Vevay, Indiana — a town of only 1,735 — indicates just how diverse Indiana truly is. The small town can now boast of its recognition as one of Budget Travel magazine’s Top Ten of “America’s Coolest Small Towns.”

Vevay is, in fact, nothing short of cool. The small town features eclectic shops, artist exhibits and an unparalleled location. Situated in the southeastern portion of Indiana, Vevay is close to Cincinnati, but even closer to wine vineyards and the Belterra Casino Resort. The best time to visit Vevay? The end of August for its annual Swiss Wine Festival (Aug. 27-29).

The festival has been held since 1968 to celebrate the state’s many fine wineries. While Indiana might not be the first place one would think of to find high-quality wines, the state actually contains many fine wineries and the Indiana Wine Trail. The Swiss Wine Festival has been named one of the top ten festivals in Indiana, and it includes the Midwest Championship Grape Stomp, contests, parades, food, entertainment and — you guessed it — wine.

Indiana’s diverse offerings do not stop in Vevay. Check out the rest of the state for art, nature, shopping and family fun.

Indianapolis Museum of Art

With over 50,000 pieces of artwork on display, the Indianapolis Museum of Art is one of the oldest and largest general art museums in the country. Featuring holdings of African, American, Asian, European and contemporary art, this museum is certain to please any art enthusiast.

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park — the newest addition to the museum grounds — is slated to open in June of 2010. The park is 100 acres of woodlands, wetlands and meadows and will offer outdoor artwork exhibits and recreational activities to patrons. General admission and parking is free. 400 Michigan Road, Indianapolis. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday & Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. (317) 923-1331 or

Indianapolis Zoo

Located downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo boasts three accreditations: zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Zoo exhibits include the nation’s largest shark touch pool and the world’s only underwater dolphin viewing dome. This summer the zoo will open its brand-new, 10,000-square foot cheetah exhibit. Featuring other African Plains animals, the exhibit includes educational components such as “Race-a-Cheetah” speedway, where patrons can test their speed against the world’s fastest running animal. 1200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday. $8.50, $6.50 seniors and youth (2-12). (317) 630-2001 or

Belterra Casino Resort

The Miss Belterra riverboat casino features classics such as blackjack, craps and roulette while also offering the newest games such as Caribbean stud and three-card poker. With over 38,000 square feet of gaming, Belterra is a premier gambling destination. But the fun doesn’t stop on the riverboat. The Belterra Resort offers luxurious hotel accommodations, a full-service spa and salon, a championship golf course and entertainment events. Only an hour’s drive from Cincinnati, the resort is a prime weekend getaway this summer. 777 Belterra Drive, Florence. (888)-BELTERRA or


Recognized as a “Modernist Mecca” by National Geographic Traveler and the New York Post alike, Columbus boasts more than 60 Modernist buildings. Ranked sixth in the United States for architectural design and innovation by the American Institute of Architects, Columbus is a contemporary masterpiece of city planning. The architecture buff of the family will enjoy the work of contemporary architects such as Cesar Pelli, I.M. Pei and Richard Meier. But, don’t forget to see other Columbus hot spots such as the People Trails, Indiana’s largest antique mall and the public artwork scattered throughout the city. Columbus Area Visitors Center, 506 Fifth St., Columbus. (800) 468-6564 or

Indiana Dunes

Experience the great outdoors on 15 miles of beach along Lake Michigan. The Indiana Dunes feature a summer beach area, hiking, horseback riding and fishing. Campsites available. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Visitor Center, Indiana Highway 49 & Munson Road, Porter. Open daily, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Oliver Winery

It’s one of the largest wineries in the eastern United States, so it’s hard to imagine that Oliver Winery began as the hobby of an Indiana University law professor. Experience unique wines and vineyards this summer. Tours and tastings offered daily to visitors. 8024 N. State Route 37, Bloomington. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. (812) 876-5800 or

Holiday World

A splash, a drop and a plunge and you know you’re at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind. (Yes, that’s really the town’s name.) Recognized by the editors of Amusement Today for great service and cleanliness, this theme park features roller coasters and water rides. Rides include the “Best Wooden Coaster” in America and the world’s longest water coaster. 452 E. Christmas Blvd., Santa Claus. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $41.95, $31.95 for those under 54 inches or older than 60, free to children 3 and younger. (812) 37-4401 or

Indianapolis Motor Speedway & Hall of Fame Museum

Nothing says “Indianapolis” quite like the Indy 500. But, for those who cannot make the race this year, there is the museum, featuring a tribute to the sport, winning cars and drivers. 4790 W. 16th St., Indianapolis. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily. $5, $3 children ages 6-15, children 5 and under free. Track laps for an additional $5, $3 children ages 6-15. (317) 481-8500 or

The “Other” Nashville

Featuring more than 90 arts, crafts and knick-knack shops, numerous antique stores, art galleries and restaurants, Nashville is a must-see for every shopper. Brown County Visitors Center, 10 N. Van Buren St., Nashville. (812) 988-7303 or

Rising Sun

Home to Indiana’s outdoor fun, Rising Sun offers a variety of events and activities in the summer. Fish, ghosts and riverboats abound in this small town. If you’re feeling adventurous, visit the Red Wolf Sanctuary — a North American wildlife preservation. Or, if you’re looking for relaxation, take a ride down the Ohio River Scenic Byway — a winding route linking Ohio and Indiana. Rising Sun is full of activities and events for the whole family. Rising Sun Visitor’s Center, 120 Main St., Rising Sun. (812) 438-4933 or