Top 54 Things to Do In Brown County, Indiana

Table of Contents

Planning a trip to Brown County, Indiana but not sure what to do. You've probably been told there's not much do in the country. In my experience, there's far more to do and entertainment than most people realize.

Looking out at Brown County State Park

Where's Brown County, Indiana Located?

Brown County is located about 50 miles due south of Indianapolis, Indiana.  It's about 65 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky.  It is bisected from North to South by State Road 135, while East to West is bisected by State Road 46.  It is characterized by curvy roads, rolling rugged hills, and gently flow creeks and streams. 

The Big List of Things to Do In Brown County, Indiana

Here's a quick list of 54 of the top things to do - it's a mix of outdoor activities and indoor activities. You'll find many of the top things to do take advantage of the natural beauty of the area, and are very kid friendly. Our list includes many historic sites, horse trails and very reasonable prices, including many that are free

Brown County Has More Than Four Seasons

You won't be able to knock them all out in one day, or ten. You'll need to come back over and over during and throughout the 17 main seasons:

  • Hunting Season
  • Deer Season
  • Turkey Season
  • Trapping Season
  • Gardening Season
  • Planting Season
  • Graduation Season
  • Fall Graduation Season
  • Squirrel Season
  • Rabbit Season
  • Fishing Season
  • Mushroom Season
  • Wood Cutting Season
  • Canning Season
  • Fishing Season
  • Mud Season
  • Rainy Season

Each of these Brown County seasons are known well by the locals.  You can have many wonderful adventures experiencing them yourself!  Every hour of every day of every season has something you won't want to miss. The weather here ranges from cool in the fall to bone-chilling in winter to beautiful spring-time days to scorching summers.  You'll want to dress appropriately.

Explore Year Round!

Many families come and explore year around.  There are plenty of hotels available in a variety of Midwest friendly price ranges.  There are also lots of unique stores in the village of Nashville that feature a huge variety of antiques, crafts, toys, games, spices, leather-work, yard decorations and other artisanal works.

Here’s our list of 54 things to do:

1. Hiking the beautiful trails at Brown County State Park

Nestled in the heart of Indiana is a stunning state park filled with lush forest and roaring waterfalls that will leave you breathless.  You will want to spend a lot of time exploring this gem.  It's fun for all ages.

Be Sure to Visit the Nature Preserve

The Brown County State Park nature preserve has over 35 miles of trails that meander through the park's endless ravines, forests, and hills. Whether you're looking for a peaceful walk to take in the beauty of nature or a challenging hike that will work your body, you can find it at Brown County State Park.  It also offers mountain biking trails and gift shops where you can pick up a souvenir to remember your trip by.  It truly offers something for the entire family. 

Don't Forget About the Nature Center

Don't forget to check out nature center, which has events throughout the year.  Although it doesn't offer a water park, it does have one of the best swimming pools in the county.  For lodging and accommodation, you can stay at the Abe Martin Lodge and watch the deer.  Though you're not supposed to feed them, am pretty sure that sign has been ignored by one and all as the deer are picky eaters, proving that beggars can be choosers.

2 Enjoying a delicious meal at one of the many local restaurants

There is no shortage of things to do in Brown County Indiana! If you're looking for things to do in Brown County, one of the most popular things to do is enjoy a great meal at one of the local restaurants. Whether it's deep-dish pizza or a juicy burger and fries, all taste buds will be satisfied when you take the time to stop by one of Brown County's many fine restaurants.  In fact, the entire village of Nashville, Indiana has many restaurants and distilleries.

3 Shopping in Nashville, the charming small town that is home to unique boutiques and art galleries

Nashville might be best known for its music scene but there are things to do in Brown County Indiana outside of the bars too! One of the top things to do in Brown County is to go shopping in Nashville, the small, charming town that is filled with unique boutiques and art galleries. You'll enjoy window shopping as you stroll down the historic main street, taking note of all things to do in Brown County Indiana.

 

4 Taking a scenic drive through the rolling hills of Brown County

Full of narrow, picturesque curvy roads, driving in Brown County is one of things to do in Brown County, Indiana where you really get the most bang for your buck. You can take in all things to do in Brown County on a scenic drive through the rolling hills, with glistening lakes and picturesque trees that line both sides of the road.

5 Going camping in the park

Camping is one of the things to do in Brown County, Indiana. If you're looking for things to do in Brown County, camping at the park is a great place to start. Brown County State Park has an abundance of campsites to fit any size camper's needs.

6 Go camping in the Hoosier National Forest

The forest is so thick in the Hoosier National Forest you can barely see through it. It has 204,000 acres spread across southern Indiana. One the popular things to do is to climb one of the fire towers where you can see for miles in all directions.  There's plenty of space to maintain your social distancing from all other hikers and campers.

7 Enjoy a concert at the famous Brown County Music Center

The Music Center is known around the world as one of 'the' things to do in Brown County, Indiana and for good reason. This world-class performing arts center has hosted countless concerts since it opened, bringing some of the most famous artists from all over the world.  For the adventuresome, you walk the salt creek trail from Nashville, and make it all the way to music center.  You're sure to see plenty of wildlife along the way.

Brown County Music Center

8 Check out Story Inn, Located in Southern Indiana

Story Inn, Story, Indiana

 

The things to do in Brown County Indiana are endless. One of the things you can do in Brown County is visit the historic Story Inn, located in southern Indiana. This charming bed and breakfast spans 127 years of history with its fine dining, luxurious rooms, hot spring mineral pools, bakery and winery.

9 Tour the many state parks scattered throughout Southern Indiana

The things to do in Brown County Indiana are endless. One of the things to do in Brown County is make your way out to one of the many state parks that are scattered throughout southern Indiana. Whether you want a hike through lofty woods or some fishing along the riverbank, there's something for everyone at these charming state parks.

10 Go Hiking in Yellowwood Forest

With over 4,000 acres of land and 24 miles of hiking trails, Yellowwood Forest is a popular spot for hikers. The forest has several guided programs in which you can participate, including Saturday night campfires with s'mores and beginner friendly bird walks. For the more experienced hiker, there are several trails in which to set out on

11 Go Deer Hunting

If you enjoy the great outdoors, then this may be for you. Brown County is home to many deer and other game animals that can be found while exploring the county's beautiful landscape.

12 Enjoy Camping at one of the Local Campgrounds

Brown County has several different campgrounds in which visitors can set up their tents or park their RVs. Many have full hook-ups while others are more basic.

13 Go Fishing at one of the Local Fishing Spots

Whether you enjoy fly fishing or trolling from a boat, Brown County is home to many ponds and creeks that are ripe for fishing. You will usually need a license to fish and should always ask for permission from the landowner.

14 Take a Drive Along the Scenic Highway 46

Highway 46 runs through several towns in Brown County including Nashville, Gnaw Bone and Belmont. You can drive along this highway and admire some of the beautiful fall foliage when the trees shed their leaves in anticipation of approaching winter. The curves between Nashville and Bloomington are perfect for putting your motorcycle riding skills to the test.

15 Go Mushroom Hunting

During the early spring, you can go mushroom hunting in Brown County. Not only do you have a chance of finding delicious mushrooms for your dinner, but they also make beautiful decorations for any home cooked meal. Sadly, most locations where you might find them are classified above Top Secret by the locals.

16 Attend one of the many Local Farmers' Markets

There are several farmers' markets that take place throughout Brown County at various times. You will find locally grown produce, organic honey, and arts and crafts created by many artists and craftsmen who ply their trade here in Brown County, Indiana.  There are also usually flea markets right next door or at the same location.

17 Volunteer at one of the many charity Food Banks

Brown County is a tight knit community, and there are many churches located throughout the county. They are always looking for volunteers to help out with their community kitchens. There is no better way to get to meet and know the people of Brown County than break bread with them.

18 Mountain Biking at Yellowwood State Forest

Yellowwood Forest has several trails that are perfect for mountain biking. An annual pass costs $20 and is valid for one year from date of purchase. Monthly passes can also be purchased for $3

19 Bird Watch

There are many different types of birds that can be found in Brown County. One fun activity is to go out with a pair of binoculars and try to spot as many birds as you can among the many scenic vistas located throughout Hills O'Brown. You may spot an Eagle, a Vulture, or a Robbin. The birds you will see vary throughout the year so you will want to come back again and again.

20 Visit the T.C. Steele Memorial Museum

The T.C. Steele State Historic Site Memorial Museum is located in Brown County and features many beautiful paintings by the local namesake, Thomas C. Steele. Many of his works depict scenes of early-20th century Indiana which are on display at the museum.

21 Attend a Brown County High School Play

Growing up, one of my favorite activities was to attend a live play. From 'Death of a Salesman" to Shakespeare, you can enjoy a night of theater in Brown County. Most high schools have their own theater troupes that are always looking for an audience to appreciate their work.

22 Go Geocaching

Geocaching is a fun activity enjoyed by people all over the world. It involves trying to find things hidden throughout your community and using a GPS to locate things like hidden caches and even buried treasures. The group at Geocaching.com is an active one and there are many things you can find throughout Brown County, Indiana.

23 Attend the Annual Dogwood Festival

The annual Dogwood Festival celebrates the beauty of Brown County's natural landscape. There are many different things to do at this festival including learning about the local artisans who produce things like handmade baskets and cutting boards. There are also many things to purchase with things like fresh honey, jams and preserves for sale.

24 Go Horseback Riding

There are several different stables located throughout Brown County where you can go horseback riding. The horses are well cared for and the staff at the stables will teach you things like how to control a horse's speed. There is no better way to explore Brown County than from the back of a noble steed.

25 Attend a high school football game

There are many things that bring people together, and one of those things is community sports. Every Friday Night you can go and enjoy a high school football game. You will be surrounded by people who support their community, and cheer on the home team. It is an experience that should not be missed.

26 Attend Farmer's Market at Yellowwood Forest

Saturday mornings you can get up early and get things done around the house. After you are done, go to the Yellowwood Forest Farmer's Market for some fresh local produce, organic honey and more things that will help you cook a delicious breakfast. There is also an active group of musicians who play things like bluegrass music throughout the market

27 Pick Your Produce When It's in Season

It is something that all people used to do in the past. You wake up early one morning and then head out into your local orchard to pick things like peaches, apples, or pumpkins. In the fall you can go apple picking and enjoy a crisp delicious fruit picked straight from the tree. Don't forget about the strawberries in the summer and blueberries starting in the Spring, Concord grapes and honey from Dad's Honey Farm.

28 Visit a Vineyard/Winery

If you enjoy new things and unique things to do, then you will love going out to a winery or tasting room. You can try things like locally produced wine from places like Brown County Winery, which is located in Gnaw Bone. (Yes, that's its real name)

29 See a Real Working Covered Bridge

Indiana has many things to offer, but one of the things its best known for are its amazing, covered bridges. The Barns Bridge in Brown County is a great place to go if you want to see things like local wildlife or just enjoy the majesty that is Indiana's covered bridges.  You can also see another covered bridge, located in Bean Blossom, called 'Bean Blossom Covered Bridge", however, it is currently unable to handle automobile traffic.

Covered Bridge, North Entrance, Brown County State Park

30 Go on a Canoe Trip Down Salt Creek

Salt Creek is a major waterway in Brown County. It cuts through the county, and it also has things like canoeing and kayaking. You can rent inner tubes for fun activities like floating down this beautiful creek. Be prepared to get wet. We once took a canoe trip that was 42 miles long and we had to cross over 157 log jams.

31 Practice Telling Tall Tales on The Liar's Bench

The Liar's Bench is a place that was made just for telling stories and sharing things with friends. It is the perfect place to go if you are looking for things to do in Brown County Indiana. Bring your best fish story.

Let me tell you about the time I was drilling a well and doing a little fishing in the pond on the property. I was reeling in a nice one and half pound big-mouth bass, and just as I got it on the bank of the pond, another three and half pound big-mouth bass jumped out of the water to eat it and got caught on my line as well. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.

The Liar's Bench

32 Pick and Shell Walnuts

Every year people from all around come to Brown County for things like the Harvest Moon Festival. This is a time when taking hayrides, drinking hot apple cider and doing things like picking up walnuts are activities you can enjoy in Brown County. You can go out with a bucket and pick walnuts up that have fallen, often in large quantities, right in Nashville. Then you can shell them, but be forewarned, you're going to get walnut stains on your hands. That's a sure sign you're almost a native Brown Countian.

Unshelled Walnuts in Nashville, Indiana

33 Take Your Kids on a Snipe Hunt

What is a snipe hunt? Brown County Snipes are a rare breed that is rarely seen, except by extremely determined snipe hunters. A snipe is a bird that has been reported to have characteristics like long pointy noses and six toes on its feet, it's a breed of an animal not native to this area of the world. A snipe hunt is a time when you take newly found friends from out of town and go on a wild goose chase around Nashville, er, highly organized hunt. Don't forget to ask the locals if they have seen any snipes. They will be sure to send you in the right direction. Some may even offer to accompany your little band of merry snipe hunters and record the occasion for posterity. When you finally get your snipe, don’t forget to get your internationally recognized snipe hunter’s badge. Many have tried, few have succeeded. Will you accept this challenge?

34 Ask a Local Well Witcher to Help You Find Water

Moving to Brown County? You're going to need water. Often times, that means having a water well drilled, which is what we used to do at M.J. Ayers & Sons Well Drilling. But you can't always know where to drill for water. That’s why you need to hire a water witch. A water witch is a person who can tell you things like where to drill for water and how deep your well needs to be to hit the vein of water that is down there somewhere. They use things like divining rods and forked dogwood sticks, along with skills like their intuition to find places to drill for water. Since no one can see under the ground very far, it’s as good a method as any to find water in Brown County. Or you could just hook up to the water line.

35 Find the Perfect Antique for Your Home

If you happen to live in an old farmhouse or Victorian style home or really, just about any style home, then going to a place called the Brown County Antique Mall is a must. It's full of treasures like antique furniture and keep-sakes from previous eras that can bring your home back to life or just help you add a touch of class to that special corner of your home. If your house doesn’t reflect your taste, adding some antiques from the past can help you make any room look just the way you like. Remember, one man’s junk is another man’s treasures.

36 Find a Real Indian Arrowhead

When the first settlers first came to Brown County, Indiana, they were greeted by the Native American Indians who lived in the area. If you go out looking, you can find artifacts like arrowheads or other evidence of ancient civilizations that once called this place home. Some archeologists have determined that the seven sisters, who were Native Americans who lived in Brown County, liked to play stickball. It's just one of the many tidbits of knowledge you can learn about the history of this place by going out looking for things like Indian arrowheads or tomahawks that belonged to our early ancestors.

37 Have a Great Picnic at Brown County State Park

Brown County's Famous State Park has many picnic areas that are great places to go and eat lunch on a nice day. They're often located in scenic places that overlook the rolling hills of the park. No matter how you look at it, there's always something good in the background when you're in Brown County. If you go looking for them, you can find many places where people have laid down blankets and had a memorable picknick. Will you create your next memory here? If you do, remember, if you carry it in, carry it out.

38 See a Drag Race at the Brown County Dragway

The Brown County Dragway is the longest operating dragstrip in Indiana and is currently for sale. With an elevation change of 220 feet, it's also one of toughest to drive on. That doesn't stop people from coming out here for events like Friday Night Drags, where you can bring your own vehicle and race against other attendees who are looking to have a good time. Just remember, it's a rule to always race against someone of comparable skill level and never let another person race your vehicle unless they have experience driving on this track or similar tracks. Also, you can’t beat a Tesla no matter how souped up your old jalopy may be. Ask me how I know.

39 Make Sure You Have One of the Best Campsites at Bear Wallow Campground & Resort

When you're coming to Brown County Indiana for a campout, make sure you get the best campsite at Bear Wallow Campground & Resort. With things like free wifi, private fire pits and many other amenities that can take your camping experience to the next level, this is one of Brown County's premier places to camp with family or friends. Don't forget about their big outdoor pool, where you can go for a swim or just relax by the water. It's one of the best places in Brown County to have a great time while camping.

40 If It's Springtime, it is Flood Season in Brown County, Indiana

Every spring, just as in Egypt, it floods, and in southern Brown County, you can witness one of nature's most awesome spectacles – the spring floods. When heavy rains fall as they do every year, the creeks will start to rise. The best thing to do when you see the water rising is to get out of there and avoid any areas that are close to water or near a creek. But from a distance, you will see an ocean appear, which brings nourishing nutrients and spreads them across farmers’ fields. This is nature's way of replenishing the soil. Farmers have to carefully plan their planting and harvesting around these seasonal floods to avoid catastrophe.

41 Take an Aerial Tour of Brown County

Though Brown County has two dirt airstrips, one in Bean Blossom and one in Southern Brown County, just off 135 South, there are no airplanes available to rent. But you can rent them in either Columbus, Bloomington and sometimes Seymour, all of which have very large airports with rentals available, with and without pilots. If you want an experience that will give you a lifetime of memories, it's hard to beat a aerial tour of the hills o’ brown. I personally prefer the summer when the leaves are green, and in full bloom. But every season has its charms. For a real adrenaline rush, rent a aerobatic airplane and fly the creek. Any creek will do, as long as you fly it the same way it flows, no straight lining it.

42 Take a Train Tour of Nashville, Indiana

Every weekend, the Nashville Train Station becomes a hub of activity. Tourists, locals, and workers alike all come to board the historic trains of Brown County for tours through the hills of brown county Indiana. There are three popular tours to choose from: The Spring Blossom Special, The Fall Leaf Peeper and the Holiday Light Express. These aren’t bullet trains and have only a vaguely defined relationship with printed schedules and time. That’s what makes them ‘Brown County’ style trains.

43 Attend the Brown County 4-H Fair

The Brown County 4-H Fair is a week-long event that takes place at the end of July. The dates change so be sure to check their listing. This event has everything you could imagine: animal shows, livestock sales, carnival rides, live music and games. When you go down to the fairgrounds for this event, make sure you bring some spending cash because there's going to be a lot of opportunities to buy food and other items. This is not a suit-n-tie affair.

44 Brown County State Park Mysterious Hills Hiking Series

For those who want to take a walk on the wild side, Brown County State Park has a mysterious hills hiking series. This is a four-part series of hikes that last for about ninety minutes each and will take you through some of the most scenic landscapes in Brown County Indiana. If you go on one or all four hikes, you'll discover man-made lakes and old homesteads from before the park was a park.

45 Go Swimming in Brown County State Park

One of the best ways to beat the summer heat is swimming, and Brown County State Park has two great locations for it. The first is located in Eagle Creek campgrounds, where you can swim in a man-made lake with large boulders surrounding it. The other location is at Rocky point. This spot is more like a beach, with a large shore. It is not uncommon to see people sunbathing and frolicking in this area. Of course, you can swim in creeks and ponds, but be careful. You’re on your own, and there are plenty of hazards, like poisonous cotton mouth snakes, jagged rocks, and swift currents. But those places were the only places this author ever swam in growing up and I am still alive.

46 Visit the General Store at Brown County State Park

Though it's a bit of a challenge to get to, if you want an authentic Indiana county store experience, visit the General Store at Brown County State Park. This store has everything you could imagine, from fresh fruit to fishing bait. They've got camping supplies, hiking boots and marshmallows for roasting on an open fire.

47 Hone Your Marksmanship at a Shooting Range in Brown County, Indiana

Located on State Road 45, at the Gun N Hounds Gun Range, you might feel like you've traveled back in time. This shooting range is more of a family friendly establishment than most gun ranges can be described as. They have an arcade room with racing games, air hockey and other fun activities for children. For adults they have a bar, bistro, and cafe.

48 Hike the Nature Trail at Gun N Hound Gun Range

There's a nice little hiking trail included with your gun rental or membership fee at Gun N' Hounds Gun Range. This is a good place to exercise, as the path will take you through 12 acres of land with some of the most beautiful views in Brown County.

49 Gun N' Hound Gun Range Gunsmiths

Gun N' Hounds Gun Range is not just a shooting range. They are well known for having some of the best gunsmiths in all of Indiana, if not the United States. This gun range offers fully stocked workshops where you can get your gun repaired when it gets damaged by wear and tear. They also offer many classes in the safe use of firearms, such as conceal carry courses and firearm safety courses.

50 Visit the Pioneer Village in Nashville, Indiana

The Pioneer Village in Nashville, Indiana is a fantastic place for anyone who wants to take a step back into the past. This place has all kinds of different shops that will bring you back to 1865: A blacksmith shop, gunsmithing workshop and other shops such as a general store.

Pioneer Village

51 Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour of Nashville, Indiana

Nashville is a charming, historic town. The people who live in it take great pride in their heritage, which you can feel when you walk around downtown Nashville. One of the best ways to get to know this place is to take a self-guided walking tour.

52 Ask an Old Person for Directions in Brown County

In these days of smartphones and GPS', you can generally get directions easily. But in Brown County, which only recently acquired addresses for each individual house, almost everyone used to have a Rural Route style address. This meant the postman had to know everyone on his route. But unless you were the postman, if you happened to get lost in Brown County, you had to stop and ask someone for directions. What you often got were directions that might include phrases such as "just go down to where the old Hickory Tree used to stand on the corner" and turn there (and that could mean turn left or turn right, depending which direction the wind was blowing). Then you might hear a bit about the old lady who used to live in the house that is no longer there. And to be careful of the old hound dog, “cause he ain't been fed regular” and is always looking for a handout.

53 Attend a Little League Baseball Game

Brown County, like most counties in Indiana, is a four sport a year place. One of those sports is baseball. There are little leagues all over the county, as well as a champion high school team. There's also the Indiana All Stars, which sometimes selects members from the county leagues (as they did this author a long time ago). From early spring until late fall, there's baseball.

54 Go Line Dancing

After you've been out and about enjoying Brown County, you still have more activity and fun - time to go dancing at Mike's Dance Barn.  Get your Heel Toe Dosie Doe Boot Scoot'in Boogie on.

Every Monday evening Mikes Dance Barn is the place to be in Brown County Indiana with Dancin With Billy because Line Dance Class starts at 6:30 pm.

Class runs until 9:00pm.

When you walk in the door be sure to say "Hello Billy" and you can get in for Regular Price.

Hope You Enjoy Your Visit to Brown County

That's 54 things you can do in Brown County. I wouldn't have to think too hard to come up with 54 more things to do if I put my mind to it.

 



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