Everyone loves summer vacation, but do you ever get sick of being the one planning it?

Where do we go? What are the best activities that fit my family’s interests? And how much is it going to cost?

Hendricks County, Indiana, has a solution to answer those questions taking the stress away from summer travel planning at an affordable cost. Here are three summer ideas to get you started:

1. Family Adventure

Back to Top of List

Instead of putting a full itinerary together (though we do have those you can find by clicking here), I want to share some ideas of places families might want to consider in Hendricks County for an affordable summer getaway.

There really is no better place to start than with our waterparks. Hendricks County has three waterparks, but only two will be highlighted here.

Bird's eye view of Murphy Aquatic ParkSplash Island Family Waterpark in Plainfield remains the biggest, with three waterslides, a leisure river, a children’s spray area and much more. It is an attraction where a family can spend an entire day of fun under the sun.

If you prefer a waterpark with a wave pool or need ADA accessibility, Murphy Aquatic Park in Avon might be a better option for you.

Other top family adventure options in Hendricks County include scenic horseback riding at Natural Valley Ranch, checking out a multi-generational family orchard with plenty of kids activities, shopping and more at Beasley’s Orchard, enjoying some of our parks’ top trails or creating awesome attire at The Tie Dye Lab.

When it’s time to recharge and refuel, we suggest The Andy Griffith Show-themed Mayberry Cafe, where children can earn a prize or free dessert for cleaning their plate, or if pizza, pasta or a salad bar sound better, head to Rock Star Pizza in Brownsburg.

2. Step Back in Time

Back to Top of List

This experience is all about history and taking the time to recognize the simple things. You might begin this visit by touring the Hendricks County Historical Museum in Danville, a former Sheriff’s residence and county jail. Visitors are transported to a time when the sheriff’s wife not only fixed dinner for her family but for the inmates as well.

And when you see those jail cells, you will be amazed. The museum is only open to the public from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, but you can make appointments to get a tour on other days and times.Oasis Diner, Plainfield

If possible, you might also want to time your visit to Danville so that you can take in a movie at the historic Royal Theater on the square. They show movies at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.

In terms of food, Hendricks County boasts two places that fit perfectly with this theme: the iconic Oasis Diner and The Prewitt Restaurant & Lounge, both in Plainfield. The Prewitt is a former theater, recently transformed into an amazing restaurant.

While in Plainfield, no trip to celebrate days gone by would be complete without visiting Gilley’s Antique & Decorator Mall. This shopping destination includes 37,000 square feet of antiques, vintage, collectibles, salvage, repurposed items and more.

Finally, if you are into historic architecture, you can find plenty of that in Hendricks County here.

3. Small-Town Experience

Back to Top of List

Is there anything better than slowing down and enjoying authentic experiences? Hendricks County boasts plenty of that, too.

You can start your small-town journey in beautiful downtown Danville by perusing its charming shops.

From there, head north for a scenic drive to North Salem and eat at a true hidden gem straight from the island of Sicily. Perillo’s Pizzeria, owned by Damiano Perillo, uses fresh ingredients to recreate his family’s recipes that originate from Sicily.

While you’re in North Salem, you can get some more shopping in at Garden Gate Gift & Flower Shop and the Rustic Cactus Western Wear.

After enjoying lunch and a little shopping, it’s time to get active by taking a journey into the countryside to nearby McCloud Nature Park. Take in the beauty as you become one with nature on its hiking trails.

One final stop on this small-town tour must be made at either Lizton or Pittsboro or both. Two of the county’s top hole-in-the-wall restaurants can be found in these two towns: Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and Hoosier Roots in Pittsboro. Both make great dinner options.

If you choose Lizton, make sure to pick up dessert at the Lizton Dairy Bar, which has the best chocolate milkshakes in the county.

Family getting Ice Cream at Lizton Dairy Bar

Plan Your Own Visit

Back to Top of List

If none of these ideas are a good fit for you, we have plenty more. Click here to head to our summer road trip page.

Visitors can either take a quiz answering four easy questions to find the perfect summer road trip getaway or if you already have a general idea of what you’re looking for, you can choose one of seven custom-made, two-day itineraries packed with even more ideas to plan an unforgettable experience.

You will be surprised by what you find in Hendricks County, just west of Indy. Whether it’s signature dishes in iconic destination restaurants or attractions that offer fun, interactive experiences, there’s truly something for everyone.