With endless possibilities to explore it is easy to see why this is a local favorite. Hop on the nearest bike and let’s take a spin to discover great family-friendly stops along the Monon Trail in Hamilton County, Indiana. We were hosted by Hamilton County Tourism to bring your family this great weekend getaway idea. As always all opinions are my own.
What Is The Monon Trail
How Long Is The Monon Trail
The trail is roughly 27 miles long with plenty of attractions, trailheads, and amenities along the way. With a good chunk of the Monon Trail running through Hamilton County, we opted to stay in Carmel and hit the nearest trailhead.
Bike Rental Options In Carmel, Indiana For The Monon Trail
A cheaper option for those not needing a trailer is renting bikes from the Zagster Bike Share. With trips under an hour being free then minimal fees afterward it is the perfect way to explore the Monon Trail.
Monon Trail Trailhead Locations and Parking in Hamilton County
We were able to park our car at The Carmel Cyclery and hop on the trailhead right next to it. For utilizing the Bike Share I recommend picking a rideshare station near the Carmel Arts District and find parking near there. Throughout the trail, you will also find some great bike work stations in the event your bike needs a little TLC.
Family-Friendly Stops Along The Monon Trail
The Waterpark at the Monon Community Center
Museum of Miniature Houses
Take a peek into the world of miniatures with a visit to the Miniature Museum. Very few museums are devoted solely to the fine art of miniatures and is home to thousands of miniatures. From houses to rooms every detail is accounted for. If your children enjoy making models this might a perfect family-friendly stop along the Monon Trail!
Carmel Arts and Design District
We can’t get enough of this eccentric and lively district of Carmel. Ever-growing and expanding, new restaurants, boutiques, and attractions are finding their way to this charming part of town. A small splash pad tempts little ones, while a scavenger hunt to find 17-life-sized sculptures will keep everyone entertained. Check to see if any local events are going on such as Porchfest.
The Center of Performing Arts
The Japanese Gardens near City Hall
Playground at Terrace Clay
Playgrounds are a great way to break up your ride. If you have a little one in a trailer you want to make sure they get the opportunity to burn off some of that pent-up energy. This is the perfect spot to do that. This outdoor shopping mall is not only home to great stores and restaurants but a fun playground. There is a dog park nearby as well.
This is the only park you will need for all your sports needs. With soccer and ball fields as far as the eye can see it is no wonder this is where the Colts have their training camp.
Family-Friendly Spots to Eat at Along the Monon Trail
Home of the famous Big Ugly Challenge, Bubs Burgers is a great spot to feed your hungry clan. Burgers and ice cream are the favorites at this hangout, but there are other classic options as well. Located right in the heart of the Arts and Design District this is a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.
Books N Brews
With great shopping comes great restaurants. Favorites such as Cafe Patachou, Pies & Pints and Cold Stone Creamery are always crowd-pleasers. Check out the complete list of dining and shopping options here.
Where To Stay In Hamilton County, Indiana
There are plenty of great lodging options in Hamilton County. On this trip we stayed at the Renaissance Inn, which was strategically located near everything in Carmel including the Monon Trail. The hotel has a variety of room layouts from a king with a pull out sofa to the standard double queen. A restaurant and bar are located inside, however, our favorite feature is always the indoor swimming pool! With friendly staff, sparkling clean rooms, and a modern feel we would recommend this hotel to all travelers!
A Few Tips For Hitting The Monon Trail
- Don’t forget the sunscreen.
- Plan out your route with little ones in tow. Make a game plan of what you want to do and what you would like to do. We ended up spending more time at a few stops than anticipated because we were having fun!
- Be aware of others on the trail and use proper etiquette such as letting others know when which side you will be passing.
- Fall is one of the best times to enjoy the Monon Trail. The crisp air and fall foliage makes any ride picture perfect.
- Stay safe on the trail by ensuring all personal possessions are in a secure spot, resist the urge to look at your phone and be observant of your surroundings.
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Family-Friendly Stops Along The Monon Trail