One of my favorite things to do in the summer is take a day trip to Buffalo Trace Park in Palmyra, Indiana. Most Louisvillians have never heard of Buffalo Trace Park or Palmyra—I certainly hadn't when my husband took me there for the first time two years ago—so it's certainly one of the area's best kept secrets.
Buffalo Trace Park is beautiful: flat and green set on a huge blue lake. It's never overly crowded, and everyone is always friendly. And, as far as I'm concerned, it has the best amenities of any park in Kentuckiana. At Buffalo Trace Park you can pet animals in a petting zoo, you can lay out on an actual sand beach, you can swim in a cordoned-off portion of the lake, or you can spend an hour peddling on the lake with your family in a paddleboat.
If you want to stay out of town for more than just one day, you can camp at Buffalo Trace. Cabins and campsites are both available for rent.
Buffalo Trace Park is a great place to relax with my family because there's something for everyone to do. My daughter loves petting the animals in the zoo and swimming in the lake. My husband loves running his hands through the sand on the lakeside beach. Personally, I love wading in the middle of the lake on a paddleboat where the cool breeze off of the water takes away the warmth of the summer sun and the small waves feel like the sway of a porch swing.
Best of all, a day at Buffalo Trace is fairly inexpensive. It's $3 (resident) or $5 (non-resident) per carload to enter the park, it's $3 a person to enter the swimming/beach area, and paddleboats rent for $6 per hour. The petting zoo is free.
Photo: Buffalo Trace Park