Labor Day Road Trips Within 100 Miles of Indianapolis

Good news! Labor Day weekend will be here before you know it; bad news—if the sweltering conditions in the Midwest continue, it might be next to impossible to enjoy the great outdoors over your three-day weekend. Unless, that is, you're somewhere near water. Here, a short list of some of Indiana's best recreation spots centered around water. And, even more good news for all you city dwellers, they're within 100 miles of downtown Indy.

Paddle a canoe or kayak
Splash your way through Turkey Run and Shades State Parks in a canoe or kayak. Take a one-hour float or book an overnight voyage on Sugar Creek and drift along the stream the one-time inhabitants, the Piankeshaw Indians, named "Pun-go-se-co-ne" or "Water of Many Sugar Trees." 70 miles southwest of Indianapolis

Try standup paddle boarding or windsurfing
Indiana's largest inland lake, Lake Monroe, is a hotspot for just about anything water related be it boating, swimming, fishing, sailing, or something else; like learning how to negotiate a standup paddleboard or a windsurf. 63 miles south of Indianapolis

Rent a houseboat
When the upper part of Big Raccoon Creek was dammed, Cecil M. Harden Lake—now aptly named Raccoon Lake—was born. Quieter and lesser-known than Lake Monroe, this a great place to rent a houseboat and chill for a few days. And while you're there, check out historic Mansfield Roller Mill—a preserved, 1880s flour mill using original machinery to show people how flour and cornmeal were processed centuries ago. 50 miles due east of Indianapolis

Catch a fish
Whether you want to head north to Lake Tippecanoe or south to Patoka Lake, you'll be set if fishing—and by fishing I mean actually bringing home dinner, not just dropping a line—is on your summertime to-do list. Both lakes have an abundance of fish and ample boat ramps with public access points. From the heart of Indianapolis: Lake Tippecanoe 119 miles north; Patoka Lake 123 miles south.

Ride a WaveRunner or learn to waterski
There are two reservoirs within a twenty minute drive of the city—and both have ample opportunities for water-based recreation. If you live on the south side, take a short drive to Geist Reservoir where you can enjoy the sunshine and learn to waterski. On the north side, check out Morse Reservoir, a less crowded spot than Geist where you and your friends can rent a WaveRunner or just lay around on the shoreline and do nothing at all. Giest, 20 minutes southeast of the city; Morse, 20 minutes northeast.

So what are you waiting for? This Labor Day weekend make some plans to find the water in this landlocked state—and don't forget the sunscreen.

Shauna Nosler lives in Indianapolis. She's a contributor to both the Indianapolis Star and Indianapolis Monthly Magazine as well as to the national news organization U.S. News & World Report. More of her writing can be found on the lifestyle blog, The Flavored Word.

More from this author:
Where to find local coffee roasters in Indianapolis
How to do Chicago's theatre district from Indy
Farmers markets in and around Indianapolis