Bloomington Packs a Perfect Road-Trip Punch

Writer / Renee Larr
Photography Provided

With the cost of air travel rising and the risk of contracting COVID-19, many people are trying to find alternatives to flying. Long weekend road trips are becoming a more cost-effective way to get away. Bloomington offers scenic views, outdoor adventures, and


dynamic arts and food.

“Obviously, Bloomington is home to Indiana University so IU football is always a great idea when visiting the city,” says Erin White, director of leisure marketing and media for Visit Bloomington. “We also have the 4th Street Festival of the Arts and Crafts, the 10th Annual Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Festival, and many other festivals all fall long.”

Bloomington draws people in with its cultural diversity, and is home to more than 350 different restaurants including more than 80 international restaurants. Foodies will love dining on 4th Street, which is lovingly referred to as international restaurant row.

“You’ll find more than a dozen houses that have been converted into international restaurants,” White says. “You can find Tibetan, Turkish, Indian, Afghan, Korean and much more in Bloomington.”

If you want outdoor adventure, look no further than Monroe Lake. It’s Indiana’s largest land-bound body of water with more than 11,000 surface acres. Nature lovers will find more than just water activities at the lake.


“Monroe Lake is a fantastic place for folks to spend time,” White says. “We have three boat rental companies on the water that provide all sorts of personal watercraft including jet skis, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, pontoon boats, deck boats, and double-decker boats complete with a slide. For those leaf peepers and folks who want to take in the scenery of the Hoosier National Forest, the lake is a great way to check out the fall foliage, and see bald eagles and other natural wildlife that exists in the area.”

The city offers traditional lodging like hotels and motels, along with boutique inns and quaint bed and breakfasts. Hotels situated downtown are within walking distance to the restaurant and bar scene. Many of the bed and breakfasts are still close to downtown but are a little closer to campus.

Bloomington offers tons of family-friendly activities for the kids and kids-at-heart.

“We’re home to lots of unique, family-friendly attractions and experiences,” White says. “WonderLab Museum is a great hands-on children’s science center located in the heart of downtown Bloomington. It’s a great place to spend a few hours with the family. Hoosier Heights is an indoor climbing facility, so if your kids are really rambunctious and need to expend some energy, spending a couple of hours at Hoosier Heights is a fun way to get the whole family out and get them active. We also have hundreds of miles of trails. Parents can throw bikes in the car and utilize the B-Line Trail as well.”

White says Bloomington is a great option for folks wanting to escape the monotony of their own community. For more


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