Discover the 3 Best National Parks in Indiana

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Updated: May 4, 2022
Image Credit Jon Lauriat/Shutterstock.com
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Located in the midwestern part of the United States, there is something to offer in Indiana, ranging from its amazing landscapes and landmarks. The state, sometimes known as the Crossroads of America, is famous for high school basketball, corn, steel mills, and huge farmlands, among other things. Indiana is flanked by Lake Michigan and four states, viz., Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois.

There are three national parks in Indiana, with over 2 million visitors each year. From park visitation, these parks generate about $115 million in revenue. This article will look at each of these parks and tell you all you need to know as you plan your next trip. 

1. George Rogers Clark National Historical Park 

george rogers clark national historical park
George Rogers Clark National Historical Park is in southwestern Indiana, in the town of Vincennes.

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George Rogers Clark National Historical Park 
Size24.3 acres
Animal to seeSquirrels
Attraction to seeFort Sackville

In February 1779, George Rogers Clark embarked on an 18-day journey to Vincennes in bitterly cold weather. He led a force of 170 American and French militiamen across difficult terrain until they were able to encircle Fort Sackville. On February 25, 1779, he captured Fort Sackville, ensuring the United States’ claim to the border. The frontier covered an area the size of the original thirteen states. The fight was severely fought, but the American soldiers triumphed against the British army with the help of French citizens of Illinois.

A tourist center with a small display area and a 30-minute video may be found at the park. You’ve probably never heard of Clark and his stunning victory, which nearly doubled the size of America. Without Clark and his extraordinary adventure, most of the Midwest would have become part of Canada. 

On the site of Fort Sackville, there is an outstanding memorial. The Greek-style monument, designed by Frederick Hirons, comprises 16 columns that support a circular roof. It has a bronze statue of George Rogers Clark and seven murals that show how Clark lived his life.

2. Indiana Dunes National Park 

indiana dunes national park
This park contains over 15,000 acres of dunes, wildlife, and beach access.

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Indiana Dunes National Park 
Size15,349 acres
Animal to seeWolves, black bear, Eastern chipmunk, big brown bat
Attraction to seeBailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm

At about 15 miles from Gary, Indiana, this park is located in northern Indiana. Camping, birdwatching, swimming, hiking, and winter activities can all be done at the park all year long.

The park contains over 15,000 acres of dunes, wildlife, and beach access. Over 1,100 floral and fern species are in the park. There are 350 bird species, 46 mammals, 18 amphibians, and 23 reptiles.

Despite the surrounding development, the park and its scenic wonders are still enjoyable in various ways. Several hiking routes are around the park. Explore Bailly Homestead and Chellberg Farm for an insight into the area’s history. This farm contains the main house, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and turkeys

The five Century of Progress residences featured in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair is located along Lake Front Drive, on the outskirts of the private Beverly Shores enclave. The residences were constructed using cutting-edge materials, equipment, and building processes at the time of their construction.

On February 15, 2019, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore was renamed Indiana Dunes National Park. The National Park Service has designated this location as the 61st national park site. It is a fantastic place to visit if you want to explore the 15 kilometers of Lake Michigan’s southern shore. We may expect new signs and possibly more programming now that the area is recognized as a national park.

3. Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial

lincoln boyhood national memorial
Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial is situated in Lincoln City, Indiana.

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Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial
Size200 acres
Animal to seeCattle
Attraction to seeLincoln Living Historical Farm

This national park is in Lincoln City, Indiana. The park is open throughout the year and includes a living historical farm, hiking trails, and a visit to Nancy Lincoln’s gravesite.

You can discover more about Abraham Lincoln’s life from childhood to adulthood on this site. The park video on President Abraham Lincoln’s early life is shown at the visitor center. Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, who died in 1818, was a well-known figure in American history, and the Nancy Hanks Lincoln Gravesite may be found in the pioneer cemetery.

Artist E.H. Daniels sculpted five panels depicting Lincoln’s life in front of the tourist center. Indiana limestone was used to chisel the panels.

The Lincoln Living Historical Farm, a working farm with crops, cattle, and more, is worth visiting. Rangers undertake farm chores dressed in 1820s period clothing. The living historical farm is open from mid-April to mid-September, depending on the weather.

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