This State Park Is A Great Stop To Make On Your Midwest Fall Getaway

The Midwestern United States becomes especially magical once autumn hits. Brightly colored leaves, lush forests, picturesque farmland, and plenty of opportunities to get outside and enjoy the changing seasons make this underrated region of the United States an ideal place to visit for fall fun. If you're road-tripping through the Midwest this autumn, don't skip a visit to Indiana's beautiful Brown County State Park. Located about half an hour from Bloomington, the expansive state park offers the ideal opportunity to experience gorgeous scenery and plenty of Midwestern charm.

Brown County State Park is the largest state park in Indiana, encompassing a whopping 16,000 acres. It's often referred to as the "Little Smokies" because the landscape resembles the ever-popular Great Smoky Mountain National Park. You can experience the beauty of vibrant autumn foliage, rolling hills, and misty ravines without the hordes of tourists, making this the ideal spot for a fall getaway.

Things to do in Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park offers abundant opportunities to enjoy nature, especially in the fall. Enjoy some of the best hikes for fall foliage, or go for a scenic drive through more than 20 miles of scenic country roads lined with forests. Lovers of historic architecture will adore stopping at the area's two iconic covered bridges. You'll find the Bean Blossom Bridge, initially constructed in 1880, crossing over Bean Blossom Creek on Covered Bridge Road. The second bridge, Ramp Creek Covered Bridge, serves as the entryway to Brown County State Park, was built in 1838, and is one of only four double-tunnel bridges in the United States.

Within the park, you can enjoy 18 miles of hiking trails with varying levels of challenge. There are separate paths for mountain biking and plenty of places to relax and enjoy a leisurely fall picnic. The park has two lakes for boating and fishing: Ogle Lake is around 17 acres and allows small boats, while Strahl Lake is smaller at 7 acres and doesn't allow boating. An Indiana state fishing license is required, and can be purchased at the park office.

Horseback riding is another popular pastime in the area. If you have your own horses, stay at the Horseman Campground, where you can comfortably camp after exploring 70 miles of horsetails. For guided rides, visit the Saddle Barn; 30-minute rides cost $26, and hour-long rides cost $36.

Dining, accommodation, and shopping nearby

If you want to make a long weekend out of your trip to Brown County State Park, rest assured that you'll find plenty of excellent accommodations, mouthwatering restaurants, and cute boutiques to enjoy when you aren't exploring the park.

For lodging within the state park, check out Abe Martin Lodge, which has 84 guest rooms, quaint cabin rentals, a restaurant, and an indoor waterpark offering fun for the whole family. Rooms start at around $150 per night. There are also three campgrounds within the park grounds: Buffalo Ridge, Taylor Ridge, and Raccoon Ridge. Both tent camping and RV camping are permitted, and you can choose between electric and primitive sites. Camping rates start at just $16 per night for non-electric sites.

More great lodging options are available in Nashville, Indiana, which is located under 10 minutes from Brown County State Park. Brown County Inn and Cornerstone Inn are excellent choices, with rates starting at around $150 per night. The town features picturesque streets lined with boutiques, cafes, art galleries, and antique stores where you can shop until you drop. After exploring the village, stop by Hobnob Corner for a hearty autumn meal in a historic building. However you choose to spend your time, Brown Country State Park is one of the best fall getaways to take in October.