Tucked against the southern border of Lake Michigan you’ll find an eclectic blend of charming Americana, traditional Amish culture and astonishing natural gifts. Northern Indiana’s seven distinct counties could practically be their own states, but all possess a thoroughfare of local culture that runs through them that is anything but ordinary.
Within the border of South Bend Mishawaka County you’ll find the world famous Notre Dame University, with youthful energy exuding beyond the borders of the historically significant campus. It’s where the stunning Basilica of the Sacred Heart shares space with the storied Notre Dame Football program, which might appear incongruent on the surface - but not at Notre Dame. These worlds most starkly collide in the famed religious mural “Word of Life”, more commonly known as “Touchdown Jesus”, visible from Notre Dame Stadium. Running through the county is the St. Joseph River where you’ll find the charming Riverwalk, a relaxing stroll along the St. Joseph River lined with public art installations. Once the sun sets, the South Bend River Lights come to life, illuminating the river with an interactive light show.
Indiana Dunes’ eponymous Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore provides an unmatched experience for outdoor enthusiasts. Beyond the rolling sand dunes, this unique ecosystem also encompasses forests, rivers, wetlands and prairies, with excellent bird watching opportunities and more than 70 miles of hiking trails. If you’re in the mood for a different kind of outdoor journey, hop on the Marshall County Barn Quilt Trail in Marshall County and ramble through the charismatic small towns and stoic farmland of the region, colorful quilt-block murals adorn dozens of historic barns and buildings.
Take a breather in laid back Shipshewana LaGrange County, where life moves at a deliberate, rural pace. At the heart of Indiana’s Amish community, you’ll find unique Amish craft shops, farmers’ markets, traditional Amish restaurants, and the largest flea market in Indiana. Amish community meets historic towns in Elkhart County, an eclectic mashup of traditional Americana and new energy. Historic buildings become new ideas in the repurposed Old Bag Factory or Coppes Commons.
Northern Indiana is where quilts are woven (quite literally) through the fabric of every town, be it in flower beds, on barns or in shops. It’s where you come to cheer on the Fighting Irish, go urban kayaking down the St. Joseph River through the middle of town or celebrate America’s music tradition at the Elkhart Jazz Festival. It’s where you can experience the Amish way of life, cast your line in the many lakes of Kosciusko County or get artsy at The Gateway Mile. It’s quirky, it’s interesting, it’s unique — it’s Northern Indiana.