Spring is just the best time of year. Just like Baby Bear's bowl of porridge, the weather isn't too hot, it isn't too cold, it's just right. Perfect for being outside and not needing to worry about sweating or freezing to death. Fortunately, Indiana has several beautiful state parks to enjoy when the weather warms up, and this weekend you have the chance to explore them free of charge.

Indiana State Parks Waiving Admission Fees on Sunday, May 7th

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced on Monday that admission to all state parks will be free as part of the Department's "Welcome Back Weekend." The three-day event runs Friday through Sunday (May 5th through 7th) and is designed to do as its name suggests, welcome Hoosiers and visitors from other states back to our wonderful state parks to enjoy all they have to offer now that the temperature is starting to rise.

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Cataract Falls State Park in Spencer, IN (Canva)
Cataract Falls State Park in Spencer, IN (Canva)

The free admission offer will be available on Sunday, May 7th (2023) only and will coincide with the DNR's annual Free Fishing Day where you can fish Indiana waters without a fishing license or trout/salmon stamp (regular size and bag limits still apply).


To celebrate Welcome Back Weekend, several parks around the state will be hosting special programs, including:

  • Spring Mill State Park
    • Welcome Back Weekend programs at its Pioneer Village, Lakeview Activity Center, and Gus Grissom Memorial Museum - May 5-7th
  • Brown County State Park
    • Morel Mushroom Festival - May 6th
  • Mississinewa and Salamonie Lakes
    • Fishing workshops at - May 6th
  • Prophetstown State Park
    • Autos, Tractors, and Trucks at The Farm at Prophetstown - May 6th
  • Full moon hikes at various state parks, May 5-6

More programs are planned at these parks and others across the state. You can find the complete list on the DNR Events Calendar.

[Source: Indiana Department of Natural Resources]

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits each site had in 2020. Keep reading to discover the 50 most popular national parks in the United States, in reverse order from #50 to #1. And be sure to check with individuals parks before you visit to find out about ongoing, pandemic-related safety precautions at www.nps.gov/coronavirus.

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