Looking for a fall adventure? Look no further than Hamilton County, Indiana for a fall visit. Although we may have visited in the past multiple times, it’s one of those places that you can keep returning again and again because there are so many things to do with the family. Our focus this time around was enjoying the great outdoors during one of our favorite seasons. What an amazing time!
Disclosure:A big thank you to Visit Hamilton County and their partners for hosting us.I was not required to express a particular point of view. As always, all opinions are my own.
Where is Hamilton County?
Located north of Indianapolis (one of our other favorite Midwestern cities), Hamilton County consists of the towns of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and a few other northern towns.
Things to do in Hamilton County during Fall
Get on the water
For the ultimate leap peeping session, take a relaxing ride down the scenic White River with White River Canoe Company. As first time kayakers, we didn’t know what to expect during our 6 mile trip, but the staff at White River Canoe gave us tips and the confidence to have a successful kayaking trip. During fall, it was absolutely breathtaking with the leaves changing color. Turtles were even sunbathing. Water levels were so low and shallow at some areas that we got stuck on the rocks but it made for an even more exciting trip. My ten-year-old, who rowed himself, had an absolute blast! In fact, we all did!
As you float down the river, make sure to make a pit stop at Potter’s Bridge Park to see the historic Potter’s Bridge. (Look for the stone steps leading up to the trails.) Built in 1871, it is Hamilton County’s only remaining covered bridge. It was fun crossing the bridge and seeing the White River from a different vantage point. Not only did we see the bridge but we could stretch our legs by walking the paved trail. Our visit couldn’t have been timed any better as the leaves were changing their beautiful colors. The kids were ecstatic to find a playground here. (And yes, they have bathrooms here too.)
Tip: When you get tired of rowing, just take a breather and float down the water.
Visit during a festival
Something is always happening in Hamilton County. Coincidentally on the specific weekend we visited a fairy fest, Welcome to Fairyville, happening in Noblesville. OH MY stars…I had as much fun as the kids! We went on a fairy trail path, found fairy houses, fairy doors, and participated in specific fairy activities (DIY fairy wand or fairy hot chocolate, anyone?) The event, hosted by Nickel Plate Arts, was extremely well organized and so much fun!
Walk around Noblesville
Downtown Noblesville is such a charming area! As we were exploring the Fairy Trail, we had a chance to stop and check out a few businesses. So many cute boutiques and restaurants! If you love coffee or tea, a stop at Noble Coffee & Tea is a must. Ask about their specials. My pumpkin mocha was just what I needed to refuel from our walk. My little fairy loved getting the special, a fairy cherry cocoa. Kids will love Moonshot Games and Moonshot Toys (located down the Square from each other). As you know, I’m obsessed with murals and they have a couple very close to the square.
Choo choo! Any train fans will want to board the Nickel Plate Express. Located in Noblesville, the train chugged along through the forest, and during the fall was perfect for leaf peeping! We chose to sit at the top (very cool!) and had great vantage points. Watch out for special events! On our particular visit, the train turned into the Fairy Caboose to coincide with fairy fest, and a fairy even graced us with her presence bringing a little bit of her magical beans (aka jelly beans and gummy bears.)
Headless Horseman Festival
Fall in Hamilton County absolutely requires a visit to the Headless Horseman Festival! Conner Prairie, an amazing Smithsonian-affiliated history park, is already worth a visit on any day but goes all out for their Headless Horseman Festival. The highlight is the Haunted Hayride where the infamous Headless Horseman greeted us. It was pretty dark for our ride and we had creatures chasing our wagon which creeped out the kids a little bit. My husband and I thought it was a hoot though! After our spooky ride, we enjoyed the rest of the festivities including carnival style games, shows, a barrel train ride, eats, and more. Don’t forget to visit the 11-acre corn maze which features two paths – a small maze for younger guests and a longer maze for teens and adults. Want to see Conner Prairie from a different view? Take a ride on a tethered hot air balloon,
We all know Fall is not complete without a stop at a farm or orchard. Stuckey Farm is the place to be if you’re looking to go apple or pumpkin picking or get lost in a corn maze. The kids activities include the barrel train, pedal carts, and of course the famous pig races. If you’re like me and can’t walk out without an apple cider donut or apple cider slushie, then you definitely do NOT want to miss Stuckey Farm’s fall treats! They were both so delicious! They also host a Sunflower Festival early during the fall. You know I love my sunflowers and will need to visit again to check it out.
Tip: If you are on Hwy 32, check out the home with dinosaur skeletons and more in the front yard. Pretty neat!
Say hello to all the statues
You know we love our outdoor art, so we made it a priority to check out the Carmel Arts and Design District where 17 life-size statues grace the sidewalks. As we were “hunting” for all the statues we noticed so many wonderful boutique shops and restaurants. Definitely worth more time to explore!
Walk the Monon Trail
Fall in Hamilton County should bring you to the Monon Trail, a 27-mile trail connecting the towns of Sheridan, Westfield, Carmel, and Indianapolis . As we were strolling through Carmel, we found an entry point on Main Street and walked north to find an amazing stretch forming a “tunnel” of trees. What a sight!
What to do when hunger strikes? I’ve detailed all the places we ate on our Hamilton County fall adventure here.
Where to STAY in Hamilton County
The Fairfield Inn & Suites Indianapolis Fishers was our home base for our fall adventure in Hamilton County. The hotel was clean, modern, and stylish, and our 2 queen bedroom suite was spacious enough for our family of five. A huge plus? We were minutes away from Conner Prairie which worked out well since we were attending the Headless Horseman Festival. At the end of the day and usually in the mornings, we took advantage of being the only ones in the pool. My only quip was the breakfast – a to go bag with a muffin, water, and fruit. (Wish we had a more filling breakfast!)
Have you been to Hamilton County in the fall?