This U.S. National Landmark in Marengo, Indiana, offers two walking routes: the 1/3-mile Crystal Palace and the one-mile Dripstone Trail.

Marengo Cave in Marengo, Indiana (photo courtesy of destination)

Travelers have been visiting Marengo Cave since as far back as 1883, making this just-off-the-highway destination a prime example of the Midwest’s natural beauty. The U.S. National Landmark offers two walking routes: the 1/3-mile Crystal Palace and the one-mile Dripstone Trail, which can be explored separately or one after the other. The cave, which also has two underground rivers, has a stable temperature of 52 degrees, making it a great escape from hot summer days.

Packages are available for those who want to experience spending a night in Marengo Cave, and each offers a slate of activities that end with sleeping in the cave with your group and breakfast in the morning. Other trips include the Waterfall Crawl through a section of the cave that wasn’t discovered until 1992. Those looking for tamer adventures can try visiting the ground-level attractions such as pedal karting, an outdoor maze and gemstone mining for kids. Littles ones can also explore the cave simulator and ascend the enclosed climbing tower that ends with a 30-foot-tall spiral slide.

Marengo Cave was originally discovered in the 1880s after a young girl overheard boys at school talking about a sinkhole they planned to explore. She enlisted the help of her younger brother to find the entrance to the hole. After crawling inside with candles, the children heard a waterfall and saw formations in the distance. Public tours began a week later.

Marengo Cave is open daily and offers an on-site campground and four cabins that are available to rent year-round. Head a little over 21 miles southeast and you’ll find Indiana Caverns, which has an underground boat ride. Drive about 30 minutes west from Marengo Cave to enjoy an array of activities at Patoka Lake. 

400 E. State Rd. 64, Marengo, Indiana, 812/365-2705,