These getaways have been selected for 2020, but it’s a great idea to call an attraction, restaurant and shop to make sure they’re open before visiting.
⇒ 12 minutes to 49'er Drive-In Theatre
1. Visit one of Indiana’s 10 Best Ice Cream Shoppes! Valpo Velvet has been making their ice cream for 72 years, so they know something about ice cream. They have perfected the process, using only fresh ingredients, and are constantly adding new flavors to meet demand. Eat some old-fashioned treats in their parlor, or take some home. This premium gourmet ice cream is a treat your entire family will enjoy.
If ice cream is your thing, find more of Indiana’s best ice cream shops in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 12 minutes to Valpo Velvet Ice Cream ⇒ 12 minutes to The Port Drive-In
2. This is the summer of the drive-in theatres, and you can take in a move at one of the top drive-in theatres in the nation. The family will experience a movie under the stars the way grandma and grandpa did, in the safety of your vehicle!
Want pizza and a movie? Learn more about the best pizza places in Northern Indiana.
⇐ 12 minutes to 49'er Drive-In Theatre ⇒ 21 minutes to Washington Park
3. Show the kids what dining out was like in the 50’s and 60’s, in this blast from the past! Friendly carhops come directly to your vehicle to take your order and deliver your food. Inside dining is also available. An icon in Chesterton since the 50’s, still serves their signature items: the original recipe chili dogs and homemade root beer in frosty mugs. There’s even a kids menu.
Want to spend the weekend exploring the area? Learn more in the Weekend Escape Series, Lake Michigan and Beyond.
⇐ 20 minutes to The Port Drive-In ⇒ 7 minutes to Harbor Country Adventures
4. Washington Park has two miles of pristine sand, where you can search for sea shells or beach glass, build sand castles, or take a hike along the catwalk out to the lighthouse. The Washington Park Zoo is also nearby.
Find more safe things to do in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 7 minutes to Washington Park ⇒ 7 minutes to Friendship Botanic Gardens
5. Harbor Country Adventures helps you explore the majestic shores of the Great Lakes in a unique experiences that satisfies your taste for adventure. Choose a cruise on a unique 2 hour excursion that tells the story of Lake Michigan and the surrounding area, and includes the lighthouse and views of the dunes. For the more adventurous, the Sea Rocket tour takes you on a non-stop 40 minute ride that combines smooth-sailing narration with high-speed destination cruising.
Learn more about other Outdoor Adventures in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 7 minute to Harbor Country Adventures ⇒ 49 minutes to University of Notre Dame
6. Enjoy 105 acres of woodlands and beautiful gardens at the Friendship Botanic Garden. The Gardens offer an extensive selection of nature and wildlife as well as great playground equipment in the ArcelorMittal Children’s Garden. Kids can try out a hydraulic hand pump that lets them simulate drawing groundwater from the earth, and explore a special plot featuring flowers and herbs chosen for their senses of smell, touch and sight.
Learn more about other fun kid-friendly activities in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 49 minutes to Friendship Botanic Garden ⇒ 27 minutes to Hall of Heroes
7. Start your visit to the University of Notre Dame at the Eck Visitors Center, which is also home to the Hammes Bookstore, offering 65,000 square feet of retail space. In addition to the text books and trade books, the bookstore is loaded with the full line of Notre Dame Under Armour gear, Notre Dame paraphernalia, china and Galway crystal.
Want to make a weekend getaway? Find your inspiration in our City/Country Weekend Escapes!
⇐ 27 minutes to Notre Dame ⇒ 14 minutes to Linton's Enchanted Gardens
8. Holy comic book history Batman! The only museum of its kind in the world, Hall of Heroes boasts a collection of over 60,000 comic books and 10,000 action figures, toys, and props from beloved super hero television shows and films. Channel your inner caped crusader in a replica of the Bat Cave set from the 1960’s Batman TV series or fend off foes with the original shield used in the film Captain America: First Avenger.
Discover other cool museums in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 14 minutes to Hall of Heroes Museum ⇒ 15 minutes to Elkhart County Cabins
9. Linton’s Enchanted Gardens is Indiana’s largest Home and Garden Center and a truly unforgettable experience. Enjoy 9 acres of outdoor space which features many unique attractions for kids of all ages, many of which are free including the petting zoo and exotic bird aviary.
Train rides, swan paddle boat, gemstone mining, water orbs, quad cycle family bike and other adventurous attractions are priced individually and per person.
See these other amazing gardens in Indiana’s Cool North.
⇐ 14 minutes to Linton's Enchanted Gardens
10. This is the perfect summer to get away from it all in a cabin. We talk about getting away, but rarely do it. The cabins and campgrounds of Elkhart County allow you to escape and relax. Cabins also provide rustic comfort while preparing your favorite meals. Create unique memories at your own pace. Our cabins and campgrounds are perfect for a near-cation with your close family in a cabin, or holding a family reunion in a space sprawling with possibilities and plenty of room to spread out.
Looking for a unique place to eat? We have 15 ideas in our Top 15 Unique Places to Eat.
August 01 - May 31, 2024
University of Notre Dame (Home games)
The University of Notre Dame home athletic events - not including football, basketball and hockey - that fans can attend free of chargeView Details
Auctions are held every Wednesday and Friday, year-round
Auction Buildings and Barns at Shipshewana Trading Place
Antique and miscellaneous auctions and a livestock auction is held every Wednesday. A horse auction is held every Friday, in addition to special yearly sales.View Details
December 09 - March 31, 2024
Grab your friends, bring the kids, snag your spouse and come out to skate at the William E. Urschel Pavilion.View Details
See individual theatres for schedule of shows and concerts.
Indiana's Cool North
Indiana's Cool North has a number of theatres. See the individual theatres for their show and concert schedules.View Details
Feb 3 and Mar 2, 2024
Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk Pavilion
Look for and learn to identify some of the water birds visiting Lake Michigan during the winter.View Details
February 26 - March 10, 2024
Various Restaurants Along the South Shore
Savor the South Shore Restaurant Weeks features specially priced 3-course menus or discounts from participating restaurants.View Details
If you’re looking for exciting—and beautiful—spring activities in Indiana’s Cool North, here are eight of the best places to celebrate spring.Learn More
Whether you are looking for a night out with your Valentine, or just want something warmer to do while you wait on spring, Indiana’s Cool North has some amazing foodie experiences and top-notch show and concert options.Learn More