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Indiana the self proclaimed cross roads of America is a state that you must go through in order to go east or west. Many interstates and railroads cross the states and have fueled its economy for over a hundred years. That being said this is a state that is more then a drive through. The northern part of Indiana borders Lake Michigan and is home to stunning sand dunes and great beaches. The center of the state is home to Indianapolis and major city with a great night life and home to the Indy 500 auto race. In the south the scenery changes from flat plains to rolling hills and river valley's that offer cute towns with great bed breakfasts with plenty of country side to explore by foot or horse.
With a total area (land and water) of 94,320 km2, Indiana ranks as the 38th largest state in size. The state has a maximum dimension north to south of 400 kilometres and a maximum east to west dimension of 233 kilometres. The state’s geographic center (39° 53.7’N, 86° 16.0W) is in Marion County. Indiana is a state that stretches from the coast of the Great Lakes to the hills of the Ohio River Valley. The northern part of the state washes up on the shores of Lake Michigan and is mainly a flat topography, home to farm fields. Indiana is bordered on the north by Michigan, on the east by Ohio, and on the west by Illinois, while Lake Michigan borders Indiana on the northwest and the Ohio River separates Indiana from Kentucky on the southThe topography changes south of Indianapolis and becomes undulating hills on top of limestone deposits. The limestone mined from this area went all over the country ranging from Chicago to Washington, D.C.. The beauty of southern Indiana is peaked by the orange fall leaves and explored in the underground caves.
The average altitude of Indiana is about 230 metres above sea level. The highest point in the state is Hoosier Hill in Wayne County at 383 metres) above sea level. The lowest point at 98 metres above sea level is located in Posey County, where the Wabash River flows into the Ohio River. Major river systems in Indiana include the Whitewater, White, Blue, Wabash, St. Joseph, and Maumee rivers
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is run by the USA Park Service and is a nice wilderness and beach area near Chicago in North Eastern Indiana. These large sand dunes drastically enter the lake and can be great fun for the whole family, especially if you need to escape the hot midwestern summer.
Blue Springs Caverns is an amazing cavern located in southern Indiana that can only be toured by boat! On the tour adventurers can see Blind Cave Crayfish and Bling fish. The boat is only guided by a small lantern giving the same feel that early explorers had of the caves. Phone: (812) 279-9471.
Indiana has a humid continental climate, with cool winters and warm, irriguous summers. The extreme southern portion of the state is within the humid subtropical climate area and receives more precipitation than other parts of Indiana. Temperatures generally diverge from the north and south sections of the state. In the middle of the winter, average high/low temperatures range from around -1 °C/-10 °C in the far north to 4 °C/-6 °C in the far south. In the middle of summer there is generally a little less variation across the state, as average high/low temperatures range from around 29 °C/18 °C in the far north to 32 °C/21 °C in the far south. The record high temperature for the state was 47 °C set on July 14, 1936 at Collegeville. The record low was -38 °C on January 19, 1994 at New Whiteland.
While droughts occasionally occur in the state, rainfall totals are distributed relatively equally throughout the year. Annual snowfall in Indiana varies widely across the state, ranging from 200 centimetres in the northwest along Lake Michigan to 36 centimetres in the far south. Lake effect snow accounts for roughly half of the snowfall in northwest and north central Indiana due to the effects of the moisture and relative warmth of Lake Michigan upwind.
In a 2012 report, Indiana was ranked eighth in a list of the top 20 tornado-prone states based on National Weather Service data from 1950 through 2011. Despite its vulnerability, Indiana is not a part of tornado alley.
Indianapolis International Airport (ND) is about 7 miles (11 kilometres) from the central business district of Indianapolis. It has a range of flight with destinations including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cancun, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Hartford, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Toronto and Washington, D.C..
To/from the airport
Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation (IndyGo) operates the Green Line Downtown/Airport Express daily from 5:00am to 9:00pm. From 5:00am to 9:00am and noon to 9pm the service runs every 15 minutes. From 9:00am to noon the service runs every 20 minutes. The express service costs US$7 per passenger. The boarding/debarking point is located at the the Ground Transportation Center, which is found on level 1 of the parking garage. IndyGo Route 8 bus also connects the airport with downtown Indianapolis. Unlike the Green Line Express, Route 8 bus is a slower & cheaper bus route that makes frequent stops along Washington St. The fare for Route 8 is currently US$1.75 for single ride.
At the Ground Transportation Center there are also services like taxis, limousines, car rental facilities and shuttles.
Several Amtrak trains operate to and from Indiana:
Greyhound has buses throughout the US.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Indiana has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.
There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:
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