11 Exciting Things to Do in Brown County, Indiana

Southern Indiana's Brown County is one of the top tourist destinations in the state, and it's not difficult to see why. Founded in 1836 and named after General Jacob Brown, its steep hills, often foggy ravines, creeks, and narrow ridges have led to people referring to this historic district as the "Little Smokies."

Pioneer Village

Brown County's allure stems mainly from its natural geological beauty and diverse wildlife, including white-tailed deer, raccoons, bobcats, chipmunks, raptors, songbirds, and grey squirrels. Brown County is renowned for the fantastic views of tree leaves changing color in the fall. These parts of Southern Indiana have a lot to offer, from arts and family fun venues to entertainment and getaways.

Attractions in Brown County, Indiana

Below is an overview of some interesting things to do in Southern Indiana.

 

1. Check Out the T.C Steel State Historic Site

 

Theodore Clement Steele is one of Indiana's most honored and respected artists. He was inspired by the magnificent scenes he encountered in Brown County. A trip to Southern Indiana wouldn't be complete without looking at this great artist's legacy.

 

T.C Steel and his wife built their home among majestic trees, scenic vistas, and rolling hills. This home is now the T.C Steel State Historic Site. You have to visit the grounds and house that inspired one of Indiana's greatest artists.

 

You can start your tour at the new Singing Winds Visitor Center. You can watch an orientation video to find out more about the location and why visitors have been drawn to the site for years. There is also a great gift shop where you can snatch up unique souvenirs.

 

You can also tour the House of the Singing Winds, which features screened porches and high ceilings, in contrast to the log homes in the area. Before living in the home, T.C Steel used a horse-drawn wagon to paint as he traveled around Indiana. You can tour a recreated version of this mobile studio at the site. In addition, there are two other studios' (The Large Studio and The Little Studio) that you can check out.

2. Go Horseback Riding at Brown County State Park

 

Brown County State Park is the most popular state park in Indiana. Occupying nearly 16,000 acres, it is by far one of the largest state parks in the state and one of the largest in the country. This Park is close to the small town of Nashville and is an ideal location for wholesome horseback riding.

Brown County State Park, Horsemen's Camp, Indiana

 

Horse trails between the park and Yellowwood State Forest and Horseman's camp make for a top trail rider destination. You can choose from a one-hour or 35-minute ride or take the kids on an adult-assisted pony ride. You get to enjoy the sprawling, scenic acres with magnificent vistas and abundant wildlife on horseback. This is an experience that is quite hard to beat.

 

Brown County State Park is also home to the Saddle Barn. Here, you can enjoy guided trail rides, hayrides, and pony rides. If you own a horse, you can explore over 70 miles of bridle trails that run through steep forested hills.

3. Visit the Yellowwood State Forest

 

The Yellowwood State Forest is located about seven miles North West of Nashville, Indiana. Created back in 1940, the state forest covers over 23,000 acres and has tons of exciting activities that visitors of all ages can enjoy. You can partake in primitive camping, horseback riding, hiking, and wildlife viewing (the state forest is home to white-tail deer, woodcock, ruffed grouse, fox, turkey, raccoons, and grey squirrels).

 

You can also hunt during hunting season if you have a valid hunting license. Yellowwood State Forest has three pristine lakes that offer kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. You can also rent our rowboats for further adventure and a bit of outdoor exercise.

4. Camping at Brown County State Park

Brown County State Park Covered Bridge Entrance

 After driving through the Brown County State Park Covered Bridge, you will soon find campground areas.

Camping is one of the activities many visitors like to enjoy in Brown County State Park. There are several camping options in various campgrounds. The state park boasts of 400 electric campsites spread across three campgrounds. What's more, is that about 20 of these campsites are wheelchair accessible.

 

If you are interested in tent camping, Brown County State Park features 28 non-electric campsites. Also, the park has a unique campground if you bring your horses. The Horseman's Campground features 118 electric campsites (with tie-ups for six horses) and 90 primitive campsites (with tie-ups for six horses).

 

Note that you need an annual horse tag for every horse. The campsites at Brown County State Park can fill up pretty quickly. However, you won't be disappointed with the beautiful views.

 

Also, if you need any camping tools, gear, or items, there is a camp store in the pack. One quick tip; if you want to get the most out of your visit, bring bikes to ride about the campsites.

5. Go for Exhilarating Bike and Motorcycle Rides

 

Bicycling and motorcycling are among the popular activities in Brown County. The county is a world-class biking and off-road motorcycling destination with miles and miles of scenic vistas, flowing trails, and incredible terrain. The Brown County State Park has more than 25 miles of trails created from scratch by mountain bikers.

 

Whether you are a beginner or expert, there's a fantastic trail for you. You can check out North Gate Trail, North Tower Loop, Aynes Loop, Walnut Trail, Hesitation Point Trail, Schooner Trace, and Green Valley Trail.

 

eXplore Brown County is also another spot with downhill courses made for speed. You can test out your skills on these courses and trails. The Hoosier National Forest is home to the Hickory Ridge Trail and Nebo Ridge Trail. If you are interested in exciting backcountry riding, you should try out these trails.

6.Enjoy the Offerings of Nashville

Nashville, Indiana, Typical Shop

 

The small town of Nashville is nestled between Yellowwood State Forest and Brown County State Park. The town is incredibly charming with a lot to offer. It features covered bridges, multiple wineries, quaint shops, a distillery, a local theater, and more.

 

You can start at the Brown County Playhouse. This theater has been churning quality production since 1949. Its diverse program includes drama, live theater, comedy, special events, dance, and Nashville music concerts throughout the year.

 

Many tourists also love to browse through the crafty and quaint shops of Nashville. Shopping here is a delightful experience. These shops have gems such as sculptures, original watercolor paintings, stained glass art, wood carvings, custom jewelry, metal sculptures, and wind chimes. You will also love the seasonal decorations. Other great places you can visit in Nashville include Brown County Winery, Brown County Art Guild, Art Gallery, and Heritage Winery, and Story Inn.

 

Story Inn, Brown County, Indiana

Story Inn, Brown County, Indiana

7. Enjoy Music at Brown County Music Center and Bill Monroe's Music Park

 

Southern Indiana has a vibrant and amazing local and countrywide music scene. Brown County Music Center is a 2000-seat center situated about a mile from Brown County State Park. Nestled on the Salt Creek banks, this indoor entertainment spot hosts world-class country, rock, pop, oldies, jazz, throwback artists, and more.

Brown County Music Center, Nashville, Indiana

 

Bill Monroe's Music Park and Campground is one of the largest and finest in the county and an excellent place for a weekend getaway. This spot hosts music festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Southern Indiana Blues Festival, Hippy Hill Dead Fest, and Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival.

8. Share in Native American Heritage at eXplore Brown County

 

The first inhabitants of Brown County left no footprints behind enjoying the county. During the months of Thanksgiving, eXplore Brown County guides celebrate the rich history of Native Americans with visitors, many of whom are Native Americans.

 

You get to enjoy the stories and rich local history of the natives who lived diverse, vibrant life with lots of cultural expressions. You can share in the beauty of the landscape through zip line tours of the hills and forests loved by the natives hundreds of years ago.

Other Things to Do in Southern Indiana

9. Explore the Ohio River Greenway

 

The Ohio River Greenway is a 7-mile stretch of the Ohio River Waterfront. It offers hiking, walking, biking, and other great amenities to residents and visitors. The Ohio River Greenway spans the lengths of Clarksville, New Albany, and Jeffersonville's southern borders.

 

This project is the collaboration of several cities, with each city providing various amenities to the project. The highlights of the Greenway include the Falls of the Ohio Access, New Albany Amphitheatre, Big Four Bridge Access, New Albany Waterfront Access, and Loop Island Wetlands.

10. Try Out the Marengo Caves

 

Marengo Caves are privately owned. However, public tours have been available since their discovery in the late 1800s. It is among the four caves open to public viewing in Indiana. Marengo Caves are a National Natural Landmark spanning more than seven acres. It features magnificent stalactites and stalagmites.

 

Marengo Caves offer two walking tours. The Crystal Palace Tour is 40 minutes, and the Dripstone Tour is 70 minutes. The tours cover roughly one mile of the caves. Altogether, Marengo Caves feature nearly five miles of the treaded passageway (one of the longest in Indiana).

11. Get Your Groove on At Southern Indiana Dance Schools

 

Do you have two left feet? Don't worry, while visiting Southern Indiana, you can check out the dance schools there and learn a thing or two. Southern Indiana is home to an amazing assortment of dance schools.

 

A great place to start is the Southern Indiana Dance. This dance school provides dance classes for social dancing and special events such as weddings and the like. Other greats dance schools in the area include Southern Indiana School - The Arts, Rainbow Dance Academy, Invitation to Dance, Tippy Toes School of Dance, and The Dance Refinery. You can bring the kids along for wholesome family fun!

 

All in all, there's are tons of things to do in Southern Indiana and unique places you can visit. This list is definitely not exhaustive. Other notable activities and attractions in Brown County and Southern Indiana include Abe Martin Lodge, fishing and boating on Ogle and Strahl Lakes, French Lick Resort, Deer Run Park, Patoka Lake State Park, Squire Boone Caverns, Spring Mill State Park, Evansville Museum, and more.

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