O’Bannon Woods State Park, located in southern Indiana at the confluence of the Ohio and Blue rivers, was established in 2004. The park is about an hour from Evansville and 45 minutes from Louisville. The State Park has nearby options to beat the heat - floating or kayaking the Blue River, exploring the Wyandotte Cave, or visiting the State Park’s pool, complete with two water slides and splash park.
The campground has over 200 electric or primitive sites in a densely wooded setting. Trails connect to the campground and offer access via hike, bike, or horseback. There are also trails taking you to the top of a fire tower and a scenic overview of the Ohio River.
We took a bike ride to the nature center where we joining a ranger-led hike that explored nature’s influence on technology and superhero inspiration. Also at the nature center was a working hay press, gardens, and historic structures. The nature center has reptiles on display including several snakes. The bike ride there was great - it was a breezy downhill heading to the nature center. As a result, the return ride was a grueling uphill climb in the swampy heat.
After lunch it was time to beat the heat at the pool. The two water slides were a big hit as the kids rode them dozens of times. One slide was a twisting blue slide and the green slide was a near straight down ride, Mitchell described it as riding a waterfall. We spent the entire afternoon at the pool and opted not to kayak or spelunk this time and will have to return for these activities as well as the hikes.
Before we headed out, we’d bought groceries for the weekend due to the somewhat remote location and we planned to just stay hitched up. As we settled in Friday night and started to make dinner, we discovered we’d forgotten most of our groceries at home! Two choices - unhitch and go find dinner at a restaurant and then find a grocery store. Option two - make do. We chose option two and got creative. We had roasted potatoes with peppers and onions covered with Mexican cashew “cheese” sauce on Friday night with banana boats, minus the MIA almond butter. Saturday morning was dessert for breakfast - coconut macaroon bars. We had black bean tacos for lunch and black bean tostadas for dinner, just to mix it up a bit, along with cashew “cheese” stuffed jalapeños and banana boats. All of this, minus the coconut bars, were prepared on our Weber Q and the griddle attachment.
We were struggling with a Sunday morning breakfast plan but wound up not having to make that decision. We heard a rumble of thunder about sunrise and checked the radar. We were in for rain for the next couple hours. We decided to get up, pack up, and hit the road instead of waiting out the rain. We were on he road in 20 minutes just as the rain set in!
O’Bannon Woods State Park was a good weekend. We know we could return and enjoy the same activities we enjoyed this weekend, or explore other activities. This would also be a spot that you could access Louisville easily. This was a great place to beat the heat, and if you visit, Mitchell dares you to ride the green slide at the water park!
Shane and Jessica
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