One of the things that my family enjoys doing the most is getting out of town for the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, we take longer trips but there is something so refreshing about getting away, recharging and then heading home for a new week.
Enter Hamilton County, Indiana.
Located just about 2 1/2 hours from our home in Louisville, Kentucky, it proved to be the perfect escape that my family and I needed.
Hamilton County, Indiana is a suburb of Indianapolis, it has the convenience of city life without the chaos of a large city.
It is comprised of several towns but we spent the bulk of our time in Noblesville, Carmel, and Fishers.
Things to do in Hamilton County
Go on a trail ride.
We started our adventure in my happy place, a horse barn. I grew up riding and showing horses, so any chance I get to share my first love with my kids, I take.
K-Trails Equestrian Adventures is a new company in town, offering trail rides, pony rides and even overnight boarding for personal horses.
The thing that struck me the most about the facility was how clean it was, it was instantly evident that the horses were extremely well cared for and loved.
I was traveling alone with my 6 and 8-year-old boys. Something to note is that kids younger than 7 aren’t able to go out on the trails, instead, they get to have some one on one time with an instructor and a pony. Surprisingly, my little guy didn’t seem to care one bit about the fact that his brother went out on the trails.
Since I needed to stay behind with my 6-year-old, I was worried that my older son would be apprehensive about going without me. He had a guide riding in front and a guide behind him and I could tell that he was instantly at ease. They chatted with him and even let him choose from 2 horses. The smile on that child’s face was as big as I have ever seen it.
By the time we were leaving, my little guy asked if we thought he could take home the pony that he rode.
The Koteewi Sport & Target Archery Center is located right next to the K-Trails Equestrian Center and offers rental bows from compound like what my boys and I used to everything in between.
This center is state of the art and offers an area for basic target practice and another area for 3D shooting. Think dinosaurs and zombies. Archery is something that my family and I got into last year and we take any opportunity to go target shooting together.
We’ve written about Conner Praire before, in fact, you can read a small overview in this post. I had heard a lot about Conner Praire but hadn’t ever been there before.
While we were in town there was a special event happening at Conner Praire called the Curiosity Fair. There were various vendors set up around the property letting kiddos get hands on at the exhibits featured during the fair.
My kiddos were enthralled by the treehouse area of Conner Praire, spending upwards of an hour exploring the 4 story structure.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the property for me personally was the Lenape Indian Camp, there is a trading post that I thought was set up just as an example, but the man working shared that Indians still come to trade goods. I was shocked, I had no idea that the trading post was used for anything but just educational purposes.
Also on the property is a large, tethered hot air balloon that for an additional fee offers rides. We were scheduled to ride while we were there but it wasn’t operating due to the curiosity fair.
During our visit, we certainly didn’t have enough time to explore the elements of Conner Praire that are the staples, however, my children have assured me that we will make a return trip in the very near future.
Where to Eat in Hamilton County Indiana
Big Dogs Smoke House
My oldest child proclaimed the ribs at Big Dogs, ‘the best he has ever had.’ Let me tell you, he is a connoisseur of ribs, so if he says they are the best you’d better take him at his word!
This unassuming restaurant is located in Cicero, Indiana. The fun interior provided something to occupy the time while waiting for the feast that had just been ordered.
I ordered the brisket and had a similar reaction to my food that my son did with his ribs. It was flavorful and tender all at the same time.
Big Dogs totally warrants a return trip!
Woody’s Library Restaurant
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is find new and different local restaurants.
Located in the former library in Carmel, this eatery is lined with books and gives off a cozy vibe that one thinks of when curling up with a good book in the library.
I think I enjoyed the desert options the best, due to their size. Quite often I want something sweet to eat but don’t want a large dessert portion. Woody’s offers dessert ‘bites’ on their menu. Enough to satisfy your taste buds without the overwhelming portion.
We stopped in Rosie’s Place for breakfast. It is a quaint little spot in Noblesville, seems to be extremely popular, as evidenced upon arrival. The line for a table was out of the door. The best part is that in addition to the fantastic breakfast that we had we grabbed some freshly baked goodies (cookies, cinnamon rolls, lemon bars, oh my) to take home with us. We were so full from breakfast that we ended up not needing lunch that afternoon.
Where to stay in Hamilton County, Indiana
Choice Hotels has a relatively new name in their lineup, Cambria Suites. Stop what you are doing right now and find a location near you and book a stay. Seriously.
Stop what you are doing right now and find a location near you and book a stay. Seriously.
Our biggest issue when staying at a hotel with our kids is the lack of space, the parents just want to chill out and the kids seem to have endless energy.
The Cambria brand offers spacious suites that allow for personal space. This is key after having a lot of togetherness!
What’s more, it offers a luxury feel, without the luxury price tag, clocking in at just over $100 a night.
There is a market just off the lobby offering salads and made to order food with a full bar. While room service isn’t offered, there is an option to call down to order your food in advance and it will be ready and waiting for you to take back to the comfort of your room.
Additionally, there is a full breakfast buffet and the option to order off of the menu for breakfast. There is an additional fee but it is an affordable $9 for the buffet.
I am serious when I say, upon checking in I immediately started searching for the additional locations once we got settled, I really liked it that much.
Hamilton County, Indiana is a great spot to head when your family needs to get away, but you can’t or don’t want to get too terribly far from home!
My family and I were guests of Hamilton County Indiana, but our opinions are our own.