Richmond, Indiana offers plenty of outdoor fun for families with kids of all ages. From forest trail hikes to splashing in the river, this is a destination with real natural appeal. Disc golf, fishing, biking, and even fossil hunting will keep your family entertained for days. There are also plenty of carryout options so you can enjoy your meals on the go. As a bonus, the activities on my list are either free or very affordable to extend your vacation budget.
**Disclaimer: The Richmond/Wayne County CVB hosted me for a few days so I could experience their outdoor activities. As always, my honest opinions are presented to help you plan a quality vacation.
Stop by the National Road Welcome Center when you arrive in town to pick up brochures and get advice from the helpful staff. The welcome center also offers local souvenirs and has the all-important clean bathrooms every parent is looking for on the road.
*COVID note: Some buildings, such as nature centers and museums, may be closed or have limited hours and access due to current COVID restrictions. Call ahead or ask at welcome center.
10 Fun Outdoor Activities for Families in Richmond, Indiana
Hidden in plain sight, this huge 400 acre nature preserve is just blocks off of the main drag in Richmond. Split into two parts, Hayes Arboretum features multiple hiking trails ranging from .25 to 1 mile long, 5.5 miles of mountain biking trails, butterfly garden and outdoor play area for younger kids, nature center and Hayes family museum. There is also a unique drive through trail, which is a great accessibility option.
Just north of Richmond's Depot District is Thistlethwaite Falls. Kids of all ages will enjoy clambering around on the falls and strolling along the cool, shallow river. Take a close look around, there are fossils embedded in the layers of slate and clay that make up the falls and lining he river banks. Tip: Bring beach shoes or Crocs to protect your feet on the rocks.
Pick up a passport at the Welcome Center or Earlham College J. Moore Museum. The booklet has pictures to identify several types of local fossils and locations to search. Collect five different fossils to earn an embroidered patch. Thistlethwaite falls is a great place to start searching.
This 3.5 mile trail offers several opportunities to see local history along the river, across nine bridges, and over 8 sets of stairs. Stops include the Starr piano factory ruins and Gennett Records walk of fame, Veteran's Memorial Park, and early industrial buildings which helped Richmond grow. Keep your eyes peeled for fossils along the way.
This new nature preserve near Centerville spreads out over 100+ acres and features a nature center building, four miles of hiking trails through multiple habitats, and a unique natural outdoor play area for kids. It's a very quiet and visually stunning outdoor space to relax and explore. Tip: Pick up coffee and a box of breakfast delights at Bismark Donuts before a morning hike.
Fountain City is home to the Levi and Catherine Coffin House Underground Railroad museum. Each Friday and Saturday they offer a guided walking tour of the town, formerly known as Newport. A self-guided architecture walking tour is also offered anytime, plus educational guides can be found on their website. Tip: Stop by Fountain Acres Amish store for sandwiches, ice cream and snacks.
The southern end of the Greenway begins in downtown Richmond and stretches all the way through Marion to the Northwest. Over 60 miles of old railroad tracks have been converted into a scenic biking path. No bike, no problem. Stop by the Cycling & Fitness Warehouse near the trail head to rent a free bicycle for the day.
This sprawling 194 acre park in the heart of Richmond offers 1n 18 basket disc golf course, playground, skate park, splash pad, rose garden, and plenty of spots for a picnic and relaxing under the trees. Check out the Madonna of the Trail statue in the southwest corner on the National Road (I-40); one of a dozen placed across the country.
Carryout meals are the way to go for outdoor adventures around Richmond. Radford's Meat Market offers custom sandwiches and plenty of side dish options from two locations on the east and west sides of town. The Tin Lizzie Cafe serves up made to order hot and cold sandwiches in the heart of downtown Richmond. Who can resist a grilled Reuben? Not this guy. Mancino's is a great dinner option offering a variety of pizza, subs, pasta, and salads. Enjoy your meals as a picnic in Glen Miller Park or wherever adventure takes you.
What better way to cap off the day than with a cool treat? Ullery's makes 18+ flavors of ice cream in house. Look for unique seasonal varieties, such as local honey, Blue Blizzard, and peppermint. Choose from cones, house made waffle cones and bowls, sundaes, and shakes. The apple cider shake and affagotto are hidden gems of flavor. Stroll around the historic Depot District and see how many murals you can find while enjoying your treats.
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