Hit the Road: an outdoor adventure to Brown County

Catch this view at the Bean Blossom Overlook at Brown County State Park. | Photo by INDYtoday team

We’re kicking off our summer road trip series — Hit the Road — with an outdoor adventure-themed trip to Brown County. With its state park and downtown Nashville, this area is a great destination for experienced adventurers + novice nature seekers alike. 

Before you start packing your bags, here’s everything you need to know about the area + our insider recommendations.

Drive time: ~1 hour

Est. population: 15,000

Avg. high in June: 81º

🥾Things to do

Brown County Saddle Barn 

Explore the hills of Brown County State Park via horseback. You can choose from 35-minute or hour-long rides. Pro tip: Kiddos under 7 years old can hop on a parent-assisted pony ride. The saddle barn is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday

Brown County Nature Center

Watch nature come alive from the observation room — the yard behind the center is decked out with bird baths, feeders, trees, and toys that animals of all types enjoy. Open Wednesday-Saturday from 10 a.m-4 p.m. + Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

Hike Strahl Lake + Ogle Lake

Enjoy some of the most scenic hiking in the park and circle these two lakes. Outlooks + benches are available as you walk so pack a lunch and stay a while. All trails are open from dawn-dusk

Horseback riding could make a great summer date, just saying. | Photo by @cityofshay

🍽️ Fuel up after hiking

The Restaurant at Hard Truth  

Enjoy the views + dine the Big Woods way at Hard Truth’s restaurant on the rocks. The outdoor space has lots of seating, fire pits, and live music on the terrace stage. Pro tip: Try the fan favorite — pulled pork BBQ nachos + pair it with Brown County-made Quaff ON! beer.

Bird’s Nest Cafe 

This artful + historic spot in the heart of downtown Nashville offers a unique house-made spin on brunch classics like sweet potato waffles and breakfast tarts — with an array of vegan options. Enjoy a bite on the garden patio. 

Brown Bike

Take a brake from riding + enjoy food, drinks, and treats in the dining room or on the street side patio. Pro tip: You can toast marshmallows at your table with a s’mores grill kit. 

🏕️ Cozy campsites + cabins

Abe Martin Lodge | 1405 IN-46 W.

Stay inside the park and enjoy free admission, an indoor waterpark, a game room and homestyle food prepared at its Little Gem Restaurant. Hiking trails are accessible directly from the property and both hotel rooms + cabins are available to rent. 

eXplore Brown County | 2620 Valley Branch Rd. 

Stay overnight in one of the property’s themed cabins, hook up your RV/camper or pitch a tent on the campsite. All sites are within walking distance of a four-acre lake, restrooms, and showers. While you’re there you can add to the adventure with activities like zip lining, paintball, buggy + ATV tours, mountain biking, canoeing, and fishing. 

Acre Ridge Cabin | 6426 Persimmon Ridge Rd., Nineveh

9 miles from Brown County State Park + 10 miles from downtown Nashville — you can get the best of both worlds at this private retreat surrounded by nature. Amenities include WiFi, an in-deck hot tub, and a fire pit overlooking the woods.