One Indiana State Park Ranked in the Top 10 Most Beautiful Parks in America
Most people who don't live in Indiana think our entire landscape is covered in nothing but cornfields. Which obviously isn't true. Only about 80% of it is (I kid, I kid). Can it be a little boring here? Oh, without a doubt. But, as someone who was born and raised here, and is raising his own family here, I'll take boring over living in a big city somewhere. We're definitely not a flashy state by any stretch of the imagination, but we do have some amazing outdoor spaces across the state, one of which was recently recognized as one of the most beautiful in good, ol' U-S-of-A.
Brown County State Park Ranked as One of America's Most Beautiful
Recently, Blake Walsh and the crew with the travel site, Travel Lens, dug through reviews of state parks across the country on both Yelp and TripAdvisor, along with Google search data and how popular those parks were on Instagram, to determine the 25 most beautiful in the country. Locations ranged from parks in Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Georgia, to Arkansas, Colorado, and Oregon. Near the top of that list sat one particular Indiana state park, Brown County State Park in Nashville, Indiana.
Known across the state for its stunning views, particularly in the fall when they leave begin to change colors, Brown County State Park came in at number six on Travel Lens' list, ahead of parks in Washington, New Hampshire, and even Hawaii.
Located 20 miles west of Bloomington and just under 60 miles south of Indianapolis, the 16,000-acre park is nicknamed "the 'Little Smokies,'" according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), "because of the area’s resemblance to the Great Smoky Mountains" in Tennessee.
Featuring many of the same amenities you'd find at other state parks, such as a campground, hiking trails, bike trails, lakes for fishing, and more, the park also features a fire tower visitors can climb up into to see some incredible views of the tree tops.
How the Most Beautiful Parks List Was Put Together
As I mentioned earlier, Travel Lens poured over Yelp and TripAdvisor reviews, breaking them down into those that featured the words, "beautiful," "stunning," and "breathtaking" (a.k.a. "aesthetic reviews"). However, they did not specify if they looked at reviews written in the past year, the past month, or all-time. They then divided the number of aesthetic reviews by the overall total number of reviews. The resulting percentage determined the parks' rank on the list.
Brown County had 86 total Yelp reviews, 42 of which featured the word, "beautiful," while one included "stunning," and six mentioned "breathtaking" for a total of 49 aesthetic reviews. This gave the park a favorable percentage of 56.98% which was good to land it in the sixth slot.
The park also landed at number 13 out of 25 for the "most Instagrammed" park (is "Instagrammed" even a word?).
It's been several years since I made a trip to Brown County, but I can still see the view from the top of the hill of the red, yellow, and orange leaves in my mind like it was yesterday. If you've never been, the video below from the park gives you a good idea of how pretty it is but doesn't quite compare to seeing it in person. It's definitely worth the trip from wherever you live in the state.
To see the complete list of the country's most beautiful parks, check out Travel Lens.