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An Outdoorsy Adventure Weekend in Fort Wayne, IN

I have become a huge fan of visiting cities where we can easily walk places, have tons to do, and also get our fill of nature all in one. As someone who lives in Cleveland, I have high standards thanks to our Metroparks being consistently rated one of the best in the nation.

So, when the city of Fort Wayne reached out to work together I was intrigued. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know much about the state of Indiana and have spent very little time there, so I was going into this trip pretty blind. However, I am so glad we said yes and spent a weekend here. Fort Wayne is a beautiful city, filled with tons of nature adventures nearby!

The purpose of this post is to share with you how you can have an outdoorsy-filled adventure weekend in the city of Fort Wayne, IN. We went as a family of four, and everything we did was family-friendly, so keep that in mind, too! They offer an “Outdoor Pass” that you can download directly to your phone. This will give you easy, quick guide to the best outdoor hikes, bikes, and paddles you can do in the area and is extremely helpful when you’re out and about!

Riverfront Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne has three rivers: the St. Marys, the St. Joseph, and the Maumee and have been an intrinsic part of the city. You could easily spend an entire day exploring everything around the Riverfront, but I’m going to share what our favorite activities were.

Promenade Park

This park includes a tree canopy, a Kids’ Canal and Playground. Our kids loved this playground! The surface is made of a softer turf which was an added bonus. There are benches around for parents to sit and shade, which I have found a lot of playgrounds lack! Nearby this park, you can stop at Fort Wayne Outfitters and do some shopping, get some new gear or rent a bike, kayak, canoe or paddle board! I ended up renting a kayak and checking out the city from the river perspective which I always love doing when I can. In this same area, you can also do a river cruise! We did the Sweet Breeze tour. It’s a guided cruise on the St. Marys River. It’s an authentic replica canal boat  offering 45 and 90 minute tour lengths. You can purchase tickets  online ahead of time.

Headwaters Park

Nearby is another park to check out, Headwaters park. While we were there the Three Rivers Festival was going on so we had to check it out. The kids loved the fair rides and it was so fun to see so many people out and about enjoying rides, live music and vendors. The park itself has live music and other events going on all summer long.

LC Nature Park

This is a little outside of the city, but it’s worth checking out if you’re planning a trip here! It’s a Native Indiana Prairies and Woodlands where you can see wild bison and elk herds. We took the safari wagon tour, but you can also do guided hikes here if you want to take your time and walk rather than ride. *Please note if you visit here you have to make a reservation for the guided hike or wagon ride ahead of time.

Farmers Markets

We loved heading to the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, despite the rain! One of my favorite things to do when we’re traveling is to shop local and support the economy we are in. We found lots of goodies and left with coffee beans, new apparel, candles and some hot sauce! The market is at the corner of Wayne and Barr Street and runs every Saturday in the summer months.

Other Fort Wayne Attractions

We had a very busy weekend here, and I wanted to call out a few more places we checked out if you have time during your stay.

  • Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo: This was probably one of the best zoos I have ever been to! It is geared toward children so there are a ton of interactive exhibits like feeding the stingray. There are several rides throughout the zoo as well, we loved the crocodile crossing! This was a great activity to do to help break up our day and do something special / specific for the kids.
  • Botanical Conservatory: We had a day with scattered rain, and this was a great place to visit during that time. The conservatory is right downtown so we could walk there from our hotel.
  • Public Art Trail: I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much public art in one city before! I swear there was a mural on every other wall we passed. It made our walking days so much more enjoyable as we would try to find where the next one would be. There are more than 100 locations featuring murals, sculptures and other public art!

Where We Stayed

I can’t end this blog post without mentioning the hotel we stayed at, The Bradley. This was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed in. From the moment you walk in you are greeted by friendly staff, the décor is just beautiful inside and the rooms are just as gorgeous! The rooms were incredibly clean with comfortable beds. The hotel also feature’s a rooftop bar, Birdie’s. The location worked really well for us. We only had to use our car twice during our stay, as almost everything we did was 100% walkable. It’s hard to beat that!

What We Ate

I’m no foodie, but I know a good food scene when I’m in one. There are so many wonderful food options in downtown Fort Wayne, you will have no problem finding something you like! Here is the list of places we ate:

  • Hoppy Gnome
  • Mercado on The Landing
  • Arbor (located at our hotel, The Bradley)
  • Head 2 Hock food truck at Farmers Market

And that’s a wrap on our incredible weekend in Fort Wayne, IN! This city really blew us away, and it’s a great road trip from Ohio! For us (from Cleveland) it was just a little over three hours, which was perfect for us. Consider making Fort Wayne your next outdoor adventure destination!

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