Image via Flickr by @trailseeds

Carmel, Indiana, is a beautiful city full of family-friendly activities that are sure to keep you returning for more. If it’s nature you seek, the greater Carmel area has plenty to see and do. Here are five nature-filled experiences to see in Carmel, Indiana.

Coxhall Gardens

Coxhall Gardens is a 125-acre park where you can enjoy the Carillon Bell Towers, beautiful gardens, and a make-believe village for children. If flowers are your thing, there’s an astounding variety for you to take in, including the new tulip garden where you can watch the tulips grow. At the make-believe village, your kids can try out the echo walls, read the sundial, or play at peek-a-boo hills. They can check out the village stores and the tiki huts as well.

Bike riders can take advantage of bike courses and appreciate the park’s beauty as they ride. If fishing is more your speed, you may want to bring along your rod, tackle box, and the proper credentials. All in all, there’s plenty to do at Coxhall Gardens, and each visit holds a world of outdoor adventure for you and your family to experience.

Fort Harrison State Park

While there’s something to do in every season at Fort Harrison State Park, winter is especially fun here as you will find one of the largest sledding hills in the greater Carmel area. You can also go ice fishing, sledding, or cross-country skiing. If you come in the spring instead, you and your family can enjoy walking through nature to view the blooming woodland flowers, or you can admire the beautiful fall colors during autumn.

Fall Creek is the main water feature in this area, and it flows through the north side of the park. During the warmer months, you can go horseback riding, golfing, canoeing, or fishing. You can also go on a picnic or a hayride. No matter the season, you are sure to enjoy Fort Harrison State Park.

Dogs and their owners will love taking advantage of the dog park and hiking trails. With 1,700 acres to explore and six different trails, you and your family will have a blast traversing the great outdoors in this park, which is located in Indianapolis, only a short drive from Carmel.

Indiana Birding Trail

Do you and your family enjoy birdwatching? The Indiana Birding Trail offers access to a wide variety of opportunities to view all of the different species Indiana has to offer. This trail spans from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan’s shores and encompasses everything in between.

There are over 400 different bird species that you can document throughout Indiana, and the Indiana Birding Trail is the best way to view them all. Indiana is a prime migratory zone for birds as they traverse between Argentina and the northern arctic, making the whole state great for birdwatching.

The three closest stops to Carmel on the Indiana Birding Trail are Fort Harrison State Park, Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, and Cool Creek Park and Nature Center. All of these locations offer an exciting experience for bird lovers to view native as well as migratory bird species. With so many different types of birds to view, each visit to the Indiana Birding Trail is sure to make for a unique experience.

Cool Creek Park

Located in Carmel, Indiana, Cool Creek Park harbors many fun activities to captivate the whole family. This park is also part of the Indiana Birding Trail, allowing you to view many different species of birds while visiting the park. With 90 acres to explore, you’ll need multiple trips to take full advantage of everything the park has to offer. Children can play sports, exhaust their energy on the playgrounds, or trek through the nature trails, prairies, and wetlands. Regardless of what you decide to do, you will be encompassed by Indiana’s natural beauty and wildlife the whole time.

The Cool Creek Nature Center offers multiple facets of education based on the science of the Indiana woodlands. There is also the Cool Creek Nature Play Area that allows children to take part in unstructured play sessions that center around using their imaginations. This play area includes natural elements and is located in a shady and wooded area. You can also hang out in the music pavilion or settle down for a nice picnic at one of the park’s picnic shelters. No matter what activity you choose, you’re bound to have fun at Cool Creek Park.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve

If you are looking to unplug from the modern world and surround yourself with nature, look no further than Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve, located close to Carmel in Fishers, Indiana. With 127 acres for you and your family to explore, you are sure to find a nature-filled experience that you won’t soon forget. If you’re interested in hiking, the preserve has 10 different nature trails that combine for a total of 2.25 miles in length. These trails are great for walkers, runners, and nature enthusiasts.

Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is teeming with wildlife that’s native to the area, and you can also get a glimpse of Cheeney Creek, which is located on the north end of the preserve. Kids and parents alike will enjoy special events such as S’mores Day and Keep Fishers Beautiful Spring Service Day. Your children can also take part in summer camp programs and the Nature First program. Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve is one of the most engaging attractions in the area, and it will make you and your family want to return throughout the year.

As you can see, there are many different opportunities for you and your family to take part in nature-filled experiences in and around Carmel, Indiana. With all of the various parks to visit and activities to do, the greater Carmel area is full of limitless possibilities for adventure.