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Free Indiana Travel Guides – Indiana Tourist Sites – Exploring Indiana

Free books about traveling or living in Indiana. Free books about explorers in historic Indiana.

Indiana Guidebooks Collection

About 20 free online books at the Internet Archive, resulting from a search for books on “Indiana – Guidebooks”. Indiana explorers.

‘Collections’ take longer to appear on your screen than single books.  On a phone, only about 25 books in a collection may appear.

The Insider’s Guide to Greater Indianapolis

Berry, S. L., and Ketzenberger, Jolene Phelps
Indianapolis Newspapers 1995

This appears to be a very substantial guide for use by tourists as well as by Indiana residents. In addition to sections for recreation, attractions and nightlife there is a comprehensive directory of services, shopping, local businesses, government, etc. Prepared as a joint effort between ‘Insider Guides’ and the major newspapers of Indianapolis.

Trails to Hoosier Heritage

Black, Harry G.
Hammond, IN: HMB 1981

The author visits many historic sites throughout Indiana, well-known and obscure, and recounts the stories that go with the sites.

A Friendly Mission: John Candler’s letters [to his wife] from America, 1853-1854

Candler, John
Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society. 1951

John Candler was an English Quaker on an Anti-Slavery mission to the U.S. He visited numerous states, but his travels in Indiana make up a significant part of the book. The account is of value for several reasons, including a look at Quaker efforts toward abolition, and also as a portrayal of western modes of travel in the 1850s.

Indiana Explorers, Who explored Indiana

“Journal of Ebenezer Mattoon Chamberlain 1832–5”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 233-259, 1919

Chamberlain, Ebenezer M.; Fogle, Lousie, ed.
Bloomington: Indiana University

A lively and sometimes amusing account of a young man who went west, hoping to begin a law career. As he was nearly penniless, he generally traveled on foot and stayed at the homes of strangers. The account includes rich details of life and travel in the 1830s, and many interesting incidents. Indiana explorers.

“Mrs. Lydia B. Bacon’s Journal 1811-12” – Part 1

– Part 2

Indiana Magazine of History Vol 40, No. 4, 1944, 367-86; Vol 41, No. 1, 1945, 59-79

Crawford, Mary M., ed.
Bloomington: Indiana University

In 1811 Lydia Bacon traveled with her husband, a lieutenant in the U.S. Infantry, from Boston through Pennsylvania, then down the Ohio River to Vincennes. She stayed in Vincennes through the winter of 1811-12 while he participated in an Indian campaign in the area. After the battle at Tippecanoe in November 1811 the couple traveled by horseback through Kentucky with his troops, then on toward Detroit. Enroute she and other ladies were taken prisoner by the British. Mrs. Bacon recorded much of the trip in letters home, and twenty years later used those letters to write a book, which was published as The Biography of Lydia B. Bacon. Because the published version of the book had been over-edited, the editor of this two-part article drew upon her original manuscript. Indiana explorers.

Dune Country: A Hiker’s Guide to the Indiana Dunes

Daniel, Glenda
Athens, OH: Swallow 1984

Chapters: Geology — The beach — Foredunes — Wandering dunes, blowouts, interdunal ponds — Evergreen trees and bearberries — Hardwood dunes and coves — Wetlands — Trails in Indiana Dunes State Park — Trails in the national lakeshore — Appendixes : I. Further reading ; II. Plant list by habitat

Journal of Thomas Dean: A Voyage to Indiana in 1817

Dean, Thomas
Ft. Wayne: Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County. 1955

Thomas Dean (1779-1842) was a successful Quaker businessman in Oneida County, New York who went west to secure land for the Brothertown Indians; then living in Oneida County. The voyage to southern Indiana was made entirely by water, and took the party, mostly made up of Indians, down the Ohio River to the Wabash, then up the Wabash to the mouth of the Mississinewa River, near present-day Peru, IN. He also made a long overland journey in Indiana and canoed down the Maumee. Indiana explorer.

Indiana State Parks

a guide to Hoosier parks, reservoirs and recreation areas, for campers, hikers, anglers, boaters, hunters, nature lovers, skiers and family vacationers

Goll, John
Glovebox Guidebooks 1995

35 state parks, reservoirs and recreation areas are profiled. Each is described, and entries include information about available activities and facilities, and nearby attractions. Some entries have simple maps. Indiana explorers.

“A Journal of Travel from New York to Indiana in 1827”

Indiana Magazine of History Volume 17, Issue 4, December 1921, pp 338-352

Judah, Samuel Bernard
Bloomington: Indiana University

The author of this journal, Dr. Samuel Bernard, was a well-to-do city urbanite in New York City when he made the journey to Vincennes, IN to visit his son. He was somewhat delicate physically and accustomed to comforts, so the normal rigors of travel in the frontier west must have been particularly hard on him. This journal contains his views and reactions to whatever and whoever drew his attention. Indiana explorer.

Unexpected Indiana: A Portfolio of Natural Landscapes

Leonetti, Ron and Jordan, Christopher
Bloomington, IN: Quarry 2004

The photographers “have done a remarkable job of depicting the amazing natural beauty of Indiana. Their stunningly beautiful photographs capture the true essence of the natural world of the state.” – Book cover

See our webpage of historical romance novels online free

Indiana as Seen by Early Travelers; a collection of reprints from books of travel, letters and diaries prior to 1830

Lindley, Harlow
Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission. 1916

Editor Harlow Lindley was the Director of the Department of Indiana History and Archives at the Indiana State Library. This volume of nearly 600 pages contains excerpts of accounts by 33 early visitors to Indiana. A sample of these include:

-Imlay, George – A Topographical Description of the Western Territory of North America, 1793.
-Ashe, Thomas – Travels in America Performed in 1806.
-Cutler, Jervasse – A Topographical Description of the Indiana Territory, 1812.
-Brown, Samuel R. – The Western Gazetteer, or Emigrant’s Directory, 1817.
-Warden, D. B. – A Statistical, Political and Historical Account of North America, 1819.
-Teas, Thomas S. – Journal of a Tour to Fort Wayne and the Adjacent Country in the Year 1821.
-Faux, W. – Memorable Days in America: Being a Journal of a Tour to the United States, 1823.
-Reed, Isaac – The Christian Traveller, 1828.
-Coffin, Charles F. – Personal Recollections of Charles F. Coffin of Wayne County, Indiana from 1824 to 1833.

For several early-19th century descriptions of the Great Lakes states and adjoining areas, see: Settlers’ Guides for the Great Lakes Region

Haunted Indiana

Marimen, Mark
Thunder Bay Press 1997

“If the ghostly legends and tales that can be heard are to be believed, indeed there is more than corn in the Hoosier state . . . restless spirits that refuse to stay buried and forgotten. Here are collected a sampling of the ghostly tales that are told throughout the length and breadth of Indiana.” – Publisher

Detroit sightseeing books

Country Roads of Indiana

McKinney, Sally
Country Roads 1993

12 driving & sightseeing routes described, all around the state.

Great Indiana Weekend Adventures

McKinney, Sally
Black Earth, WI: Trails Books 2001

“Provides readers with 22 weekend destinations, including hundreds of sites and attractions for travelers of all ages and interests, as well as dining and lodging details. Discover friendly farming communities, enjoy country fairs and visit little known corners of the Hoosier State.” – Book cover

PDF magazine archive at Century Past

City Smart Guidebook: Indianapolis

O’Guinn, Helen Wernie
John Muir 1999

“City-Smart Guidebook is written by local authors who tell you about the best places the city has to offer – and explains why they’re the best. Whether you want to find the best restaurants, the real deals, the hippest hot-spots, or some family-oriented fund, its in here – with suggestions that’s help you get to know the real Indianapolis. – Publisher

Day Trips from Indianapolis: Getaways Less than Two Hours Away

O’Guinn, Helen
Globe Pequot 2001

“Enjoy a welcome change of pace and discover a world you may not know exists in your own backyard. Day Trips describes hundreds of fascinating and exciting (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of Indianapolis. Each day trip includes travel directions, destination highlights, other places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging (including price ranges), and shopping.” – Publisher

A Tour through Indiana in 1840: the Diary of John Parsons of Petersburg, Virginia

Rabb, Kate Milner. ed.
NY: R. M. McBride. 1920

23-year-old John Parsons, a recent graduate of the University of Virginia, made a tour of Indiana in 1840 to look into the possibility of purchasing land and settling there. His modes of transport included the stage coach, canal boat, steamboat and one of the early railroads. He carried letters of introduction to the “most respected families” of various Indiana towns, whom he describes. The account also describes the 1840 presidential campaign. Indiana explorers.

Free audio short stories online

Discovering Indiana

Shangle, Barbara
Beaverton, OR: American Products 2000

Mainly a book of photos of institutions and significant sites around the State, each with a long explanatory caption.

Indiana Landscapes

Shedd, Randall R.
Indiana University 1992

“Indiana Landscapes teaches us how to observe this natural beauty. Randall Shedd has been collecting these images of our landscape for more than ten years. From the Ohio River to the Dunes, the beauty of Indiana is made accessible to us all through the eyes of a gifted photographer.” – Publisher

A Native’s Guide to Northwest Indiana

Skertic, Mark
Lake Claremont 2003

“At the southern tip of Lake Michigan, in the crook between Chicagoland and southwestern Michigan, lies Northwest Indiana, a region of natural diversity, colorful history, abundant recreational opportunities, small town activities, and urban diversions. Whether you’re a life-long resident, new to the area, or just passing through, let native Mark Skertic be your personal tour guide of the best the region has to offer.” – Publisher

A Traveler’s Impression of Indiana in 1851

Staff of Public Library of Fort Wayne and Allen County
Fort Wayne. 1954

This small book consists of excerpts from a 2-volume work by J. Richard Beste entitled The Wabash, or, Adventures of an English Gentleman’s Family in the Interior of America. It is an account of a trip that Beste, his wife and 11 children made from England in the early 1850s. You can find the full two-volume work on this website, at Explorers and Travelers in Great Lakes History.

Indiana Explorers, Who explored Indiana

Indiana: A New Historical Guide

Taylor, Robert M., Jr., et al, eds.
Indiana Historical Society 1989

“With the assistance of hundreds of knowledgeable residents, the Society staff gathered information on over 2,000 features within or near 425 towns and cities. The guide takes excursionists along nineteen circular tours that pass through each of the state’s ninety-two counties. In addition, thirteen of the state’s leading cities— Fort Wayne, Muncie, Richmond, Madison, New Albany, Evansville, Terre Haute, Lafayette, Indianapolis, Columbus, Bloomington, South Bend, Anderson-plus the Calumet Region are treated to historical essays and guided tours. The illustrated volume also contains original maps.” – Publisher

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Backroads Indiana: Discovering the People and Places of Southern Indiana

Trogdon, Wendell
Highlander Press 1994

“The author dedicated four seasons to exploring the diverse rural landscape south of U.S. 40. What he discovered may surprise you. Despite changes like school consolidation and uncertain farm prices, the Hoosier character remains indomitable, living and breathing in the cafes, churches, and stores that serve at community gathering places.” – Publisher

Indiana at Random … On Roads Less Traveled: A Guide to the Real Indiana

Trogdon, Wendell
Mooresville, IN: Backroads 2002

“This book “details 15 highways [not freeways] where traffic is light and each mile brings new views of the state not visible from the fast lanes of major roads. The book takes readers to 200 cities and towns … And it notes historic treasures and scenic vistas often overlooked by tourism directors.”

Kids Love Indiana

A Parent’s Guide to Exploring Fun Places in Indiana with Children … Year Round!

Zavatsky, George
Kids Love 2005

The book divides the state into eight regional sections, providing a chapter of attractions for each. Most attractions would be of interest for adults as well as children. Activities aren’t rated, but there is a list of “Our Favorites” at the beginning of each region’s chapter. Indiana explorers.

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