rave about the Chandelier Barn Market. Picture an artsy marketplace sprawled across a real, working farm amid the rolling hills of southern Indiana. We’re talking mid-September, perfect weather, and an artistic vibe that you just can’t beat!
Then as winter starts to knock on the door, the Homespun Holiday Market in November comes to life. Held in a rustic barn, this market is chock-full of handmade wonders. Vintage goods? Check. Crafts, soaps, and candles? Double check. Farmhouse décor and seasonal treasures? Yep!
Come early April, the WRVAA Homespun Spring Barn Market blooms with creativity. Think of it as the Homespun Holiday Market’s springtime twin—gifts, crafts, and yes, more heavenly scented soaps and candles, all nestled under a barn roof.
13. Old Settler’s Festival
Perhaps the most famous of Daviess County’s festivals is the Old Settler’s Festival held in Odon, Indiana in early August. This celebration has been a community staple for over 125 years.
From old-fashioned carnival sweets to local fair delicacies, your food adventure is set. And for all you thrill-seekers, the carnival rides are a must! I couldn’t help but feel like a kid again, especially after spinning around on some classic rides.
But let’s not forget about the music. Picture this: live traditional tunes filling the air, and you lounging back in your lawn chair—oh yes, don’t forget to bring one! This is a fun one, so mark it on your calendar.
Waterworld in Daviess County is basically your summer dream come true! Run by the city parks department, you won’t have to drain your wallet to make a splash here—the prices are so reasonable! When we got there, I couldn’t decide what to dive into first. Do I brave the three-flume waterslide that looked like an instant adrenaline boost? Or maybe kick back in the pool?
Well, if you’ve got little ones or just want to wade around, the zero-depth pool is super chill – it’s one of the best kid-friendly things to do in Daviess County Indiana. But there are plenty of other attractions too, such as the splash pad. It’s like a water playground where everyone, no matter the age, seemed to have a grin from ear to ear!
🌊 Insider tip: Waterworld is a seasonal spot. So make sure to plan your wet and wild adventures accordingly.
Waterworld, 301 NE 7th St. Washington, IN
The BEST restaurants in Daviess County
After spending the afternoon shopping and learning, it’s time to enjoy a bite to eat. Although there are many good places to choose from, here are a few that are unique to Daviess County.
15. Mason’s Root Beer Drive-In
Mason’s has been open in Washington since 1951, and you can still enjoy root beer in a frosty mug, coney dogs, and of course all kinds of fast food goodness.
Park your car and have the car hop take your order or order at the counter and enjoy your food on a picnic table. Either way is a lot of fun.
16. Mischler’s Tavern
As far as restaurants in Washington Indiana go, Mischler’s Tavern is really more of a bar. However, you can get a decent burger or some tasty wings there while enjoying the local dive bar atmosphere.
Mischler’s Tavern is a favorite for locals looking for something to do in Washington Indiana at night as they are open quite late. There is a pool table, so if a game of pool and a drink is part of your evening plans, Mischler’s has you covered.
Mischler’s Tavern, 17 Southeast 2nd Street, Washington, IN
17. Cherry Ghost Coffee House
A good coffee house is always an important stop on a day trip, and Washington, Indiana has a wonderful one in Cherry Ghost Coffee House.
Pick up a coffee or tea and relax at the coffee shop or get it to go and enjoy it while strolling Main Street. I thought the vanilla iced coffee was delicious!
Cherry Ghost Coffee House has a very chill and eclectic vibe, and although we visited in the middle of the day, I noticed they offer all kinds of organic food and even have live music some evenings.
Cherry Ghost Coffee House, 424 E. Main St. Washington, IN
18. Gasthoff Amish Village
If you are in the mood for good home cooking, then while you are visiting Gasthoff Amish Village, enjoy a meal at the restaurant. It doesn’t get more down home than that!
Fried chicken, salad bars, and pies. Yum! I always love a good Amish meal, and Gasthoff Amish Village will deliver. It’s a short drive from Washington, Indiana, but worth it if you love comfort food.
19. The New White Steamer
We stumbled upon The New White Steamer in Washington, Indiana, and let me tell you—it’s like stepping back in time in the best way possible! Picture this: you walk in, and you’re instantly hit with the mouthwatering aroma of burgers and onions sizzling on the grill. Yum!
This isn’t just any burger joint; it’s a local institution that’s been around for what feels like forever. It’s one of those rare spots where the ambiance matches the food—simple, unpretentious, but oh-so-satisfying. Their menu doesn’t try to be fancy; it sticks to what it does best: incredible burgers, tenderloins, and fries – standard diner food.
Find YOUR Next Vacation!
Wondering where to go on your next family vacation? Take this fun and easy family travel quiz for the perfect suggestion for your family!
Where is Daviess County, Indiana?
Daviess County is located in Southwest Indiana, about an hour south of Bloomington and a short drive to Vincennes. The county seat is Washington, IN.
FAQs about Daviess County Indiana
How old is Washington, Indiana?
Washington, Indiana has been around since 1815.
What is the history of Daviess County Indiana?
Founded in 1818, Daviess County was named for Maj. Joseph Hamilton Daviess. He was killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. A main reason for its beginning was its location along the White River – it made trade easier for settlers.
Where to Stay in Daviess County Indiana
If you are looking to extend your stay in Daviess County – maybe you plan on a late night at Mischler’s Tavern – then there are a few good options.
Either the Baymont by Wyndham or the Holiday Inn Express are probably your best choices. Both are standard chain hotels in Washington Indiana that offer clean rooms, a convenient location, and free breakfast.
Conclusion: Spend a day exploring the fun things to do in Daviess County, Indiana
And there you have it, my friends—the ultimate guide to all things fabulous in Daviess County, Indiana! From the time-worn elegance of the Historical Museum to the splish-splashin’ fun at WaterWorld, from the historic flicker of the Indiana Theater to the homey vibes of the arts and crafts festivals, there’s truly something for everyone in this hidden gem of the Midwest.
I can’t express enough how much fun I had exploring this charming county and all it has to offer. And let’s not forget the grub! Whether you’re scarfing down a classic burger at Mason’s Rootbeer Drive-In or sipping a decadent coffee at Cherry Ghost Coffee House your taste buds are in for a treat!
I hope this guide has ignited that spark of wanderlust in you! So, what are you waiting for? Grab your day planner, call up the fam, and start mapping out your own Daviess County adventure. I guarantee it’ll be a trip you won’t forget anytime soon!