Scenic drives through the backroads of the Northern Indiana Amish Country will have you basking in the simple joys of life. Delight in a home-cooked meal, swing on a front porch, and experience the Amish culture in ways you never thought possible
Northern Indiana is home to the third-largest Amish region in the United States. From their famous auction and flea markets to stunning quilt gardens, there are plenty of great things to do during your visit. Here are our Top 7 Amish experiences to consider during your trip to Northern Indiana Amish Country. This site does contain affiliate links.
Where Is Indiana Amish Country
Indiana Amish Country is in the north-central portion of Indiana. It includes the towns of Elkhart, Shipshewana, Goshen, Middlebury, Nappanee, Bristol, and Wakarusa. Many of the Amish live in nearby communities and the rural countryside of these cities.
Southern Indiana Amish country is located in Daviess county, south of Bloomington.
Planning Tip: The Amish community does observe Sunday as a religious day and many of the Amish area’s shops and restaurants are closed.
7 Amish Experiences To Have In Indiana Amish Country
Shipshewana Flea Market
The Midwest’s Largest Flea Market is a bucket-list item for many bargain hunters and antiquing enthusiasts. The Market takes place every Tuesday and Wednesday from May through September. Keep in mind that the Market is outdoors and is enormous, so come prepared to do a lot of walking. In addition to the sea of vendors at the Market, live auctions take place throughout the day on Wednesdays.
Discover more great things to do while visiting Shipshewana.
Learn About The Amish Culture At The Menno-Hof
The Menno-Hof needs to be your first stop during your visit to Indiana Amish Country. Learn about the Amish faith, culture, and the different religions that are associated with Amish. A tour of this museum will give insight into the Amish way of life and their beliefs. This gives a better understanding of the Amish way of life during your trip.
The tours of the museum are partially guided with interactive videos and displays. There are portions of the museum where guests can enjoy the exhibits unguided at their leisure.
Das Dutchman Essenhaus
This all-in-one Amish destination has everything from a top-notch restaurant and lodging to an Amish Theater! Guests to Das Dutchman Essenhaus can experience a home-cooked Amish meal, and a variety of quality quilts to shop for in one of their many onsite stores and enjoy a show in their theater.
The Barns At Nappanee, Home of Amish Acres, offers a variety of Getaway Packages and day excursions that appeal to everyone. Don’t forget to call to reserve your tickets for the theater as seats tend to fill up quickly.
Enjoy an In-Home Amish Dining Experience
For a truly remarkable experience, enjoy a home-cooked meal with an Amish family in their home. These experiences are available throughout Amish Country, but we highly recommend A Taste Of Shipshewana.
My parents always said the best way to get to know someone is to sit down and have a meal with them. The family was incredibly kind, the food was superb, and I left with a few new Amish friends. From discussing weddings, and grandchildren, to Amish stereotypes, this is one experience that ranks at the top of my travels.
Take A Ride In A Horse & Buggy Ride Through Indiana’s Amish Country
A real sign that you have entered Indiana Amish Country is the abundance of horse & buggies. These black buggies dot the highways and streets along with bicycles. For those curious about what it is like inside one of the buggies, many families operate Buggy Tour Rides for tourists.
A variety of buggy experiences can range from a 15-minute tour to a visit to an Amish Farm and back. The buggy drivers are very knowledgeable about the history of the area and are often very willing to answer any questions you may have. Be mindful that many Amish do not wish to be in photographs. It is proper etiquette to ask before taking photos.
Planning Tip: A single family often operates a Buggy Line. In the event business is slow, or something is going on in the family, they may end up closing early or not opening.
Shop and Eat Local
A highlight of visiting any Amish Country is the charming shops that are full of locally-crafted goods. These shops not only support local families but often offer higher-quality products. They are a great gift shop as well, so plan on getting a little shopping done for the holidays.
Whether you are looking for furniture, quilts, or tasty Amish treats, there are plenty of great shopping spots you don’t want to miss. The Davis Mercantile and Yoder’s Red Barn Shoppes are a must-stop while passing through Shipshewana. The Old Bag Factory, along with the Dutch Village Market, are a few other specialty shops you don’t want to miss.
Enjoy The Scenic Amish Countryside On The Pumpinvine Nature Trail
Take in the sights and sounds of Amish Country by taking a stroll or bike ride on the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. Connecting the cities of Shipshewana, Middlebury, and Goshen, it is easy to see why the locals have deemed this “The Amish Highway.” Many families frequent the trail along with avid bicyclists.
The trail takes visitors through the beautiful countryside, lakes, and past historic farms. While the majority of the path offers shade, there are a few areas that are not, so come prepared.
Bikes can be rented at several locations along the trail. Shipshewana Bike Rental offers rentals seven days a week. Biking is an enjoyable activity to do on a Sunday when the majority of the town’s businesses are not open.
Fun Events In Indiana Amish Country
From the end of May to mid-September, intricate gardens resembling giant quilt squares appear throughout Northern Indiana. These gardens are not only spectacular to witness, but they also draw thousands of visitors each year. Quilt Garden tour maps are available each year, highlighting each terrace and the nearby murals.
Nappanee Apple Festival
What better way to ring in fall than with a 7-ft apple pie, apple baking contest, and of course, plenty of apple fritters? The Nappanee Apple Festival is a unique hometown festival that leaves guests making this festival an annual tradition. Celebrate all things apples then stay to experience Amish Country.
Where to Stay In Indiana Amish Country
A stay at the Blue Gate Garden Inn should be on your itinerary. This beautiful, spacious, clean hotel is the best in Shipshewana. The hotel offers a variety of hotel rooms that can accommodate large families as well as couples visiting.
Having a more resort feel, the Blue Gate Garden Inn has an inviting patio with fire pits, a large indoor pool, and a complimentary breakfast. The Ice Creamery serves up scoops of Hudsonville ice cream while large living room areas offer guests a spot to unwind.
The Blue Gate Restaurant is the hotel’s award-winning restaurant known for its Amish-style cooking and serving up over 25 varieties of pie.
The Blue Gate Theatre
The best place for entertainment in Shipshewana is the Blue Gate Theatre. With over 300 shows yearly, the theater features world-class musicals and concerts by world-famous performers making the theatre a local favorite. Check out the Blue Gate Theatre Schedule to see what performances are coming soon.
Tips For Visiting Indiana Amish Country
- Many Amish do not wish to be photographed. It is proper etiquette and polite to ask before snapping a photograph.
- The town of Shipshewana is dry. However, LaGrange county is not. If you are looking for a favorite local establishment to grab a drink try Beauty and the Bull.
- The Amish are people just like you and me. Be mindful. Trespassing on their property is not acceptable. You wouldn’t want strangers coming onto your property to take photos of your family, and neither do they.
- Bring plenty of cash. Many vendors and stores do not take credit.
- On Sundays, the majority of the town shuts down. Many restaurants, businesses, and attractions are closed.
- A great option for those looking for something to do on Sunday is to go on a scenic drive along the Heritage Trail of Elkhart County. The Heritage Trail is a free audio-driving tour through 90 miles of Amish County.
We have only cracked the tip of the iceberg on all the great experiences to have during a visit to Indiana Amish Country. I recommend you cherish the slower pace of living found throughout Amish County, it is a welcome respite from the daily grind.
While you are visiting Northern Indiana, be sure to read all about our Northern Indiana Road Trip.