Start planning your three-day Summer getaway to Parke County, including lake days at Raccoon Lake SRA, hiking at Turkey Run State Park, outdoor adventures, shopping and much more! Navigate through our small town with much to do this Summer season and enjoy time with family, friends and more!
One of the best things about our beloved Hoosier state is its hidden treasures and sweet surprises at every turn. Parke County, located about an hour and a half directly west of Indianapolis on U.S. 36, is one of Indiana’s greatest treasures, with its 31 covered bridges, Turkey Run State Park and mouthwatering tenderloins.
2:00 PM: CHECK-IN
Where you stay depends on the type of trip you’re hoping to have:
- The lake lover // If you’re in Parke County to enjoy a few days on the water, book your stay at the Royal Inn, Raccoon Lakeside Lodge, Raccoon Lake House Rentals, Raccoon Lake Sunset Rental, or Raccoon Lake SRA Campgrounds.
- The city crew // If you plan to spend the majority of your time in downtown Rockville, check out the Old Jail Inn, Dragonfly Guesthouse, Bubble Gum B&B, Covered Bridge Motel, Red Brick Inn, Monarch B&B
- The hikers and canoers // Looking for a woodsy nature filled stay? Stay at Turkey Run Inn, Sugar Valley Canoe Camp, Gobbler’s Knob Cabins, Turkey Run State Park Cabins, or Turkey Run State Park Campground.
4:00 PM: EXPLORE DOWNTOWN
Parke County is centered around the Rockville Square. There, you will find many local shops, where you can browse antiques, boutiques, sweet shops, and more. Shop for cute clothing finds at Rubies, great home decor from Urban Farmchic or one of our many antique stores such as Aunt Patty’s On the Square! Stop by Shannon’s Sugar Rush on the Rockville Square for a homemade brownie sundae, cupcake or root-beer float.
6:00 PM: ENJOY DINNER AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT
Grab dinner at one of our unique local restaurants in Parke County!
- The best BBQ/Biker bar around // Those craving American-style BBQ and food should head over to Thirty Six Saloon. Here you will experience a special setting. Thirty-six is a relaxed roadhouse with a country vibe serving American comfort food & BBQ with a bar & outdoor deck. In the summer months, enjoy the live music on the outdoor deck, aka The Hog Pit.
- The Hikers // Staying near Turkey Run State Park, Shades State Park or Sugar Creek? Stop by Up the Creek Boat-ique for a tasty taco salad, pizza and homemade Pina coladas. Or enjoy a more home-style experience at The Narrows Restaurant located inside The Turkey Run Inn. Serving fresh home-style meals featuring Indiana favorites! No visit is complete without trying their Hoosier Tenderloin sandwich.
- The Lake Lovers // Enjoy Parke County’s newest restaurant, The Ranch right by Raccoon SRA. The Ranch is a swanky, quaint cafe featuring a full espresso bar, zesty fare + specialty cocktails. Designed with conversation in mind, this space is sure to welcome you and yours.
8:00 PM: GRAB A DRINK
Parke is home to multiple establishments with great beer and wine! Stop by Cross at a Walk Britton Winery for a glass of wine, Thirty Six Saloon for a beer, Drunk Tank Winery for a large selection of wine tastings, or The Ranch for an upscale cocktail.
A popular camping, boating and fishing spot, Raccoon Lake SRA is a great bookend to your Parke County visit. Boasting a beach, five launch ramps and a handful of boat rental outlets, it’s a great place to enjoy a day out on the water with family and friends. Pass the time fishing, swimming, water skiing, playing beach volleyball or just enjoying the views.
Hiking trails abound at Raccoon Lake SRA. With multiple options ranging in difficulty, the park has a trail for every level of hiker. Don’t miss the park’s most unique and challenging path: the Archery Trail! Bring your bow, because this trail begins at the parking lot and winds through the Twin Ponds, with options for archery enthusiasts to shoot at stationary targets and from elevated stands along a simulated practice trail.
9:00 AM: BREAKFAST
In downtown Rockville enjoy a fresh cake donut with toppings of your choice and delicious coffee and espresso drinks from Wheel House Donuts, a delectable bagel breakfast sandwich from Aaron’s on the Square, or grab a hearty home-style skillet or pancakes from Benjamin’s Family Dining.
10:00 AM: BY THE WATER
Begin your lake day with a morning hike before the temperature rises. Raccoon Lake SRA offers a variety of walking trails, picnic areas, and more.
12:00 PM: LAKESIDE LUNCHTIME
Refuel your tank after your morning hike with a picnic on the beach or a quick meal at The Big Berry (popular ice cream shop and lunch location), or The Ranch (quaint cafe with sandwiches and espresso bar).
1:00 PM: AFTERNOON BOAT FLOAT
Choose from pontoons, speed boats, kayaks, canoes, jet-skis and more at Raccoon Lake Boat Rental.
Don’t forget to get additional boating accessories such as, tubes, wakeboards, kneeboards, and skis. If your crew is craving a high-speed adventure, rent a speed boat and some water-sports equipment, and/or a pair of jet-skis. For those with kiddos or who want a relaxing afternoon floating in the water, rent a pontoon and throw out your anchor. Be sure to rent a few tubes or for floating relaxation. Craving hands-on exploration along the shores? Rent a few kayaks or a canoes and spend the afternoon paddling around the lake.
7:00 PM: DINNER
After your day of fun in the sun, venture back into town to grab something to eat. Choose one of the places listed from Day 1 Dinner options or explore our other eateries in town!
9:00 AM: BREAKFAST
After a long day under the sun grab a quick breakfast to fuel up for your day hike or canoeing trip. Stop by Aaron’s on the Square for a bagel breakfast sandwich, Wheel House Donuts for a breakfast sandwich and cake donut, or grab an omelette or skillet from Benjamin’s Family Dining.
11:00 AM: HIKE OR CANOE AT TURKEY RUN STATE PARK
Turkey Run State Park might be the most well-known part of Parke County. Its hiking trails, towering trees and sandstone canyons beckon nature lovers of every age and skill level. Winding its way through the park is Sugar Creek, one of Indiana’s most scenic rivers, where visitors can enjoy a day of kayaking, canoeing and leisurely tubing on the water.
3:00 PM: LATE LUNCH OR EARLY DINER
After working up an appetite at the park, you’ve got a few options. For late lunch, stop at The Narrows Restaurant at Turkey Run Inn within the park or Up the Creek Boat-ique. This small, eclectic gas station-turned-restaurant with a Key West-meets-Jimmy Buffet vibe. Try out their taco salad, pizza, fresh breadsticks, homemade piña colada’s and much more. Want a quick bite to eat before you get back on the road? Stop by Turkey Run Gas & Grill. A local favorite, this gas station turned food spot has to die for tenderloins, pizza, hamburgers and more!
4:00 PM: A SWEET ENDING TO THE TRIP
The day isn’t complete without a tasty treat! I scream, you scream? There are no shortage of ice-cream shops in Parke County! Visit Gobbler’s Knob Sweet Shop & Mercantile (near Turkey Run State Park), Up the Creek Boat-ique (near Turkey Run State Park), The Tasty Freeze (near Montezuma Railroad Bridge) or The Big Berry (near Raccoon Lake SRA).
With so many ways to unwind, this area is a summer travel must. Parke County has all the small town charm with plenty of beautiful landmarks and events. So, pack up the car, head to Parke County, and see what all the fuss is about.
For more information visit: coveredbridges.com