Indiana Day Trip: Things to do in Delphi
Where is Delphi, Indiana?
Delphi, Indiana is a perfect distance from Lafayette or Indianapolis for an easy day trip. There are plenty of things to do in Delphi, Indiana to keep you occupied for an afternoon or more!
An interesting tidbit about Delphi’s history is that for a few days it was known as Carrollton. Carroll County was named in honor of the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, and that name stuck!
Directions to Delphi, Indiana
Delphi, Indiana is in Carroll County, towards the Northwest portion of Indiana. At just over an hour from Indianapolis, Indiana, and a mere twenty minutes from most of Lafayette, Indiana.
This close proximity to several cities makes it an excellent choice for getting out of town for the day. Add in all the things to do in Delphi, Indiana and you’ve got an exciting day trip in the making.
What is Delphi, Indiana known for?
Delphi, Indiana was historically known as a stop along the Wabash & Erie Canal, but today is most well-known for the large pork-packing company (Packers Corp) located in Carroll County.
To celebrate this history, there is a Bacon festival in Delphi every year towards the end of the summer. If you time your visit right, you can enjoy bacon, bands, and brews. Sounds like a good time to me!
Top Things to do in Delphi, Indiana
Even if you don’t make it to town during the Bacon Festival, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in Delphi. Here are enough ideas to keep you busy all day:
Wabash & Erie Canal Park
The top tourist attraction in Carroll County is the Wabash & Erie Canal Park. With an interactive museum highlighting the history of the canal, as well as an 1850s pioneer village, historical buildings, beautiful trails, and more, you can have fun while learning about the rich history of the canals in Indiana.
History of the Wabash & Erie Canal
The canal was created before railroads began crisscrossing our nation as a way to transport goods across states. The larger canal stops (like Delphi), encouraged thriving towns and growth in areas outside the more established cities.
This particular canal linked the Ohio River to the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, once the railroads grew in importance, most canal paths were abandoned – the one in Delphi stopped being used in 1873.
Still, as an important part of our country’s growth, it’s interesting to learn about how the canals worked, where they went, and what they transported. Those are all topics you can discover on your visit to the Wabash & Erie Canal in Delphi.
Tips for visiting the Wabash & Erie Canal Park
The Wabash & Erie Canal Park site is quite large, and it would be easy to spend several hours exploring all it has to offer. Be sure to start at the museum so you can get a good overview of the entire site. Even if you choose not to actually go into the museum, there are several interesting displays that will give you some background on the canal and its history.
Plan on a bit of walking, as the area is very spread out. Although the grounds are always open, there aren’t a lot of volunteers in the Pioneer Village or around the canal itself during the week. If you want to get the most out of your visit, then time it for a Saturday in the summer. If you like wandering around by yourself, it probably won’t matter much when you visit.
Can you take canal boat rides?
The Delphi is a restored canal boat that does still operate, and you can take canal boat rides on Saturdays from late May to early September. The tickets can sell out, so call ahead to make sure the boat is running and that there is availability. It’s a unique way to get a feel for what canal transportation was really like.
Should you visit during Canal Days?
Every year in early July, the site hosts what they call “Canal Days” – although it’s really just one day. If you want a lot of activity (kids would probably especially enjoy this as it makes the history part a little more palatable), along with food, crafts, and special events, definitely plan your visit on Canal Days.
Shop the downtown boutiques
After exploring the Wabash & Erie Canal site, head to downtown Delphi to stroll the streets and shop in the charming boutiques.
For such a small town, there were a decent number of places to shop. I found several thrift stores if that’s your preference along with a couple of local boutiques that I really loved. I even ended up purchasing a few dresses and earrings for less than $100! Score!
The courthouse is lovely too, and the shops run around about 3/4 of it, so you’ll get to view it from a variety of angles.
What are fun things to do near Delphi, Indiana?
Explore Adams Mill
Just outside of town, in Cutler, Indiana is an old gristmill – Adams Mill. Connected to it is a campground and some really lovely hiking trails as well as some excellent fishing spots.
Adams Mill is located on Wildcat Creek (hence the fishing) and operated from 1845 – 1951. Today you can explore the grounds any day, and visit the museum on the weekends from April to Mid-October.
The machinery no longer works, but I did recently visit a working gristmill in Elkhart County, so it was quite interesting to compare the setup!
Cross a covered bridge
Just down the road from Adams Mill is the Adams Mill Covered Bridge. It was built in 1872 and is still used to cross Wildcat Creek. It’s fun to drive across it and hear the road rumble under your car!
If you like covered bridges it’s also a lovely one to photograph and there are a few nice trails and views of the creek in front of it.
Related posts: Check out ALL my Indiana day trips (and weekend getaways) on my Explore Indiana page. You’ll never run out of fun ways to spend your day!
Restaurants in Delphi Indiana
For a fairly small town, I was pretty impressed with the number of restaurants. Good restaurants with excellent ratings too!
After asking around for recommendations (and checking Yelp), we settled on The Sandwich Shop for lunch. It was by far the busiest place in town (always a good sign) and turned out to be a top-notch choice!
If you are a fan of old-fashioned diners, and fresh food cooked on the grill right in front of you, The Sandwich Shop is your kind of restaurant.
We ordered burgers and fries (made from actual potatoes – not frozen) and sat at the counter to chat with the owner and servers. The food was delicious, the service friendly, and the atmosphere fun. Definitely a perfect lunch spot.
Our plan was to walk across the street to grab some pie from Stone House Restaurant & Bakery, but although the desserts looked tempting, we were just too full – probably should have picked up a few slices to go in retrospect!
Another interesting choice, that I peeked into is fairly new to the area and called Fika. The menu had a lot of salads, unique sandwiches, and really fun drinks. If I’d been in the mood for a cocktail I think I could have been swayed by their offering! Looks like a terrific place to grab some appetizers and drinks in the evening.
👉 Want to extend your stay overnight so you can try more restaurants and maybe take in a show at the Delphi Opera House? Me too! Get the best rates here at Booking.com. I’d suggest one of the highly rated Lafayette hotels!
Conclusion: Things to do in Delphi, Indiana
Even with this busy day full of things to do in Delphi and Carroll County, I didn’t even hit everything. We walked by The Delphi Opera House and the connected gallery, but since there wasn’t a show going on, didn’t stop in.
I would love to check it out some evening when something is playing – it looked really intriguing.
We also didn’t get to check out the Carroll County Historical Society Museum as it was closed on the day we visited. We drove by and it’s in a really unique-looking building, so probably worth a stop when it’s open.
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