Well, it’s been the summer of outdoor adventures! This week, I’m sharing with you the best hidden outdoor adventure in Eastern Indiana. I’ve lived in Indiana most of my life and traveled it pretty extensively, but this summer I’m discovering there are some really amazing State Parks I didn’t know about! Whitewater Memorial State Park in Eastern Indiana is one of them.
Covering 23,000 acres, Whitewater Memorial State Park was established as a memorial to local American soldiers who lost their lives in World War I and World War II. It’s one of Indiana’s 25 state parks, and definitely one of the largest.
If you love hidden outdoor adventures, then visiting this State Park should be added to your list. It’s approximately 2 hours from Indianapolis, and only an hourish from Dayton, Ohio. The drive itself is lovely, with rolling hills, lots of trees and quaint small towns.
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The nearest town is Liberty, Indiana which is the home of the Union County courthouse. What a beautiful building. Even though we were anxious to get to the park, we stopped in town to walk around the square.
In addition to the lovely courthouse, the town square boasts the Templeton Log Cabin built in 1805. Liberty also has a few local restaurants (a must try once we feel comfortable eating out again), a bakery, and several antique type shops.
Whitewater Memorial State Park
The first stop upon entering Whitewater Memorial State Park is the horse campground and stable. As it was a hot day and water was calling our name, we bypassed that area and headed to the beach.
I was delighted to discover that the beach was not very crowded, and the families that were enjoying it were doing a great job of social distancing. As it was lunchtime, this was the perfect spot for a simple and delicious picnic.
Next on the agenda was checking out the lake. Having lived on a lake before, we are definitely lake people. Whitewater Lake is beautiful! Located right in the park, as an undeveloped lakefront enjoying it is best done on the water. This lake does allow electric motors, but we opted for arm power instead.
We rented a few kayaks and took turns paddling around the lake – Bernie was along for the trip, so someone had to stay with him and relax under a shaded tree with a cold drink. Pretty sweet setup there too! In addition to renting kayaks, the park also has paddleboats available to rent and those looked like a great way to explore also. Next time!
Whitewater Memorial State Park has a few hiking trails, and the one we checked out is the 2.5 mile Memorial Loop. Even though it was a very hot day, the trail is so shaded that it felt a good 10 degrees cooler. Everything is super green right now so not only was it a relaxing (easy) trail, it was also incredibly beautiful, and a nice contrast to our lake time.
Although it was easy to spend an afternoon at the state park, with more time, I would suggest heading down to Brookville Lake and checking out the action there. Brookville Lake is a little more developed, with several marinas and the options to rent larger boats (even houseboats). The area had a real “lake-town” vibe and I wish we’d had more time to explore it.
Right on the water, we saw Ainsley’s Cafe, which looked like the perfect way to end a day on the lake. A delicious meal and cold beverage overlooking the water sounds like perfection, right? Right next door is Kent’s Harbor Marina where you can rent a boat. We had to pass on both this trip, but they will be a must-visit next time.
Both Whitewater Memorial State Park and Brookville Lake were well worth the drive from Indy. Now that we’ve discovered this hidden outdoor gem in Eastern Indiana, I guarantee we’ll be back soon – hopefully for an overnight adventure!
Do you love local adventures? Me too! Check out these five unique and fun Indiana weekend getaways for more everyday Midwest adventures!
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