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Indiana travel guide

About Indiana

Indiana accelerates to the max during its annual motor-racing extravaganza, but beyond the speedway, this is a gentle state of sprawling fields, pretty countryside and all-American small towns.

Adjoining Lake Michigan to the north, Indiana features deep valleys, cornfields that extend from horizon to horizon, foothills and vast farmlands. The state is home to peaceful Amish communities, covered bridges, Indian mounds and the famous Indy 500 motor-racing legend.

The Indianapolis 500 is more than a car race however. It’s a gigantic festival, with camping, glamping and two weeks of qualifying races before the main event. Pick-up trucks pull up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, pop open their boots, and unload beer and barbecues for pre-race tailgating. Scantily clad fans party hard with live DJs and performers in the Snake Pit. And a massive parade of kaleidoscopic floats, giant balloons and marching bands takes place downtown on the eve of the final race.

At the opposite end of the speed spectrum, Amish horse-drawn buggies rattle along rural lanes in Northern Indiana, where life takes a distinctly slower pace. A Heritage Trail weaves through thriving historic towns crammed with antiques stores, flea markets and turn-of-the-century buildings.

For two weeks in August, half the state seems to land in Indianapolis once again for the Indiana State Fair, a massive agricultural spectacle blending animal shows with live concerts and fairground rides (no, that doesn't mean cows on the teacups).

Thrill-seekers are also well catered for in Indiana’s great outdoors. Hikers, bikers and mountain climbers make a beeline for the forested hills of Brown County State Park, which lay claim to some of the most exquisite autumn scenery in North America.

Key facts

Area:

94,322 sq km (36,418 sq miles).

Population:

6.6 million (2015).

Population density:

70.2 per sq km.

Capital:

Indianapolis.