If you’re looking for a recreational destination in the Midwest to reconnect with nature and explore the great outdoors, look no further than Southern Indiana. This region boasts three state parks that offer a plethora of activities, breathtaking scenery, and a short drive from each of them. Let’s introduce you to Lincoln State Park, Patoka Lake State Park, and Ferdinand State Forest, and showcase all the wonders you can expect to discover there.

The Ferdinand State Forest is a hidden gem located in the heart of Dubois County. The state forest offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, but the beach area and the hiking trails are a key element of the forest. Take in the calm and relaxing scene while sitting on the beach looking out over the water. The trails are an excellent place to unwind and reconnect with nature. The Ferdinand State Forest also offers primitive camping. Go for a picnic or a day trip with your family and experience the wonders of this natural forest.

Patoka Lake State Park is a waterfront oasis in Southern Indiana. The park surrounds the gorgeous 8,800-acre Lake, a man-made reservoir that offers ample opportunities for boating, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can hike or bike numerous trails, or simply relax and enjoy the beach while swimming. You can enjoy a nice campground with different playgrounds for the kids and a disc golf course. Now don’t forget about Patoka Lake Winery. Here you can enjoy wine tasting, you buy your own bottle or try one of their wine slushies. There is so much to do at Patoka Lake. The options are endless!

Lincoln State Park is not in Dubois County but it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump to Spencer County. Lincoln State Park is named after President Abraham Lincoln, who grew up in the area. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Lincoln Amphitheatre, which hosts outdoor musicals and concerts throughout the summer. Visitors can also explore the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, which gives a glimpse into pioneer life in Indiana. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy hiking along the 10 miles of trails, swimming in the lake, or fishing for catfish, bass, or bluegill.

Southern Indiana has something for everyone when it comes to natural beauty and outdoor recreational activities. Whether you’re seeking hiking, fishing, camping, or water sports, Lincoln State Park, Patoka Lake State Park, and Ferdinand State Forest have it all. These parks are a perfect destination for families, couples, or solo travelers who want to unwind and connect with nature. We hope this post has inspired you to pack your bags and escape to these gems in Indiana.


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The official Dubois County Visitors Guide is your go-to resource for all there is to discover in southern Indiana. Did you know we mail a FREE guide upon all online requests?