Winter in Indiana can feel downright frigid and seems to last forever! But it doesn’t have to. For some fresh air fun, guaranteed to make you forget about the cold, at least momentarily, here are five of the best winter outdoor activities and adventures in Indiana.
For a great winter activity that you can do anytime, with or without snow, go on a hike! We don’t typically think of hiking during the coldest season of the year, but winter hiking has its benefits. The trails are less crowded, the fresh air can improve your immune system, and the exposure to sunlight provides a mood-enhancing Vitamin D boost. As an added bonus if you have children, a winter hike is a great opportunity for your kids to get some much needed outdoor exercise and playtime.
While you can go on a hiking adventure at almost any of Indiana’s nature preserves, local or state parks during winter, we recommend choosing a hike that involves an activity. Many parks offer free programs that can be coupled with a hike. For example, we’ve gone on a Heart Hike at Ritchie Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers.
Although not an organized program, we recently went on a winter hike around a bison preserve at Ouabache State Park. The idea is to occupy yourself with an activity while hiking, in order to focus less on the cold and more on enjoying the outdoors. A great resource for finding winter programs and activities is the Indiana Department of Natural Resources program schedule website.
When there’s snow on the ground, sledding is the easiest option for outdoor winter fun in Indiana. While there are multiple sledding hills throughout the state, save yourself the search for the best and go to Flat Fork Creek Park in Fishers. From its sheer size and multiple sledding slopes, to its ample space for a whole slew of sledders, Flat Fork Creek Park is our top pick for Indy’s best sledding spot. The 60 ft sledding hill at Flat Fork Creek Park is our top pick for snow sledding in Indiana.
- What: Snow Sledding at Flat Fork Creek Park
- When: Anytime following a snowfall, from dawn to dusk
- Where: 16141 E 101 St, Fortville, IN 46040 – just northeast of Indianapolis
- Cost: Free!
- Info: http://www.fishers.in.us/facilities/facility/details/Flat-Fork-Creek-Park-44
Here in Indiana, the likelihood of snow on the ground in winter varies fairly significantly by the year. One year we have snow, the next we don’t. Looking for a fun outdoor activity when it feels frigid, but there is no snow in sight? Go to Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes for snow tubing! The park makes their own snow throughout the winter months. Which means that unlike sledding, you don’t have to wait on the weather to enjoy the thrill of sliding down a snow-covered slope. Read why Indiana’s Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes is our top pick for snow tubing, from its proximity to Indy, multiple tubing pass options, to the overall ease of the tubing experience.
- What: Koteewi Run Seasonal Slopes Snow Tubing
- When: Mon – Thu 5 – 9 pm, Fri 4 – 10 pm, Sat 10 am – 11 pm, Sun 1 – 8 pm
- Where: 11800 Koteewi Dr, Noblesville, IN 46060
- Cost: Tubing tickets generally cost between $20-30 a person, but numerous options are available based upon tubing duration, day of week, and date.
- Info: https://www.koteewi-adventures.com/
Need an even greater thrill than sledding and snow tubing? Then it’s time to visit the Pokagon State Park Toboggan Run where you can race down the refrigerated track at speeds topping 40 mph. Our tobogganing tips, including sled selection, speed maximization, and the best time to visit the run will ensure that you get the most out of your time tobogganing.
- What: Pokagon State Park Toboggan Run
- When: Hours are Friday 5:30 – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:30 am – 9:00 pm, and Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
- Where: 450 Ln 100 Lake James, Angola, IN 46703
- Cost: Toboggan rental is $13 per hour. The entrance fee for the state park is $7 for in-state vehicles, $9 for out-of-state vehicles.
- Info: https://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/4699.htm
Still want to spend time outside this winter, but searching for something slightly more relaxing than sledding and snow tubing? Ice skating is may be for you! While there many ice rinks in Indiana, a good number of them are indoors. If you’re looking to go ice skating outside, look no further than The Ice at Center Green. Not only is the rink outdoors, but it is situated in the heart of beautiful Carmel, between the Palladium and Tarkington Center for Performing Arts. The setting couldn’t be more picturesque. Unless, of course, you visit during the holidays when the ice rink is surrounded by the Carmel Christkindlmarket.
- What: The Ice at Center Green
- When: Hours are Wednesday & Thursday 4:00 – 9:00 pm, Friday through Sunday 75-90 minute sessions between noon and 9:00 pm. Ice rink is open mid-November through mid-March.
- Where: 10 Center Green, Carmel, Indiana 46032
- Cost: Sessions are $10 for youth & adults age 11 & older, $8 for youth age 10 & under. Skate rental is $4.
- Info: https://www.theiceatcentergreen.com/
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