I've learned from being in the tourism industry now for the past few years how important taking time away from work and spending more time with our loved ones means to our overall health.

You don't necessarily have to go far or to a place like Disney World to fulfill that much needed time off. In fact, before this summer is over I challenge you to visit a more off-the-beaten path destination where the people are friendly, amenities are plentiful and you don't have to spend an arm and leg to have a good time.

If you need a suggestion of where to find such a place, may I recommend right here in Hendricks County, Indiana, and we at Visit Hendricks County can help you plan that getaway.

Here are some ideas to help get you started:

Fairs and festivals

Fairs and festivals offer a great variety of fun and action that you won’t find every day, so planning a visit here around one of our signature events isn't a bad idea.

Need help getting started? Check out the events calendar for upcoming dates.

Then while you're at the event, look for these opportunities:

  • Capture the action: You can often get very close to the stage or action during performances and contests, that you might not otherwise get at a bigger venue.
  • Capture the moment: Photograph your family having fun and experiencing the event and use #inHendricks or tag @HendricksCounty so we can see your photo and help promote it. Are your kids seeing their first cow? Are they spinning with wild grins on their faces on a midway ride? Did you give in and let them get some cotton candy or an ice cream cone? Their delight in eating it — not to mention the colorful, sticky scene are the types of moments that may seem somewhat insignificant at the time but that you and they will treasure for years to come.

Green space and wildlife

Hendricks County’s many parks offer great, opportunities to get away from the hustle and bustle.

  • Enjoy the landscape: Embrace all that is around while enjoying the serenity that only nature can provide at McCloud or Sodalis nature parks. Both parks even offer various interactive programs every Saturday.
  • Splish, Splash: Whether it's the ever-popular Splash Island Family Waterpark, the less crowded yet equally fun Gill Family Aquatic Center or simply enjoying one of the splash pads at Hummel, Williams or Washington Township parks, I can't think of a better way to celebrate summer. Keep in mind these attractions are primarily open only from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
  • Try something different: How about trying disc golf or outdoor ping pong at Avon’s Town Hall Park?

Wine and dine

Hendricks County has so many amazing restaurants that it is hard to choose just one.Families enjoy the Oasis Diner.

  • Family friendly: Most restaurants in Hendricks County cater to all members of the family including the kiddos. But two of our favorites include the Mayberry Cafe and Oasis Diner.
  • Music and outdoor dining: If you are searching for a restaurant that offers live entertainment, The Coachman Restaurant and Lounge would be at the top of our list during the summer as the offer live music on their deck most weekends. In addition, we have some great recommendations for outdoor dining as well.

There is so much more to do in Hendricks County from our cultural offerings to our motorsports, shopping and one-of-a-kind attractions. I really could go on and on, but instead I encourage you to just click on any of the above links to begin your planning today.

Enjoy this summer. It will be gone before you know it!