What To Do Near Lake Monroe This Summer

 Living in Indiana my whole life, I’ve often heard it referred to as a “flyover state”. Meaning nothing interesting happens and the landscape is overall unappealing. Granted, Indiana’s landscape doesn’t boast large mountains or gorgeous canyons. Our hills are pretty average and the middle of the State is mostly flat. Our corn fields are unassuming and our forests are average. We have a few lakes here and there, but they look puny compared to their nearby relatives, The Great Lakes. Indiana is a pretty vanilla state, mostly known for Nascar and county fairs.

I felt the same way about my home state until I moved to Southern Indiana. Southern Indiana, while still part of the same State, is a completely different landscape. The first time I visited, I remarked, Am I still in the same State? It boasts large forests filled to the brim with unique yet peaceful wildlife. Deer roam down country roads, not bothered by the headlights passing nearby. Hikes through these woods feel like something out of a movie. The birds chirp and the deer roam close enough to touch. Squirrels gather to beg for an almond or two, I have fed a few by hand.

For the first few months living in Southern Indiana I had only experienced the beauty of the vast forests. It wasn’t until I acquainted myself with Indiana’s aquatic beauty that I began to understand the scope of Indiana’s untouched, hidden beauty. 

Aerial view of Lake Monroe. Photo Courtesy of Logan Armbruster. 

No one prepared me for Lake Monroe. A man made lake located near the Monroe Dam, it competes for the spot of the second largest lake in Indiana, just behind Lake Wawasee. Unlike Lake Wawasee, it is largely uninhabited. Instead of the lake being surrounded by docks and houses, large swaths of forests make up the shoreline. 

Lake Monroe has a few spots for public beaches, but mostly locals know about them. I went to college near the lake for a year before I found out about it. My friends were just as shocked when I took them to the beach. How had no one known about the beauty of Lake Monroe? 

It’s a quiet, laidback area. A dock houses most of the sailboats, pontoons, and occasional houseboats. People kayak and canoe. Dogs are allowed on most beaches near the lakes. I take my own dog swimming there. Her insatiable love for water usually ends up with both of us soaked, even when we stick to the sidewalks. Fairfax Beach, one of the public outlets to Lake Monroe, has miles of walking trails. While the area is busy, the walking trails feel miles from any living person. 

Besides boating and beaching, available is fishing, camping, and vacation rentals. Whether you’re interested in bringing a camper or lodging in a cabin, Lake Monroe offers it all. 

The Four Winds Lakeside Inn and Marina. Photo Courtesy of Visit Bloomington.

There’s something so unique about connecting with nature and land in this way. Sitting on a dock dipping your legs in the water or playing frisbee on the beach with your dog. Nature trails feel untouched by man. The area provides a place to uncheck from reality. 

So the next time someone tells you Indiana is a “flyover state” refer them to Lake Monroe. They might just stay long enough to realize the hidden beauty of Indiana afterall. 

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