15 Best Road Trips From Indianapolis, Indiana - Updated 2021

road trips from indianapolis
Tenissa
Tenissa
Updated

Indianapolis, Indiana, is home to many attractions such as Indianapolis Zoo, White River Gardens, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s a great tourist destination in itself, with plenty of vacation rentals and themed hotels. However, its location in Midwestern US makes it an excellent place from which to embark on a road trip. There are lots of attractions to see and destinations to visit with Indianapolis as your starting point. Read on to learn about the best road trips from Indianapolis, Indiana and plan your vacation today.

1. Dublin, OH

Dublin City Hall (Dublin, Ohio) - new city hall effective April 15, 2020
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Nheyob used under CC BY-SA 4.0

In need of a shorter road trip from Indianapolis? Dublin, along Interstate 70, is worth the three-hour drive. This city in Ohio is home to Wendy’s headquarters and features attractions like Zoombezi Bay Waterpark and Columbus Zoo & Aquarium. The streets and landscapes of Dublin are leveled up by over 60 pieces of public art. There are also numerous parks and other nature trips where you can bring your entire family. The city also has over 20 Irish-approved establishments, from restaurants and pubs to souvenir shops and apparel stores. Needless to say, Dublin, Ohio, is a great place to visit if you want an authentic Irish experience!

2. Chicago, IL

Chicago
Source: Photo by Flickr user Pedro Szekely used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Get lost in the cityscapes and make Chicago your next road trip destination from Illinois. This city is one of the shorter drives from our list, being only 183 miles (294 kilometers) and 3 hours away. Chicago is a city that certainly needs no introduction, but if we must, its skyline is one the best sights you’ll find in the United States. It is home to world-famous attractions and landmarks like the upscale Magnificent Mile, where you’ll find bold architecture displays like that of the Wrigley Building and the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower.

3. Santa Claus, IN

Santa Claus, Indiana
Source: Photo by Flickr user Doug Kerr used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Make your holiday season extra-Christmassy by taking the road trip to Santa Claus! Yup, you heard that right. Somewhere in Indiana, there exists a place that we will all come to love. Santa Claus, Indiana, prides itself in being America’s Christmas hometown if it isn’t obvious yet by the name. The drive from Indianapolis is about 2 hours and 45 minutes. If your family is tagging along for your trip, this is a place you do not want to miss out on, especially in December! Some of the themed attractions in town are Santa’s Candy Castle, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Frosty’s Fun Center, and Santa’s Stables.

4. Indiana Dunes

Indiana Dunes National Park
Source: Photo by Flickr user Matthew Dillon used under CC BY 2.0

About 2.5 hours north of Indianapolis is Indiana Dunes National Park. This place is a great road trip destination if you’ve been longing to visit the ocean for a while. At Indiana Dunes, you’ll find long stretches of beaches, as well as prairies, marshes, swamps, and woodlands. Here you will have the opportunity to do exciting activities such as fishing, cross-country skiing, bird watching, and hiking. You may even go camping at Dunewood Campground at the end of the day.

5. The Wilds in Cumberland, OH

WildsBabyDeer
Source: Photo by Flickr user Todd Petrie used under CC BY 2.0

Get a close-up experience with the wildlife and consider driving to Cumberland, Ohio, to visit The Wilds. This safari park and conservation center offers adventures like ziplining, horseback riding, and educational programs. This wildlife conservation center provides an open-range, natural habitat for various endangered and rare species. There are tours within the park that will let you have a hands-on experience with the animals. The Wilds is 250 miles (402 kilometers) away from Indianapolis and takes about 4 hours by car.

6. Pittsburgh, PA

Point State Park, Pittsburgh PA
Source: Photo by user Dakota Swagerty used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Scenic views, high-end restaurants, and attractive landmarks are some of the best things offered by Pittsburgh, a city with a central location in the state of Pennsylvania. Whether you are traveling solo or with loved ones, this place is definitely a great stopover during your road trip. Visit Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium and be amused by the unique behavior of its inhabitants. This includes leopards, polar bears, and more. Indulge in arts and culture by visiting the Andy Warhol Museum, home to a collection of artworks by its namesake, who was born in Pittsburgh.

From Indianapolis, Pittsburgh is a six-hour drive away via I-70 E. If you plan to break up your trip, you can stay overnight in Columbus, Ohio, which you’ll reach three hours in.

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7. Niagara Falls, NY

NIAGARA FALLS, NY
Source: Photo by user Bill Morrow used under CC BY 2.0

Other than the natural wonders of Niagara Falls, you can enjoy plenty of attractions such as Aquarium of Niagara, where you’ll meet sea lions, penguins, and seals. While here, you can also head to Whirlpool State Park to check out Whirlpool Rapids, which is said to be among the most dangerous waters in the world. This state park has a number of overlooks from where you’ll be able to get a good view of the rapids.

Niagara Falls, NY is 522.8 mi (841 km) away from Indianapolis - an 8-hour drive via I-70E and I-90 E. You’ll pass through cities such as Richmond, Columbus, Cleveland, and Buffalo before you reach Niagara Falls, so plan your road trip right to avoid travel fatigue before you get to your destination!

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8. Rock City, GA

“See Seven States” - Rock City, Lookout Mountain, Georgia
Source: Photo by user Andy Montgomery used under CC BY-SA 2.0

The incredible beauty of mother nature will never cease to amaze. Be ready to be wowed by impressive sights as soon as you set foot in Rock City, an attraction that can be found in the state of Georgia. The most popular tourist spot here is Rock City Gardens, which boasts stunning rock formations, caves, and gardens, among others. If offered an opportunity to view seven U.S. states from one spot, would you take it? Rock City has a place for this: Lover’s Leap. See an incredible view of North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and Tennessee through binoculars.

Rock City is a 6.5-hour drive from Indianapolis via I-65 S and I-24 E, passing through the cities of Louisville, Kentucky, and Nashville, Tennessee.

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9. Atlanta, GA

Atlanta GA
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ernie Geiger used under CC BY 2.0

Atlanta, Georgia, one of the best drivable vacations from Indianapolis, is another city that offers tons of attractions to visit. Find your way to Centennial Olympic Park, one of the most popular and beautiful parks in the city. The park once hosted the 1996 Olympic Games, but now it has become a spot where locals and visitors alike can enjoy recreational activities. You can have a picnic and relax under the trees while still being able to absorb plenty of sunlight. Another point of interest here is the dancing fountain. Make sure to stop by World of Coca-Cola to learn about the history of Coca-Cola through interactive exhibits and presentations. In case you do not know, Atlanta is the birthplace of this soda.

From Indianapolis, Atlanta is an 8-hour drive away, and you’ll pass through Louisville, Nashville, and Chattanooga. If you break up your trip in two days, you can stop by Mammoth Cave National Park on day one and visit Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee on day two before continuing on to Atlanta.

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10. Petoskey, MI

Petoskey, Michigan
Source: Photo by user David McSpadden used under CC BY 2.0

Looking for a nature-filled road trip destination? Head to Petoskey, Michigan, and visit Petoskey State Park to ease your soul with spectacular views of the beach. Head to Bear River Valley Recreation Area for some outdoor adventure like hiking and whitewater rafting. You can also have fun in the evenings by stopping by at Odawa Casino on Lears Road. Who knows, it may be your lucky night!

From Indianapolis, take I-69 N and US-127 N and drive for about 464 mi (746.6 km) to Petoskey. You’ll pass through the cities of Fort Wayne, Marshall, and Gaylord.

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11. Kansas City, MO

Kansas City, MO skyline at night
Source: Photo by user Lasse Fuss used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Welcome to Kansas City, a metropolis in the state of Missouri that is renowned for its fountains and its jazz heritage. Many restaurants and bars in Kansas City offer live jazz performances. But there is more to the city than just fountains and jazz. Worlds of Fun, for example, is a great theme park to explore. There are plenty of rides to keep your adrenaline high throughout the day. In addition to the rides, you can also enjoy live entertainment. Another attraction that you can’t miss is Kansas City Zoo, a great place to experience close encounters with diverse wildlife from around the world. To learn more about the animals here, informational charts and exhibits are present all throughout the zoo.

If you’re eager to explore all these great attractions, take I-70 W from Indianapolis and drive for 481.8 mi (775.3 km) to reach Kansas City. Since this is a seven-hour drive, plan to stop by Altamont, Indiana, or stay overnight at St. Louis.

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12. Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis-MN-stone-arch-bridge
Source: Photo by user Kat used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Why drive to the state of Minnesota and spend time in the popular city of Minneapolis? Because you can reconnect with nature and indulge in the ultimate vacation surrounded by amazing landscapes. It sure is one of the best getaways from Indianapolis. You can visit different lakes and parks, and if it is impossible for you to explore all, you can visit the prettiest park in the city, Minnehaha Park. Be amazed by its waterfalls and lush surroundings. Just follow the trails that will lead you to the waterfalls. Minneapolis also has plenty of malls, so make a stop at Mall of America, one of the biggest malls in the city. With four floors, the mall features fashionable stores, top-notch restaurants, a cinema, and an aquarium. You can also find a theme park inside, so you’ll have plenty of entertainment in just one place.

Minneapolis is about nine hours away from Indianapolis via I-90 W and i-94 W. Along the way, you’ll pass through the beautiful resort city of Lake Geneva, where you can stay overnight. The next day, pass through the cities of Madison, Wisconsin Dells, and Eau Claire.

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13. Wichita, KS

The Exploration Place-Wichita, Kansas-June 2013
Source: Photo by user 04stx used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Plenty of entertainment awaits in Wichita, Kansas. Your mind will be blown away when you visit the science education center, Exploration Place. At this attraction, you can observe animated models that will take you back to 1950s Kansas. You can also enjoy viewing a miniature of Kansas here. Be sure to spend at least a half-day at Botanica, The Wichita Gardens, a place that is known for its impressive collection of tropical and rose plants, along with a butterfly garden and an aquatic collection.

Wichita is 675.5 mi (1,087 km) from Indianapolis via I-70 W. Plan to stay overnight in Columbia, MO, and continue the next day to Kansas City, past Emporia, and finally to Wichita.

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14. Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City OK First Church Christ Scientist (Front) (Taken 20120926)
Source: Photo by user Patrick W. Moore used under CC BY-SA 3.0

When you get to Oklahoma City, you may feel a different vibe compared to the other cities. This is because this metropolis in the state of Oklahoma is known for its cowboy culture. Head to the entertainment district of Bricktown to enjoy an awesome experience aboard a water taxi. Relish delectable dishes in one Bricktown'ss restaurants. Get to know more about the cowboy culture and the history of the American West by making a stop at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

Oklahoma City is an 11-hour drive from Indianapolis via I-70 W and I-44. 3.5 hours in, you can stop at St. Louis for a break, then continue to Cuba, Missouri, where you can stop for the night. The following day, stop by Lake of the Ozarks, then continue past Springfield, Coffeyville, and Tulsa before finally arriving in Oklahoma City.

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15. Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach,SC
Source: Photo by user Dan J used under CC BY 2.0

Planning a weekend road trip from Indianapolis? A myriad of beaches can be found in Myrtle Beach, so those who are fond of beaches and water sports will feel like they’re in paradise. What is more, the city also promises a wonderful golf experience as it provides a variety of celebrity-designed golf courses suitable for golfers of all levels. Visit attractions such as SkyWheel Myrtle Beach, Hollywood Wax Museum, and Myrtle Waves Water Park.

Ready for a beach vacation? Take I-75 S and drive for 767.7 mi (1,235 km) to reach Myrtle Beach. You’ll pass by the cities of Louisville, Pigeon Forge, Asheville, and Columbia.

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This road trip from Indianapolis will be a memorable one

This road trip you take from Indianapolis will be unlike any other. From Pittsburgh to Myrtle Beach, there are so many amazing cities that you can reach in two days or less from Indianapolis. Plan your next road trip and have an amazing adventure!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Tenissa is a content writer, translator and editor. She enjoys being a globetrotter and has traveled to many countries around the world. So far, her favourite destination is Switzerland. She looks...Read more

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