Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County
After an amazing visit to Indianapolis, I decided to make an overnight stop in Hamilton County to see what life was like outside of the city. I was mainly looking for some outdoor adventures to counteract my city experience and after talking to a few friends from the area, I found out that Hamilton County was the spot to go. Let me just say, it blew me away and I wanted to pick up and move to the little town of Carmel!

After meeting up with Jen from the adventure blog, Coleman Concierge, and Whitney & Katie from Hamilton County we headed off on our trip through the County for a full day and night of adventures.

If you’re wanting to get out of the city, Hamilton County, is one of the best day trips from Indianapolis!


Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Hamilton County is one of the counties bordering Indianapolis and is pretty easy to get to from the city for a short weekend or day trip.  Most people opt to get there by driving or even taking a bike!  If you drive it would take you about 30 minutes to Carmel and if you bike along the paved Monon walking and bike trail from Indianapolis it would take you about an hour depending on where you leave Indy. Both, Indy and Carmel have street bike rentals that make it extremely easy to get from one to the other.

Bike Rentals:

Zagster –  Carmel, Hamilton County
Indianapolis Pacer’s Bike Share – Indy

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County


One of the highlights of Hamilton County is there are an unlimited amount of outdoor activities. After visiting once you’ll realize you could take multiple day trips from Indianapolis and still wouldn’t do everything there is to do in this one county.
Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Rent bikes from Zagster and mill around Carmel or on the forested Monon Trail

This trail is incredible! You can ride all the way from Indianapolis to get to Carmel or just take a ride around Hamilton County. You’ll pass forests, over bridges, through parks, and by water. The whole trail is beautiful and it’s fun to ride on a sunny day! Zagster is an easy bike share in Hamilton County that we used. 

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County(via Coleman Concierge)

Check out the riding trails and horses at K-Trails

I love horses and they are scattered all over the expansive land in Hamilton. You can ride them if you head over to K-Trails and they’ll take you through the parks, wilderness and close to the White River.

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Test out your archery skills at Koteewi Archery Range

Right next to the K-Trails is the archery range. This is the perfect activity for a date or day outing if you want to try it. I didn’t try it this time, but there were a lot of people out there enjoying the sun and slinging some arrows.

Hit up the ropes course at Koteewi Aerial Park.

This was my ultimate favorite part of my trip to Hamilton. I’ve done ropes courses before but experiencing this one was another level. It was super challenging, but fun because I had Jen and Whitney there with me.  The course has three different levels and Jen and I tried them all. I was so sore afterward because the advanced level was REALLY challenging for me. I did feel super accomplished afterward though and it was the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon!

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County
(via Colman Concierge)

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Have a picnic, bring some lawn games and chill out in Strawtown Koteewi Park

This park is massive and allows for lawn games, sports games, picnics and just about anything else you’d like to do. The park itself is beautiful and it almost feels like you’re in the wilderness instead of an actual park.
Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Kayak on the river with White River Canoe Company

The White River goes right through Hamilton County and is a perfect day trip activity out of Indy. Taking a ride down the river is also a great way to see the county from a different viewpoint. White River Canoe Company offers kayaking, tubeing, and canoeing on the river.

Walk downtown Carmel to see all of the statue art

Carmel is one of the cutest little towns I’ve ever been to. The downtown is extremely clean and walker and biker friendly.  As you walk through the downtown you’ll also start to notice real life looking statues all over the place. At first I seriously thought they were real people just standing around, but once I got closer I realized they were art statues. It was a really fun and unique thing that i’ve never seen before in a small town and I ended up loving the quirkiness of it!

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Bike up to the Carmel City Center

City Center is a somewhat newer part of Carmel and can easily be accessed from downtown by walking or biking along the Monon Trail. There are tons of shops, workout classes, and little restaurants inside the center. City Center is also located next to The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts and Civic Theatre. Both beautiful buildings to check out!

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County


You can’t go to Hamilton County without trying their incredible grub. I was really impressed, not only by the Indianapolis foodie scene, but the great food we also found in Hamilton!


  • Bubs Cafe – they have any type of down-home breakfast you could want!  From biscuits and gravy (they are amazing) to huge breakfast burritos, to yummy breakfast donuts. Plus, they have a porch to sit on in the summer and it’s located right off of the Monon bike trail.
  • Eggshell Bistro is a popular brunch spot, filled with locals and right in the hip City Center in Carmel.


Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

  •  Woodys Liberty Restaurant – make sure to order the famous dish of Indiana. The famous pork tenderloin sandwich. I loved it!
  •  divvy – This dinner spot is really popular for the locals and located right inside City Center in Carmel.

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

  • Bub’s Burgers and Ice Cream – we came here for the ice cream and the line was long, but the ice cream was well worth the wait. You’ll feel like you’re in small town USA and it’s extremely charming. It reminded me a bit of Idaho and they serve burgers that look amaze.

Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County

  •  Peace Water Winery – this is a fun little wine bar that gives 50% of their profits to charity and you get to pick the charity on their giving wall! Their patio is really cute and their wines are pretty amazing (mostly coming from Napa Valley in CA).Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County
  • Union Brewing Company – located right off of the Monon trail, this brewery is a perfect place to bike or walk to for Happy Hour. They also allow you to order food from the next door Jamaican restaurant if you want to eat out on their huge patio.


I stayed at Staybridge Suites in Carmel Indiana and found the rooms to be a great size! The one I stayed in had a kitchen and would be perfect if you’re visiting with a family or want to be able to cook for yourself. You’ll most likely need a car to stay here as it’s located a bit outside of downtown Carmel.
Best Day Trips from Indianapolis: Hamilton County
This place has more of a B&B vibe and came recommended by the Visit Hamilton County girls. They even have a yoga studio! I’d check this out if you want more of a cozy vibe.


A huge shout out and thank you to Visit Hamilton County  & Visit Indiana for a wonderful day and night in Hamilton County! As always, all opinions are my own. 

Some of the above links are affiliate links and I will earn a tiny percentage of the sale if you purchase through them at no extra cost to you

By | 2017-07-25T13:48:39+00:00 July 24th, 2017|City Guides, North America, Summer, Travel|13 Comments

About the Author:

The Traveling Spud
Welcome to the Traveling Spud! I’m Katie, a 28-year-old from Idaho who quit her marketing job in San Francisco, California to travel the world for a year. I'm addicted to outdoor adventures, photography and inspiring others to get out of their comfort zones and cross experiences off of their bucket lists. Let's explore together! Read more here.


  1. Juliann July 25, 2017 at 7:39 am - Reply

    Looks lovely! Its not far from me. I’d like to wander through Carmel, for sure and always love sampling new craft beers.
    Juliann recently posted…How I Gained 5 Lbs. in 3 Days in MontgomeryMy Profile

    • The Traveling Spud
      The Traveling Spud July 25, 2017 at 9:59 am - Reply

      Yeah it’s so cute! You definitely should go…I could have stayed for way longer!

  2. Andii July 27, 2017 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    All that bike riding is an excellent way to work off all those awesome calories that are available to you at the end of the rainbow.. a.k.a. as any town in Indiana! Looks like you had a blast and Hamilton County is definitely worth checking out!

  3. Jenn and Ed Coleman July 27, 2017 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    I had so much fun hanging with you in Hamilton County. Whodathunkit that there so many fun things to do. I would love to come back and ride the entire trail into downtown Indy. That would be a blast.
    Jenn and Ed Coleman recently posted…Flying High at Eagle Creek Reservoir IndianaMy Profile

  4. Ann July 28, 2017 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I love the old-fashioned statues in Carmel — it would be fun to get dressed up in vintage clothing and go stage a few photographs!

  5. Julianne July 28, 2017 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I love that Peace Water Winery gives 50% of their profits to charity. That’s awesome! I’m amazed by all the outdoor activities in Hamilton County — I think I’d do the ropes course and kayaking. So many things to do when we return to Indiana!

  6. Jen July 29, 2017 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    I would be down to practice my archery skills! But I don’t know about all that biking haha, you must have strong legs! Looks like a dream, love the pic of the field you captured 🙂
    Jen recently posted…Discover Firenze: 10 Must-See Attractions While in Florence, ItalyMy Profile

  7. Cat July 30, 2017 at 12:31 am - Reply

    Indy sounds like a fun destination for nature lovers! From archery, horseback riding to rope courses, there’s so much to do! Even spending an afternoon exploring art statues in downtown would be quite interesting too!

  8. Allison Wong July 30, 2017 at 8:12 am - Reply

    I love the idea of being able to cycle around with the bike rental! And the food looks absolutely yummilicious!
    Allison Wong recently posted…Heli Lounge Bar, Kuala Lumpur – ReviewMy Profile

  9. Ivy July 31, 2017 at 10:07 am - Reply

    Oh my god that chicken pesto… I like how everyone else is talking about the activities and the first thing I noticed is the food haha. I’ve never tried archery or horseback riding but I’d be down to do both!

  10. Susan Ripley August 1, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I looove exploring a new place by bike – would love to do the bike ride along the Monon trail. And this ropes course sounds so fun! I’ve never done one but looks like quite the experience!
    Susan Ripley recently posted…Santa Teresa Hotel: Review of Nautilus Boutique Hotel, Costa RicaMy Profile

  11. High Return Real Estate August 31, 2017 at 8:26 am - Reply

    Great photos! I love finding little towns outside of metropolitan areas that offer outdoor activities. It looks so beautiful and all of that food looks amazing. I will have to check out hamilton county next time I am in the area! Thanks for sharing!

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